How to manage and prevent burnout in the workplace

You’ve probably heard the term “burnout” used over and over again in the workplace, especially after this past year. The popular buzzword sometimes is used flippantly or interchangeably to describe feeling “stressed out” at work, but it’s more than just usual stress. 

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.

Burnout is on the rise 

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

  • 52% of survey respondents are experiencing 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 many 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 during the pandemic, while 13% believe it has gotten better.

Signs of burnout in the workplace

The signs of burnout are not always easy to spot, especially when 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. 

You might be interested Stress Awareness Month: Coping with post-covid stress and stress at work

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.

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 glamourising 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.

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.

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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.

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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brain fog

Brain fog can be alerting you about these medical conditions

Brain fog is not a medical condition but it can alert you from other medical conditions associated with inflammation, fatigue, or changes in blood glucose level that cause mental fatigue.

Often times throughout your day it might be challenging to maintain your focus. Perhaps your mind is wandering or drained of its energy. You might experience what many call “brain fog.”

brain fog

Brain fog or “mental fatigue” can creep up in the following ways:

  • memory problems
  • lack of mental clarity
  • poor concentration

Being at work for long hours daily can definitely hinder your focus. Especially when we find ourselves sitting for long periods of time.

Here are three simple ways to lift the fog:

Get moving

brain fog

Brain Fog (Credit https://draxe.com/brain-fog/)

Simple aerobic exercise that gets your heart rate up immediately leads to improved focus and concentration.  No gym required! A quick walk up and down the stairs or even walking outside for a few blocks has also been shown to improve problem solving, attention and memory.

Now what if you simply cannot leave your desk or your office? You can perform simple stretches that will also increase blood flow to your brain and help release any tension built up over the course of your work day.

Eat protein

Today’s Standard American Diet (SAD) is typically high in simple carbohydrates and low in protein. Protein contains very important amino acids essential for the production of key neurotransmitters that regulate brain function.

Women especially tend to be undernourished when it comes to protein. If you’re not getting enough protein throughout the day consider supplementing your diet. You can also pack a protein rich snack, like hard boiled eggs, jerky, dried fruit with nuts, or Greek yogurt.

Drink water!

Dehydration can wreak havoc on our bodies, especially our brains which are made up of 75% water! So drink up! You should aim to drink at minimum half of your body weight in oz, but for maximum benefits drink 8 extra oz.

If following these two simple steps does not help consider consult with your doctor. Determine if there is an underlying medical condition you might not be aware of.

Medical conditions associated with inflammation, fatigue, or changes in blood glucose level can cause mental fatigue. Individuals who have fibromyalgia may experience similar fogginess on a daily basis and other conditions that may cause brain fog include anemia, depression, diabetes, migraines, hypothryroidism, and lupus.

 

productivity at work

How to fuel your brain and triple your productivity at work

Did you know that food can help improve your focus and productivity at work? Food truly is fuel, but not just for your biceps, but for your brain too!

productivity at work

When we make poor choices in our nutrition it affects how we think, how we react to stress and how we function overall. How often do we just “grab” something that is fast and convenient so we can get back to our desk to meet an important deadline or be present for a very pressing meeting? Or how often do we just “skip” a meal so we can keep tackling our never ending “to do” list?

It’s time to start viewing the food you put into your body as necessary fuel that should be clean and nutritious so you can perform at your best and ensure your “brain tank” is not running on empty!

The following list of foods are brain fuel that will give you a boost to keep you focused and alert and increase your productivity at work –far more than a double espresso from Starbucks or your favorite bag of chips!

productivity at work1) Oats are one of the best breakfasts you can choose to fuel the brain. Make them with water or milk and a little honey, some berries and crushed seeds like chia to also sneak in some extra fiber and keep you fuller longer.
2) Eggs are a powerhouse of amino acids, good fats, protein, vitamins and minerals. Go that extra mile and buy free range – and organic if possible. Eat boiled, poached or scrambled, but forget the fried. One of my fave brands is Eggsland Best!
3) Seeds are high in the minerals magnesium, potassium, zinc and selenium; all essential for good concentration, memory and keeping us calm. Pumpkin seeds have been shown to support the area of our brains responsible for maintaining sensory function in tact.
productivity at work4) Healthy fats like avocado (omega 3 fatty acids) are absolutely essential for optimum brain power, keeping stress and depression at bay. You want to be also sure to keep your intake of saturated fat low.
5) Eat oily fish regularly like salmon, trout, sardines, mackerel, herring, anchovies and fresh tuna. Aim for three portions per week and remember wild caught is best.
6) Chocolate for chocoholics, pay attention….in order to fuel your brain effectively you need to stick to dark chocolate with a minimum 70% cocoa solids. Cocoa (from the cocoa bean) contains theobromine which contains tryptophan (the basis for serotonin), which elevates the mood.
7) Blueberries have been shown to protect our brains from short-term memory loss.

You might be interested: Erica Torres Pagano from corporate America to Total Fitness Evolution

Incorporating these foods into your diet plan is sure to improve your productivity in the workplace and in all areas of your life! Trust me…your BRAIN will thank you for it!!!

And here’s a TOP TIP…

Eating protein and complex carbohydrates together slows the release of sugar into the blood. Grab an apple with a handful of seeds to help balance blood sugar more, sustain your brain boost and increase your productivity in the workplace!

productivity at work

 

Meej Chaparro-Traverso successful workplace relationships depend on a balanced life

Growing up, Meej Chaparro-Traverso (Meejie) was part of a very large Puerto Rican family and experienced warm relationships and a loving and caring environment. She then developed a deep sense of responsibility towards helping not just her loved ones but also those less fortunate than her.

Meej Chaparro-Traverso, founder and CEO of MEEJ, LLC

“Relationships are at the core of our existence and it is the quality of these relationships and the interactions that we have with ourselves, our environments, and with others, that determine the level of success in our professional and personal lives”, she believes.

Meej is the Founder and CEO of MEEJ(Motivational Empowering Energetic Journeys) LLC – a training, and coaching consulting firm that focuses on the development of resonant professional, personal and social relationships.

How it all began in her relationships

Meej minored in Psychology at the University of South Carolina, which helped her later in life when she married an officer of the United States Marine Corps and had to face the numerous challenges and sacrifices of the Military culture.

During that time, she began to volunteer in the Military, working as an Exceptional Family Member Program Coordinator for MCCs (Marine Corps Family Program), then as a FAP (Family Advocacy Program) Specialist and a Multicultural Family Program Manager for The United States Army, (ACS) at the Army Community Center in Fort Brag. The training she received while working with the military enhanced and redefined her interest in making a difference to the community. In 2003, Meej returned to school and completed her master’s in human relations from the University of Oklahoma, Normandy.

However, in 2011 her personal life took a different turn. Challenged by problems in her marriage, she became a single parent. In order to balance her professional and personal life, she decided to start her own business as it would give her the freedom and flexibility to adjust her schedule according to her children’s activities.EPI Meej Chaparro relationships

She returned to school to complete several programs related to her specialty and many independent courses in social and positive psychology at Rutgers University, and the Rutgers Entrepreneur Pioneer Initiative Business Program from Rutgers Urban Entrepreneurial and Economic Development Center, which she graduated from in 2016.

Challenges along the way and lessons learned

Balancing her professional, personal and social life along with parenting, proved a colossal challenge especially because she was experiencing financial problems in her newly acquired singlehood.

“In my attempt to find balance in my life I began to assess what I have named the 3 pillars of relationship development success™; (my professional, personal and social life) with the type of relationships and interactions within those environments, and the level of success I had accomplished in each area,” she said.

She realized that relationship building skills and techniques are a result of intentional, effective and powerful communication (verbal and non-verbal), which often led her to success.

“Thus, it seemed logical to assess and identify my default personal relationship and interaction style as well as best practices of my effective relationship and interactions. I concluded that habitual behaviors present in all three of my environments (at work, at home, at play) led me to create bonds and solidify relationships,” she explained.

She started to engage in skills that helped her influence and build positive relationships in her place of work and in other aspects of her life. I wanted to ensure integrity, balance and alignment of my professional and personal mission, vision, and goals.” says Meej.

And as an entrepreneur, she decided to do what she had learned to do best – make a difference in the quality of life of others. That is how her relationship development strategic business was born. She developed and perfected the processes and techniques that she now uses in all of her training and coaching programs.

Meej’s strengths and how she incorporates them into her daily activities

When asked as to what according to her are her salient strengths, she replied, “My strengths as a business owner are my thirst for knowledge, my ability to form positive resonant relationships and my open-mindedness. Openness to multiculturalism with the concept that we are all interconnected is truly my standard approach for business.”

And she continued, “If you want to be successful, it is important to balance your professional, personal and social lives. Identify positive relationship and interaction styles that have proven to be successful for you and then turn them into habits. Plan, prepare and time manage. Most importantly, whatever you do, ensure that it is a product of your passion and that it is aligned with your personal and professional visions”, Meej told Latinasinbusiness.us.

 

How mindfulness meditation changed a Latina entrepreneur’s life

When she was diagnosed with two debilitating diseases, Jayshica Amargos found in mindfulness meditation the therapy to help her change her challenging life. Now she has decided to give back the gift of healing as a Latina entrepreneur.

mindfulness meditation

Jayshica Jay Amargos, founder and chief mindful officer at I’MINDFUL

It might seem a far out way to use this practice to treat the roots of serious diseases that plague our everyday life such as anxiety, worry and fear. Millions are suffering from depression, autoimmune and self-inflicted diseases –such as heart conditions and high blood pressure–, in hospitals or at home, because of the chaos and worry our work and urban hectic life bestow on us.

In truth, many of these conditions could be healed or at least managed properly by practicing mindful-based stress reduction therapy –a combination of mindfulness meditation, body awareness, and yoga based on the Buddhism traditions of meditation.

In 2006, Jayshica (Jay) Amargos was diagnosed with depression but it was not until 2012 that her causes of depression were discovered when she was diagnosed with both lupus and fibromyalgia.

She quickly learnt that the available drug treatments of both these disorders were associated with adverse effects and complications. Serendipity struck – Jay had been a regular practitioner of meditation and she discovered that it also helped relieve the pain of lupus and fibromyalgia.

Along this rehabilitation journey, she discovered mindfulness meditation, which had a significant positive impact on her mind and body. Ever since then, mindfulness meditation has been her passion and is an essential component of her life.

“With this practice, I began to understand  human behavior and how it could be used to bring out the best in people,” she told LatinasinBusiness.us. “I truly believe that regular mindfulness meditation practice can change lives and allow everyone to enjoy their journey in a more peaceful, loving and centered way.”

Today, Jay is the co-founder  and chief mindful officer of I’MINDFUL Studio in Arkansas. I’Mindful  was created to guide and support individuals who want to learn the practice of mindfulness meditation to ease the pressures of modern life.

 Jay decides to enter the world of business with mindfulness meditation

Once Jay realized the benefits of this therapy, she decided to learn more about it. She researched the topic, attended seminars, and even took online courses. With her self-feeling better from the ravages of fibromyalgia and lupus, she decided to share it with others.

Practice of mindfulness meditationAnd in April 2016, she opened up a mindfulness clinic  in her hometown of Fayetteville, AR. Within a few weeks of opening, she already had a large following of clients who wanted to learn about the benefits of mindfulness.

Today her clinic  offers guided group meditation, private mindfulness sessions, MINDFUL@ WORK  programs, and programs for children and teens . Her practice is based on Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy, Mindfulness-Based Emotional Balance, Mindfulness-Based Childbirth and Parenting, and Mindfulness-Based Resilience Therapy.

“The eventual goal of the program is to lower stress, depression, and anxiety, as well as to improve the quality of life of all my clients,” Jay said. “Studies that address this question are just in, and the answer is impressive: mindfulness really can help workers cope with high levels of psychological distress.”

Obstacles and struggles to overcome in business

Jay was well aware of the difficulties starting a new business venture might bring in a small town.  However, she was not fazed with what could go wrong. Instead, she focused  on all the positives. She had already overcome several serious medical disorders a decade before. At that time her life had crumbled into many pieces.

With mindfulness meditation, she regained her self-esteem, confidence and passion for life –she was now ready to face the world of business.  She prepared and researched the topic well before opening the business. The biggest obstacle was funding and finding a place to offer her practice .

Fortunately, she had solid family support to help her achieve her dreams. Today she feels truly blessed in life, and knows that with her strength, talent and ability to solve life’s every  problem, she can help others succeed.

While her business is still relatively new, it is not too early to foresee the future. She is taking situations as they come,  fully prepared, and is  keeping her options open.

Being mindful about strengths and weaknesses in business

Mindfulness meditation studio

I’MINDFUL Studio

“I have three inherited traits that have played a key role in my success and they include grit, perseverance and compassion,” she explained. “I consider myself to be a problem solver and a life-long learner so I try to incorporate these qualities in everything I do.”

One of the biggest motivator is her 19-year-old autistic son. She is ultimately devoted to the well- being of her son and wants to ensure that he has the best quality of life . Jay stated, “He inspires me every day with his persistence, his hunger for knowledge and for doing things right.”

Jay is grateful that throughout her life, she has been surrounded by people who inspired her. Now she made it a mission to help others.

About Jay’s origins and her previous journey

Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Jay moved with her parents to Arkansas in the 80s. Several moves to other states followed before finally settling in Arkansas definitely.

Jay completed her bachelor’s degree in Business in Puerto Rico  and then completed a Masters in Business Administration at the University of Phoenix. Along the way, she worked for several major business organizations but after she was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and lupus, she decided to take a break from the business world.

Aside from running her brand new business, she is also a former volunteer with ALPFA, the Association of Latin American Professionals for America, and she was on the board of Northwest Arkansas Emerging Leaders.  She functions as a mentor for young entrepreneurs and assists them with their career pathways.

“I’m at a point in my life where I have to give back and play a bigger role in the Hispanic community to help it reach its full potential,” she shared. Jay was honored as one of Northwest Arkansas Business Journal’s Forty under Forty in 2011 and recently honored as one of Celebrate Magazine 16 to Watch in 2016.

You might be interested: Ileana Musa developing ALPFA Latina leaders for a global society

 

Share your questions with Jay on mindfulness meditation or depression here:

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