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Carol Ebert MSN, RN

Wellness and Coaching for Women in their Third Act

Inspiring Role Model for Women in their Third Act

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Carol Ebert has 53 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in Wellness and Coaching for Women in their Third Act.

Wellness Specialist and Business Entrepreneur Carol Ebert is a creative force for education and wellness.  Her nursing career began as a Navy Nurse followed by School Health Nurse where she discovered her vision was more aligned with prevention than treatment, so she shifted to health education and wellness, her true passion.  Her professional experience is varied but always grounded in wellness.  Health Educator, College Health Director, Hospital Wellness Coordinator, Wellness Business Outreach Coordinator, Wellness Coach and Trainer and currently Solopreneur and CEO of her own wellness business. www.carolebert.com

Carol models how to live a healthy lifestyle which inspires those she reaches with her wellness programs.  She knows how to successfully coach “busy” professionals to avoid burnout and achieve optimal health.   She also puts her creativity to good use designing and presenting wellness initiatives for businesses that change people’s lives and save healthcare dollars. 

Carol has put all her wellness secrets in her new book Too Busy for YOU?  How to Prioritize Yourself for a Balanced, Mindful and Happy Life.  She is a sought after public speaker and her programs are always fun, educational, rewarding and inspiring.

Contact her at carol@carolebert.com.  507-313-4515

Carol Ebert's Latest Activity

  1. Carol Ebert

    Change Your Story - Change Your Life

    Here’s what we know about the negative stories in our heads. It’s estimated that approximately 94% of the time, what we worry about doesn’t happen. Also, negative attitudes and feelings of helplessness and hopelessness can create chronic stress, which upsets the body's hormone balance, depletes the brain chemicals required for happiness, and damages the immune system. Chronic stress can actually decrease our lifespan. (Science has now identified that stress shortens our telomeres, the “end caps” of our DNA strands, which causes us to age more quickly.) So do we continue to wallow in all the negative stories in our head, which by the way, just reinforces itself and continues to strengthen brain pathways that carry that story? Or do we pull the plug knowing that not only our attitude and our relationships are at risk but so is our health? Shutting Down the Negative Stories The good news is that we have the ability to fix that. And the best news is that it’s not as hard as you might believe. As Stanford University psychology professor and best selling author Dr. Carol Dweck wrote, “Small shifts in mindset can trigger a cascade of changes so profound that they test the limits of what seems possible.” So if this is true, we can shift into a more positive state of mind by taking some action steps. Here are some ways you can shut down negative stories and rebuild positivity assets. 1. Examine your habits Is there a habit of yours that becomes a trigger that sets off a negative thought? One of my habits is facebook. I have to be very careful when I scroll thru facebook that I don’t get fixated on something that I am not really sure is factual. If I do get hooked (and they will hook you in) I have to challenge that thinking and either accept it because I know the facts, or let it go because I’m not convinced. And if I can’t seem to let go of facebook scrolling, then at least I can limit the amount of time I spend on it. What is one trigger that propels you into negativity and how can you reduce its power over you? 2. Become aware of the language you use To break this negative pattern, reframe the words you use, whether they are internal or out loud. For instance, instead of saying that this deadly virus “happened to us” we can start saying that it “happened FOR us”. This is an empowering way of viewing this experience as a gift. It can actually help you shift your thinking into a story of gratitude, or even how we might be able to use the experience to help others. Once again, a very small step by changing just one word, but very powerful. What is one negative statement rolling around in your head that you can reframe as a positive statement? What is a positive statement you can say about your present situation? 3. Use the Law of Attraction If you focus on what’s been keeping you feeling low, that is what you will attract more of. The sooner you can begin to focus on creating a positive direction, your energy begins to shift and you can begin to see things differently. When you focus on things that make you feel good like taking action on solving an issue rather than ruminating on what you can’t change, it begins to dissipate those feelings and emotions and a new more positive story begins to emerge. What “feel-good” statement can you say to yourself that focuses on a positive solution? 4. Stop consuming junk stories How aware are you of junk stories that you are continually exposed to? Junk stories are any kind of story that’s designed primarily to rile up your emotions. It’s the equivalent of eating tons of junk food with no healthy nutrients to balance it out. Cable news, Twitter, facebook, lots of clicks that take you to places you don’t want to go. It’s designed to trigger an emotional response, but just like a huge ice cream sundae, there’s no nutrition in it, and the sugar rush is addictive, destructive and dangerous. Junk stories tend to create junk thinking, and it’s literally bad for our brains. How many hours are you exposed to negative news and what is one small step you can take to reduce that? 6. See the river, not the rocks I love this example from an experience I read about. “When I was first learning to kayak, I kept banging my boat into rocks. I said to my husband in frustration, “I am hitting every rock on this river!” He said, “Well then, stop looking at them!” Because that’s exactly what I was doing: going down the river, staring straight at the things I was most afraid of, and therefore, heading right for them. “ Message received. Focus on what’s right and not what is wrong and you will feel better, more positive, and more hopeful. What daily practice can you implement that keeps your focus on what is good and not on what is bad? 7. Write a new story This starts by literally writing out how you’d like your days to look from start to finish. What you’re doing and creating, who you’re doing it with, and the types of things you’re doing for fun. Writing out a new story creates momentum around how you want to live your life and puts you in a position of personal power and positivity. And there is no room for those negative thoughts to enter. You are too busy feeling good which is a great place to be. And the added bonus is - People who had a positive view of life live an average of 7.6 years longer than those who had a negative view. When will you start writing your new story and how will you keep it in view daily as a reminder? 8. Surround yourself with good people When you spend quality time with good people who love you, you develop a natural support system for your new habits and you are able to rewrite your story in a nurturing environment. And when you are with people you trust they can often guide you out of a negative thinking pattern because they care. Who are the good people in your life you can trust with your desire to start creating a more positive story for yourself? 9. Practice every day Once you know what you need to change, (like limit my time on facebook or take a break from it for a while) practice this every single day – no matter what. You need to break the “addictive thinking pattern” and it is an addiction for sure. How will you schedule time every day to practice time-out from negative triggers? 10. Get support Changing our old patterns of thinking that no longer serve us is no easy task because most of us have been conditioned with them since being young. One of my “not so favorite” ones from childhood on is “I’m not good enough or smart enough for that”. Even tho I am cognitively aware that is not true, it still sneaks in and I can obsess over that thought for days. So it’s important for me to not only challenge that thinking but also to seek out the right support and encouragement from others who can challenge me when I can’t do it for myself. And it may be getting professional support as well. How will you know if you need to pursue professional support to break the cycle of “stinking thinking”? Hope this gives you some useful ideas. Remember, even if you only can manage one small step from this list, there is still great power in making small shifts. Please share what is working for you. References: How Do Thoughts and Emotions Affect Health? Change your story: Your Three Steps to a Breakthrough 4 Ways to Change Your Story and Change Your Life Want To Change Your Life? Change Your Narrative. Here's How. Change Your Story, Change Your Life
  2. Carol Ebert

    PPE Needs EPE (Emotional Protective Equipment) As Well

    What a great outlet for you. I live with a guitar teacher and love how I feel when I hear him playing. He says "music is medicine for the soul".
  3. Carol Ebert

    PPE Needs EPE (Emotional Protective Equipment) As Well

    Thanks for your ideas. Exercise has always been more of a stress-management tool for me than a fitness tool, tho I get both benefits from doing it. Amazing how it peels away the layers of stress and leaves you refreshed and clear headed.
  4. No End in Sight? Then imagine that you face this every day without an end in sight. No easy answer to life and death questions Who gets put on a ventilator? Who gets to wear the PPE? How do we let people die alone without anyone by their side? How do we choose which patients to treat? By age? By co-occurring diseases? By COVID-19 positive status? No end to emotional trauma of workers Overwhelmed by death, uncertainty, and patients’ fears as they struggle to live Witnessing helplessness that families and loved ones feel Powerlessness in the ability to protect without proper equipment Deep sense of aloneness leaving a hospital shift to return home where they may be responsible for getting loved ones sick Witnessing the pain, fear, and terror, that trauma survivors have endured Feeling emotionally numb or shut down Difficulty sleeping More irritable Using destructive coping (over/under eating, substance abuse, engaging in risky behavior) Losing a sense of meaning in life Feeling hopeless about the future Experiencing relationship problems. What are you feeling right now after reading this list? And there may be even more challenges than the ones I have listed to consider. We definitely need to pay attention to the immediate and residual effect of all of this on our front line peers. So what mechanisms can be put into place to support this “deadly” situation so we can provide an EMOTIONALLY PROTECTIVE SHIELD around our heroic workers for their wellbeing? Emotional Protective Equipment (EPE) University of Wisconsin-Madison Health Psychologist Shilagh Mirgain says now is the time for people to develop what she calls Emotional Protective Equipment (EPE), a powerful set of practices that can improve mood, lower anxiety and foster greater well-being through learning to direct kindness and care towards one’s own and others’ suffering during this time. Regularly engaging in self-compassion is linked to increased resilience, improvement in mood, lowering of anxiety, and strengthening of well-being. Here are strategies that can be utilized daily. Treat yourself as you would a small child. How would you reach out to comfort yourself as a child who is hurting? That little child is still a part of you, so picture her and tell her how amazing she is. Give yourself permission to be imperfect. Strive for basic competence. Do the best you can and that is all you need to do. Progress, not perfection. Engage in mindfulness moments. Take time to pause and get in contact with the emotional upset you may be experiencing so you can give yourself the care you need. Acknowledge the fact that “It is what it is” and accept and move on. Bring your awareness into the present moment, take a breath, focus on grounding yourself, and feel that for this moment you are in control and can manage. (Do this as often as you can) Manage your Mind. When your mind views stressors in a negative way we tend to experience increased stress and poorer coping. Instead, view the same stressor as a challenge to remain resilient. Consider yourself being chosen for this work because you were meant to be in this place at this time and are up for the challenge. Cultivate an attitude of gratitude regarding the superior work you are doing to save lives and provide comfort. Seek out social connection Remember you are not alone. Create a list of all the people you can rely on to talk to and share your experiences. A problem shared takes half the burden off of you. Find safe ways to strengthen your social support, spend time with loved ones while still practicing physical distancing and masking as applicable. If you can’t be with them physically, schedule times every day – even if it is just 5 minutes – to decompress by sharing what you are feeling. Share with your workmates as well. A situation like this often leads to life-long bonding, much like military soldiers who go into battle together and always have that common bond. Allow time to just “goof off” with someone else with no particular reason other than to feel better. Recognize our common humanity. We are more alike than we are different as we go through some of these same stressors during the pandemic. Now is the time to break down the divide between us, to move past limiting perceptions of one another. Be aware of your personal biases and cultivate kindness toward others and yourself. Upload this link “Loving Kindness by Karen Drucker” to your cell phone and play as often as needed. Overall, remember we are all in this together. Feel free to share the strategies that work for you!
  5. Self-Care “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” This is truly the time when I (we) need to cling to that message so I (we) don’t collectively lose it. My career is based on helping people with self-care to achieve optimal health and wellness so I know what I need to do to keep myself grounded and in balance. After all, the foundational principle of wellness is “Self Responsibility”. So what did I do for myself to that end? I attended a self-care retreat online to bring back a feeling of calm and even at one point – serenity. There are so many tools we can draw from in times like these to take care of ourselves and my message to you is to find them and embrace them, now more than ever. Currently, I am doubling up on the stress management tools I use daily because I need it for balance. Stress Management Tools / Strategies Now I want to share how attending this healing retreat flowed for me so it might give you some ideas as well as tools you can use. Here are some highlights of the four strategies that we experienced under the wise guidance of our facilitator Barbara Badolati. Conversation centered around “I hear you” Now more than ever we need safe spaces to talk about our feelings. We were given that opportunity in small breakout rooms in Zoom with a skilled facilitator to initiate a question and time for each to respond. I believe this was my most important takeaway and subsequently, I have been engaged in more conversations at this level with other groups I am in. We need to pull back the curtain and explore the deep underbelly of why we are feeling the way we are right now. Kundalini Yoga Kundalini means "coiled like a serpent" in Sanskrit. Kundalini energy refers to the coiled up energy that lies at the base of the spine. When released, this energy moves from the base of the spine through the seven chakras (or energy centers) in the spine. Specific meditation and breathing techniques were used to tap the kundalini energy, and these practices were known as Laya yoga. This school of yoga was founded by Sage Gorakshnatha, a sage from Nepal. This was not the traditional yoga I expected but was very energizing. However, I was reminded that my yoga endurance was sorely lacking and found myself taking several short breaks to “catch my breath”. When finished, however, I felt the flow of energy in my body and was certainly more relaxed. Note to self: ease into yoga gradually so you can work up to more endurance. Sound Bath with Kathy Murphy Sound helps to facilitate shifts in our brainwave state by using entrainment. Entrainment synchronizes our fluctuating brainwaves by providing a stable frequency which the brainwave can attune to. By using rhythm and frequency, we can entrain our brainwaves and it then becomes possible to down-shift our normal beta state (normal waking consciousness) to alpha (relaxed consciousness), and even reach theta (meditative state) and delta (sleep; where internal healing can occur). What You Need to Know About Sound Healing This was a body, mind and soul bath in a symphony of the highest quality therapeutic sound and vibration. A Planetary Gong, Nepalese Singing Bowls and a Crystal Lyre all came together to bring us into complete alignment with the goal of lasting healing. Did it do the job? Yes! My body became so relaxed that I almost fell asleep. Yes, I reached Delta. Priceless! Regenerating Images in Memory Macy Matarazzo RIM ® (Regenerating Images in Memory) is a body-centered, transformational technique that frees you of negative thoughts, feelings, and memories, so you are empowered to live your best life. The RIM ® process allows you to re-generate your neurologically grounded sense of self in a profound way. Through her guided memory experience, I discovered what my spiritual grounding-guide might look like. What came to mind for me was a very large maple tree I had discovered right on my property while I was clearing away a lot of dead brush and burning it. I had never noticed this tree before because the area was all overgrown and had been ignored for years. But once I “uncovered” it and appreciated it’s size and majesty, it occurred to me that I had planted it as a foot high sapling 40 years ago and it became a visual representation of who I am today. Thriving in nature, grounded, healthy, strong, flourishing, reaching upward with continuous growth, and surviving around other trees that were not as hearty and even had died off. This tree had become a beacon of light for me, a spirit guide from nature. A perfect reminder of who I am and who I can rely on when it seems like the world is falling apart. And, it has been with me all this time but needed to have the clutter around it removed so I could see and appreciate its presence to help me stay grounded. What a gift I received from that meditation. At the conclusion of the retreat, I can say without hesitation that I had released all the pent-up stress and felt a great sense of calm, relaxation and felt the flow of balanced energy in my body. I was numb – in a very good way. So what steps can you take to “change the things you can” and bring balance back into your being. Remember, you are the only one who can change YOU, and trying to change others or situations is not your work.
  6. Carol Ebert

    Working from Home: Gift or More Stress

    Have you been relocated from your usual work space to your home turf and still have to do your job? How has that been working for you? I made the transition years ago and at the time it seemed great, but then I realized I missed all my work mates and was really lonely. Plus all the distractions at home affected my productivity. Yes, transitioning from working “at work” to working at home can be a joy and a curse at the same time. So I decided to interview some professionals who are meeting that challenge every day to see how they are managing. Time to pull back the curtain and see what is really going on in their work lives. From a Director of a Family and Children’s Center Tips for Employees: Keep a regular schedule Stay connected with co-workers Stay strong – use self-care strategies Limit contact with others Exercise Go outside Stay informed Limit media consumption Set boundaries for work schedules – it’s easy to work too much Redirect from distractions – like doing laundry Get creative – new ideas always Spring from challenges Tips for Managers: Be honest Communicate how you manage your own mental health and stress levels Practice and commit to healthy working norms Normalize the challenges that come with working virtually Be present and listen actively Reassure employees – they are a value to your business Be transparent in communication Be flexible and accommodating Be as generous as possible Be human From a Rural Programs Coordinator She felt inefficient, unproductive and reactionary Instituted a schedule: Start, stops, break times Even told family “Bye – I’m going to work now.” Created a specific work space Follows a dress code – still has casual Fridays Limits how she interacts with her work space as to not work during personal times (even using a separate phone number) Not overlapping personal tasks with work (ex: laundry during phone calls, etc) From a Human Resource Professional Challenges At home all the time (along with all of my colleagues) No travel for foreseeable future No interaction in-person Major increase in screen time Disruption of regularly scheduled plans/activities/engagement Don’t feel the same pressure to have “immediate” answers SO MANY WEBINARS Some days have more urgency than others The pace from the beginning has changed along with the response time Letting go of our plans to start fresh with new needs Giving space to mourn those losses Things are still really hard. Video meetings ARE really draining, and being on many calls in one day can be too much, It’s difficult to plan for a world when you don’t know what it will look like in a couple of weeks I miss going places and seeing people – it changes my productivity Hearing about the loss and pain from downtowns and businesses is devastating Reminding myself that we’re working during a pandemic and that our behaviors and emotions aren’t business as usual I’ve given myself more flexibility: Go on a walk when the sun comes out Work a longer day and then take time the next day for myself From a Leadership Trainer The Basics: Have a routine with a set schedule: start, stop, breaks, lunch Get dressed for work even if it just means brushing your hair Have a dedicated space for work Have a “Do Not Disturb” rule and make people and animals follow it – hang a sign on your door Get a backup Wi-Fi connection and beef up your home Wi-Fi – a new router, faster service from your provider and a hot spot can save you Work during normal work hours Honor work/life balance - avoid doing work into evening/weekend hours unless that’s normal for you Create a task list for the day and check things off – distractions are many at home and this can help focus Use a time-tracker to check in on yourself – Rescue Time, Toggle, Top Tracker all have free versions that can help keep track of how you spend your day. Understand remote meeting technology – especially what it sees and hears Computer microphones are far more sensitive than you realize and pick up home sounds that don’t seem loud to you Just because you can’t see yourself on the screen doesn’t mean others can’t see you If you share your screen they can also potentially see all of the tabs you have Get out of the house. Sounds simple but easy to forget to do After working from home all day make sure you are presentable when you go somewhere else From a Business Owner Have compassion for yourself - you don’t have to be perfect Combat loneliness Find ways to be connected Work in 1-2 hour bursts then take a break Lock pets away to decrease distraction Rank tasks Complete 3 critical tasks each day Take time for yourself Honor good weather – when the sun is out get outside for a break When you complete a task, celebrate with a break Create rewards for yourself when you compete a task Look for the positives in working from home Play games with yourself and give yourself prizes Schedule self care in your day first Schedule virtual un-meetings as excuses to connect with no work Coffee with friends Play a game Birthday Party Treasure Hunt Happy Hour Hopefully you got some great insights and ideas from these women. I really appreciate their honesty about their work lives at home and how they are adapting to their new reality – for now. Stay tuned as every day seems to bring new challenges during these unusual times. Please share how you are doing.
  7. Carol Ebert

    How to Create a DIY Retreat for Wellness and Rejuvenation

  8. Now More Than Ever Now more than ever, we need to be in charge of taking the best care of ourselves! So let’s get started so you can get started right away too. First step is to frame your retreat into a model for you to follow. Since “mother nature” is our best source for natural healing, we can follow the frame work of the elements of nature: Fire, Water, Earth, and Air. Humans are intimately connected to nature, and our physical and mental health is influenced strongly by our environment. The "elements," classically described in humoral theory as Fire, Water, Earth, and Air, all may impact our mental health. Harnessing the Four Elements for Mental Health. Element of Fire This element pertains to the influence on our mood of direct exposure to light (sunlight or artificial light) or heat (including sauna, or heated objects applied to the body, e.g., hot rocks). The effects of sunshine exposure on mental health may in part be mediated by vitamin D since low levels of vitamin D appear to be associated with depression risk. Fire strategies to enhance your personal retreat Exercise to warm your body Warmth and cozy glow of a candle Fire in a fireplace or wood stove Blanket or shawl for extra warmth if you get chilled Artwork incorporating actual fire Red rug, or carpet, or pillows, etc Turn on a table lamp for the warm glow of light Set your life on fire. Seek those who fan your flames. Rumi Element of Water With the body consisting of 60% water, adequate hydration is necessary for electrolyte balance, intracellular function, and extracellular communication. Dehydration can affect mood and pain levels. This element also pertains to the exposure to water, including the use of general hydrotherapy, balneotherapy (treatment of disease via bathing in natural mineral springs), and water-based physical activity. Water Strategies to enhance your personal retreat Have water nearby and drink frequently Set a goal of drinking 8 glasses per day Small table-top water fountain running and relax with the sound Picture of water - rivers, oceans, lakes, rain, mist and snow Blue pillows, rug, etc We forget that the water cycle and the life cycle are one. Jacques Yves Cousteau Element of Earth Adequate exposure to nature provides benefits for general and mental health and even impacts the health of the microbiome which can be related to improved mental health. The benefits of spending time in nature for mental health are related to increased exposure to sunlight and fresh air, in addition to psychosocial interactions. While this may be beneficial, when interacting with soil, some caution is needed in terms of potential contaminants (e.g., chemicals and harmful pathogens). This element pertains to the influence of direct exposure to earth/soil and flora, time spent in nature (in particular wilderness environments), “forest bathing”, “greenspace exercise,” interactions with animals, and novel interventions such as clay art therapy. Earth strategies to enhance your personal retreat Add plants or flowers to your home environment Stretch breaks every hour Walk barefoot outside daily Sit in the grass while you eat lunch Lay in the grass for relaxation Plant flowers or vegetable garden Have fruits and vegetables ready for snacks Prepare healthy plant-based meals Artwork that incorporates landscape or forest-y images Brown pillows Pottery Taupe furniture Sandy area rugs. “Stay close to nature and its eternal laws will protect you.” Max Gerson Element of Air Increased urbanization and exposure to excessive industrialization have increased air pollution and caused health issues such as inflammation, COPD, asthma, etc. If there is one bright spot in this pandemic, the shut down of industries and many automobiles has led to better air quality, we see sights we never saw before and the planet is beginning to heal. This element pertains to the influence of direct exposure to fresh clean air, conscious and more effective breathing, and specific breathing exercises (such as utilized in yoga, known as pranayama) which reduce stress and anxiety. Air strategies to enhance your personal retreat Open a window for fresh air Sleep with windows open Incense smoke Fragrant flowers Practice slow deep belly breathing hourly Provide “conscious” breathing breaks outside using Yoga, Tai Chi, etc Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air. Ralph Waldo Emerson Final Words of Wisdom Hopefully, this will provide you with multiple strategies honoring the 4 elements that can reduce stress and anxiety, improve your life balance, and enhance your level of wellbeing. Here is an easy way to incorporate all 4 elements into your day from another wellness blogger: My grandmother had four daily rituals in with which she honored the four elements. To honor water, she put her feet in running water. For earth, she made sure her feet felt grass. For fire, she made sure she saw the sun. And for air, she stood underneath the canopy of stars each night. Balancing the Four Elements for Health and Wellbeing Resources: BLISS WITHIN RETREAT Harnessing the Four Elements for Mental Health Feng Shui: What it is, its Five Elements, and Basic Strategies for Modern Interiors Please share your ideas related to the 4 elements and how you use them to create your own at-home retreat. We can always learn from each other during these challenging times.
  9. Carol Ebert

    Social Distancing - A Touchy Subject

    It occurs to me if we all get in the habit of avoiding and not touching each other - which is appropriate at this time - this might become a habit we will have a hard time to break. Studies show it can take anywhere from 18 to 254 days for a person to form a new habit and an average of 66 days for a new behavior to become automatic. That could mean that once that habit is set we might be reluctant to engage and touch each other personally in the future. The Importance of Touch Here’s what we know about the importance of touch. We are hard-wired to be touched Psychologists call our yearning for touch “Skin Hunger”. It's a deep longing and aching desire for physical contact with another person. Touch is considered the first sense we acquire and our skin is our largest sensory organ. Humans are wired to be touched. From birth until the day we die, our need for physical contact remains. Being touch-starved — also known as skin hunger or touch deprivation — occurs when a person experiences little to no touch from other living things. Another term for skin hunger is “Affection Deprivation” which shows positive associations with loneliness, depression, stress, alexithymia (inability to recognize or describe one's own emotions), preoccupied and fearful avoidant attachment styles, and numbers of personality disorders, mood and anxiety disorders, and secondary immune disorders. A hug can calm us when we are stressed Researchers have found that an embrace functions as a protective layer against stress. Huggers had smaller increases in their blood pressure, both systolic and diastolic. A hug can boost your immune system A 2015 study from Carnegie Mellon University examined effects of perceived social support and receipt of hugs on participants' susceptibility to developing the common cold after being exposed to the virus. People who perceived greater social support were less likely to come down with a cold, and the stress-buffering effects of hugging explained 32 percent of that beneficial effect. Even among those who got a cold, those who felt greater social support and received more frequent hugs had less severe symptoms. Another study examined how stress and social support impacts immunity and susceptibility to infectious disease. Participants were exposed to a common cold virus and were then monitored in quarantine to assess signs of illness. The study found that those who felt socially supported and were hugged more often also experienced less-severe signs of illness. So what does all this touchy stuff mean for us in these social distancing days? Get back to basics and focus on it even more! 1. We need to know and appreciate this scientific information on the power of touch as a tool to keep us well 2. We need to take steps to engage positively with the people we live with who we can touch. Offer warmth, caring, listening, patience and frequent hugs to improve health and boost our immunity 3. We need to take daily steps to manage our stress more than ever using whatever methods work for you. When your stress goes down, your immunity goes up. I use a CHI machine daily to balance my energy and relax, Tapping (EFT – Emotional Freedom Technique, deep breathing, walking 4. We need to exercise every day using whatever home-based methods you can find. I’m doing online NIA classes 2x/wk, walking outside daily with my spouse, my usual Jazzercise class is now going live on facebook once/wk, check out other creative exercise methods people are posting online for ideas or make up your own 5. We need to not get caught up in eating junk food and lots of snacks and stay on track with our usual healthy eating strategies 6. We need to get a good 7-8 hours of restful sleep every night A New Reality Yes it is a new reality, but we know what to do to stay healthy. This is just a wake-up call about how important it is to continue doing those basic practices that we know can work and then WORK IT even more! “To touch can be to give life,” said Michelangelo Here’s a poetic mantra you can post and share: Hug your family Hug your pup Stress goes down Immunity goes up! This topic was inspired by: Op-Art: What Do We Lose When We Stop Touching Each Other?
  10. Even tho I pride myself on being a Wellness Guru, I am realizing that this current reality is getting to me and I need to pull out all those wellness stops I can think of to survive. In the past, I was a runner but after physical back pain became an issue, I transitioned into walking. But is walking really enough to provide any significant health benefits? I will admit that transitioning from running to walking was difficult because I held the belief that you couldn’t get the same benefit from walking that you get from running. Over time, however, I discovered that was a false belief so I embraced walking whole-heartedly as my new mode of exercise. So much so that at one point in my wellness career, I even coordinated the Shoe Crew, a walking club of 1500 employees from many businesses with challenges, big prizes, and data that showed participants lost weight, lowered their blood pressure and felt better. The Coping Benefits of Taking a Walk So now it is time to revisit the importance of walking outside as a way to cope with what is happening in our lives today. Here are some tips. FACT: You have renewed quality time to share with family members Social support may provide a resource for coping that dulls the detrimental impact of stressors on well-being. Those receiving support from their family members may feel a greater sense of self-worth, and this enhanced self-esteem may be a psychological resource, encouraging optimism, positive affect, and better mental health. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5954612/ FACT: Your pet will appreciate exercising with you Regularly exercising your pet is just as important as exercise for you. Health benefits range widely but include helping hip joints, reducing digestive problems, and keeping your dog and cat at a healthy weight, which decreases the likelihood of developing other health problems. And your pet will have fewer behavioral problems, as will you! https://www.spcaflorida.org/blog/importance-of-regular-exercise-for-your-pets/ FACT: You will appreciate being in nature and all the benefits Nature is not only nice to have, but it’s a have-to-have for physical health and cognitive function. People who spent two hours a week in green spaces — local parks or other natural environments, either all at once or spaced over several visits — were substantially more likely to report good health and psychological well-being than those who don’t. https://e360.yale.edu/features/ecopsychology-how-immersion-in-nature-benefits-your-health FACT: You will have time to clear your mind Spending time outside improves mood and reduces feelings of anxiety. We can focus better in nature, and our improved concentration can help us address feelings of stress and anxiety. Self-esteem can also receive a boost after time spent wandering outdoors. Peace and mental clarity is a big reason why being outside is important. https://askthescientists.com/outdoors/ FACT: You will think more creatively In one Stanford University study, researchers found that walking boosts creative output by 60%. New insights come to us when we “pause and unload” our minds. This process is necessary for creative thinking since otherwise we would be stuck forever in the same preconceptions and patterns of thinking. https://brainworldmagazine.com/stepping-creativity-walking-meditation-creative-brain/ FACT: You will reduce your stress level Walking is relaxing — it releases tension from the muscles of the body through light exercise and distracts the mind from its own busyness. It is a rhythmic activity. Each step and swing of the arms creates a distinct cadence. Rhythm is known to lower brainwave frequency, as studies of the therapeutic value of drumming have confirmed. https://brainworldmagazine.com/stepping-creativity-walking-meditation-creative-brain/ FACT: You can break away from negative news for awhile Walking is a great time-out opportunity that you control. Unfortunately, a lot of what’s going on in the news is out of our hands, and sometimes we must remind ourselves of that so that we can stay sane and work on what is within our power. https://www.nbcnews.com/better/health/what-headline-stress-disorder-do-you-have-it-ncna830141 So what do you think? Sounds like a great drug-free healthy prescription that we need right now and is free! Let’s get outside and get moving! Here are some inspiring quotes to post and share with others to encourage walking. If you are in a bad mood go for a walk. If you are still in a bad mood go for another walk. Hippocrates An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day. Henry David Thoreau It is solved by walking. Latin phrase Solvitur ambulando All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking. Friedrich Nietzsche
  11. Carol Ebert

    Wellness Meets COVID-19

    I am someone who is aging well at 60+ but the experts certainly make me feel that I am at more risk than I probably am. But I understand they are speaking in global terms and we each have to respond to this individually.
  12. Carol Ebert

    Wellness Meets COVID-19

    Many of us have given our power over to healthcare professionals instead of taking back our power to affect our own health. For example Not eating healthy Not exercising, Becoming obese and developing Diabetes Expecting the healthcare system to fix us with more and more meds And, all of this could have been prevented. Now who is at risk for the virus the most? Those with chronic conditions. As the healthcare system becomes overloaded with patients, our access to providers may become limited if not impossible. So what is the solution? We are left to rely on our own self-care practices to do what we can to keep ourselves as healthy as we can be. That’s where wellness comes in Because of my career focus on Wellness, I am now fortunate enough to be free from chronic diseases and meds, but of course, it took work on my part to develop healthy lifestyle practices that have served me well. The good news is that it is never too late to tweak your health habits to help your body and mind become more resilient and boost your immunity – especially when we need all the immune support we can get right now! Here are some tried and true wellness strategies that you can start today to boost your immune system. Sleep It’s essential for good health any time, but even more so when everyone around you is coughing and sneezing. Make sure you get 7-9 hours starting at 9-10 pm. An increase in sleep actually increases the number of your white blood cells. Lack of sleep, less than 6 hours, increases inflammation in your body which can lower your immune system. Food Eat healthy whole foods like leafy greens that are filled with nutrients. Warm foods will help your digestion too. Stay hydrated as well. Drink only water or herbal TEAS rather than sugary sodas. Remember, for every cup of caffeine, you need 2 cups of water. Coconut water is one of my favorite treats when I need a boost. Avoid sugar and processed foods It appears that high blood sugar unleashes destructive molecules that interfere with the body's natural infection-control defenses. Eat foods that are naturally high in antiviral nutrients Such as coconut oil, raw garlic, oregano, ginger, kimchi, and other fermented foods, walnut, pomegranate, green tea, apple cider vinegar, and medicinal mushrooms (shiitake, maitake, reishi, cordyceps, turkey tail). The probiotics contained in fermented foods have incredible immune-boosting powers. Fermented kimchi, was found to have significant effects in preventing and fighting the H1N1 influenza. Other examples of fermented foods to try include sauerkraut, pickles, miso, kefir, and kombucha. Bone broth Now you probably heard of this one as it’s all the craze at the moment. It’s easy to find in health food stores and it’s pretty easy to make. You just need some bones and parts of meat that you don’t eat and cook it for several hours. Sauté an onion in olive oil, add some chopped garlic after the onion becomes translucent. Use the whole onion, skin and all. Put in the turkey carcass and any meat and skin you have. Now add a bunch of veggies that you’d like. For example, parsley, turnips, carrots, etc. Add 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. Add 1-2 chopped green apples. Fill the pot with water and bring to a boil. Reduce and simmer for 6-8 hours covered. Stir occasionally. Let cool completely. Strain and use immediately or freeze for later. Sneeze into a tissue or your elbow Then wash your hands immediately. Only about 40% of your sneeze makes it into the tissue, the rest ends up on your hands. So wash them whenever using a tissue. If there are no tissues handy, use your elbow to catch your sneeze. If you have a cough or sneeze, then stay home. If you have to go out, wear a mask. Exercise Aerobic exercise pumps up your heart and moves oxygen from your lungs to your blood. This helps increase the body’s natural virus-killing cells and immune response. Meditate daily A daily practice of meditation or even just thinking happy or calming thoughts can boost your immune system. Try 5 minutes of deep breathing, as this will lower cortisol levels, which increase when you feel stressed. STRESS and FEAR have been proven to lower your immune response. Do a media fast Take a break from all the media coverage and do something that brings joy which boosts your immune system. If you want to catch up on the news, my favorite is NPR. It's clear and simple without opinions or hype. It will get you informed without fear. Take immune boosting supplements If you aren’t taking supplements, this might be the best time to start to get the extra support you need right now. Make sure you seek out “pharmaceutical-grade” quality. Vitamins, Antioxidants, Multiminerals Fish Oil (high quality, potent, pure) Vitamin D3 Grape Seed Extract Vitamin C Zinc Beta- Glucan Complex with reishi, shiitake mushrooms, and baker’s yeast extract. Probiotics. Look for Bifidobacterium BB-12® and Lactobacillus rhamnosus LGG®†. Both strands are clinically shown to survive the harsh acidic environment of the stomach, providing a full range of benefits such as sustaining healthy immune function. Hopefully, this information will be useful for you and those around you as we face the challenges ahead. Here is a helpful survival guide from Dr. Oz that you can post at home or work. Dr Oz Corona Virus Survival Tips (2).pdf
  13. But I was so embarrassed over how unprofessional I looked on video that I was humiliated into taking that first step to detox my workspace for public viewing. I also realized that when you live or work in a space that feels confining, cluttered, disorganized, overwhelming, dreary - pick a word that describes your work or home environment_____, then it becomes toxic to your body, mind and soul. Consider the effect on your health. Mess Equals Stress In one study, women who saw their homes as cluttered had high levels of the stress hormone cortisol throughout the day, while those who described their abode as a well-organized, restful space had lower levels. Cortisol’s failure to decline normally over the course of the day has “been associated with greater chronic stress, disease progression, and even mortality risk.” Your Mind Wanders It's hard to focus on important tasks when several things compete for your attention. Researchers have found that being around disorganization makes it harder for your brain to focus. How Clutter Can Affect Your Health Unhealthy Eating A study in Psychological Science found that participants in an orderly environment chose healthier snacks than those in a cluttered environment. Consider the effect on your level of productivity. Less Efficient Visual Processing You’ll be less accurate in figuring out how other people are really feeling when you’re seeing them amidst a clutter-filled room. Less Efficient Thinking Mental clutter is one of the prime suspects in the cause of age-related memory losses. If you’re unable to get through the material clogging up your neural networks, you’ll be slower and less efficient in processing information. 5 Reasons to Clear the Clutter Out of Your Life Clutter prevents you from getting promoted. A CareerBuilder Study found that 28% of employers are less likely to promote someone with a messy workspace. Consider the benefit of decluttering on society. You get rid of things that you don’t need Someone who gets your stuff might really want it or could benefit from it. Donating your stuff to the Goodwill for instance provides jobs for people with disabilities and generates income to keep the programs running You get a good feeling about how you can help others and this makes it easier to “let go” of what is bogging you down! So how do you begin the process of decluttering and detoxing? STEP 1 Commit to making the change. You may need to “get ready” to “get ready” to make the change. It is all a process so if you start imagining it in your mind first and see how that feels, you are more apt to commit to doing it in the real world. And don’t forget to schedule it on your calendar! STEP 2 Take baby steps with attainable goals. Start small. The first baby step I took in my office was to turn my small file cabinet that sits within reach a quarter turn and just that small move visually felt like I had more space and the energy of the room seemed to flow better. (Feng Shui anyone?) STEP 3 Prioritize the areas that you want to conquer first. For me it was just trying to block out the view of my closet in the background when I was seen on a video conference call. So I hung up a decorative piece of fabric with tacks and it looked 80% better. Then I moved a book cabinet out of view and moved in a nice narrow chest and put a stained glass shaded lamp on it, turned on the light, and I was done. The background looked great and it took only a total of 60 minutes to complete the process. Amazing transformation is such a short period of time, instead of complaining every day for the past year. STEP 4 Schedule daily/weekly/monthly organizing tasks. Since I accomplished my goal about a month ago, I like it so much I catch myself straightening up my desk area every day so it continues to look neat and orderly. I never would have done that before because my former workspace always generated negative energy and I just didn’t care if it was neat or not. STEP 5 Get your workmates or the whole family on board. At my last position working for a healthcare institution, we would have an annual declutter and purge day and would block out one full day so everyone could clean up their “cubes” as well as all the common areas. It was actually a very fun day and then we would have a potluck and celebrate. Yes – decluttering can be fun and generate positive energy and relationships as well! STEP 6 Don’t be afraid to ask for help or hire help. A good first step here is to find out how much it would cost to hire someone to help you with a decluttering project. It may be less than you think and you could frame it as a “health gift for you”. Or even ask your family or friends to give you this gift for your birthday! STEP 7 Don’t give up — the situation didn’t happen overnight. Face facts. All the decluttering you might do can all return once again. Pay attention to the signs that things are piling up again and act on them right away so you don’t end up back where you started. This is a life-long process and you need to treat it just like building any other habit. Keep practicing until it becomes an automatic response. STEP 8 Reward yourself for your successes. My biggest reward was feeling better about being in my office because it made me smile. Plus when I was on a video conference call with my wellness team, they all agreed that my environment looked much more professional, and they each decided they might need to up their game too. That is enough reward for me. I admit that now that the deed is done, the clutter is removed, the background scenery is simpler and less distracting, I “feel” so much better, just like feeling “cleansed”. So what cleansing are you willing to do to let the “sunshine in” on your environment?
  14. Carol Ebert

    New Area...

    I wonder if you could give us a prompt by suggesting a topic that we can all chime in on. Might help me know how I can contribute. Thanks.
  15. I am now deep into the content and already feeling empowered about how to redesign the way I work, plan, organize, and manage my business and my life. I’m noticing that this is not your average Time Management course, in fact, it doesn’t even look like one. It is all about energy and how we work with it in a positive way to achieve the feeling of timelessness and flow, instead of constantly paddling upstream against the current of daily life. Here is the big Ah Ha for me. There is a cycle for everything and it is tied to everything we do! Let me share just a sampling of how just one group of connected cycles can have a powerful effect on how you can manage your energy. Cycles of Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall The 4 seasons are each Cycles with their own unique qualities. I mentioned in a past blog that during the Winter season by being inside more, in the dark more, in stillness more, that it aligned perfectly with my need to rest, reflect and evaluate my life and work. As it turns out based on the concepts in this program, it aligns perfectly with the content I presented in my blog. I found myself intuitively being content this winter and didn’t push myself so hard because I honored the quiet energy of the season. It was also an opportunity to meditate on what the next steps are for my business. How is your energy affected by the Winter season? Are you in alignment with your Winter energy or challenged by it? If challenged, what can you do differently to realign your energy toward more flow? Moon Cycles There are basically 4 phases of the moon - new moon, waxing moon, full moon and waning moon, each has it’s own energy and can affect us. For example, the New Moon is commonly regarded as the first phase in the lunar month and lines up with the energy of the Winter season. New moon time is traditionally a time of retreat, a time when we are more sensitive, introspective and intuitive. It’s also a good time for research and making decisions. How is your energy affected by the cycles of the New Moon? Are you in alignment with New Moon energy or challenged by it? If challenged, what can you do differently to realign your energy toward more flow? Menstrual Cycles There are 4 phases of the menstrual cycle – follicular, ovulation, luteal and menstruation. During Menstruation, which also correlates with Winter energy and New Moon energy, is a great time to focus on the tasks of purging and organizing your workspace. Rearranging and simplifying, removing unnecessary paperwork and establishing new systems of organization can help you be more productive. How is your energy affected by Menstruation (if you are still having a period)? Are you in alignment with Menstruation energy or challenged by it? If challenged, what can you do differently to realign your energy toward more flow? (no pun intended) Daily 24 Hour Cycles Your circadian rhythm is basically a 24-hour internal clock that is running in the background of your brain and cycles between sleepiness and alertness at regular intervals. It's also known as your sleep/wake cycle. The 24 hour daily cycles are morning, noon, afternoon, 6 PM, evening, midnight, nighttime, and 6 AM. If we correlate with Winter, Lunar and Menstruation, then Midnight is the match for obvious reasons, because we should be asleep at that time. However, when you are sleep-deprived you’ll notice bigger swings of sleepiness and alertness which can affect your energy level. So the takeaway message is to get enough sleep to rest and restore your body and mind, and don’t forget the power of naps. How is your energy affected by the different cycles of the day? Which cycles are you in alignment with and which are you not? If out of alignment, what can you do differently to realign your energy toward more flow? What Do You Think About This Approach So Far? I’m grateful to have this information because the typical Time Management strategies just don’t work for me. This approach targets the underlying and internal processes that when recognized can help us be truly productive and happy on our own terms. Of course, this just scratches the surface so you might want to go deeper into exploring the other cycles not covered. Please share how you manage your day by honoring the energies of your unique self.
  16. Carol Ebert

    New Area...

    Looking forward to finding out more about this group. Thanks for the invite. I'll have my cup of coffee ready when you are.

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