It’s been a year. Most of us admit we expected our “new normal” to feel different. Yet we are still approaching the holidays with fear and worry about the future. Many workers are unsettled with return to work/hybrid models, and millions are leaving their jobs.
I spend a lot of my time listening to people talk about their wellness. I listen to corporate and concierge clients, and I listen to those I respect in the wellness and health industries. I am constantly experimenting with tools and strategies for holistic wellness and individualized approaches that result in the greatest success.
I’ve learned A LOT this past year about what works for clients and have also learned a lot about myself and my own personal wellness journey. Even during a global pandemic, wellness is achievable.
Below are the top 4 things on which I have shifted my thinking through this journey this past year:
1. Small Group wellness discussions lead to the greatest success.
I have experienced the greatest success with wellness in the small group setting, especially with corporate wellness clients. When clients share their wellness successes and challenges amongst a small group while also listening to what others are experiencing, they experience breakthroughs. So much of the deep work my clients do is in these small “breakout” sessions.
Research teaches us group discussion is a powerful tool for a number of reasons. Just four of the many are below:
- Individuals gain momentum from each other.
- They are surrounded by others who support them and feel more open to conversation.
- Groups expose us to ways of thinking we hadn’t considered on our own.
- Group engenders discussion and talking leads to deeper learning and greater chance of reaching stated goals.
Visit our website to learn about my corporate wellness programs and how I can help you and your team achieve greater wellness.
2. “Pandemic Posture” and gait issues lead to other discomforts and injury.
We are sitting more. Whether we are driving to care for parents, our kids, or wherever, we are sitting while driving and tend to spend little time considering HOW we are sitting when we do. We are living in a hybrid world between office, kitchen/dining room table, and possibly the desk never designed to be used all day long. When we sit in front of a device, we crane our necks forward, scrunch up our shoulders, put pressure on our spine and somewhat contort ourselves so we can “get through” more email. For every inch the head leans forward, the force on our neck and back increases by ten pounds.
“Pandemic Posture” is truly impacting our gait and our rate of injury. I have seen the gait patterns of many suffer over the Pandemic. Primally we were not intended to sit/drive for most of our days. We were meant to move around and use the front – and back – of our bodies. When we are not standing, nor walking, as we were intended, we are not “pushing off” from the ground and utilizing those essential muscles and neural connections. We are not paying attention to how we walk (our “gait”). Instead, we are carrying phones, water bottles, purses, babies, etc. Over time, both sitting and poor gait lead to injury. Why? Sitting can lead to shortened or lazy (unused) muscles, improper head position (tech neck), and poor breathing and foot placement.
Learning to walk properly can be humbling, yet it is part of our program with each new client. We find most people do not use their arms to walk, they “heel strike” and their breathing pattern is shallow and tight. Simply walking and using your body the way it’s intended to move is groundbreaking, and yes, can lead to improved body composition and decreased stress.
Get up every 30 minutes and swing those arms!
3. We all need objective outside eyes and ruthless feedback.
When we are on a wellness journey, we often hold onto old patterns, beliefs, and behaviors that have not worked for us. For some reason, we continue to return to old patterns and wonder why we aren’t permanently making progress on our body composition with the SAME practices. I know it is so hard to shift and utilize toward other strategies, and social media and the “latest trend” is even harder to avoid. This is because our brain likes to stick to the same old patterns. Yet when we open ourselves up to new pathways and new ways to achieve something we really want, often we find our “true north” – the answer.
I recently asked a two-year concierge client what she believes is the greatest benefit of being a concierge client: learning the science of why all of these strategies around the wheel matter and being held accountable.
When we are open to feedback from trusted sources, we flourish. When a friend confides that I may take something too seriously or too personally, I listen. I hate it; yet I listen. When I don’t want to heed his/her advice or don’t want to listen, this totally means I need to work on that skill. When she is a trusted source, it is worth my time to invest in seeking his/her trusted feedback. Because I take something personally means I likely have something to learn from this. If I didn’t, it wouldn’t strike such a chord.
Feedback is how we grow and how we learn. When we are closed to feedback, we don’t grow. Ask a trusted resource for feedback regularly.
4. Wellness is worth every penny of your investment.
We’ve all seen so many become ill and so many struggle with the Pandemic. Wellness is about prevention. It is your insurance policy toward a healthy future.
I hear the occasional reflection that my prices are too high. This too used to bother me. Now that I know the way the brain works, I realize that fitness and wellness are also “patterns” of behavior we have become accustomed to “cheapening.” When we spend our resources on something that is meaningful, we tend to not compare it to others. When we find expenditures are excessive, it typically means we are comparing the expense to what we thought would be that expense – or what we had spent in the past.
Spend on what you truly value, not what society tells you should value. Fitness and wellness are not a subscription, fad diet, or cleanse. When we approach our wellness holistically, we are paying attention to all aspects of our health, many of which often get overlooked. Investing in your health is worth it, and now is the time to do it!