By Lance Breger, Executive Wellness Coach & CEO of Infinity Wellness Partners
My name is Lance Breger and I was a hot mess. Not only was I a full-time personal trainer, but also running two startup wellness businesses simultaneously. I was working 7 days a week, sacrificing sleep for 6:00am clients, emailing and blogging late into the night, viewing meals as productivity speed bumps and existing in a chronic state of stress. It was only a matter of time before I crashed – hard.
In February 2008, I was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit at George Washington University Hospital for a peritonsular infection. The extreme pain of speaking and swallowing plus the fear of potential throat surgery was the backhanded slap of mortality that I needed to change my life and priorities forever. After all, what good is a thriving business if you are dead?
Now as an Executive Wellness Coach and Founder of Infinity Wellness Partners (IWP), a comprehensive corporate wellness company that prepares executives and organizations for the most productive and healthy work-life, I share important lessons learned through the challenges I faced when I did not put myself first.
My mission in life is to make wellness a workplace priority every day and I do that by providing my national clients online/on-site training in four critical areas of wellness:
The Stressed Corporate State
Today’s executives are faced with the great challenge of maintaining their productivity and well-being while experiencing the most high-pressure and fast-paced work environment ever! This chronic state of pressure and stress is taking a major toll on job performance and health as 7 out of 10 individuals in the US report experiencing physical and psychological symptoms of stress according to the American Institute on Stress.
It’s important to know that all stress summates. Scary stuff, but have no fear I’m here for you. In this article I’m going to share four powerful tips to reduce the stress physically, mentally, and environmentally! Are you ready?
Tip #1: Fitness – Move 5 Minutes of Every 60!
The human body was designed to move, hunt and gather, now the average American sits for 13.5 hours per day! We can greatly reduce our disease risk, keep the brain and muscles activated as well as help our body burn fat for energy by moving just 5 minutes of every 60.
New Habit – Since concentration levels begin to drop after 50 minutes, take the final 10 minutes before the hour to move by stretching, refilling your water, walking over to a co-worker, or grabbing a healthy snack.
Tip #2: Nutrition – Always include Protein & Fat
One of the most stressful states for the body is to alternate between high and low blood sugar, which happens for the majority of professionals due to the large amount of carbohydrates eaten. These spikes cause fat storage and the crashes result in low energy, stress hormone release, and sugary cravings!
New Habit – Slow the blood sugar spike, increase your fullness and release energy gradually by always including protein and fat sources in every meal and snack…even juices and smoothies. Add eggs to breakfast, avocado to your salad, pumpkin seeds to your snack to feel a difference.
Tip #3: Ergonomics – 90-Degree Rule
Poor posture at the computer can decrease lung capacity by 30% and literally changes our muscles, spine and joints leading to aches, pains and injuries that are slow to heal.
New Habit – Align your body at your computer by making sure you have a 90° angle or greater at the elbow, hip, knee and ankle.
Tip #4: Mind/Body – Slow Breathing
The average professional has 17 to 19 stress responses per day! That means their body and brains are responding as if you are in a life or death situation throughout the day every day. This leads to either holding our breath or breathing shallowly and rapidly through the chest, shoulders and mouth similar to hyperventilation.
New Habit – Take 6 slow breaths every hour, inhaling through the nose and belly on a count of 1-2-3-4-5 and exhale on a count of 5-4-3-2-1.
Take the 21-Day Challenge
Now that you have four new habits to help improve your health and productivity by reducing the stress on your mind and body, it’s time to put it to work! I challenge you all to take at least one of these habits (you can choose up to all four at once) and apply it every day for the next 21 days in a row. Repeating new behaviors on consecutive days for 7-21 days creates entrainment or habit formation.
I wish you all a very positive and enlightening 21-Day challenge! Please think of me as your personal Wellness Coach and I invite you to share your questions or comments with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.