Combating the damaging health effects of marianismo on Latinas in the workplace 

Cultural stereotypes and expectations can create barriers and lead to real health concerns for Latinas in the workplace. Marianismo is one of the primary cultural stereotypes that Latinas face, characterized by an idealized traditional feminine gender role that expects women to be submissive, selfless, and hyperfeminine. These rigid expectations can be overwhelming and create more workplace stress when Latinas do not fit the mold. 

Many Latinas in the workplace report feeling as though they are holding themselves back to fit into company cultures that are usually defined by traditionally masculine standards. One study found that 53% of Latinas reported that their workplace personas were defined by conforming to traditionally male standards. 

Machismo is the counter-side to marianismo and is characterized by male behavior that is strong, forecul, and dominating. When Latina women are in traditionally masuline spaces, they are expected to submit and follow, not lead. This can be challenging for women trying to get ahead and rise up to leadership positions in male-dominated workplaces. 

In a study by the Center for Women Policy Studies, 21% of women of color said they did not feel they were free to be “themselves at work.” Additionally, more than one third of women of color — ranging from 28 percent to 44 percent — feel they must “play down” their race or ethnicity to succeed in their careers. 

Listen to new titles by your favorite Latinas today on Audible! 

Negative health consequences of marianismo and cultural stereotypes 

For many Latinas, the stress to conform to cultural stereotypes such as marianismo can lead to chronic stress and burnout. 

Burnout is categorized as an occupational syndrome, “resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.” Burnout can effect Latinas in industries that promote a capitalist culture of constant productivity, with little regard for one’s mental and emotional boundaries

Due to stereotypes, many Latinas might feel expected to take on more responsibilities than their other team members. (Photo source:  freepik – www.freepik.com)

In workplace environments like this, Latinas might be expected to shoulder larger workloads with little to no extra compensation. Because cultural expectations, such as marianismo, believe women should be “self-sacrificing” and take care of others, many Latinas might be expected to take on more responsibilities than their other team members. 

Many Latinas have also been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, taking on greater caretaking responsibilities, losing jobs, and struggling financially. These factors can also put pressure on Latinas in the workplace to take on more work and ask for little in return for fear of losing the stability of a job and paycheck. 

You might be interested: 4 Tips for Latina and minority women on setting boundaries in the workplace

If unchecked, chronic stress and burnout can lead to health issues such as depression, anxiety, anger, and cynical hostility, adversely influencing cardiometabolic health. One study on Machismo, Marianismo, and Negative Cognitive-Emotional Factors found that  Hispanics—the largest U.S. ethnic minority group —are more likely to meet criteria for major depression than non-Hispanic Whites and are also more likely overall to develop diabetes and heart disease. Chronic stress is a contributing factor to the development of these health issues. 

Pushing back against cultural stereotypes can be difficult and daunting, but it is necessary to advocate for oneself and for other Latinas in the workplace. When left unchecked, chronic stress can lead to many negative health consequences that no one should have to face. Setting healthy boundaries and speaking up against biases and unfair treatment is crucial to establishing a positive workplace environment for all. 


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How to manage and prevent burnout in the workplace

We’re all  familiar with the term “burnout”, a term that is used over and over again in the workplace and often synonymous with being “stressed out.” However, burnout is more than just usual workplace stress and it can have lasting effects on one’s physical and mental health if not addressed properly. Below are some resources for recognizing burnout symptoms and tips for managing them. 

Burnout is on the rise 

In 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) recategorized burnout as an occupational syndrome, “resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.” Previously, burnout was only considered “state of vital exhaustion,” though the Maslach Burnout Inventory was used to diagnose burnout, and it is still widely used today. 

This diagnostic tool, developed by Christina Maslach, Professor of Psychology (Emerita) and a core researcher at the Healthy Workplaces Center at the University of California, Berkeley, is used by experts to identify burnout in individuals. According to the Maslach Burnout Inventory, burnout occurs when these three factors are present: emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and a diminished sense of personal accomplishment.

An article by Forbes reported that workplace burnout is on the rise since the pandemic began. A study conducted by the job-seeking site, Indeed, found that: 

  • 52% of survey respondents are experienced burnout in 2021—up from the 43% who reported burnout in Indeed’s pre-pandemic survey. 
  • Millennials are the most affected population, with 59% reporting feelings of burnout. However, Gen Z is following closely behind at 58%, up from 47% pre-pandemic. Additionally, Baby Boomers reported a 7% increase in burnout since the pandemic began, now at 31% compared to the 24% reported pre-COVID-19. Finally, Gen X is close in numbers with Millennials and Gen Z, with over half (54%) of Gen Xers reporting experiences of burnout in the workplace. 

COVID-19 shook up the workforce globally, leading to drastic changes in workplace environments. While working from home may have been easy or beneficial for some, others struggled to adapt and establish routines or juggle both work and family. Among those who responded to Indeed’s survey, 80% believe Covid-19 impacted workplace burnout with a 67% majority saying burnout has worsened since the pandemic, while 13% believe it has gotten better.

Photo by Liza Summer from Pexels

Signs of burnout in the workplace

The signs of burnout are not always easy to spot, especially while they’re happening. Many brush off burnout as simple workplace stress. Everyone has bad days, right? But burnout is more than just a few bad days or even a bad week.

Burnout is when there never seems to be a good day anymore. Burnout is a chronic response to untreated workplace stress. If you think you may be experiencing burnout, it’s crucial you take a step back and seek help to navigate and overcome these feelings, because burnout can take a toll not only on your mental health, but your physical health as well. 

Ask yourself: 

  • Have you become cynical or critical at work?
  • Do you drag yourself to work and have trouble getting started?
  • Have you become irritable or impatient with co-workers, customers or clients?
  • Do you lack the energy to be consistently productive?
  • Do you find it hard to concentrate?
  • Do you lack satisfaction from your achievements?
  • Do you feel disillusioned about your job?
  • Are you using food, drugs or alcohol to feel better or to simply not feel?
  • Have your sleep habits changed?
  • Are you troubled by unexplained headaches, stomach or bowel problems, or other physical complaints?

If you answered yes to any or all of these, you may be experiencing burnout. These may also be signs of other mental health issues, such as depression, so it’s important you speak to your doctor or mental health provider about these feelings. 

Other key signs of burnout include: 

  • Not feeling excited about your work anymore
  • You have stopped putting your usual effort into your work
  • You’re exhausted, easily drained, and emotionally depleted
  • You’re experiencing physical symptoms such as insomnia, chest pains, headaches or migraines, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, dizziness, or gastrointestinal pain. 

What you can do to manage burnout and how employers can help 

Managing burnout is usually not something you can do alone because burnout is a result of workplace stressors which are often outside of your own control. This is why it is important for employers to be aware of burnout and work with their employees to address the common triggers. 

On the personal level, you can work to change your mindset and develop healthy coping mechanisms for stress. Practicing mindfulness and exercising regularly are great ways to naturally cope with stress. Setting aside time each day to do something fun and creative is also a great way to get rid of stressful energy and cultivate joy. 

Another way to deal with burnout is to make changes in the workplace, such as changing your workload, taking a vacation, or even a prolonged break, and making changes on a systematic level. This is where employers come in. 

If you are feeling overwhelmed by workplace stress, approach your boss to have a conversation about the fact that you feel overworked and identify ways to change your workload.

You might be interested: De-stress with Postal Petals the farm-direct floral box service has HR and corporate event planners buzzing 

Employers should also lead by example, cultivating a work-life balance and encouraging employees to use their vacation days and sick leave when needed. One way to encourage work-life balance is to set clear boundaries for when someone is “on the clock” and when they are not, such as only responding to work-related emails during the workday and not glamorizing or encouraging overtime work. 

The most important thing is open communication and speaking up when it all feels too much. Burnout in the workplace doesn’t have to be inevitable.

National Nutrition Month

Balancing your Latina diet this National Nutrition Month®

Every food-loving Latina knows that the Latina diet has both pros and cons. With rich flavors and a variety of local produce, Latin American cuisine can certainly be very healthy. But sometimes we can also go a little overboard on the sweets, rich dairy products, and fatty meats. That’s why it’s important to focus on maintaining a balanced diet and National Nutrition Month® is the perfect time to get started on making some healthful changes to your diet. 

National Nutrition Month® is an annual campaign created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Originally started as National Nutrition Week in 1973, it was eventually inaugurated as National Nutrition Month®  in 1980.

Now, during the month of March, everyone is invited to learn about making informed food choices and developing healthful eating and physical activity habits.

National Nutrition Month

Celebrate a World of Flavors. (Graphic source: National Nutrition Month®)

This year’s theme, “Celebrate a World of Flavors,” showcases how flavors from cultures around the world is a tasty way to nourish ourselves and appreciate our diversity. We are all unique with different bodies, goals, backgrounds and tastes! And a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist can tailor a healthful eating plan that is as special as you are.

“The theme Celebrate a World of Flavors gives every culture a place at the table,” said registered dietitian nutritionist Libby Mills, a national spokesperson for the Academy in Philadelphia, Pa. “Celebrating the cultural heritage, traditions and recipes from all people is a tasty way to nourish ourselves, learn about one another and find appreciation in our diversity.”

During National Nutrition Month®, the Academy encourages everyone to make informed food choices and develop sound eating and physical activity habits they can follow all year long. The Academy encourages seeking the advice of RDNs – the food and nutrition experts who can help develop individualized eating and activity plans to meet people’s health goals.

National Nutrition Month

Your favorite cultural foods can be part of a healthful eating plan!
Use these tips to choose foods that have vitamins, minerals, fiber and other important nutrients: https://sm.eatright.org/nutrichdiet
#NationalNutritionMonth

“Celebrate a World of Flavors highlights the unique, cultural variety of foods available to people from around the world and the role that registered dietitian nutritionist play in helping clients create healthy habits while celebrating their cultural foods and heritage,” said registered dietitian nutritionist Rahaf Al Bochi, a national spokesperson for the Academy in Baltimore, Md.

RDNs help clients fine-tune traditional recipes, provide alternative cooking methods and other healthful advice for incorporating family-favorite foods into everyday meals.

For more information and healthful tips, check out the resources provided by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics available in various languages including Spanish.

Balancing your Latina diet 

As Latinas, food is a big part of our culture. While many Latino dishes are full of healthy ingredients, it’s no secret that we love our carbs and dulces. Many Latin American dishes can also be heavy on fats such as whole-fat cheeses and fatty cuts of meat. Consuming too much of these foods in unbalanced proportions can lead to many health risks such as high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure, risk factors commonly found in Hispanic populations. 

However, there is no need to completely cut out the foods we love, but learning more about how to create a colorful, well-balanced plate will help us all be healthier in the long-run. 

You might be interested: 5 hearty autumnal vegan meals to try this month

Some tips from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: 

Personalize Your Plate 

  • Fill half your plate with fruits and veggies. Get creative with produce by trying an assortment of colors and textures.
  • Experiment with different grains. Try substituting whole grains for refined grains in recipes.
  • Choose lean protein foods. Vary your choices to include seafood, beans, peas and lentils, as well as eggs, lean cuts of meat and poultry that are prepared in a healthful way, such as baked or grilled instead of fried.
  • Complete your meal with dairy. Include low-fat or fat-free options like milk, yogurt, cheese, calcium-fortified soymilk, or lactose free milk.

Meal Planning Tips

Eating healthy doesn’t have to be complicated or boring. Think about the foods you like from each food group – mixed dishes count, too! These are just a few examples of how different foods can be eaten as a meal to personalize your plate. If a food you enjoy is not listed here, consider which food group it meets when planning your meals.  

National Nutrition Month®

Meal plan suggestions from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. (Source: Personalize Your Plate to Include Foods From Other Cultures–Latin American)

You might be interested: 5 teas and infusions popular in Latin America to improve sleep, focus, digestion, and more!

Building a balanced Latina diet doesn’t have to be a chore. With so many delicious ingredients and a passion for our food, us Latinas are sure to have fun cooking up some colorful, creative dishes to meet our health needs and our passion for flavor!

meatless meals

5 Fresh and sizzling meatless summer meals to try 

Be adventurous this summer by incorporating more plant-based dishes onto your personal menu. Check out some of these fresh and sizzling meatless summer meals to get started! 

The summer months are often associated with BBQ-ing and outdoor fiestas or family picnics in the park. In fact, July is also recognized as National Grilling Month and National Picnic Month. It’s hard for some to think of summer without grilling and meat-filled dishes, especially for Latinos who pride themselves on their asados. However, incorporating more plant-based dishes into our diets has many health benefits. 

Statistically, Latinos are more likely to suffer from heart disease. On average,  Hispanic women are likely to develop heart disease 10 years earlier than non-Hispanics, according to data from Go Red for Women. While there are many factors that contribute to developing these issues, such as genetics, diet also plays a big part. Hispanic diets are often rich in fat from dairy and meats. By reducing one’s consumption of meat and dairy, it can help lower the risk of developing heart disease and other health issues. 

Summer is also the perfect time to be adventurous! Embrace your inner adventurer and experiment with food this season. You don’t have to commit to an all plant-based lifestyle, simply introducing a meatless day of the week can make a difference. One of my personal favorite food-stagram accounts is “Meatless Mondays.” The account offers a variety of fun and fresh meatless meals to try and encourages people to swap out meat at least one day a week. 

If you’re ready for the adventure, then check out some of our favorite fresh and sizzling meatless summer meals below! 

Try these meatless summer meals on your next picnic or party

These meals will make the perfect addition to your next family picnic or outdoor gathering, especially this week during Latino Conservation Week. What better way to celebrate nature conservation than by getting outdoors with friends and family and enjoying some delicious food together!

Sweet Potato Black Bean Enchiladas

 

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Fiery and Fresh Plant-based Tacos

 

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Grilled Stuffed Peppers 

 

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Pasta Primavera 

 

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Chipotle Cauliflower Tacos with Garlic Aioli

 

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Stress Awareness Month: Coping with post-covid stress and stress at work 

After a most stressful year under a global pandemic, health and workplace related stress are higher than ever. This Stress Awareness Month re-balance your work and life by learning how you can better manage post-Covid stress and stress at work. 

Stress Awareness Month’s mission

April is Stress Awareness Month and today, April 16, is National Stress Awareness Day. Stress Awareness Month has been held every April, since 1992 and during this annual thirty day period, health care professionals and health promotion experts across the country join forces to increase public awareness about both the causes and cures for our modern stress epidemic.

Sponsored by The Health Resource Network (HRN), a non-profit health education organization, Stress Awareness Month is a national, cooperative effort to inform people about the dangers of stress, successful coping strategies, and harmful misconceptions about stress that are prevalent in our society.

“Even though we’ve learned a lot about stress in the past twenty years,” says Dr. Morton C. Orman, M.D., Founder and Director of HRN, “we’ve got a long way to go. New information is now available that could help millions of Americans eliminate their suffering.”

Dr. Orman has invited leading health care organizations across the country to develop and disseminate helpful educational materials and other information about stress during the month of April. He is also encouraging stress experts and other health care leaders to conduct public forums, discussion groups, and other informative community events.

Stress Facts

  • Stress contributes to heart disease, high blood pressure, strokes, and other illnesses in many individuals.
  • Stress affects the immune system, which protects us from many serious diseases. Chronic stress can weaken the immune system resulting in more illness such as colds and flus and COVID-19. Other conditions such as heart disease and metabolic syndrome can also develop due to prolonged stress. 
  • Tranquilizers, antidepressants, and anti-anxiety medications account for one fourth of all prescriptions written in the U.S. each year. 
  • Stress can contribute to the development of alcoholism, obesity, suicide, drug addiction, cigarette addiction, and other harmful behaviors.

How to cope with post-Covid stress 

Since the pandemic began, Covid-19 stress and post-covid stress have become one of the major stressors for people across the globe. The CDC has provided some guidelines and resources for coping with Covid related stress below. 

post-Covid stress

Coping with post-Covid stress. Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

Recognize the symptoms of stress you may be experiencing

The first step to coping with stress is to recognize that you are stressed. Many people, especially professionals in fast-paced job environments have become accustomed to brushing off signs of stress or have gotten so used to the feeling that they no longer realize what they are feeling is not healthy. As we have mentioned above, prolonged untreated stress can have very serious health consequences, so it’s important to recognize the signs of stress and make a plan to address and manage it. 

Common signs of stress include: 

  • Feeling irritation, anger, or in denial
  • Feeling uncertain, nervous, or anxious
  • Lacking motivation
  • Feeling tired, overwhelmed, or burned out
  • Feeling sad or depressed
  • Having trouble sleeping
  • Having trouble concentrating

Know the common work-related factors that can add to stress during a pandemic

  • Concern about the risk of being exposed to the virus at work
  • Taking care of personal and family needs while working
  • Managing a different workload
  • Lack of access to the tools and equipment needed to perform your job
  • Feelings that you are not contributing enough to work or guilt about not being on the frontline
  • Uncertainty about the future of your workplace and/or employment
  • Learning new communication tools and dealing with technical difficulties
  • Adapting to a different workspace and/or work schedule

How to cope with post-Covid stress at work 

According to the CDC’s National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, 29 to 40% of Americans report being “extremely stressed at work.” And this percentage is only getting higher. Below are some helpful tips and coping mechanisms to help you manage your stress after this most stressful year! 

10 Tips for stress management

  1. Re-balance work & life and develop a solid routine

If you’re spending all your time focusing on work and no time for yourself, then you are bound to burnout. Being available around the clock might make you seem like the perfect worker, but it isn’t healthy. We all need time for ourselves, so make sure you schedule in some dates on your calendar for some “me-time” and fun activities. 

Set boundaries in your work and home life and stick to them to avoid potential stress. This means setting aside time for socializing and setting rules for when you will check emails or take phone calls. Establishing a solid routine and schedule will also help to balance work and life and eliminate stressors. 

  1. Exercise regularly

You’ve probably heard it about a million times, but exercise truly does make you feel better. Regular exercise balances the nervous system and increases blood circulation, helping to flush out stress hormones. You don’t need an elaborate fitness routine either, even just a short walk will make a difference. Eleven minutes a day is all you need to start to see changes. 

  1. Eat well and limit alcohol and stimulants

Alcohol, nicotine and caffeine may temporarily relieve stress but have negative health impacts and can make stress worse in the long run. Well-nourished bodies cope better, so be sure to start the day off with a good, nutritious breakfast and avoid processed foods and sugar throughout the day. And don’t forget to stay hydrated! 

You might be interested: Wheatgrass: How you can boost your health while working from home

  1. Surround yourself with supportive people 

Having people you can rely on will help alleviate some of the built-up tension you may be feeling.

Talking face to face with others releases stress hormones that reduce stress. After this past year of lockdowns and social distancing, talking face to face has become scarcer. But remember social distancing is only about physical distance, so you can still meet up with friends and family for a social distant walk or outdoor gathering–just be sure to take the proper safety precautions when meeting. 

  1. Devote time to hobbies and leisure 

Research shows that engaging in activities that bring you pleasure reduces stress by almost half and lowers your heart rate as well. So indulge in your hobbies! Garden, read, listen to a podcast, make some art, binge your favorite show. Don’t be afraid to disconnect for a bit and have some fun. 

  1. Practice meditation techniques 

Relaxation techniques activate a state of restfulness that counterbalances your body’s fight-or-flight hormones. Meditation, deep breathing exercises, and mindfulness all work to calm your anxiety. Start by taking a few minutes each day to focus on being present and enjoying a simple activity — whether that’s a short walk around the park or appreciating a meal at your desk. There are also plenty of meditation apps or videos out there that can help guide you through exercises when you’re feeling particularly stressed. 

  1. Get enough sleep 

Getting less than seven to eight hours of sleep makes your body a bad stress-managing machine. Proper sleep is a crucial ingredient to fighting off stress. If you find that stress keeps you up at night, address the cause and add extra meditation into your day to make up for the lost sleep.

  1. Re-evaluate negative thoughts

When you’ve experienced worry and chronic stress for an extended period of time, your mind may tend to jump to conclusions and read into every situation with a negative lens. For example, if a coworker doesn’t say hi to you first thing in the morning, you might react thinking “they’re mad at me.”

Instead of making automatic judgements, try distancing yourself from your negative thoughts and simply observe.

  1. Take a vacation

Sometimes you just need to get away–even if it’s just a “stay-cation.” With travel restrictions still keeping many of us from sandy beaches and sunshine, taking a vacation may seem like a distant dream. But we all still need breaks from time to time, so embrace the spirit of a vacation and give yourself some time off. Leave your cellphone and laptop at home and just switch off for a few days. The rest and relaxation will help you refocus and improve your outlook.

  1. See a counselor, coach or therapist

When it gets to be too much to handle, don’t be afraid to reach out. When negative thoughts overwhelm your ability to make positive changes, it’s time to seek professional help. Make an appointment with a counselor, coach, or therapist and let them guide you toward managing your stress in positive and healthy ways. 

For additional resources visit CDC.gov

wheatgrass

Wheatgrass: How you can boost your health while working from home

Superfoods are nutrient-dense foods that provide you with a ton of health benefits in a single serving. Famous superfoods include kale and, of course, the acai berry. But did you know that a superfood exists that you can grow and harvest right in your home? Enter wheatgrass.

wheatgrass

Photo credit Pixabay.com

The year 2020 has opened new doors for working culture, and many working adults have had to learn how to adjust to the new normal. Working from home, once seen as a rare privilege, has now become the standard procedure for many businesses. While it does have its benefits— no more commute is one, and reduced chances of getting sick is another— there are still a few challenges that require a bit of creative thinking.

Getting and staying fit is one of those challenges. Heading to the gym right after work no longer possible? Our article on ’10 Easy Office Exercises’ has got you covered. Need to improve your diet but lack the time and motivation? Try doing some research on superfoods.

What is wheatgrass?

 Wheatgrass is the name for the young grass of the common wheat plant Triticum aestivum. Usually harvested when it’s around 4-6 inches in height, wheatgrass is packed with a ton of health benefits that would surprise even the most discerning health buff. Maintaining your own wheatgrass supply is as easy as filling a planter box with seeds, and it grows quickly enough that you’ll have a constant supply throughout the year.

What does wheatgrass do?

working from home, wheatgrass

Photo credit Andrew Neel – Unsplash.com

But why choose wheatgrass? It turns out that there are a lot of good reasons for integrating wheatgrass into your diet. Greatist reports that wheatgrass has no less than 10 essential nutrients, maybe even more. These nutrients include iron, vitamins A, C and E, magnesium, calcium, potassium, and amino acids.

Wheatgrass can help improve your immune system and reduce your chances for getting sick. It can also help ease digestive issues, fight infection, help wounds heal faster, balance blood sugar levels, and promote healthy cholesterol. With so many benefits packed into such a small package, it’s no wonder that this unassuming plant has exploded in popularity in recent years.

How can you use wheatgrass?

Wheatgrass is generally versatile, and can be integrated into a variety of foodstuffs. Harvested fresh, it can be dried and crushed into powder, or eaten raw as a topping or as part of a salad. According to Mayo Clinic, it’s popularly consumed as a smoothie, although people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivities may want to check in with their doctors before consuming.

You might be interested:

If you don’t have the space or time to grow your own wheatgrass plant, there are tons of supplement options available on the market. For example, the wheatgrass supplement by Brightcore is certified organic and GMO-free, and can be consumed either in powder or capsule form for maximum convenience.

Not sure how to integrate wheatgrass into your daily diet? Choc & Juice lists 7 easy recipes for consuming wheatgrass, including as a latte or even as ice cream. Wheatgrass is easy to grow, easy to harvest, easy to procure, and easy to integrate into your daily diet. And if you’re working from home, it’s one of the best ways to boost your overall health without having to buy expensive organic produce, so you can be as fit and productive as possible.

Charging ahead in life & business: Must be present to win

Pilar Avila, founder and host of interDUCTUS & Renovad (Photo courtesy Pilar Avila)

Guest Contributor: Pilar Avila is the founder and host of interDUCTUS & Renovad. She is a passionate human striving for higher self-awareness, health, happiness, living free, eradicating judgment and lifting every living being with compassion.

Our already fast-changing world is now in ever more extreme and accelerated transformation, as we continue to face a global pandemic, economic turmoil and social unrest. Before Covid, we were dealing with centralized and localized challenges within our own lives and businesses, industries, markets and countries. Today, we are impacted by what happens around the globe. Reality is things will likely get worse before they get better, and we cannot hide and ignore what is happening around us. We must keep up and, better yet, get ahead of change by anticipating what is to come and taking charge of our destiny. The key to this is to be present and make changes now for the future. 

Present changes for the future

There are two aspects to my business: interDUCTUS management consulting practice and Renovad global retreats. Some of the immediate changes we implemented are rescheduling of our 2020 retreats to 2021, and refocusing our time on our change management consulting practice. We are taking an array of trainings and certifications online to further sharpen our readiness to support our clients. We are also identifying ways to collaborate with other management consultants, and the resorts where we host retreats, to support one another and weather the health, economic and social imperfect storm. 

One of countless fun moments from a Renovad retreat (Photo courtesy Pilar Avila)

You might be interested: Beyond COVID-19: Prepare your entrepreneur skills for the survival of the fittest

Take action today

Here are a few actions we have taken and we encourage you to consider as we all charge ahead:

New dates for Renovad trips! (Photo courtesy Pilar Avila)

  1. Face change head on: Be present with eyes open wide and consider changes you can initiate vs. changes you cannot control.
  1. Focus on people and health first: Start with you and the inner circle of family, friends, colleagues, employees, collaborators, clients, neighbors and community.
  1. Establish a new rhythm for life and business: Step one is placing you on the schedule! Tap virtual business networks events, education, and fitness, and learn something new. 
  1. Mind your business: Again, consider people first by assessing any needed adjustments based on you and your team’s ability to deliver on contracts and commitments; assess clients’ needs to adjust your work flow and financial plan accordingly; know that cutting costs and staff is not always the answer, and that investing in who and what will keep you producing is an imperative investment. 
  1. Adapt. Evolve. Transform: Adapt to the virtual economy; consider offering new services and products to generate new sources of cash flow; envision how you wish to evolve and elevate as a human, and make it happen. 
  1. Face and conquer your fears: There is no fearless without fear as fear is part of our human condition and, when ignored, it can be paralyzing; place fear on notice by declaring “Fear, I see you, I know you and I am bigger and stronger than you”.

In life, change is a certain constant. Face it head on placing you, people and health first. Create a new rhythm as you evolve and transform. Remove all fears and obstacles. And be present to WIN.

working remotely, business financing

Is working remotely a pain? Tips to be more comfortable and productive

If you’re new to working remotely and could use some guidance on how to be more comfortable with it, here are some tips to help you be less stressed and more productive. It may be easier than you think to master the art of working remotely!

working remotely

Please don’t work like this! (Photo credit: Courtesy Creative Writing)

Having have been a “remote worker” for seven years, I have mastered the art of working from home, and it’s how I prefer to work. But working remotely does require certain adjustments, to help you avoid becoming stressed out. Since many people have suddenly been forced to work from home, due to the need for social distancing during the Coronavirus health crisis, I’m sharing some important tips that can help you be as productive and comfortable as possible.

working remotelyToday’s focus: Don’t let working remotely become a pain in the neck…and back…and wrists. Your desk setup is key to being pain-free. Here’s how to do it.

1. First and foremost, do not sit on the couch or curled up on a bed working on your laptop computer — while that sounds comfy, you’ll wind up in knots.

2. Accessorize your laptop:

    • Use a mouse — not the laptop’s trackpad. It’s not only better for your wrists, hands and arms. It also helps you get work done much more quickly and efficiently by making it easier to do functions like select, copy, paste and scroll, and to access shortcuts that are available by right-clicking.
    • Use a real keyboard — either the kind that plugs into a USB port (if your laptop has one), or a wireless one. Position it as ergonomically as possible, to avoid tensing up your shoulders and straining your wrists. Your shoulders, wrists and elbows should all form one 90-degree angle, with your wrists kept loose and hands in a straight position (not bent up or down). Depending on your height, this may require your keyboard to be below your desktop. If so and you don’t have an under-desk keyboard tray, try having the keyboard on your lap, elevated a by a firm pillow.
    • Raise your laptop so it’s at eye level, directly in front of you, to avoid neck strain. A stack of books can do the trick, or use a laptop stand that can provide some additional space for storage.
    • Have batteries on hand (and nearby) if you use a wireless mouse and/or keyboard. You don’t want to wind up suddenly out of commission when you’re on deadline or on a conference call!

3. It’s imperative to have a comfortable chair, and maintain good posture. If need be, add a pillow to support your back, and/or a cushion so you don’t get achy from sitting against a hard surface. Your feet should rest flat on the ground. If you’re on the shorter side (like me) and they don’t, add a footrest.

    • If you’ll be working remotely long-term, it’s wise to invest in an ergonomic chair that’s suited to your size and the way you work. Do some research online and look for features that match your needs — including adjustability, maximum user weight, seat height, seat depth, lumbar support, and back tilt. You’ll find free ergonomic calculators that can help you with this. If you can, wait until stores reopen and be like Goldilocks: Go test a variety of chairs in-person and choose one that’s “just right.” If you can’t wait, be sure to buy from a company that has a generous return policy.

working remotely

4. Go hands-free with your phone. Use speakerphone, a Bluetooth earpiece, or cell phone earbuds. This will enable you to take notes or continue using your computer, while sparing you from the special kind of pain that comes from holding your phone with your shoulder.

5. Don’t just sit there! Get up and move around for at least a few minutes every hour — walk, stretch, breathe deeply, refill your water glass. Setting a daily “steps goal” and sticking to it can be a good motivator. Taking these little breaks will help you loosen up, and also clear your head so you can be more creative and think more effectively. Set a timer, or set your fitness tracker to vibrate with reminders to move. While it may sound silly to set reminders, it’s easy to get “in the zone” and lose track of time when you’re working.

    • When you’re the phone, walk around if you can (or at least stand up). Studies show that movement is associated with higher creativity, and standing makes your voice stronger and clearer by allowing you to breathe more deeply and naturally. Walking around can also help you focus on the conversation and resist the urge to engage in counterproductive multitasking.

If you (or your employer) need to buy any new equipment, I encourage you to shop locally and patronize small businesses, if possible. Your local merchants will really appreciate it, especially as the necessity of social distancing has hurt many of them financially. See if you can order from them online or by phone. At this writing, many will offer delivery or curbside pickup.

What are your desk setup questions, or tips for working remotely? Please share!

Wishing you good health and a positive, successful experience working from home.

You might be interested: 5 Remote recruitment tips proven to actually work

healthier choices latino family-owned business

4 Tips to health proof your work day with healthier choices

Healthier choices help us stay on track on those hectic work days that can cause us all to let our nutrition fall to the back-burner.

healthier choices latino family-owned business

A wide variety of snacks, mostly candy, on display at a bodega in Park Slope, Brooklyn. (Photo credit Jeffrey O. Gustafson at the English language Wikipedia)

Your boss is demanding, your client is driving you nuts, you are behind your deadline… We all have those days when you look at the time and realize you cannot remember the last meal you ate. Or you find yourself grabbing anything in sight (probably sugary, processed foods) to ward off your hunger. Doing this all the time can place your health at serious risk. It can also impact how you perform.

Incorporating these simple tips and tricks can help you “health proof” your work day.

1.Your first line of defense

Fuel yourself with a healthy breakfast that includes at minimum:

  • A complex carb with fiber to keep you full longer such as oats and multigrain options
  • A lean protein like eggs, cottage cheese, or turkey bacon to feed all of your muscles (including your brain)

A big bonus is adding a dark leafy vegetable such as spinach, kale, or asparagus because they provide a boost of vitamins and minerals. Or choose a vegetable higher in water content like peppers and cucumbers to fill you up. One easy way to sneak in fruits and veggies into your breakfast is to make yourself a smoothie. Anything you can prep the night before will save you time in the morning!

2. Join the “Pack Your Lunch” club

Aim to bring your lunch at least 3 times a week so you can ensure you are making healthier choices and also saving money!

healthier choices

Photo credit: National Institutes of Health, part of the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

3. Build your own vending machine

Stock those drawers with whole grain crackers and cereal, plain popcorn and small portions of unsalted nuts. If you have a fridge at work, fill it with healthier choices of nutritious snacks such as fruit, raw vegetables, lower fat cheese and yogurt, and hummus.

Stay hydrated!!! Often times we think we are hungry when instead our bodies are dehydrated. Keep a water bottle with you at all times. Even setting a timer is a great way to remind you to guzzle! You want to aim to drink at least half your body weight in ounces.

You might be interested: How to tackle stress in the workplace with effective strategies

4. Bonus tips for healthier choices

Don’t work while you eat…this can set you up to eat more than your body needs…put your work to the side for 15 to 20 minutes…

If you absolutely MUST grab something on the go or are eating out do your best to find healthier choices that are higher in fiber, lower in sugar and includes a complex carbohydrate, a lean protein, and a vegetable so you are eating a more balanced meal. If salads are your go-to make sure to ask for the dressing on the side.

Practice these tips consistently and you will reap the benefits long-term! If you need Nutrition and Fitness advice, or have a question, feel free to contact me on the form below!

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