The holiday season is intended to be a time of spending time with family and friends, eating delicious food and participating in traditional activities. Unfortunately, depending on your current financial situation, it can be a time of great stress, as you try to maintain spending levels of previous years.
Just as social expectations can create stress, so can financial ones: you may have suffered a job loss in the last year; you may feel you need to compete with family and friends in terms of gifts or entertaining; you may have let the holiday season sneak up on you and you may not have created a financial plan for spending. Read More→
Have a look at this article written by Curtis Health staffer Anora Renaud. It’s full of great ideas to help you get through the holiday season without slipping too far off the clean eating bandwagon. Enjoy!
Even if you have superhuman willpower, the holiday season can be challenging for everyone! Is it possible to celebrate the season without indulging in our favorite high fat and caloric foods without compromising taste? Yes indeed!! Read More→
Confession – I am a bitter Christmas baby. My birthday isn’t on Christmas Day but close enough to receive birthday gifts in Christmas wrapping paper.
Not sure if that’s the reason but I’ve have never been much of a Christmas person and with all the ridiculous commercialization of the season (really, who buys anyone a car for Christmas?) and the fact that in some stores the decorations come out in the summer, I could take it or leave it.
But in recent years, I’ve warmed up to the festive season a bit more. I think it’s because I’ve created some coping mechanisms to make the holidays more fun for me. Read More→
Give a read to this post written by Curtis trainer Kevin Chang. Avoid these mistakes that sabotage your progress and leave you frustrated, confused, and exhausted. Even if you worked out for years, it could still happen to you.
Many beginners start with the idea of making great progress in a short period of time (such as a major weight loss goal). Sadly, this too often leads to frustration. Instead, break your massive goal into smaller, attainable steps. Building these steps will help build confidence, and get you closer to your goal. Read More→
In 2016, there was an article in the New York Times, about how Donald Trump – who claims to sleep between 90 minutes and 4 hours per night – exhibited all the signs of a person with chronic sleep deprivation.
The short term effects of sleep deprivation include lower cognitive abilities, mood swings and poor decision-making, which obviously can have impact on employee performance. But studies at Harvard Medicine show chronic lack of sleep is associated with long-term health consequences, including chronic medical conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease, all of which may lead to a shortened life expectancy. Read More→
If you’re just starting out in your career or perhaps continuing your career in a new company, meetings can be the cause of stress and nervousness. Below are some tips to help you decrease your stress and impress your co-workers (and hopefully your managers): Read More→
Since October is Workplace Wellness Month, that will be the focus in our blog posts. Read the post below written by Curtis Health staff member, Nicole Wutschnik. It offers 4 suggestions on how you can improve your workplace happiness. Enjoy the read!
Let’s keep this simple. Chances are you’re reading this while you are on your break, and you likely already have a list of uncompleted tasks running through your mind. Perhaps you’re feeling overwhelmed and wonder how on earth you’re going to get through this work week, month, or year.
Believe it or not, you are able to find workplace happiness. Better yet, you can actually create it for yourself. Below are a couple of habits to equip you to build your workplace wellness. Start with one, and when you’re ready, add another. Read More→
Mental health is becoming a more important factor in overall health. Previously, workplace wellness focused on physical wellness with fitness challenges and blood pressure clinics. Studies are now showing that the key to workplace wellness is mental health. Give a read to the following article, that outlines some of the issues around mental health in the workplace and offers suggestions on how helping employees with mental health issues can benefit not just the individual but your business. This post was written by Jordan Cieciwa and re-posted from www.huffingtonpost.ca.
The benefits of exercise, active living and healthy eating are no longer debatable. There are dozens of preventable diseases that we die from, simply because we do not properly take care of ourselves. Disease prevention is a key reason organizations like the Heart and Stroke Foundation exist, they’ve even started a blog to get your the best info to live heart-healthy.
So, let me ask you this: Why are there so many people living sedentary lives and allowing disease to take root, if it is so good for us to be active and eat healthy?
Here is my theory after a career that spans more than a decade in the fitness industry.
Exercise, active living and healthy eating are not the first step in living a healthy lifestyle. The base needs to be set before anyone can live a healthy lifestyle. This is the problem — most people are not equipped to live healthy. Education is important to health, and more than anything, mental health is critical.
First, in order to build a solid foundation, we need education on how the body works — we are cellular beings. Our health depends on taking care of our body at its basic level. Your food and exercise habits affect your cells. Your cells build your organs and your organs create the systems in the body — the cardiovascular, nervous and digestive systems.
The systems show the failures at the cellular level. Those failures are what we call disease. Once we see those failures at the system level, our organs and cells are in dire straits.
Mental health is the most critical part of this whole health transaction. If I look at someone and tell them, you will die young if you do not eat properly and exercise, and they don’t change their life, something must be deeply wrong. What we miss in the promotion of health and wellness is empathy.
We tell people they need to work out — it will make them sexy, help them live longer and fix aches and pains. We show them pictures of what they could look like, and before and after images of people who have done it before them.
We never ask how their marriage is, or how their kids are, or if work is OK. We don’t talk about depression, anxiety or their mental state. Instead, we bombard them with more success from other people who “look good.”
As health, fitness and exercise is promoted, we forget one important piece. Health and fitness is easy if you are healthy and fit. Take away your mental health base, and your passion for the way your body works and whether you ask yourself, “Should I go to the gym? Would I look to be active today?”
If we focus on the workplace, I think this will make the most sense. The buzz words are flying around “wellness teams,” “wellness initiative boards,” “health spending accounts,” “health credits” — I could go on and on. And if your company has spent time and money on these with very little return, let me tell you why.
Every board I have consulted with puts their plans and spending together and “accidentally” creates a plan that amounts to getting healthy people cheaper gym memberships. Healthy people staff these boards, and they do things that make their healthy lifestyle easier and more cost-effective to maintain. The CEO or CFO signs off on it because they have solved a buzz word problem, or at least put a Band-Aid on it.
A business’s bottom line is not affected positively by this scenario, yet this is most company’s approach to wellness.
Magazines do the same thing with their workouts and menu plans. Our fitness world is designed to connect with those who are already healthy, inspire those who are already working out, and unfortunately it brings shame to those who don’t. EVEN IF THAT SHAME IS NOT INTENTIONAL.
To effectively change the health of a workplace takes something completely unique. HR can’t spend enough time, and a board of healthy people won’t be able to do it, either. In large corporations, there is a small percentage of the population incurring the greatest time and productivity losses, and increase spending on short-term and long-term disability. It is these people that need empathy, support and an unwavering commitment.
I firmly believe that all people want to work, be productive members of teams and positively interact with others. That said, without the proper tools and supports, not everyone can. Mental health can take us out of a happy state in an instant. We become difficult to work with and, without explanation, less productive and a burden to a team. That same person stops caring for their health, develops issues and can’t stop the downward spiral by themselves.
That downward spiral could have started because of:
Work related stress
Relationship stress at home
Death in the family
Undiagnosed or diagnosed mental health disorders
The point is very simply this: our push towards getting people healthy and creating workplace wellness programs won’t affect the bottom line or get a return on investment until we acknowledge the human factor.
You can’t put a blanket health program in and expect unhealthy people to simply pick it up, and get involved. My job as a workplace wellness consultant is to identify the employees with attendance issues, or on long term/short term disabilities and help them engage programs that are available.
It’s something I firmly believe HR can’t do alone. They can’t ask the questions about home life, current health issues, addiction issues, diagnosed mental health issues — the list goes on as to the cause of unhealthy lifestyles. I’ve found a solution for this part of the equation: empathy, counseling and focused attention.
If you want someone at the gym, living healthy or changing their eating habits so they “get on your workplace wellness plan,” you have to be willing and able to put the time in. A foundation needs to be created. Educate, and make the person understand they are supported. Then help them engage with your amazing wellness board initiatives..
Without identifying the target for employees, helping them to get grounded and giving them the face-to-face support they need, your workplace wellness program will not positively affect your bottom line. This is where I come in to play. Programs, third-party case management and goal-setting help ensure the employee spending your sick time, over time and disability money is truly cared for and brought back stronger to the work force.
Jordan Cieciwa has a degree in Kinesology and Applied Health and has worked with everything from couch potatoes to pro Athletes over the past decade is my key to battling obesity and inactivity.
We spend so much of our lives sitting. You’ve probably heard the expressions “Sitting is the new smoking” or “Sitting is killing us!” Give a read to the post below written by Curtis staff member, Caroline Chretien. Working with these five practices will rejuvenate your body, reduce stress as well renew your energy…Enjoy!
One reason your energy may be dropping at work could be that you’ve been sitting for too long. Try getting up out of your chair and moving around for at least a few minutes every hour. Instead of sending an email, go to your colleague’s office. Schedule a walking meeting. Take the stairs to the restroom a few floors away. Just find a reason to move around and be more active. Engaging in small bursts of physical activity can help to re-energize your body and mind.
Stretch it out!
Sitting at a desk can create imbalance in the body, overly emphasising certain muscles while “turning off” others. This can contribute to poor posture, back and joint pain, and more. Stretching is one of the most effective ways we can help bring the body into muscular balance. Here are the top 8 desk stretches you can do to awaken your body and prevent muscular issues:
Remember to take a big breath in and then exhale into the stretch. Hold at least 10-20 secs. Only go as far as a mild tension. If the stretch is uncomfortable, ease back or stop stretching.
3. Breath & Relaxation
We can completely change our physiological, mental and emotional state with deeper, more effective breathing and mindful relaxation.
Nostril Breathing: Breathing through the nose as oppose to the mouth warms the breath and has an immediate calming effect as it brings us into our parasympathetic nervous system (our rest and relax system).
Abdominal Breathing: Initiating our breath in the belly uses the largest and lowest regions of the lungs, contributing to more oxygen and vital energy in the body as well as increased lung capacity.
Extended exhales: When it comes to releasing tension, the exhalation is of the most importance. Elongating the exhalation will further sedate the nervous system.
These breathing exercises can be learned in order (the nostril breathing being the most foundational) or they can be combined as a complete breathing practice as the practitioner becomes more experienced.
Guided Relaxation- Guided relaxation helps to replace our busy thoughts with a journey through the body and mind. This could include but is not limited to a conscious relaxing of the body, a positive visualization, or mindset exercises.
Think a positive thought
Have you ever noticed that when you’re overly busy, stressed, or in a bad mood, that you feel drained of energy? Negative thought patterns can tax our overall energy. On the contrary, positive thoughts can shift our perspective and increase our zest for life. Re-framing a thought about a project, our health, or expressing gratitude for what we have can promote happiness and enthusiasm. Examples could be “I am making a valuable contribution to this project” or “I am in the process of improving my health and fitness. I respect my body” or “I feel fortunate to work with a supportive team”
5. Refuel through hydration and healthy snacks
A decline in energy can be due to low blood sugar or dehydration. Be sure to keep a bottle of water at your desk and take a couple sips every few minutes. Avoid excessive consumption of caffeine which can also contribute to dehydration and fluctuations in energy.
Keep your blood sugar stable by avoiding refined sugar in your diet which can cause sugar crashes. Instead, have healthy snacks on hand at your desk to graze on during the day. Avoid getting to a starving state because by this time your blood sugar is already dropping and you’re more lightly to eat foods on impulse. A drop in blood sugar can also contribute to moodiness and fogginess.
Caroline Chretien is a BCRPA Certified Personal Trainer, Fitness and Yoga Instructor, as well as a Reiki instructor.