Fall 2020 Professional Development Recap
On Tuesday, October 27th, certified health coaches Victoria Hatch, CPSM, and Tara Kinsella took us on a journey through how stress can affect the body and health, commencing with their own testimonies of past declining health. They prove that it is possible to beat back stress and how powerful a small and attainable habit can be to begin transformation. No matter how hard you try, “you cannot pour from an empty cup.”
Victoria and Tara covered six areas that lead to optimal health with “tips and takeaways” to incorporate these into work/life realities. The first area (aka: building block) starts with a shift of mindset. It can be easy to get weighed down with the burden of stress and is important to first acknowledge all your stressors, then to move beyond them. Our mindset can help or hinder us in achieving a desired outcome, do you gravitate towards working in “Presence” or in the “Drama Triangle”? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ovrVv_RlCMw Some tips and takeaways for mindset included: being positive and curious; breathe, meditate or prayer; chose the way you respond instead of being reactionary; and begin your day with a “first hour” to start in the right mindset.
The second building block is sleep, which the stress hormone cortisol has a direct correlation to the sleep circadian rhythm. Not having a typical sleep pattern impacts and irregulates cortisol levels, which in turn promotes cortisol to store stress fat in the belly. Sleep is not a luxury. There are many ways to get a better night’s sleep including paying attention to your sleep environment – is it too hot or too bright; is your room cluttered; and/or is your pet or significant other waking you up? Planning out a “last hour” to end the day and physically start to relax the body is a key tip/takeaway.
We all know our bodies are 60% water, yet sometimes we forget to get enough hydration, which is the third building block. Being hydrated helps reduce fatigue, headaches and inflammation. Your blood is also thicker when dehydrated which makes the heart pump harder to push blood through the circulatory system. Guideline: drink half of your body weight in ounces a day. One tip Victoria recommended is having two 32-ounce bottles of water which reduces times to refill.
Fueling your body right is the fourth building block. When you’ve finished eating do you feel good? Do you feel nourished and satiated? Or do you feel bloated or guilty? These questions are important to keep in mind to help fuel the body, as not all food is created equal. Some tips and takeaways include beginning the day with a fueling breakfast; prep your surroundings with healthy snacks and food easily on hand; and “create” your fridge or pantry to show off the good foods and making them accessible.
The fifth building block is motion. For every 20 minutes of sitting the body wants 8 minutes of standing and 2 minutes of moving. Which, with a desk job, can feel overwhelming to achieve. Add motion throughout your day, begin with attainable amounts then progressively increase towards a goal to make it a habit.
Those in your life have a direct impact on your health, which makes your influencers the sixth and last building block. What kind of influence do people in your life have on you, and reversely, what kind of impacts do you have on them? Look thoroughly at the way the closest people in your life affect you, i.e.: their habits, mindsets and attitudes. It is inevitable that some hard conversations will occur based on what your lifestyle changes are for self-improvement.
Thank you, Victoria and Tara, for this in-depth look into stress and ways to build self-care!