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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 is 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

    Don't Just Stand There - Take a Leap!

    Leap days are extra days added to the calendar to help synchronize it with Earth’s orbit around the sun and the actual passing of the seasons.1 The Big Leap So why not take advantage of this phenomenon and apply it to your life. Here’s an idea. How about doing a Leap of your own? And maybe start it on that extra day of February 29, 2020. A great first step might be to read the book The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks which is what inspired me. Let’s discuss what a Big Leap might look like for you. Taking a Big Leap is a great reminder of how important it is to not settle for the status quo and sell yourself short from reaching your full potential. Do you even know what your full potential might be? If you do – fantastic! If you don’t maybe this information will be useful for you. It certainly has lit another fire under me to take what I am doing to the next level. First, consider why Big Leaps are part of the process of your own self-actualization. 4 Zones of Work Is that how you are feeling in your work and your life? Are you excited every day to enter that zone where everything seems to be clicking and you are truly joyful about what you are doing? Of course, it may not always feel that way, but does it feel that way most of the time? If not, let’s explore 4 zones of work and how you relate to each. 1. Zone of Incompetence. This is not your forte’. Many people can do it better than you. For me it is data entry. In my last job, even tho I was hired to create and present wellness programs, part of my job was to keep track of all the data and enter it, and for me it was very tedious, frustrating, stressful and painful. Sitting in front of a computer for hours and hours (yes there was a lot of data to enter) stressed me out to the max and I ended up with carpal tunnel, neck and shoulder pain, headaches, a bad attitude and finally a referral to counseling to learn to live with pain. This might be an extreme example of working in my zone of incompetence, but it happened and it probably happens to a lot of us who are assigned tasks that we have no business doing and doesn’t reflect our true genius. By the way – I did quit that job and all my symptoms went away once I left that stressful environment. Lesson learned! What experiences have you had or are having in the Zone of Incompetence? 2. Zone of Competence. You’re alright, but lots of others cope better. I have the capability of being an excellent worker at whatever task is assigned, am loyal, prompt, reliable and everyone knows they can count on me. If I don’t know how to do something I actively seek out how to do it and learn it when required. It may take me longer than someone else to learn the task, but I’m very persistent and will finally “get it”. I also know my limitations and know when I am out of my league. This brings back to mind when I first entered nursing and felt totally incompetent but always knew how to locate the resources and expertise I needed to get the experiences I needed to grow my level of competence. What examples suggest that you are or were residing in the Zone of Competence? 3. Zone of Excellence. You’re highly skilled and few can hold a candle to you. I’m a very experienced and seasoned Wellness Professional and have created, coordinated, managed, presented, and evaluated wellness programs for many years. I can “pull off’ programs big and small successfully. I am so comfortable with the process that I can get something up and running in no time and make it a success. Just recently, I wanted to get in front of people, agencies and services for “Active Older Adults” because they are my current target for my wellness services, so I created “Boomer Fest” – a resource fair for active older adults. It was a lot of work but because of my experience and competence putting on events, I had 30 vendors and very good attendance which in turn brought together all of the people I wanted to reach and they are now on my mailing list for future reference. What examples demonstrate when you are in your Zone of Excellence? 4. Zone of Genius. You’re literally the best in the world at it. You’ve heard the term “creative genius”? That’s how I see myself, and I might add I’m a bit cocky about it. I know it is a gift and I wish everyone could have it. I have the ability to come up with non-stop creative ideas and when I am around other “creatives” it becomes playtime. Bouncing new ideas off of each other is really fun and stimulating and just leads to more and more fun ideas. This is where time is irrelevant, I’m in the flow, life is good, and I feel at ease with the other creative brains I’m with. I’m with “my people”. I’ve often said I wish I could be paid for my ideas because I have so many and I see them all being extremely successful - if someone would just take them and run with it. What is your Zone of Genius and how and when are you “living it”? Your Goal Of these 4 zones, the goal is to reach your Zone of Genius and spend at least 70% of your time there. This might sound like a tall order, but remember you can never know what you can pull off if you don’t try. So, what are you waiting for? If you’re not going to reach your full potential, no one else is going to do it for you. Even if you only get there part time here or there, Pay attention to when you do get “in the zone” and remember how good it feels, and you will want more of the same. It’s Leap Year - so carve out the time to make your Big Leap!
  2. First, the World Health Organization has declared that 2020 is the Year of the Nurse and Midwife. The theme for 2020, Nurses: A Voice to Lead - Nursing the World to Health, demonstrates how nurses are central to addressing a wide range of health challenges. It will encourage nurses and the public to celebrate, but also provide information and resources that will help to raise the profile of the profession throughout the year and attract a new generation into the nursing family. 2020 is also Florence Nightingale's Bicentennial – celebrating her 200th birthday on May 12. Having the Year of the Nurse and Midwife coincide with Florence Nightingale’s bicentennial raises the exciting prospect of nurses finally being recognized for all the good they do. And the Nursing Now Nightingale Challenge will produce a new cohort of young nurse leaders who will take the profession forward over the next decade. National Nurses Week is May 6-12, 2020. Supported by the American Nurses Association, National Nurses Week celebrates nurses and their role in society. The week also helps to raise awareness about nursing as a possible career choice and also to educate the public about the kind of work nurses are involved in. And, finally, coinciding with that week is: National Student Nurses Day May 8 National School Nurse Day May 8 International Nurses Day May 12 So there is a lot happening for you to get involved in. But we also need to be aware of and address some of the challenges that might be jeopardizing the forward progress of our profession. Challenge #1 There is a NURSING SHORTAGE on the horizon due to these factors: Aging Population As the population ages, the need for health services increases. Aging Work Force One-third of the workforce could be at retirement age in the next 10 to 15 years. Nursing faculty is also experiencing a shortage, and this leads to enrollment limitations, limiting the number of nurses that a nursing school can generate. Nurse Burnout Some nurses graduate and start working and then determine the profession is not what they thought it would be. Others may work a while and experience burnout and leave the profession. Career and Family Often during childbearing years, nurses will cut back or leave the profession altogether Regions Some areas of the country struggle to fulfill the basic needs of the local population as a whole. Growth A higher need is seen in areas that have high retirement populations. Violence in the Healthcare Setting The ever-present threat of emotional or physical abuse adds to an already stressful environment. Emergency department and psychiatric nurses at a higher risk due to their patient population. Challenge #2 Unhealthy Lifestyles There is an abundance of nurses with unhealthy lifestyles. We need to give attention to the personal health of our nurses. After all, if we don’t have healthy nurses, everything else we try to do to increase our nurse population will be of no avail. So let’s look at the state of our health. A study of 2,730 hospital nurses from the American Nurses Association (ANA) Health Risk Appraisal (HRA), surveyed from October 2013 to December 2015, found serious deficits in diet, sleep, and physical activity that may jeopardize nurses’ health and negatively impact the healing strength of the profession. (And from my vantage point as a Wellness Practitioner, this data probably holds and in fact may even be worse in 2020.) For nearly every indicator, the health of America's nurses is worse than that of the average American. Nurses are more likely to be overweight, have higher levels of stress and get less than the recommended hours of sleep. Here are some key findings: (Notice how many are within your control) Nurses are Exhausted 56-57% reported often coming in early and/or staying late and working through their breaks to accomplish their work 33% said they had often been assigned a higher workload than that with which they were comfortable 59% of respondents reported that they worked 10 hours or longer daily 47% slept fewer than 7 hours per day. Nurses are Overweight 56% were overweight/obese with a body mass index > 25 kg/m2. Only 14% of the nurses were eating at least five servings of fruits and vegetables per day (2.5 cups). Just 45% of the respondents were engaged in aerobic activity of at least moderate intensity for 2.5 or more hours per week, while 47% performed muscle-strengthening activities twice a week. Nurses Do Not Prioritize Their Health Over Others 68% put their patients’ health, safety, and wellness before their own. Nurses are Stressed and Burned Out From a study by the Cleveland Clinic of their nurses, 63% suffer from burnout. If it is not addressed nurses can become disengaged and eventually leave the profession. And, severe levels of stress are not only unhealthy but can negatively affect patient care. As you know, if nurses don’t adopt and maintain healthy lifestyle behaviors they are at risk for chronic diseases and early mortality. On the other hand, nurses who make healthy lifestyle choices have a spill-over effect and will be more apt to discuss and recommend preventive behaviors such as smoking cessation, more physical activity, and eating a healthier diet to the people under their care. With personal health on top of their mind, they may be better able to prevent workplace injury and avoid errors related to fatigue. So nurses who adopt healthy lifestyles may even provide better patient care. So What Does All This Mean For You? YOU can contribute by taking action on whatever you think would work for you. After all, you are the key to everything that will make The Year of the Nurse a truly important opportunity to showcase what we do and who we are. In my opinion, your best option that could be a win-win for both you and your profession is to take action on adopting a plan to get healthier. You are, after all, being watched by those around you as the expert on health, and if you embrace wellness as a lifestyle choice, you will make an impact on other’s behaviors as well. Don’t overlook the fact that you are a role model for not only your expertise but how well you model the health practices you teach to others to manage and prevent the chronic diseases they experience. And because this is the beginning of a NEW YEAR this is the perfect time to get started. What Are You Waiting For? Please share your lifestyle enhancement ideas to give other nurses ideas to draw from.
  3. Carol Ebert

    Cultivating Winter Stillness

    I have a chronic condition that has plagued me for about 2 years called Tracheal Stenosis (Idiopathic Subglottic Stenosis). Upon seeing an ENT specialist after experiencing shortness of breath when I tried to make speeches, wheezing, and having difficulty expelling mucus from my lungs, the diagnosis was obtained using a scope into the trachea. I got to see my beautiful insides, but the entry to the trachea had a narrowed opening which was causing my symptoms. And what is it caused by? Who knows. And only white women have this, and not very many I might add. Leave it to me to be a public speaker who now can’t speak publicly! Well, the good news is it can be resolved (temporarily) through a surgical procedure that makes small snips in the opening and then the opening is stretched, and I’m good as new. However, it seems to be a repeat procedure approximately every year. And here I am right now scheduled for surgery (for the 4th time) in the next 3 weeks. Yes I am frustrated because it can’t be cured no matter how healthy I am - and I am Nurse Wellness and have been a role model for wellness for over 40 years. All those wellness strategies I live my life by still couldn’t prevent this. And, so I will survive and do what I need to do to keep on my path as a wellness educator. So how does this tie into STILLNESS? I find that all I can do right now is go into stillness and the fact that it coincides with the Winter Solstice seems to be no accident. I have found that late December through January are cocooning times for my business and for life in the countryside of Minnesota – where we are usually snowbound - which lends itself to being still. Looks like the universe is giving me a reason to be still since I generally have difficulty cultivating that trait. Just to further make that point, a good friend gave me an “Energizer Bunny” stuffed animal for Christmas because that is my M.O. as I am always on the go with teaching. Now let’s go a bit deeper to better understand what surrounds the Winter Solstice. December 21 is the shortest day and longest night of the year. The winter solstice is a time of quiet energy, where you get the opportunity to look within yourself and focus on what you want and need. It's a time to set goals and intentions for the coming year, to examine and let go of our past, and to make changes within ourselves. The solstice is essentially tied to a personal awakening. What Does The Winter Solstice Mean Spiritually? It's Celebrated In Tons Of Religions And Cultures. Nature remembers what we humans have forgotten every cycle must return to stillness, silence, the dark; every out-breath requires an in-breath; every outer endeavor turns back inward to its origins, its center, and begins again; from death comes new life, and from the darkest night, the new dawn is born. A Winter Solstice Mystery: Beauty In the Belly of the Dark Great words of wisdom. But how can we apply the teachings of the Winter Solstice and capitalize on the stillness of this part of the year? Here are some strategies to consider. Solstice is an opportunity to look within yourself and focus on what you want and need Practice “doing nothing” by meditating, visualizing or just sitting in silence with your eyes closed. Just do this for very short periods of time at first to get used to being still and then extend the time. Focus on what you want to have happen this upcoming year that will be fulfilling and pleasurable. Solstice is a time to set goals and intentions for the coming year Once you decide what you want to have happen, write it down as a goal. By December 31, 2020, I will have accomplished: The steps I need to accomplish this goal are: The dates for accomplishment of each step are: Solstice is a time to examine and let go of our past Write down on paper all the past beliefs that have stood in your way from having all you were meant to have in life. Crumple up the paper into a ball and burn it. Thank the burning ball for all the lessons you have learned from those roadblocks Feel the sense of release as they disappear into ashes Solstice is a time to start making changes within ourselves Commit to one personal change you want to make during the new year Determine how you will monitor your personal progress (Journaling, marking on your calendar daily or weekly, chose the method that works for you) Solstice is essentially tied to a personal awakening and the above steps fit right into what most of us already do as we embark on a new year. We set intentions and goals and just forge ahead. This time, however, consider incorporating the STILLNESS factor into your daily life as a way to monitor your progress and keep yourself on track. And this is the perfect reminder for me as well. Once I am post-op I could jump right back in the fast lane with my voice intact and not slow down until next year when it will predictably slow me down to stillness once more. Or I can take time out for stillness along the way to monitor and appreciate my personal growth in an ongoing way. Now, how about you? How can you incorporate stillness in your day – week – month – year?
  4. Carol Ebert

    Holiday Stress Busters

    Sure, you might have said last year I’ve got to do things differently and yet here it is again in your face. Tips to Decrease Holiday Stress Of course, some of you have already made some great changes to simplify, slow down and put the holiday in perspective, (I know I have) and I would love to have you share your strategies at the end of this post. But for the rest of you, here are some tips that might help right now bring more peace and less stress. Step 1 – What prep needs to be done? Look over this list and select the most important things that need to be done and delegate the rest. Try to select only 5 things. I know this list is exhausting to read, but you don’t have to do everything. creating the gift list making or buying decorations decorating putting up outside decorations prep for holiday travel making family advent preparations planning family reunions getting ready for relatives holiday baking cooking for family reunions planning parties inviting friends to the party shopping for the party cleaning for the party cooking for the party cleaning up after the party buying or making cards writing notes on cards making or buying stockings buying stocking stuffers making travel plans volunteering for charity helping out at church helping out at school holiday activities at work buying or cutting down a tree decorating the tree shopping for gifts making gifts buying gift wrapping supplies wrapping gifts mailing gifts cleaning up after the holiday writing thank-yous planning holiday menus getting kids to write thank-yous putting away decorations special grocery shopping disposing of the tree taking down decorations other _______________ other _______________ Step 2 – What do you really value the most over the holidays and want to have time for it? Check those you want to have happen and decide how all the busy-ness from all the tasks above will affect them. Feel free to cross more tasks off the list above so you have more time for those below. Spend enjoyable time with my immediate family Reunite with my relatives Celebrate the birth of Christ Create a festive, beautiful home environment Show my love and generosity through gifts Remember the poor, lonely and needy Be active in my spiritual community Celebrate with friends Relax and be renewed Step 3 - How important is self-care for you over the holidays? Review this list and check the items that reflect your reality. Then decide whether you need to make some adjustments. Have less free time Get less sleep Get less exercise Eat more sweets and consume more calories in general Drink more alcohol Have more tasks and responsibilities Have less time to be alone Am more worried about money Spend less relaxed time with friends Have less relaxed time with my family Have more responsibilities at work Step 4 – Implement Stress-busting Strategies to regain valuable time for YOU! Problem: Thinking that you still have to please your long-gone relatives and bake every cookie from scratch. Having to bake 12 dozen perfect cookies for the Cookie Swap! Solution: Go to a fine baking establishment and pay for some cookies made from scratch that are probably better than yours! I’ll cost you less time and money. Problem: Thinking you are superhuman and wearing yourself out shopping for the perfect gifts for everyone when all they really want is a gift card. Solution: Make one trip out to get gift cards for everyone and they’ll love you for it, and they won’t have to stand in the return lines after the holidays. Problem: Creating a holiday blood sugar rampage by eating all those cookies, candies and cakes, and wondering why you are so exhausted and can’t fit into that holiday outfit. Solution: Load up the frig with healthy snacks that your family can graze on. Prepare healthy fun snacks to serve and give away as gifts. Problem: Driving on the roads and shopping in the stores just when everyone else decides to do the same thing. Solution: Go OUT when everyone else is IN! Get over the adrenalin rush of shopping in a frenzy with large crowds of people – your body and mind will love you for it! Problem: Having to rummage through 100 different “stuffing” recipes and then discovering they all have the same ingredients. Solution: Buy a bag of instant stuffing mix and tell everyone it is your “secret formula”. Problem: Going to everyone’s house over the holidays, including yours, and having the same holiday dinner over and over again. Solution: Try serving an old fashioned 4th of July picnic meal for your holiday celebration. Celebrate July at Christmas instead of Christmas in July. Hopefully, this holiday review is helpful and a wakeup call so you can truly enjoy the holiday season with all the peace and joy you deserve.
  5. Carol Ebert

    Boomer Fest Quest

    I have a “side hustle” wellness business and as I continue to age, the population I want to work with gets older too. So I decided if that is whom I want to reach with my message of staying healthy as you age, then I need to find them. And how do I find them? Invite them to an event! Which I did. I created Boomer Fest – a Resource Fair for Baby Boomers. Drawing on my professional skills of program development and event planning I started from scratch by assembling like-minded professionals looking to reach this population. That was easy because I was already involved in a Networking Group who were trying to reach Boomers as well. And so we started the process of creating the event. Here’s a step-by-step approach of how it unfolded in case you might want to do the same thing with your newly found “free time”. Decide who you want to reach Because I am a Boomer and am keenly aware of the health and social issues we face at this age, and I am aware that not all Boomers are ready for the life of retirement, I wanted to help my peers find the resources they need as they age – that they don’t even know they need to know about. Decide what you want them to learn from the event I struggled with what the retirement lifestyle was all about and followed a trial and error process when I finally “retired”. I was amazed to find that no one seems to prepare retirees for the next phase of life which I call Your Third Act. My mission then for this event was to provide the resources I felt they needed to be aware of and the options available to them for all the dimensions of a wellness lifestyle: social life, work life, spiritual support, physical activity, intellectual stimulation, emotional well-being, travel aspirations, volunteer opportunities, and active senior housing options. Decide who can provide the answers Boomers are looking for Once I decided how well-rounded I wanted the event to be, I started making calls and visits. That’s when the fun begins because someone knows someone else who knows someone else, and pretty soon I had identified 30 vendors for the event. And having them get to know me and me them, got me in touch with the people, groups, agencies and facilities that deal with the Boomer population. Which in turn positions me as an expert who can help them in the future with educational health programs that I have already designed for the Boomer population. So it became a win-win for both of us. Secure a venue for the event A new event center had just opened in the community where I live and I thought how perfect it would be to have Boomer Fest there – not only because it was a perfect venue, but because it was brand new people were curious to see it and that alone might draw them in. Of course there was a fee for the space so I had to come up with the money! Create a budget This is extremely important so you don’t lose money. Our plan was to break even and that is about what happened. Of course I did not pay myself for all my work, and if we do this again that issue will need to be resolved! Revenue = $900 Vendors each paid $50 Non-profits were not charged Expense = $875 Room rental - $750 Marketing Consultant - $125 Delegate tasks This is a key issue not to be overlooked. I actually took on too much myself, but at least I delegated someone to arrange for music thru the PA and someone to sit at the registration table to check people in and out. Arrange for volunteers I did not think of this until the last minute when I didn’t have anyone to manage the registration table. Fortunately someone stepped in at the last minute, so I lucked out. I did discover later that there are a lot of groups including college students who are very willing to help out as long as they have prior notice. Provide incentives to attend I asked each vendor to provide a door prize at their booth, and we also had a grand prize drawing for a one night stay at the new adjoining hotel in a king room. In order to participate in that drawing I had each participant find the answers to questions from each vendor so I was assured that all vendors would have people stop and talk to them. The sheet of completed answers was then dropped in a box and we drew the winner from those sheets. We had 56 people complete the sheets and the winner was the perfect person. She had brought along two elderly friends who sat at a table while she went thru the exhibits. She was being very kind to them by taking them out for the day and I felt she was the perfect person to be rewarded for that kind gesture. The Universe works in amazing ways! Promote the event All vendors were responsible for promoting to their audiences thru newsletters, emails, social media, etc. We posted flyers around town and made up free tickets to give away. I contacted the local TV station who sent out a reporter and we were on the news at 6 and 10 that day. If we do this again I would contact the media at the beginning of the planning so they would partner with us and provide free promotion. Keep statistics 56 people attended, even tho I would love to have had 200. But everyone felt it was a good response since it was the first time we have done this and we only had 8 weeks to pull it off! Followup evaluations from vendors and participants I am still compiling evaluations from the vendors and most want this to happen again. As participants left the event and passed by the volunteer at the registration table, most mentioned that they loved the event and would like to see it happen again next year. Debrief with planning committee and plan for next year Our planning committee is very happy with the results and are on board to do this again. Our recommendations are: Start planning sooner – at least 6 months before the event Create a more extensive budget Include a fee for the coordinator (that would be me!) Secure sponsors to generate more revenue Charge non-profits $25 each Continue to charge vendors $50 each Provide refreshments because food is always a draw – with few dollars to work with, we did get apples donated and water was free. Consider having entertainment, round-table discussions, break-out sessions So why did I share this with you? Because it’s never too late to take on a new challenge that has meaning and can give back to others who might need your talents and time. It doesn’t have to be this involved of course. It can be just what you want it to be. And you don’t have to ask permission from a boss! Feel free to share new challenges you have embarked on to give your life more meaning in retirement.
  6. Carol Ebert

    Got 3rd Act Issues On Your Mind?

    Download allnurses Magazine Once you enter your Third Act all kinds of different thoughts start entering your consciousness. Here are some of my concerns I never had to consider before. I’m sure you have even more. Will I have enough money to live comfortably? Not everyone has retirement savings and social security is not enough to live the lifestyle you want. I can attest to that as I am on social security plus have no retirement savings so it is clear that you will need to prepare yourself with other revenue streams you might not have thought of before. I’m so passionate about wellness that I’m always creating new initiatives that can bring in more money (like the new book I wrote Too Busy for YOU? which targets busy professional women based on what I know about that lifestyle) What creative ideas do you have for generating more income? Will I eventually be disabled and dependent? I have been extra healthy since most of my career has been wellness focused and I have practiced what I preach. It has certainly paid off as I feel years younger than many my age, but that doesn’t mean some things are starting to deteriorate. For me it is little skin lesions that keep popping up and needing to be biopsied and excised. Or the cartilage in my knee needed to be trimmed due to wear and tear from all the exercise I do. So no matter how healthy you might think you are, there are things that may occur that could impact your quality of life. What are your thoughts about what you would do if you became disabled as you get older? What if my partner/spouse is gone and I’m all alone? It’s a fact that women will live longer than men so odds are you will be living alone at some point. The average American man will live to age 76, according to the latest CDC figures, while the average woman in America will live to age 81. What ideas do you have for dealing with the issue of being alone? What will I do with my time if I’m not going to work every day? Imagine having all the time in the world with no demands on your time. You’ve probably been dreaming about that for a long time but once you retire it will be a reality. Based on my experience with other friends who are retired, they seem busier than ever and I often hear this: “I can’t believe how busy I am, even more now than when I was working”. Additionally I hear some of my nurse friends who do enjoy the freedom for a short while are then itching to do some work again. What would fulfill you when you have plenty of time for YOU? What kind of living arrangement should I consider as I age? Remember the TV Show Golden Girls where 3 women shared a home together to share expenses and support of each other? That idea is starting to take hold. Online home-sharing websites, workshops and meetings for prospective housemates are booming. I’ve even been giving it some thought as an option. What examples of living arrangements have you considered as you get older? When should I consider down-sizing? It’s never too soon to start clearing out all the stuff we accumulate. This issue has really been on my mind because it takes a lot of time and energy to live with and deal with all the possessions we manage on a day to day basis. And why do we have all this stuff? In my case I have a large county property with several out buildings that are full since we live on a hobby farm. Every day I think “how long can I keep up with all this?” And wouldn’t life be simpler if I had less “stuff” to deal with. What surrounds your life that you know you could live without and how would it make you feel if you had less to deal with? Should I have a pet, and who will care for it if I die? This one is big for me because I have always had multiple pets and I know how important they are to my wellbeing. After I lost my last 2 dogs within one week I thought maybe I’m too old to have a pet, and what if I die and leave it behind. Who would care for it? So what did I do? I got a puppy! But the caveat was it is a breeding dog from another nurse who breeds dogs and needed this little stud to be farmed out to a great family to be raised (that’s me) and just go back to her for breeding purposes. Before I accepted that offer I said to her “What if I die?” She said “I’ll take him back”. I got the answer I wanted and now everyone is happy – especially me! What are your thoughts about having a pet as you get older and what is your strategy? The bottom line for all these concerns, and I suspect you may have other concerns as well, is to not postpone thinking about them but face them head-on and create an exit plan. I often wish my parents had done that for me instead of leaving us in a state of confusion about where everything was that needed to be tended to. And then having to make decisions about what to do with everything that they left behind. It is a daunting task but for us who might be more aware we can take charge and create a plan. It’s easy to remain in denial about the fact that we will die at some point so the more responsible approach is to get your act together and make those tough decisions while you can. I know planning isn’t everyone’s “thing” and I’m not great at it either, but when I do put a plan together it actually reduces my stress and gives me the feeling of being back in control. And your family will love you for it! Inspired by: Why Do Women Live Longer Than Men? House Sharing for Boomer Women Who Don't Want to Live Alone Benefits of Elderly Owning Pets The Upside of Downsizing What ideas do you have for making life in your Third Act as stress free as possible?
  7. Carol Ebert

    How to Remain Relevant as You Age

    1. Age related decline starts earlier than you think If you have been climbing the professional ladder and are deeply invested in being high up, be aware that there is a fall coming. For most people in most fields decline starts earlier than almost anyone thinks and nursing is not exempt. Scholars at Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research studied a wide variety of jobs and found considerable susceptibility to age-related decline in fields ranging from policing to nursing. It showed up in the professions that required mental processing speed and significant analytic capabilities which is what nursing is all about. The potential reason for age related decline lies in the work of the British psychologist Raymond Cattell, who in the early 1940s introduced the concepts of fluid and crystallized intelligence. 2. Prepare for a midway course correction Some nursing strengths peak early and then diminish Fluid intelligence is the ability to reason, analyze, and solve novel problems which nurses do every day. This ability to innovate is highest early in adulthood and diminishes starting in your 30s and 40s. This is why tech entrepreneurs, for instance, do so well so early, and why older people have a much harder time innovating. Some nursing strengths peak later and continue to grow Crystallized intelligence, in contrast, is the ability to use knowledge gained in the past. It’s all the wisdom you have accumulated. Because crystallized intelligence relies on an accumulating knowledge over time, it tends to increase through your 40s, and does not diminish until very late in life. The best explainers of complicated ideas—like the best teachers—tend to be in their mid-60s or older, some of them well into their 80s. This builds a case for us as we age to consider dedicating ourselves to sharing knowledge in some meaningful way. I’ve always thought nurses were great teachers and as you age you are even more so! This is so relevant for me as a member of the Third Act because I did transition out of clinical nursing in my 30’s where I relied on fluid intelligence and moved into health education. As I look back, I don’t think I could have continued the clinical side of nursing long term, but when I look at myself now as a health educator I feel I can continue teaching others indefinitely. I am fully aware that my wisdom from all my experiences (crystallized intelligence) is in full bloom and flourishing. In addition, I have always believed that nurses who remain in the clinical arena who are getting older would make great mentors and coaches for younger nurses beginning their careers. This idea would not only retain older nurses from leaving too soon because the work is too physically demanding while also supporting the younger nurses who might get discouraged and leave nursing too soon before they even got started. 3. Prepare to walk away Based on Hindu philosophy, Ashrama is a stage in life whose name comes from two Sanskrit words meaning “retiring” and “into the forest.” This is the stage, usually starting around age 50, where we purposefully focus less on professional ambition, and become more and more devoted to spirituality, service, and wisdom. This doesn’t mean that you need to stop working when you turn 50—something few people can afford to do—only that your life goals should adjust. The wisdom of Hindu philosophy—and indeed the wisdom of many philosophical traditions—suggests that you should be prepared to walk away from your professional rewards before you feel ready. Even if you’re at the height of your professional prestige, you probably need to scale back your career ambitions in order to scale up your metaphysical ones. Accepting the natural cadence of our abilities sets up the possibility of shifting our attention in our Third Act to higher spiritual and life priorities. This is where I am now and definitely feel the pull to give back, be of service, utilize my gifts and talents to help improve the health of as many people as I can. I hope to continue this quest for as long as I am able and do see this as a worthy spiritual practice. So the bottom line is to BE AWARE and PREPARE to remain relevant in your career and beyond in Your Third Act. It’s all good! Inspired by: Your professional decline is coming (much) sooner than you think (American Enterprise Institute) Early retirement might be in your future (CNBC) Does Age-Related Decline in Ability Correspond with Retirement Age? (Center for Retirement Research at Boston College) What stage are you in and what lessons have you learned?
  8. Carol Ebert

    Go Write Your Book!

    I'm excited to finally have the hard copy ready to share. Should be any day now!
  9. Carol Ebert

    Go Write Your Book!

    And so I needed to pry mine out by starting a writing journey. I never thought I could write a book, and it never was on my radar, but once I started blogging for allnurses.com I realized I had compiled a lot of content that was just going to sit in a file somewhere, never to be seen again. And then the wise words of my late father popped into my brain: “If you are going to do something, make sure you have 3 good reasons for doing it”. OK Dad! Here are my reasons for blogging 1. Write monthly blogs to help nurses embrace wellness 2. Use blog content to create powerpoint presentations and deliver to audiences 3. Re-purpose the blogs into a book And here I am today publishing my very first book called Too Busy for YOU? How to Prioritize Yourself for a Balanced, Mindful and Happy Life. What I didn’t realize by completing this process, I would achieve some cool benefits! Here are my TOP 10 REASONS why this was important for me to do: 1. It’s a Challenge I love a challenge, especially with something out of my league. Once you have a lot of years and experiences under your belt, you know you can do more than you ever thought you could. For me, I’ve met many challenges in my career that I thought I couldn’t overcome and succeeded at most. So why not give writing a book a try. 2. Improved My Self Esteem Once I reached retirement age I could feel my “usefulness” slipping and didn’t feel valued as much. I could continue that downward slump or get busy on my book. There is a saying in some circles: “When I got busy, I got better”. And my self-esteem improved greatly, especially when I finished the book and sent it off to Amazon to be published. 3. Helped Me Reinvent Myself As an Author, I feel re-programmed with a new direction and new energy. I have a new identity and have noticed that people respond more positively to me as if I have more status. Suddenly I don’t feel as old as I felt before I had a book to promote. 4. Generates Income I now have another avenue to make money from book sales. To that end, I have new energy to approach book stores for book signings, other wellness coaches, wellness clients, nursing instructors, health education professors, wellness coordinators, businesses, and even women’s book clubs. 5. Gets Speaking Engagements One of my favorite things to do is speak on wellness to audiences and I have heard that the best way to get these bookings is to author a book. I am now a more marketable public speaker because of this. 6. Serves Audiences in a New Way Sometimes you just can’t reach all the people you want to reach personally, so this book gives me another vehicle for me to reach out globally with my wellness message. 7. Shares my Wisdom After 40+ years in the wellness industry, I have a lot to share about how to get healthy and stay healthy and I know what works and doesn’t work. Having a book that synthesizes it all down to a “self-coaching” guide that can help others improve their lives on their own terms gives me great satisfaction. And it feels like I am leaving a legacy that will keep on giving. 8. Keeps Me Relevant If I am going to continue with my quest to spread wellness, then a self-care book is a relevant method for doing that and keeps me in the game. Wellness is the big buzz word today and my book is all wellness all the time. 9. Addresses Major Health Concerns Because we are drowning in epidemics of chronic disease, many proven wellness tools that are outlined in my book are what we need more than ever when the medical model is limited in how it deals with these challenges. 10. Reaches a Wider Audience Amazon is a global shopping site and my book, which was self-published through Amazon will be available for the world to see. (Yes you can publish your book thru their system for free) You never know who might read it and how that could influence an audience I never would have been able to reach. I have always been a global thinker but I never thought that I could actually get my message out there in a big way. Look out world, here I come! So is there a book inside of you wanting to come out? I think all nurses have so much to share it would be a shame to keep it all inside. What steps are you willing to take to begin the process of authoring a book? Please share.
  10. Here is Lori’s story as an example of a nurse practitioner I have coached on retooling herself. Lori was a self-described “burned out nurse” ready to retire. “I don’t want to go back to any kind of clinical nursing” she told me. Instead, she started retooling her nursing skills to reflect a more holistic approach to health and got trained as a Wellness Coach, aligned with a nutrition company that provided business training as well as an online store of high quality nutritional products and began her new journey while remaining grounded in her nursing foundation. She is a lot happier now and doesn’t see retirement as stopping, but just transitioning into who she has evolved to be as a nurse. Her story reminds me of how easily our nursing education and experiences can be retooled into new and interesting directions whenever we need a change. If this resonates with you, here are a few tips to help start the re-tooling process: 1. Do you really want to change once you are retired? There are times in our lives when we’re forced to reinvent ourselves. For example, when my last job got so stressful and I knew it was killing me, I knew I needed a change. I was also close to retirement but still wanted to work, so I thrust myself into the world of the unknown – trying to reinvent myself without having a clue as to how to do that. I actually had never thought about what retirement would look like for me, but I knew for sure I would never stop being productive doing something. So, do you really want to change? YES or NO 2. Stop thinking of yourself as being retired. Let’s retire the word retired and focus on being re-tooled. Create a positive mindset about entering Your Third Act and appreciate all the surprises, challenges and joys that will unfold Make a personal affirmation to convince yourself that you are not done, but are taking another path towards a fulfilling life. Fill in the blank: In the future I will be joyfully working at _______________________. 3. Assess your work history for skills Evaluate your resume and highlight the skills you already possess Examine your job experiences and make a detailed list of all the things you do well and enjoy List the skills that that were never part of your job description, yet were required for you in order to succeed. List all soft-skills as well as hard skills. List educational presentations you have made that have been persuasive List research skills you have developed How skilled are you at writing and communication Consider all the extraordinary experiences you have had on the job that helped you develop creative thinking skills or sharpened organization capabilities. 4. Attach yourself to the right people. In today’s interconnected world it’s easier than ever to network with people from all over the world. While people have associated social networking with meeting new friends and finding job opportunities, you can also connect with people who can change you for the better. Linkedin is a great business social media site where you can connect with other nursing groups who may have interests that inspire you. Or connect with me for support. 5. Learn. Whether if it’s reading or attending a workshop or webinar, find ways to enhance your knowledge. It will make you a more well-rounded individual and help you grow both personally and professionally. Lifelong learning also makes you more motivated, develop mental skills, and introduces you to new people and thoughts. There are so many FREE Webinar Series with content you can immerse yourself in that you will come away with ideas, connections and motivation. Take a class for inspiration or develop new skills. Many colleges offer free tuition to retirees Find a local program that focuses on entrepreneurship if what you want is to run your own business. 6. Work part-time Volunteer Freelance in an area that fits your talents If you have always been a nurse but always dreamed about being a writer, then start writing a blog on your life experiences and ultimately it could be a book that generates some income. (I did that to create my book Too Busy for YOU?) 7. Find a mentor. Here are types of mentors: Direct. The mentor is in front of you and will guide you. Indirect. These are mentors who aren’t physically with you, like authors. Everything can be a mentor. If you have a mentor that insists that you do things their way, learn it their way and then do it your way. My favorite mentor is someone successfully doing what you want to do 8. Manage your finances. Reinventing yourself won’t always be free. For example, if you want to change careers, you may have to take workshops or college courses. Because of that, it’s important that you create a realistic budget so you have the funds to complete your transformation. Remember “it takes money to make money”. 9. Take one step at a time. Reinvention is a process that could take years. Don’t overwhelm yourself by getting consumed on the big picture. Take steps to accomplish your end goals. For example, if you want to get in better shape, than the first step would be going for a walk, the next step would be setting a schedule, then getting a gym membership and finally eating healthier. Take it one step at a time. 10. Believe in yourself. Once you leave your nursing job it takes a toll on self-confidence and self-esteem. But you must remind yourself of all of your personal accomplishments. You were good at your job, in fact, you were great! You achieved goals, impressed bosses and yourself, had grateful patients and you can do it again. Inspired by: Consider these Five Ways to Reinvent Yourself Five Essentials of Reinventing Yourself Entrepreneur How could you retool your nursing skills for a NEW third Act?
  11. Carol Ebert

    Is It Possible to Burnout in Retirement?

    And as I check in with others my age, I find several different paths that people take with their newly found free time. Take care of grandkids Travel Start hobbies Start a new business Go back to school for a new career Relax and hang out with friends Your path might be different because there really is not one path to take since the freedom you now have allows you to explore whatever you want. My path continues to be wellness because that is what I have always loved to do in my career and my passion has not stopped. What is different is that there is not a boss telling me what to do so I am free to do what I choose. And that is the reason I am writing about Burnout During Retirement. Can that be possible? I thought burnout was for those left behind who are over-worked, stressed-out, worn-down, exhausted and often depressed. As it turns out, when you aren’t answering to a schedule and the directives of an organization, you are still at risk for burnout. In my case, I blame it on my entrepreneurial nature which always directs me to seek more to explore, learn and do. And the result is that I find myself experiencing all the same symptoms of burnout that caused me to leave my last job in the first place. Here are some classic signs that employers report from their employees: Chronic physical and emotional exhaustion Sense of cynicism – everyone is bugging you, you don’t feel empathy for others Sense of ineffectiveness – you can’t see a path for yourself Lack of downtime – always “on” Lack of enthusiasm – can’t summon energy for what you used to be excited about Physical problems – headaches, stomach ache, bouts of cold and flu – especially if you don’t normally get sick Overreacting to requests I’m sure you are familiar with these or have even experienced some of these symptoms yourself. But if you are in your third act and happen to be an entrepreneur like me, you are still subject to this happening to you. I know that for a fact because I find myself overworking even more than I did as an employee because there is no schedule or corporate directive to tell me to stop and go home. I’m already home! So if you are entering the retirement zone, this is a cautionary tale – especially if you are an entrepreneur. But it is not hopeless. First step is to be aware that you might still burn yourself out if you have that busy nature as I do. So here are some excellent strategies to prevent this from happening. Tackle what frustrates you the most What stresses you out and leads to that headache? Pick it apart and see what you can change and what you can’t. Make the changes that you can and accept the changes you can’t. Surround yourself with inspiration Start and end your day with gratitude. Create a pleasant environment to work and play in. Listen, watch or participate in inspirational offerings Heed red flags Pay attention to the signs of burnout. Catch frustration early before your body starts to give you a symptom. (mine is a headache) Network with others your age who are entrepreneurs There is strength and support in numbers Find out what strategies they use to avoid burnout Do switch off Power down all your electronics before 8 pm to force downtime for yourself Create relaxing evenings before bed Get enough sleep We still need 7-8 hours/night Your body needs time to repair, restore, relax and during sleep is when that happens Talk things through Find someone you can talk to – friend, coach, therapist Find entrepreneur groups with your same interests who may be experiencing the same thing Take a break You may need to force this upon yourself because it is against our nature Keep a schedule and write it on your calendar Spend time with yourself Schedule time when you can purposefully do nothing Practice by working your way up from 5 minutes to finally about 30+ minutes. This inspired me. Hopefully, these strategies will be useful and provide you with a roadmap for creating a Third Act Retirement Plan that gives you the peace and wellness you desire while still honoring your busy nature. Your thoughts?
  12. Carol Ebert

    Aging or Ageless: What path are you on?

    Thanks for sharing the video. And I agree with the mirror image. Whoever that is - is not who I feel like inside. Interesting isn't it? Guess we need to stop looking in the mirror and get on with our lives.
  13. Carol Ebert

    Your Third Act

    What a great role model your father must have been and what a great way to start every new day.
  14. Carol Ebert

    Aging or Ageless: What path are you on?

    Actually your body craves the "nutrition" from vegetables. I'm finding them much more palatable when seasoned properly instead of just salt and pepper. Plus exploring vegetables I've never tried before can be interesting and tasty too. I can send you a recipe for a tasty vegetable kabob if you want.
  15. Carol Ebert

    Aging or Ageless: What path are you on?

    Change your perception of YOU If you think you are old, you will be old before your time. Don’t act your age. Stop feeling guilty when you are drawn in the clothing section of a store when teens hang out. Their clothes are more exciting and fun than the ones you “think” you should wear. If dressing youthful makes you feel youthful, then your mind thinks you are younger too. Watch what you say Red flag language is: I’m having a senior moment I’m too old for that I can’t remember anything Replace your negative language about aging with positive words about how cool it is to be older and wiser. Look for positive role models My current favorites are Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin - both in their 80’s and still rocking! And what about RBG and Nancy Pelosi. There are more and more public figures who are showing us that older is even better. Activate personal healing practices Ask your body what it needs to flourish Reduce stress by establishing a habit of rest and restoration Create balance between activity and rest Embrace a daily nap Exercise daily but protect your body from over-doing it. Nourish your body with food it desires Relax with yoga, mindful practices, music, breathing, warm baths Grieve and release Be aware of past hurts, grudges, resentments that drag you down Create a ritual for release like writing it all down and then burning the paper Practice shifting your thoughts to something pleasant when old negative thoughts pop into your head Shout out loud – “get out of my head, I am done with you!” Forgive old resentments by praying for them briefly every day for 10 days and then feel the release Nurture relationships Nurture yourself first – how would you treat yourself if you were the love of your life? Protect your priceless energy by saying NO to toxic relationships, even family members Have fun with your friends Have fun with your partner Protect your space by setting healthy boundaries Say NO to rescuing others who need to rescue themselves Eat with Pleasure Treat your meal like an event Arrange to eat with people you enjoy who are not in a hurry Get excited about knowing that your body craves vegetables more than anything! Start with a ritual of appreciation for this wonderful nourishment for your body Look, listen and savor the food Slow the pace of chewing to slow the pace of the meal Pay attention to how your body feels Stop eating when you feel full Thank the food for nourishing your body Move with Joy Select movements that give you pleasure, stretch your muscles, get your energy flowing and make you feel alive If you like to dance but not go to dance classes or clubs, choose Jazzercise If you walk, change the pace and location If you want freedom of movement try NIA If you like being home put on music and make cleaning, dusting, gardening into dance moves If you sit all day set a timer every hour and get up to do stretches, hip swivels, yoga, tai chi Practice balancing on one foot at a time when on the phone, cooking dinner, watching TV Be Beautiful Look in the mirror every day and say “Hello gorgeous – you look awesome”. Do a morning beauty ritual for your face and enjoy the process, feel, fragrance and transformation Treat yourself to a professional beauty treatment in a salon and savor the process and feeling Wear only clothes that make you feel great even if they are “way out” Make an entrance into a room with head held high as if you are a movie star on the red carpet Connect with your spirituality Journal daily in peace and quiet and see what is revealed Remember to be who you really are and not what others think you should be Ground yourself by connecting with nature regularly Practice mindful meditation and see what comes up Connect with a spiritual community Create meaningful daily affirmations Personalize your environment Rearrange your living space to reflect good feelings and rejuvenation Purge and declutter one drawer at a time Create a small meditation alter or zone Locate a perfect place outdoors to replenish yourself Schedule daily time to be with yourself Affirm your true ageless self I will bring more pleasure into my life I will leave worry and fear behind I will be more joyful I will honor my spirituality I will live in the moment in alignment with nature I will have faith that what is meant for me will always come I will surround myself with supportive people Resource: Goddesses Never Age: The Secret Prescription for Radiance, Vitality and Well-Being by Christiane Northrup, MD Please share how you are embracing “Coming of Age” and your strategies for living “Agelessly”.
  16. Let’s focus on some personal results from being too busy and challenge how it affects your lifestyle: YOU aren’t present. When have you been so swept away in a busy situation that you waived off an overture from your spouse, child, friend because you didn’t have time for them? YOU miss out on opportunities. When has an opportunity arisen that you really wanted to pursue but were too busy to take the time to explore it? YOU forget to love and care for yourself. When is the last time you did something nice for yourself, like a massage, spa day, weekend getaway? YOU don’t make time for doing nothing. How often do you unplug, detach and just “be” without doing? YOU don’t have time to think. When do you take the time to ponder and process issues in your life and work? YOU neglect to set boundaries. What is the effect on your day when you don’t set boundaries? YOU aren’t working to your potential. What goal do you wish to achieve that you are too busy to pursue? YOU become emotionally unavailable. What relationships are in jeopardy because you are too busy to nurture them? YOU forget to dream. How would your life be different if you took the time to imagine a perfect life for you? YOU forget your “why”. How often do you take the time to contemplate the reason you are here on this planet? Does this exercise give you some insights about the effect of busy-ness on the quality of your life? Or does it cause even more stress than you already have? Not to worry. I have solutions. But before I share, YOU need to make a decision about whether you are willing to make some changes in your life and take back the time and energy you lack right now. Top 10 solutions for reducing busy-ness and improving your health: 1. Examine your lifestyle Write down everything you do in a day Label what is important and what is not Stop doing what is not important 2. Follow your intuition Sit quietly for 10 minutes with eyes closed Imagine that your intuition is speaking to you about your busy-ness. What is it saying? Check in with your intuition whenever you feel overwhelmed and ask for answers 3. Say no Before you say yes - ask yourself: Do I have time for this? Do I want to do this? Does it fit with my values? 4. Network for support Talk with someone who seems to have their life in control Ask them what techniques they use to prevent being too busy Find an accountability partner while you begin making changes 5. Prioritize your health Determine how important your health is to you Schedule “health improvement time” on your calendar daily Create a reward system for yourself as a motivator 6. Calm your mind Focus on taking slow deep breaths whenever you feel tense Count to 10 if you feel you might blow up at someone Schedule time daily for meditation, calming music, relaxation strategies 7. Refresh your body Get up and move around every hour; or sit down every hour if you are always on your feet Do stretching exercises every hour Take breaks by walking outside or up and down stairs 8. Use food for brain power Create your lunch and snacks at home so you don’t waste time at work finding food Eat whole real food, low glycemic, not processed Drink a lot of water, half your weight in ounces 9. Create a workable schedule Honor a start and end time to your day and stick with it Avoid taking work home. If you must, determine if it’s necessary or can wait until the next day. Create an annual calendar that locks in self-care days off and vacations 10. Get enough sleep Pull the plug on technology after 8pm Spend quiet time to unwind before going to bed Set a sleep schedule of 7-8 hours Hopefully, these tips will be useful for you in your quest to reduce the busy-ness in your life and restore well-being. Feel free to share how you manage your busy lifestyle so we can all learn from each other. For a more in-depth look at this issue, I have a new book being released soon – Too Busy for YOU – How to Prioritize Yourself for a Balanced, Mindful and Happy Life. Let me know if you want to be notified when it is available. Resource: 21 Reasons Why You Should Not be Proud of Being Busy
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