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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

Content by Carol Ebert

  1. FALSE! We know a lot more now about the effects of lack of sleep on our health and the news is not pretty. First I have to recollect my own years of night shift nursing and the toll it took on me. Fighting to stay awake all night when my circadian rhythm was telling me to sleep, not thinking clearly enough during the night due to fatigue which could possibly lead to miscalculations, forcing me to take a sleep med daily so I could "sleep the daylight hours away", overwhelming desire to fall asleep as I drove home from work, and the disruption in my home and social life with me gone every night. When you really spell it out, working nights is not healthy, puts nurses at great risk and we don't receive full disclosure of the risks when we take the job! Did you know that there are a lot of quality of life benefits from getting a good night's rest? Cell renewal and rejuvenation Management of stress hormones Gut health Weight management Chronic disease prevention Cognitive functioning Seems like sleep is pretty important, don't you think? On the other hand, this is what happens when you don't get enough sleep. Shift Work and Long Hours Shift work and long work hours increase the risk for reduced performance on the job, obesity, injuries, and a wide range of chronic diseases. In addition, fatigue-related errors could harm patients. Fatigued nurses also endanger others during their commute to and from work. Negative Impacts of Shiftwork and Long Work Hours : Rehabilitation Nursing Journal Women who worked on rotating night shifts for more than five years were up to 11% more likely to have died early compared to those who never worked these shifts. Those working more than 15 years on rotating night shifts had a 38% higher risk of dying from heart disease than nurses who only worked during the day. Rotating night shifts were linked to 25% higher risk of dying from lung cancer and 33% greater risk of colon cancer death. The increased risk of lung cancer could be attributed to a higher rate of smoking among night shift workers. The population of nurses with the longest rotating night shifts also shared risk factors that endangered their health: they were heavier on average than their day-working counterparts, more likely to smoke and have high blood pressure, and more likely to have diabetes and elevated cholesterol. Shift Work: Night Shifts Linked to Early Death | Time When I worked full-time nights it was the only job available so I did not have a choice. But I never knew how at risk I was for health issues. My mother was a full-time night supervisor for over 30 years and her life was shortened by heart disease, diabetes and obesity which fits the above profile. So how do we counter this situation? First step is to recognize we have a problem. To their credit, the ANA has a position paper with institutional recommendations. But the one that stands out for me is the recommendation that YOU have control over. Employers should encourage nurses to be proactive about managing their health and rest, including getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep per day; manage stress effectively; develop healthy nutrition and exercise habits; and use naps according to employer policy. This is where WELLNESS comes in, which is my life's work. I wonder if it is because of seeing my mother suffer from the health consequences of night nursing and I didn't want to go down that same path. How To Get Better Sleep When You Work Nights STEP 1 Assess whether you are a "night owl" or not and pursue the work hours most in line with your circadian rhythm. STEP 2 Negotiate 8 hour shifts rather than 12 hour shifts. Negative Impacts of Shiftwork and Long Work Hours STEP 3 Try to achieve uninterrupted sleep of 7-8 hours by: Darkening the room really dark Wear a mask over your eyes Turn on a white noise machine (like gentle rain) to drown out sounds that could wake you up Use Melatonin, your body's sleep hormone if you need a sleep aide Prepare for sleep by stopping caffeine 4 hours before you go to bed Indulge in a nice warm bath before you go to bed STEP 4 Set a schedule for nighttime eating where you eat every 2 hours. Bring to work 2 healthy snacks and a big salad that is loaded with fresh vegetables, some fruit and protein (chicken breast, hard boiled eggs, cheese, etc). Stay away from processed foods and follow a low-glycemic eating plan to prevent weight gain. Here's a great website. STEP 5 Enhance your nutrition with high quality supplements to give you more energy. Include multivitamin/multimineral combination, pure fish oil, vitamin D. STEP 6 Drink 8 glasses of water during the night. The exercise you get going to the bathroom several times will keep you awake. STEP 7 Create an exercise routine that you "love", energizes you, and you will do every day after you get up from sleeping. (Walking, Cardio, Stretching, etc.) STEP 8 Meditate or do a moving meditation like Yoga or Tai Chi daily to get centered and reduce stress. Check out Tapping or EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) which you can do in the night to manage stress. STEP 9 Add fun to your day even at work to help your body release endorphins and you will feel better. STEP 10 Write down everything you are grateful for at the end of each shift to ensure that you appreciate your accomplishments and start shifting your energy from stress and negativity to a more positive outlook - and that will help you sleep better too! So what are you willing to do to get a better night's sleep? Or what are you already doing that is working? Please share.
  2. 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!
  3. 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.
  4. 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?
  5. 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.
  6. Carol Ebert

    X-ploring your X-Factor

    Emotionally, those with the "X factor" have a way of making us feel good or inspired. Challenged or validated. In the music industry, you either have "it" or not. You either have the makings of a star, or you don't. In that industry, they believe you are born with it and only a few really have it. Michael Jackson for example. But wait! I disagree that only a select few have this ability. You know who has the ability to stand out and help people feel good? We do! Nurses do! YOU do! I'll bet you've had many experiences when someone said "You made me feel so much better"; I couldn't have gotten better without you; You are amazing; You are an angel; You have inspired me". So let's explore your X Factor, how to recognize it and how to capitalize on it. Based on the dictionary, here is the definition of X Factor. A quality that you cannot describe that makes some very special. Let's go deeper and explore just a few features of the X Factor and how they may relate to YOU. I will start with my experience and you can think about how it applies to you. Exceptional In my case, I never give up. If I really want something, especially with wellness, I will do whatever it takes to get to where I want to be. At one point I wanted to teach wellness on a cruise ship so I defied the odds and made it happen. Holland America promoted a trip to Alaska and titled it "Wellness Cruise to Alaska" and I was the featured talent. I didn't think that was exceptional, but now I realize it was. What have you done that makes you exceptional? Gifted I have the gift of creativity and it flows out whether I call it into action or not. I used to think there was something wrong with me because I didn't think like others and always wanted to challenge the status quo, but now I know I'm just creative and it is considered a gift. What is your gift? Admirable I'm proud of having a lifelong unwavering passion for wellness helping others get well and stay well and have developed a reputation as being "Nurse Wellness". I'm also known as a "Creative Wellness Coach" guiding others using creative strategies they never thought of before. What character traits do you possess that you admire? A Calling For me, passion for wellness, helping others stay well, being a role model for health, being an inspiration and being a master teacher. At one point I met with a psychic and was sharing that my mother was a nurse, my grandmother was an on-the-job trained nurse, and legend has it that my great-grandmother was a healer. The psychic then said, "There are more ancestors who were healers and they are all standing behind you supporting you". Well, that blew me away, so I guess health has been my calling despite any other choices I might have made. What has been your calling and how have you manifested that in your life? Curiosity I have always been curious about health in any way, shape or form. I still find myself watching health shows, reading health literature, exploring and participating in health alternatives for healing. I never give up on learning new health-related things. What are you curious about? Super Powers I remember twice where I had to step in and demand better care for both my parents when the "system" was failing them and I knew they could be better if some rules were modified to accommodate their issues. I surprised myself that I had that assertive power within and in both cases I was successful in changing the course of their treatments which allowed them to live longer than they would have. Until you are tested, you don't know what strength lies within. When have you been called upon to be a "super woman/man"? Here a just a few more questions to explore for yourself to help identify the X Factor in you What makes you distinctly you and different from others? What makes you exceptional? What makes you unique? What makes you a national treasure? How do you convey a personal touch? What quality do you have that is rare? Once again, I believe we all have the X Factor and it is our job to identify it, magnify it and share it with the world is a BIG way. Have fun exploring your own personal X Factor and please share your insights.
  7. 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.
  8. 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?
  9. 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?
  10. 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?
  11. 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.
  12. Carol Ebert

    Go Write Your Book!

    I'm excited to finally have the hard copy ready to share. Should be any day now!
  13. 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?
  14. 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”.
  15. 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.
  16. Carol Ebert

    Your Third Act

    Isn’t there a better way to frame this time of our life? Well, the good news is that there is! A good friend turned me on to Jane Fonda’s TED Talk called “Life’s Third Act” and I was transformed! That is the language I was looking for. I’m in my Third Act – the last 3 decades of life - and I get to write my own book about what that means for me. As Jane Fonda says: this is actually a developmental stage of life with its own significance, as different from midlife as adolescence is from childhood. And we should all be asking: How do we use this time? How do we live it successfully? What is the appropriate new metaphor for aging? We have to get over the fact that older ages are not all about pathology. Many of us (me too) are not riddled with disease, but are healthy, vibrant, energetic, filled with potential and ready for more. Fonda also says: It turns out, most people over 50 feel better, are less stressed, less hostile, less anxious. We tend to see commonalities more than differences. Some of the studies even say we're happier. So this is all good news for those of us who struggle against a culture that tends to discard our value and not appreciate what we can offer. We - the over 60 generation who were such idealistic free thinkers in our youth are not going to go quietly into the good night. We are creating a new paradigm for aging and it focuses on being - and feeling - ageless. Dr. Christiane Northrup, OBGYN, women’s health pioneer and best selling author even wrote the book Goddesses Never Age referring to older women as Ageless Goddesses. I prefer thinking of myself that way as well because the number of my age does not correlate with how I perceive myself. In my mind I am still 35 which is about half of my chronological age. Jean Huston, PhD, scholar, philosopher and researcher in Human Capacities speaking to Oprah said “It started to get really good at 60. Your heartfulness increases, you’re always looking for the deeper aspect of anything, and you try to be of use.” Carol Osborne, author of The Spirituality of Age: A Seeker’s Guide to Growing Older says coming of age is the opportunity to not only grow older, but to grow whole. It is a life stage of value and purpose of its own. Sabrina Chaw, CEO of A Feminine Feast, says “as women coming into our own, we are discovering our own true path to light up our lives.” Gail Sheehy best-selling author of New Passages: Mapping Your Life Across time presents startling facts: A woman who reaches age 50 today – and remains free of cancer and heart disease – can expect to see her ninety-second birthday. To plot our route across these vast new stretches of Second Adulthood, we need a new map of adult life. From my perspective I feel like I’m just getting started. All those years of working and experiencing things was like an internship and now I am ready to go out on my own and prove to myself I can do anything I set my mind on. I am free from the shackles of working for a boss, in control of my time and destiny, healthier and more physically active than most at my age and looking forward to what I can create next. What about you? Is aging on your mind? What are your thoughts about your third act of life? Will you continue working in nursing? What dream do you have that you want to pursue beyond your nursing career? All these questions are valid and important for you to process, because your next 30 years might be the best and most rewarding of all. Please share your thoughts.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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
  20. Carol Ebert

    20 Re-Boots for the New Year

    Re-view your situation Awareness is an important first step in the change process. Do a quick personal assessment of your situation, be honest with yourself and be open to what you discover. Ask yourself: What are you willing to change about yourself? Re-spond to body signals Sometimes we need a wake-up call before we are willing to change. It often manifests itself as pain resulting from stress. Headaches, neck and shoulder pain, back aches, indigestion, insomnia, etc. What signs are you experiencing that might indicate stress overload and imbalance? Re-spect your inner voice Our internal voice – the voice of our truth - may be giving us messages and needs to be heard. Access this important information by taking time to slow down, quiet your mind, get comfortable with stillness, and find a way to meditate that is right for you. Turn off the world’s input for awhile and just "be". How can you practice quieting your mind? Re-solve to move forward Being in your comfort zone is just that - comfortable. But it may not be the best place for you. If your goal is to have a more joyful existence, then take some risks. Get uncomfortable for a while. Practicing new behaviors feels awkward at first, but through repetition it gets easier to do. What action step will you take to move forward? Re-kindle your passion Operating from your true passion means getting lost in the energy it provides. You find yourself enjoying what you are doing so much that time doesn’t matter and you feel alive, productive and energized. It’s no longer work - it’s fun. Are you willing to challenge the status quo to begin living your passion? Re-move obstacles What is standing in the way of realizing your dreams? Think about whether it’s a true obstacle or a false belief about yourself. Break it down into small components so you can chip away, a bit at a time. You can’t move a large boulder, but you can chisel off small rocks, until you have the strength to push it aside. Write down one roadblock standing in the way of your progress. Re-place old behaviors Hanging on to old behaviors that once were useful but now are not may prevent you from moving forward. Example - not speaking up when you have the opportunity because you think what you have to say is not important, not eloquent, not good enough. A wise woman said to me "If not now, when are you finally going to express who you really are? What are you waiting for?" What are you willing to do to change an old or outdated behavior? Re-frain from negativity At any given time you have two choices – to be negative or to be positive. Think about it this way. Do you choose to laugh, have fun, see the bright side of everything - or not. A positive “can do” attitude is a frame of mind that will serve you well as you journey through the reinventing process. Describe a negative situation and reframe it using a positive approach. Re-spond differently Change can be difficult, because it is often about the unknown. Without change, nothing new, interesting, better and more fulfilling occurs. Are you willing to let go of a predictable future and see where it leads you? Re-frame your thinking If you want a picture to look different, change the frame. Ever notice when you change the color of a frame, different parts of the picture stand out more vibrantly than before? Suddenly, the picture looks different and has new life. Are you willing to reframe your vision to find out what new looks and directions emerge? Re-state your assets How often do you focus on your talents, skills, abilities, deeds, successes? Or do you tell yourself "I did this wrong - I made a mistake - I forgot to do this - I should have known better." Getting caught up in this self-talk reduces positive energy and your ability to move forward. Make a list of all the good things about you. Re-late your true vision Living your true vision will bring you joy and fulfillment. Even if you are not living it fully at present, speak about it. Put the message out into the universe and you will have made a commitment to realize that dream. What are you telling others about your dream? Re-assess your career Compare how many hours you work with how many hours you spend with family and friends. If work is unfulfilling, how does it affect your attitude? A bad attitude is hard to turn off and can spill over into other important areas of your life. Ask yourself: How does my work tie to my vision for a joyful life? Re-store your energy Most people are exhausted most of the time - a perfect excuse for not being active. The less active you are the more tired you get. Moving forward on a new path takes energy. Adding exercise to your day will give you that energy boost by reducing stress, providing a feeling of well-being, helping you sleep better and even help burn off excess calories and fat. How can you start the process of being active every day? Re-fuel your body It takes stamina to do the work you need to do to reach your goals. Keeping your body nourished provides even more energy as you grow in other healthy ways. Good food, in the right amounts at the right times, and drinking lots of water for brain power and to lubricate your body system are some refueling tips. Keep a food diary for one week and make adjustments as needed. Re-new your spirit Just like your physical body, your spirit needs tending as well. Re-train your brain to focus on what brings you joy rather than what is not fulfilling your needs. Search for ways to bring fun and laughter into your day. Re-claim relationships Reinventing yourself is a lot less scary when you gather support and listen to the wisdom of others who have done this work before you. Reconnect with others. Ask for help. Pick their brains. The hardest part is doing the asking. Contact people you know who have reinvented themselves and listen to their story. Re-ward yourself Instead of relying on others to reward you, consider what you can do for yourself to celebrate progress. You are responsible for your own joy. What are ways you can reward yourself that are healthy pleasures for you. Re-group regularly The present moment is all we have and where we can focus our energy to do the most good. Practice “present moment thinking” on a regular basis. It will lighten your load and reduce your stress making the daily footwork toward your goals easier. What is one thing you can do to bring your mind back to the present moment? Re-tain your true self You are at your best when you are being yourself. You are unique and no one is like you. You are a wonderful gift to this world. When you are being real and honest with yourself, everything will be clear and you will know what you are supposed to do with your life. How would life be if you were being your true self? Enjoy the process of re-booting for the new year. Please share your insights or what strategies you have been using that work!
  21. My favorite "tried and true" resource is Jean Coppock Staeheli and Jo Robinson's book Unplug the Christmas Machine - and that title says it all! Let's set the stage with some "Grinchy" holiday blues issues outlined from WebMD Fatigue: As if you weren't already too busy, now you have to fit in all the holiday prep and there is only a certain number of hours in the day. How is that affecting your ability to get the rest you need? Financial Stress: The "average" amount of money being spent this year on Christmas presents is $794 - or more. Are you prepared for that? Unrealistic Expectations: Are you trying to create a "perfect" holiday celebration like the advertisers portray it and you are coming up short? What is real for you? Over-Commercialism: Are you caught up in the shopping frenzy and just buying whatever is on sale just so you have gifts to give? How meaningful are those gifts for the person receiving them? Inability to Be with Your Family or Friends: For whatever reason, are you not able to be with those you care about? How is that affecting your ability to enjoy the holidays? Stress: Too much to cope with and not being able to really enjoy the true meaning of Christmas? What does Christmas really mean for you? Now let's begin with a simple assessment of who is doing what during the holidays. Look over the list below and cross out any preparations that are not likely to be part of your holiday celebration this year. Add any that have been overlooked. Buying gift wrapping supplies Making or buying decorations Wrapping gifts Cleaning up after the holiday Mailing gifts Writing thank-yous Planning holiday menus Getting kids to write thank-yous Cooking for family reunions Putting away decorations Special grocery shopping Disposing of the tree Holiday baking Taking down outside decorations Planning family reunions Getting ready for relatives Other _______________ Write the person's name next to each task who is responsible for accomplishing it Put an X next to each activity that has little value to you, or that you do not have time to fully enjoy. What are your conclusions? Was that an eye opener? Did you find yourself being the mainstay for most of those tasks? How does that make you feel? I have noticed from doing many of these programs that women do most of the tasks and men generally say "Why are you doing all that stuff? It's not necessary." Just something to think about. What if you could have a do-over for your typical holiday festivities. What would it look like? Take a few minutes to ponder that and then create YOUR PERFECT HOLIDAY FANTASY. On a separate piece of paper, write down YOUR VISION of a deeply satisfying holiday celebration. Remember - this is about YOU and no one else. The only requirement is that your fantasy fill you with peace and joy. You can either write it out or draw a picture that captures it. So how did that work out for you? How does it compare with your current holiday celebration? If it is different, are there any things you can still change to make your holiday even more meaningful? Or are you lucky enough to already have the perfect holiday that is perfect for you. Whatever it is, remember what this holiday is all about and make it as joyful and peaceful as possible. Here is the closing HOLIDAY PLEDGE from the book Unplug the Christmas Machine Believing in the beauty and simplicity of the holiday season, I commit myself to the following To remember those people who truly need my gifts. To express my love for family and friends in more direct ways than presents. To rededicate myself to the spiritual growth of my family. To examine my holiday activities in light of the true spirit of the holidays. To initiate one act of peacemaking within my circle of family members. I wish you a very happy, healthy and meaningful holiday season! Please share any tips with us that have worked for you.
  22. Carol Ebert

    Tame the Tiger with Tension Time-Outs

    Is stress a big deal for you? Of course it is! I'd be surprised if it isn't in this crazy busy world we live in. Need to apply the Brakes and take a Break? Here's a tool from my good friend and health education specialist Richard A. Detert Ph.D. author of Break Time: A Personal Guide to Reduce Your Daily Stress who granted permission to share. BreakTime Awareness Questions Directions: Respond as honestly as you can to each of the following items. Are you consciously aware of tension levels in your physical body? Are you able to reduce unwanted and unproductive tension in your body mind? Are you consciously aware of irritations, negative thoughts, or little physical symptoms from daily hassles? Are you effective using little strategies at any time or in any situation during your day to manage the stress and pressure you feel? Are you usually effective in responding to hassles or pressures in a calm, effective manner? Are you usually able to clear the cobwebs from your mind when getting bogged down in a project or many aspects of your life or work? Are you able to become energized or uplifted periodically in your day? Do you take time during the day to establish any meaning and purpose to what you're frantically trying to accomplish? Do you begin your day "sharp" but finish mentally "dull" or physically fatigued? Do you feel the need to reduce hassles or stress in your daily life? What peaked your interest once you completed this tool? Any breakthroughs? Looking for ways to apply the brakes? There are lots of strategies to support your efforts in managing the crazy busy lifestyle you are experiencing. But not all work for all people. I remember teaching nurses a stress management technique that focused on deep breathing, and even though most felt the benefit of relaxation, there were a few that hated it. They couldn't remain in a calm state and got restless. They might be more of a candidate for running off their stress than mellowing out. It is important to do some experimenting with stress management techniques to find the ones that get the results you desire. For instance, I use Jazzercise as a stress management tool, even though it is classified as a physical workout. But for me, it reduces my stress level by allowing me to burn off pent-up energy. But I can also benefit from calming activities as well. Here are some Tension-Time-Outs, and of course there are many more to help you reduce stress. Several of these ideas are actually over-looked when it comes to reducing stress. Especially the new information on tapping into your unique strengths. Yes, when you identify the brilliance of you, those characteristics can help you out once you give them credit due. So when you read them, appreciate the power they would have to help you tame that stress tiger within you. Check the ones you would like to explore and commit to making that happen by adding to your daily to-do list. Reframe a stressful situation in a positive or neutral way. Improve planning using daily checklists or a weekly planner. Practice relaxation strategies such as progressive muscle relaxation, deep breathing, guided imagery, clinical hypnosis, or biofeedback. Affirm your personal values before a stressful event to ground yourself. Use one of your unique strengths in a new way. Here are some examples of strengths Wisdom and knowledge Creativity Curiosity Judgment Love of learning Perspective Check out this link for more on strengths.1 New Strategies for Stress Management | Psychology Today Keep all your strengths in balance Practice forgiveness Practice mindfulness Practice gratitude Use positive self-affirmations or write about something you enjoy So what do you think? Are you ready to put one or two strategies in place? Please share the Tension-Time-Outs you use and the benefits you receive.
  23. Carol Ebert

    Can Stress Make You Fat?

    Let's begin with the basics to get a handle on this. As you know there are two kinds of stress. Short term like long lines and bad traffic. This is where your fight or flight response kicks in and hormones are released. Adrenal glands secrete epinephrine and norepinephrine Heart rate and blood pressure increase Fat and carbohydrates in your system are broken down faster Your metabolism changes to fuel this heightened state to be ready to fight or run away. Once the threat is eliminated your body settles down and you relax (hopefully). The other kind of stress is long term when the big or even little things in life keep piling up over and over and your body stays in that heightened state without settling down. You are in an ongoing battle against stressors that are repetitive, continuous and feel insurmountable - like debt or facing a job you hate every day. At this point, your stressors may not only be real, but you may just perceive them as a risk when they aren't after all - like worrying about something that could happen even tho it hasn't happened and may not even happen. With long-term stress there is also a hormone release. Adrenal glands secrete CORTISOL, your primary stress hormone Elevated levels remain for prolonged periods of time Your body adjusts to these levels and establishes a baseline of tolerance while the secretions of cortisol continue to increase. Seems like the signs of dependence and addiction, doesn't it? When stress becomes so normal to you that you don't even know you're stressed, you think you are doing OK. (This happened to me at one point and until I learned stress management techniques, I had no idea my body was in a stressed state!) And now the stage is set for the long-term effects of high levels of cortisol on your weight. Here are some considerations. Carb and Sugar Cravings If high levels remain, cortisol secretions continue to increase which in turn: Stimulates appetite Stimulates a rise in insulin Causes blood sugar to drop Creates cravings for high sugar foods Comfort Foods If you have stress without relief - you may reach for "comfort foods" They provide lots of energy in the form of refined sugar They are rich in fat They calm the brain Your body's response positively reinforces frequent consumption of comfort foods when you are under stress and are hungry Stress and Middle Fat CORTISOL activates LPL (lipoprotein lipase) LPL is an enzyme that deposits and stores fat Study results Women's study: High cortisol levels from long-term stress can lead to greater central fat accumulation Mouse study: Mice not on a high-fat diet under prolonged stress had gut microbiome changes that resembled mice eating a high-fat diet Sleep Deprivation When you are sleep deprived your body is stressed and releases even more hormones that affect your weight. Being awake in the night increases the odds that you will engage in late night snacking and have cravings for high sugar and carb snacks. Because you aren't "thinking straight" you might have decreased portion control so you eat bigger portions. Cortisol increases -fat storage hormone to prepare you for possible emergency (ex: famine) Gherlin increases -hormone that stimulates appetite Leptin decreases -hormone that suppresses appetite Insulin increases -hormone that stores fat when it can't transport all the excess sugar to the cells for energy So how do we tamp down this physiological response? Do you just cope and scrape by during each episode of stress? Or do you manage the situation by planning ahead and building systems of support before stressors become overwhelming? I have tried both and the coping part only lasts so long until you can't manage the pain any longer. So here are some strategies to help you move forward with your weight loss goals. Create a Support System Identify friends or family you can count on and write down their contact info so you can reach out in a hurry. Let's just start with one key person in your life. Name_____________________________________Phone__________________ Block out alone time on your calendar One hour block or a few shorter ones where you will be free from distractions and visitors. List one activity you can use to recharge your batteries Activity___________________________Day________________Time_________ Prioritize your tasks Make a to-do list and do harder or more challenging ones first. Use the "easier" tasks which take less time as a reward for completing the big stuff first. Check off each when done to create a feeling of accomplishment which helps your body relax. Task__________________________________________________Challenging_____Easy____ Make time for Self-Care This is not a luxury, it is crucial for health! Eat balanced, low-glycemic meals and snacks to keep your blood sugar in balance so it doesn't set off the cortisol response - bring healthy food to work from home so you can control what you eat Get 7-8 hours of restful sleep to prevent sleep deprivation which sets off that cascade of hormones - wind down in the evening, turn off electronics, ease into a sleep mode, don't eat or exercise right before bed Exercise daily - to lower cortisol levels and boost endorphins. Choose an activity you enjoy, put it on your calendar, rejoice that exercise is a 2-for-1 deal: helps with weight management AND stress management. Engage in relaxation techniques - select those you like: meditation, visualization, Tai Chi, Chi Machine, EFT Tapping, progressive relaxation; the choices out there are endless it seems. So what do you think? Does getting a handle on stress become THE missing link for weight loss? What are your thoughts? Resources Bridgewater LC, et al. Gender-based differences in host behavior and gut microbiota composition in response to high-fat diet and stress in a mouse model. Nature Scientific Reports. 2017; 7(1):10776. Epel ES, et al. Stress and body shape: Stress-induced cortisol secretion is consistently greater among women with central fat. Psychosomatic Medicine. 2000;(62):623-32. Maglione-Garves, CA et al. Cortisol Connection: Tips on Managing Stress and Weight. ACSM'S Health & Fitness Journal. 2005; 9(5):20-23. Montes M and Kravitz L. Unraveling the Stress-Eating-Obesity Knot: Exercise can significantly mitigate the effects of stress and weight gain. IDEA Fitness Journal. 2011; 8(2):44-50. Exercise for Stress and Anxiety | Anxiety and Depression Association of America, ADAA http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/manage-stress.aspx Stress might be just as unhealthy as junk food to digestive system: Study with mice shows stress causes digestive microorganisms to behave similar to how they act with high-fat diet -- ScienceDaily
  24. My husband is obese, has Diabetes and is non-compliant when it comes to checking his blood sugars and following a Diabetic Diet. And his A1C is over 8, and that really scares me. He's already been thru open heart surgery to fix four blockages, a stent put in two years later, and now is experiencing shortness of breath. So back for more tests and another possible surgery. Things are happening that have me worried and I am starting to feel afraid that I could lose him. The most frustrating part is that I know what he needs to do to improve his chances of living longer and healthier but I can't get him to do it. I'm sure it hasn't been easy for him living with "Nurse Wellness" since he's addicted to junk food and doesn't want to change from pizza and hamburgers to whatever I have concocted that is super healthy and not loaded with sugar and grease. A definite dilemma, but it doesn't mean that I give up trying to change him, despite knowing you can't change anyone but yourself. I will admit I have had to get sneaky over the years trying to trick him into adopting healthier eating habits. For example, when I started my own wellness business with a focus on nutrition, I really learned the facts about using "food as medicine" so I was very motivated toward helping him lose weight, bring down those blood sugars and maybe get off of the many drugs he was on. One of the programs I had at my disposal was called a Sugar Cleanse and it was part of a weight loss program, so I thought this would be perfect for him. It consisted of replacing meals with shakes for 5 days, taking vitamins twice a day, eating nutrition bars in between meals and after 5 days he could lose 5 pounds. But how to get him to do it? Step one. I knew that he had loved having milk shakes as a treat, so I suggested he might like to try one of my nutrition shakes. And guess what - he liked it! Step one was accomplished and he was willing to drink a shake every morning for breakfast. Step 2. Getting him to take the vitamins. He was already taking medications for his Diabetes, so what's a few more pills? I told him they had been giving me more energy, I felt better and was sleeping better so he decided to give them a try. So I added them to his pill box and he took them all together without flinching. Just a few more pills - no big deal. Step 3. Getting him to do the 5-day Sugar Cleanse. Since I hadn't tried it myself, I wanted to know what it was like so I could better support my customers about what to expect. I also knew that it helps with weight loss and blood sugar control so I asked him to do it with me and he said YES! And he agreed to check his blood sugars during the 5 days to see if it was working. NOTE: I believe that even tho he originally seemed to be resistant to changing his lifestyle toward more healthy living, he really did want to get healthier but didn't know how to proceed. Sometimes when something comes along that sounds like it could work and is non-threatening, people jump on board. Timing is everything! And so the experiment began. Day one his blood sugar was 180, and by day 5, it was 90. He was thrilled! And guess what - he lost 11 pounds over 5 days to my 5. Yes, men seem to lose weight faster than women - not fair! Now he was on a roll and stayed on a modified version of the program for the next 6 months, lost over 40 pounds, got off of his blood pressure and cholesterol med and one of his Diabetes meds. And felt a whole lot better and became a believer in eating "low glycemic" foods for weight and blood sugar control. So being sneaky and trying to trick him into making some healthy lifestyle changes may not seem fair, but a girl's got to do what a girl's got to do. And in this case it worked. But now for the rest of the story. I wish I could say that there is a happy ending and he stayed super healthy for the rest of his days. But truth be told, this plan worked for several years but gradually his food addiction sneaked back in with his old habits and he gained all his weight back and finally ended up taking insulin for his Diabetes. So here we are again, back at the beginning. However, this time we're older and now I'm worried that his life could be in jeopardy. But my nature is not to give up. Especially when I know the results he had before were spectacular and life saving. I am also armed with success stories from other clients who use this program and are healthier and extremely grateful to have found something that works, when all the meds in the world have not helped. Even one man was able to drop his A1C from 8 to 5 and resolved his Diabetic Neuropathy! And again I am amazed at the power of "food as medicine". So rather than giving into the fear of the "inevitable" with my husband, I prefer to take the high road and become the "trickster" again and try to work my magic once more. After all, he is worth it and the path of healthcare with all those drugs and procedures should be the "path less traveled". Wellness is the way to true health and longevity. Do you have a spouse or partner who has health issues you wish you could change and how are you handling it? Please share your stories so we can learn from your experiences.
  25. Carol Ebert

    What is a Sugar Cleanse and Do I Need It?

    The Dictionary defines cleanse this way ... ... to rid of impurities; to remove toxins from the body. Body cleanses have been around for centuries. From the Egyptians to the Romans, people have always tried to rid their bodies of toxin build up. And today we live in a toxic soup from exposures to toxic cleaning products, toxic fabrics that touch our bodies all day long and even at night, toxic mattresses, toxic air, toxic "new car smells" (yes that is called off-gassing from chemicals used). And then there are all the toxins on food we eat, whether fresh or packaged. But what does that have to do with doing a sugar cleanse? Did you know that sugar is toxic to the body? Maybe it wouldn't be if we ate less of it, but presently we consume on average, 200# of sugar per person per year. Our ancestors consumed about 22 teaspoons per year which was fine for the body to deal with, but today we are overloaded with it to the point that our bodies respond to as a toxic substance. And therefore sets us up for "inflammation" which is now the root cause of nearly all chronic disease. So how did we get so overloaded with sugar? Back in the 60's the sugar industry was studying the effects of sugar on the body and noticed a link with heart disease, so of course stopped the study and pivoted over to high cholesterol and high fat being the culprit. Because of this most major health organizations got on board promoting low fat diets including the healthcare system. And to help out the cause, the food industry then created a myriad of low-fat food options, which coincidently were also high carb which translates into high sugar once it breaks down in the body. So we started a grand experiment of the worst diet for health (high carb, low fat) which has led to skyrocketing rates of obesity, Diabetes, and many other chronic diseases, which we know today are related to inflammation. So back to sugar as the culprit We now recognize the link between sugar and heart disease but also to cancer as well. Here is one journal article about this. And yet another. This is serious! And it is not getting any better since the food industry has upped their game with more sugary snacks on the market that are even bigger than ever. You see it every day - giant sized candy bars, giant muffins, giant bagels, giant bags of chips, etc. In addition if you are a label reader of food packages, you will see sugar has been added to 75% of all packaged foods. A very subtle way to get us to like the taste of a product and so we want more and more. Yes, most of us are addicted to sugar and can't seem to stop. Why can't you stop eating sugar easily? Because it is 8 times more addicting than cocaine. It actually "hits" the brain at the same location as drugs which causes the release of "feel good" hormones and of course the addiction cycle continues. So what is a person to do? It is not easy to just stop or just cut back because of the addictive property of sugar overload. That is where a sugar cleanse becomes useful. It is a process that allows your body to release the hold that sugar has on you by bringing your blood sugar back into control which in turn stops those incessant "carb cravings". It changes your chemistry and gives you back the control you need to resist sugar and appreciate the taste of whole natural foods. And they taste really good once you re-educate your palate. Here's what a quality sugar cleanse can do for you reduces the load of toxins going into your body helps speed the process of removing toxins from your body using cleansing foods. removes most inflammatory foods and helps you identify foods that you don't tolerate helps heal your gut which is one of the greatest locations for inflammation in the body. gives you tools that you can use in your everyday life after the cleanse. supplies optimal foods that fuel your body. supplies pharmaceutical grade micro-nutrients to combat free-radical buildup gives you support and holds you accountable. What I find interesting is that the healthcare system probably won't recommend this strategy for clearing your body from sugar addiction, probably because it doesn't require using any drugs. So if sugar is an issue for you, why not give a sugar cleanse a try. Of course, beware of any sugar cleanse that is loaded with sugar! So read the labels and make an informed choice, and then go for it. How might this help you with your New Year's Resolutions?

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