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I consider myself a lucky girl to have received the new Fitbit Charge for Christmas. I see so many people wearing one or a similar device, and of course I was intrigued! And as a personal leadership and wellbeing coach I have to admit I was experiencing a some FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)!

So how has this magical device helped me, and how can it help you? Here’s what I’ve learned and loved so far:

1. Say goodbye to being sedentary! Did you know that the majority of Americans are considered sedentary? One of my favorite wellness books, Eat. Move. Sleep. by Tom Rath details this very clearly for us. Pay attention folks! People who walk fewer than 5,500 steps are considered sedentary, and the average American falls below this sedentary line!!! Being sedentary brings on a host of health issues which we won’t get into today, but 10,000 steps are considered a good target for overall activity and equates to about 5 miles. With Fitbit you can set a daily steps goal, and the minimum recommended to get us above and beyond that sedentary line is 10,000. In comparison to Americans, Australians average 9,695 steps per day. Their obesity rate is just 16% compared to our 34%! I don’t know about you, but I want to beat those Aussie’s!!

2. Say hello to accountability! The online Fitbit Dashboard and App gives you a multitude of ways to hold yourself accountable. First, you can find friends who also own one and challenge yourself to take more steps than they do daily! With the Fitbit you also can set alarms to remind you to get up and move. Also according to Tom Rath, and as I have learned as well, you can easily achieve 3,000 steps by just taking a daily lunch break and walking/climbing steps. Since I work on a beautiful campus, this allows me to not only walk, but achieve my mindful goal, which I love to do via walking and sensing the world around me. Oh, and, I just love that Fitbit sends me all these badges when I’ve achieved something super cool! (I love recognition!!)5 ways the Fitbit has rocked my world!

 

3. Here comes motivation! Let me be really clear. Achieving 10,000 steps daily is no easy feat. You have to want to do it, and you have to strategize how you’re going to do it. If you spend a lot of time in your office and on the computer, it’s almost impossible to achieve! Without a tool like Fitbit to be an ever-present reminder you’d need to create another source of accountability. As you begin to use it and visit your dashboard daily, you begin to understand the best way to achieve 10,000 steps or more each day. For me, if I’m not able to get out for lunch, I know that I need to get across campus for some reason, like visiting a colleague. Or, perhaps I will need to fit in an evening walk around my neighborhood, or a Zumba class. I also know that I have to take a break from sitting every hour, even if it means just getting up for a stretch, glass of water, or a short walk across the hall. Anything to not sit for so long. Bottom line, once you understand how you can reach 10,000 each day, and how very critical it is for your health, your motivation skyrockets!

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4. Wellness as a whole increases! We know that there are other strategies that we can use to help keep us healthy, like logging what we eat, our daily exercise, and how much water we drink. You also can do this on Fitbit’s dashboard. It’s a one stop shop! As the saying goes, what you focus on becomes a reality! Entering and looking at this data daily definitely helps you achieve a sense of wellbeing in a variety of areas.Screenshot 2015-01-12 10.48.11

5. Bring on the Zzzzs! One of the main reasons why I was interested in the Fitbit was it’s ability to track my sleeping patterns. As some of you know, over the summer I blogged about Arianna Huffington’s book, Thrive. In the book she identifies sleep as one of the metrics for success and wellbeing. In it she states that just 30 more minutes of sleep will immediately improve your health, creativity, productivity and sense of well-being. (I agree!!) She recommends to either go to bed earlier, get up later, or take 2 short naps a day. In the book, Bill Clinton admitted, “Every important mistake I’ve made in my life, I’ve made because I was too tired.”

I believe that each of us intuitively knows what those health levers are for us. Over the years I have realized that for me, sleep is critical. It is also one of the areas most challenging for me to improve. The Fitbit tracks the number of times I am restless or awakened while I sleep, therefore giving me a true picture of the total number of hours I am actually at rest. Well, it’s kind of scary! With this information, I’m able to better understand my sleep patterns and continue to make adjustments to help me figure out the very best way for me to get a minimum of 7 hours of true sleep each night.

And just to throw in one extra PLUS… for those of you who have been trying not to sleep with your phone next to you, but have to because your alarm is your phone, well the Fitbit takes care of that! I no longer rely on my phone to wake me. My Fitbit gently buzzes me when it’s time to wake, and it also notifies me when I receive a call. So, I’m no longer a hostage to my cell! BONUS!!!

I don’t sell Fitbits and I don’t make a commission off of them! I simply love sharing products or resources for busy people who want to make their wellbeing a priority.

How has Fitbit or another tool help you achieve your wellbeing goals? I’d love to hear from you.

It’s your life. Lead it well.

Monique

 

SUMMER OF WELL-BEING WEEK 13

 

Welcome to Week 13 the final week of Summer of Well-Being! Our guest blogger today is Michelle Alva, an Energy Healer at Canyon Ranch Miami Beach. Today, she demonstrates 5 quick and easy tips to de-stress and energize ourselves in our daily lives. Watch her video and leave a comment below!


Mary P
Michelle Alva
Michelle Alva Integrative Healing and Wellness 
Michelle, who works as an Energy Healer at Canyon Ranch Miami Beach combines her 18 year background as a physical therapist, yoga therapist, belly dance teacher, and energy medicine practitioner to bring a very safe and effective approach to healing and wellness. Michelle bridges the gap between modern science and ancient wisdom approaches. She writes weekly on her blog, and has been published in national publications. She creates inspirational videos on her You Tube Channel, all designed to empower and educate individuals on how to heal, de-stress, love more and energize from the inside out.

 
 
 

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…Well, young Skywalker, it has EVERYTHING to do with it!

(Yes, I’m a Star Wars fan!)

“Love is what we are born with. Fear is what we learn. The spiritual journey is the unlearning of fear and prejudices and the acceptance of love back in our hearts. Love is the essential reality and our purpose on earth. To be consciously aware of it, to experience love in ourselves and others, is the meaning of life.”   – Marianne Williamson

Yeah, I know, talking about “love” especially in professional settings can feel inappropriate or “soft”. But, is it really? What is love? What does it represent to you?

For me, when I think of people I love (including those I work with), I think about how much I respect them, how much I learn from them, and how much I enjoy being around them. Perhaps they lift up my spirits, or give me tough love and show me how to be a better person and leader. What’s so soft about that?

Now, let’s take a look at fear. What does it represent for you? I fear people because their values are opposite to mine, or they represent what I want to become one day and that vision is scary to me! Of course, fear also represents true danger – situations that put me or those I love at risk in some way.

When we talk about the personal choice we have and can make at any moment, if we pay close attention, we can see how ALL OF OUR CHOICES, whether conscious or not are either based in LOVE or FEAR. If you are practicing your awareness then you can begin to make more choices based in love (or similar emotions, like compassion, caring, appreciation, concern, excitement, joy, synergy, etc.)

Doesn’t love feel better than fear? It does. And, I can tell you that in the world of energy, love resonates very high (attracts/expands) and fear resonates very low (repels/breaks down). It’s very simple, when we choose fear we get stuck and stay stuck. There is no growth, no health, no vision, no risk, and lots of worry and stress!

Let’s play with this a bit. Here’s a scenario some of you may be familiar with:

There is one promotion available in your department and it will be offered to someone from within. Several of your colleagues are also interested in the promotion and are going for it. When you hear this, you can feel excited or scared, challenged or angrily competitive. You can think in your mind… “Wow! Can you imagine if I get it? If they see in me what I’m worth and how I can grow and develop in this role?” You can also think…. “Damn that Sally! I knew she would go for this, that B_ _ _h! She can’t get it. I won’t let her!” Do you sense the love and fear in these thoughts? You should be able to because thoughts and emotions are directly linked. You cannot have one without the other. So, I pose this question to you?

If you could make more conscious choices based in loving thoughts rather than fearful thoughts, how much more joy, peace and success would you feel in every moment?

Here’s a simple request… Just take one day to track all of the decisions you make (or avoid!) —large and/or small—and investigate if they are based in love or fear and how you feel.

You can change your choices and you can shift the fearful ones immediately with awareness and practice. Love is one of fear’s worst enemies! Douse your fear with love! I know you will feel better as a result. If you need to do it privately, that’s allowed too! No one needs to know! Now go do it.

Wishing you a life well led!

Monique

 

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Change is inevitable – after all, nothing really stays the same.  But in today’s challenging times, it seems like we’re on “uncertainty” overload, never knowing what will happen from one moment to the next. Here today, gone tomorrow – or, at the least, very different tomorrow.

Uncertainty brings stress and confusion, and while most of us would be quick to say that we want less stress and more certainty in our lives, what we really want is less of a stress reaction to what life is throwing our way.

We can’t choose what happens to us – but we can choose our responses to the situations we encounter.  Let’s take a look at five different responses that people have to stressful situations. As you read through these five responses, you may want to think of a recent stressful event or news that you have received, and see what your reaction to that event can teach you about how you habitually respond.  You may have one type of response at work, and another at home, or you may react differently depending on who else is involved.

The first, and unfortunately all too common response to stressful events is to suffer and be a victim to it. People who respond this way don’t take action. Things happen TO them – and though they may complain and be generally miserable about it, they don’t take any steps to do anything. They allow life to control them, instead of the other way around. This way of responding is certainly not recommended, and eventually, it will take its toll on one’s physical and mental health.

The second type of response is to accept it the situation, and to get some perspective on it.  Someone with this response may say “so what,” or perhaps get some perspective on the situation by asking if it will it matter in a year – or a week – or even in a day.

The third way to respond is to actually take steps to change the situation – taking action to bring it to resolution (or at least move toward resolution). This is a very powerful response, and one that many effective leaders employ.

The fourth way to respond is to avoid the situation. People responding this way make a decision not to get involved in a situation that they don’t see as concerning them, or upon which they can’t make an impact. For example, someone may choose not to get involved in a dispute going on within their office if it doesn’t directly involve them.

The fifth and final way that people generally respond to stress is to alter the experience of the situation. When we look at a situation differently, the experience itself changes. Changing perceptions is probably the most challenging of the responses, because we tend to be stuck in our own interpretations and assumptions about what’s happening, but it is also perhaps the most powerful of all.

It’s your life, and you can create it and lead it as you wish. Remember, what one person sees as stressful, another person barely notices, or sees as exciting and full of opportunity.

So, when life throws you lemons, how will you choose? 

Please comment below and keep the conversation going!

Namaste,

Monique

 

 

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We look to the New Year as “the time” to decide who we will be and what we will achieve in the next year. And although that is a natural time to create ourselves anew, if we so wish, there also are other times during the year when, energetically, it is optimal for us to take these steps.

According to astrologers this month of April is one of those unique times, due to the activation and transit of these very powerful planets: Jupiter, Uranus, Pluto and Mars. We are informed that it may be a wild ride, and that we will be tested. But, in the same, it is an excellent time to clean our slate and claim our power and purpose.

Whether or not you believe in astrology — or anything else for that matter — symbolism and/or rituals are things we can look to, to provide us with motivation to accomplish amazing things and tap into the many miracles in our lives (as well as experience new ones!).

Seeking out these energetic moments is one of my personal strategies for success. Our lives get full quick, and in no time we’re in Quarter 2! In the New Year I always go through the process of intending what I hope to experience, but just as we revisit our business plans, we also should do the same with our New Year goals.

What did you set out to feel, start or accomplish? Are you on track? What’s changed? Where have you succeeded thus far? What’s next?

Energetically, April is the right time to investigate and continue the process of intention and tapping into our personal power.

Want to join me for this “Alchemic April” exercise? Let’s go!

To make this super easy and achievable, I’ve taken the dates of the major planetary transitions for this month as detailed by Astrologist Maya White, and based on the potential “Power Outcome” of their transit, I’ve suggested a question for you to ponder upon, or a small action for you to take. Print this out and follow along daily during the month April. Most importantly … have fun with this!

  • (Today) April 3What do you want? Write it down now.
  • April 4What one small thing in your life needs to change? Take one small step today toward that change.
  • April 5 – Show compassion today. How will you show it and why is this action important to you?
  • April 8 – Is there an obstacle in your way? How can you begin to overcome it now?
  • April 11 – Connect with someone you love. What does your heart and soul want you to do? Do it.
  • April 14– What’s holding you back? How can you express your truth to get you closer to your destiny?
  • April 15 – Work on the relationship with yourself. What do you need to do for you? Do it.
  • April 16 – Caring what others think of what you need to say or do? Do it anyway – now!
  • April 17– Practice abundance! Make a list of the five major things you are grateful for. Pay it forward today.
  • April 20 – Get in the game. Where do you need to claim your stake? Take that action now.
  • April 21 – What’s the right thing to do? Do it.
  • April 22 – Connect with your authenticity. Share your truth in some way today & know that others will resonate with it!
  • April 28 – Write down your new, updated vision for yourself. See it and feel it. Through this action know that the energy of the world supports your vision! Believe in it and walk toward it.

I hope that you take advantage of these energies to help manifest your core self and core vision for your life. Placing energy into our goals and desires helps us to focus on them and push them forward. And in the end, let’s remember that leading others is only as effective as leading ourselves.

Please share your experiences with me below by commenting.

Enjoy your weekend!

It’s your life. Lead it well.

Monique

stpatricksday

Need to bring a little green luck into your work life? There’s no better time than this week to help you find that ever-evading pot of gold!

Feng Shui is one of my favorite topics and areas of study. At its essence, when you are practicing Feng Shui you are bringing your environment into balance and ensuring that the energy around you is flowing and not stagnant or “stuck.”

Feeling stuck at work? This may be a sign that putting into place some meaningful and easy “cures” is needed, helping you get back into the flow of productivity, creativity, and maybe even some new clients, or even a promotion!

Although it may sound light or “out there,” Feng Shui is a respected ancient practice, both in the east and the west. In fact, many businesses (even architects designing new buildings, work spaces or corporate parks) consult with Feng Shui practitioners to create balanced and vibrant work environments. With this practice not only do you see the difference, but you really feel it.

Here are some “green” tips to get that energy and those ideas flowing again. When I think of Ireland, I think of expansive lands, dirt and trees, mountains, four-leaf clovers, and of course, the color green! Here’s the most important tip of all: When you enhance your space, do it with intention. Without focus and meaning, it won’t do a damn thing!

*The color green represents growth and expansion — think of seedlings beginning to sprout. So, one of the best things to do is to bring live plants into your workspace. Not only will they increase the amount of oxygen in your environment (keeping you alert!), but they also represent the growth of things — money, recognition, health, relationships, etc. Place it in the area of your space you want to enhance. You can see a western Feng Shui map, or Bagua, here.

Important: With a western Bagua, you are not using actual compass directions, but you are placing the map at the entrance (door) of your office and/or workspace, with “north” facing directly across from you.

*This idea of growth and expansion can also be enhanced by items or images of things that are tree-like … like paper, bamboo, wood, tall and rectangular-shapes, or pictures of the sun rising or mountains in the spring time with lots of vibrant green grass! If you really have a new idea you want to launch, make sure to place that plant or item in the Creativity quadrant of your office space.

*Bring in that pot of gold! If it’s more money you want to attract, or the feeling of prosperity and abundance, bring in some shiny coins or dollar bills (or pictures of what wealth represents to you) and place it in your Wealth corner. And yes, definitely pictures of four-leaf clovers, or the real thing, if you can get your hands on one!

*Want to feel revitalized? Need to drive up your feeling of health and well-being? How about a comfy green pillow or pashmina? These will do the job, especially in the Health quadrant of your office!

Have fun with these tips! Feel free to share how your enhancements work for you. I’d love to hear from you.

Until then …

May your troubles be less,
And your blessings be more.
And nothing but happiness,
Come through your door.

It’s your life. Lead it well.

Namaste … Monique

Breathe in. Breathe out.

February 12, 2014

 breathing

For those mommies out there, or perhaps athletes or actors, who had to learn how to breathe a certain way to give birth with less pain (yeah right!), or manage your energy and nervous system, you probably recognize the importance of BREATH in these circumstances. But how often do we use our breath daily, consciously, to regulate our emotions and mange our energy?

It just so happens that breath is another one of the primary inputs into our energetic system. If creating a high level of wellness and energy is important to you, then becoming a bit more aware of your breath and using it as a tool is a great way to achieve that goal. In fact, our bodies are mostly made up of water and oxygen (65%). If being more of who we are naturally helps us feel at our best, then giving our bodies more O2 is definitely a great strategy.

I recently learned that while working at a computer, adults’ breathing rate increases by 30% to 18 breaths per minute, which can lead to hyperventilation, increased neck and shoulder tension and fatigue. Add coffee to that equation, and “Houston…we’ve got a problem!” And, since the majority of us are technologically ON all the time with our “smart” tools, is it no wonder we are exhausted, tense and, literally, running out of breath?

Personally, I LOVE my productivity tools, but, I, too, understand the importance of being aware of my breath and using it proactively to help energize me and give me a greater sense of well being.

Here’s a simple way to breathe more life into your mind, body and soul:

Begin to associate sitting with breathing. When you get into your car in the morning take a deep, expanding belly breath and blow it out through your nose. Do this at least three times before you turn on the ignition. Try breathing in slowly to the count of four and slowly exhaling to the count of four.

Then, when you get to your office and sit down at your desk do the same thing. When you need a potty break, guess what? Do it again! (Not kidding). When you sit down to eat, do it again. Continue this throughout the day during those “breaks” when you sit down to begin a new task. Pretty soon you’ll have created the awareness and habit of sitting and breathing—giving you many tiny moments of delicious breath and consciousness.

If you’re super busy and can only take one deep breath each time, that’s okay. It’s a great start and will make a big difference.

Try it out and see how you feel. Ahhh!

Share your outcomes with me below.

Sharing is caring!

It’s your life. Lead it well.

Namaste… Monique