Posts

Dr. Ginny Baro shares mindfulness practices for coping with Covid-19 stress

As our world continues to change in unpredictable ways, we are all trying to find ways to cope with our feelings of uncertainty. For many, the Covid-19 pandemic has brought on increased stress and anxiety. Some may even feel as though they no longer have control over their lives. These feelings are fueled by ruminative thinking  and fixating on the future and on hypotheticals. This loop of thoughts perpetuates our emotions of anxiety and stress. Instead we must break this cycle and try to ground ourselves in the present moment. Fortunately, there are many mindfulness practices for coping with Covid-19 that can help us redirect our negative thoughts.  

Dr. Ginny Baro, CEO and Founder of ExecutiveBound

Supporting your physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being

Dr. Ginny Baro, an international executive coach, motivational speaker, leadership expert, author, and CEO and founder of ExecutiveBound has been practicing mindfulness and self-care as her way of coping with pandemic-related uncertainty.

“For approximately the first three to four weeks, adjusting to the shelter-in-place order was tough,” says Ginny. “Other than to go food shopping, it felt like I was under house arrest. I soon realized that more than ever, paying attention to my self-care was going to be critical.” 

Her executive coaching and career advancement company, ExecutiveBound, offers a plethora of resources to individuals looking to accelerate their professional growth and strengthen their leadership skills. One of these resources includes Ginny’s Inspired Morning Practice, which Ginny herself has been doubling down on since the pandemic began. 

The program focuses on grounding activities such as meditation, journaling, reading, eating healthy foods, and exercising. Practicing these activities for at least 14 days will help you build a consistent routine that supports your physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.  

“These are activities I can control,” Ginny says, “which help me ground to perform my work and feel my best.” 

While this practice was not created specifically for the Covid-19 pandemic, it is exactly what we all need right now. 

Medical experts  agree that practicing mindfulness has been found to reduce stress and increase well-being. Additionally mindful practices have been shown to help in the treatment of many mental and physiological problems such as addiction, anxiety, high blood pressure, depression, cancer, and chronic pain. 

Preparing healthy meals as part of the Inspired Morning Practice program

Extending mindfulness to others 

Being mindful also means being mindful of others. During this pandemic, both personally and professionally, Ginny has also worked to reach out to others and offer support and resources. 

“My focus has been on reaching out to friends, family, and colleagues to check-in with them and let them know I’m here for them,” she says.

Like many of us, she has been connecting with friends and family, networking, and engaging virtually. On April 10th, she and her family members gathered via Zoom to celebrate her mother’s 75th birthday over cocktails. 

“It was all we could do, given the circumstances.” 

On social media, Ginny has been intentional about providing as much value as possible to her professional network. 

“I find solace in sharing motivational messages along with tools and strategies to help us cope and continue to lead and manage our teams while taking care of our loved ones and our well-being,” says Ginny.  

Ginny at home with her son

During this time, Ginny has also experienced a surge in creativity which she has channeled into expanding her virtual offerings. From writing multiple blog posts about leading, managing, and motivating remote teams to her FearlessLeadershipMastermind course through which she is donating meals through Feeding America, Ginny has used her creative spark to help others stay grounded and cope during Covid-19.

“From my perspective, this global health crisis is a wake-up call to super-size our faith, our gratitude, and our commitment to make this life count,” Ginny says. “I’m grateful for friends, family, clients, a budding loving relationship, and rejoice in the fruit of a long-standing mindfulness practice that allows me to be fully present for all that surfaces, with love, compassion, and curiosity for myself and others. To all reading this, I wish that you are safe and your loved ones healthy.” 

 

You might be interested: How mindfulness meditation changed a Latina entrepreneur’s life

Tips for practicing mindfulness each day 

In addition to Ginny’s Inspired Morning Practice, here are a few other mindfulness practices for coping with Covid-19. 

  • Practice S.T.O.P. This stands for Stop, Take a breath, Observe your feelings, and Proceed. This method helps you  to slow down, stop your anxious thoughts, and bring you back to the present moment. Whenever you feel like your thoughts are taking over, take a moment to S.T.O.P. 
  • Try a guided meditation. There are many videos available online where you can follow along as well as countless apps that offer short meditations to help you center and refocus. 
  • Go for a walk (while practicing physical distancing). Walking and hiking with her son has been another one of Ginny’s go-to practices during quarantine. Together they have explored the many parks and woods in their area. 

    Ginny and her son on a nature walk

     A change of scenery and soaking up that much-needed vitamin D, is great for your mental health. When you walk, take note of what you see. Take deep breaths. Observe your surroundings and be present in the moment. 

Ginny taking in the beautiful scenery at Stoke States Forest, Sussex County, NJ

For additional self-care and mindfulness practices for coping with Covid-19 check out these resources

 

Clarisa Romero mindfulness

Clarisa Romero Mindfulness a must-have skill in today’s work environment

Clarisa Romero, Founder and CEO Mindful Consultants LLC

Is your mind full or are you mindful? Clarisa Romero, Founder and CEO of Mindful Consultants, aims at guiding people through mindfulness and neuroscience techniques to reset, re-train and revive their senses, which will enable them to focus, lead, and perform with clarity instead of operating from a reactive default state of mind.

Life in today’s day and age can be summarized in two words, bustling activity! Owing to the fast paced lifestyles, most of us go through life mechanically, performing one task after the other, ‘mindlessly’, without actually being truly aware of the present. In other words, we live our lives on ‘autopilot’.

Instead, why not take control of our own thoughts and actions? What if there was a way to make significant changes and create opportunities in our lives rather than just letting ‘life happen’ to us. What if you could lead your life mindfully?

Defined as a state of mind achieved by concentrating one’s consciousness on the present, mindfulness is observation without criticism; being compassionate while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.

“When unhappiness or stress projects a shadow in your work or personal life, mindfulness allows you to observe your thoughts and reactions without taking them in or personally. In essence, mindfulness allows you to catch negative thought patterns before they drag you down,” Clarisa explained. “It begins the process of putting you back in control of your life.”

What led Clarisa Romero on the path of mindfulness?

Clarisa Romero mindfulness

Intelligent Influence published author, Dale Caldwell; Mindful Consultants, Founder & CEO, Clarisa Romero & Brain Fit Institute Founder and Neurologist, Dr. Philippe Douyon

Clarisa has always been passionate about educational issues and therapeutic work, working with children and adults facing adversity. She has a background in early childhood education, family and child studies, and psychology. She has also been involved in working with children discharged from the Psychiatric Unit at a local hospital and working with children, adolescents, and families under the supervision of the State of New Jersey.

When Clarisa started suffering from elevated stress levels and depression because of major changes and losses in both her personal and professional life, she began to explore mindfulness practices and neuroscience.

“For many years, I worked in stressful environments that were not rewarding. I lived on autopilot and did not understand or believed I could change my circumstances.   Until I reached a breaking point; I went through a series of traumatic events from losing my father to cancer, to getting divorced, losing my job and selling my home, all within a year. When I discovered mindfulness I was able to see right away its power both on a personal and professional level “, she recounts.

She underwent formal training at the LinkedIn Conscious Business Academy led by Philosopher and Vice President at LinkedIn Fred Kofman, and became a Certified Mindfulness Practitioner. This program taught her how to constantly bring consciousness and alertness in every situation. Through this, she re-discovered herself and it improved her quality of life and productivity tremendously. She combined this training, and the training she received from the Oakland-based Mindful Schools in California, with her experiences and background in mental health and education, and started Mindful Consultants to introduce her techniques of mindful living to a wider audience.

She teaches, trains and creates customized programs for corporations, small businesses, non-profit organizations, individuals and schools focusing on the science of mindfulness and leadership.

Clarisa Romero mindfulness

Clarisa training small business owners at the SHCCNJ Hispanic Entrepreneurship Training Program Monthly Seminar & Networking on August 2016

The purpose of these programs is to help people increase self-awareness and emotional regulation, as well as assist in developing a conscious business environment, which helps give them a competitive advantage. She finds that helping others achieve greater success in life, by harnessing their true potential, is a truly enriching and fulfilling experience.

Clarisa, in partnership with To Be Mindful, LLC has also founded the New York Open Mindful Living Event and the Newark Mindful Living Festival to further engage, promote and build stronger and conscious communities.

Latinas who want to achieve success in their profession or business

“Sometimes Latina women lack the self-confidence and fail to realize that they have the power to make remarkable changes in their lives. It took a lot of introspection, self-realization and conscious effort for me to get rid of what was holding me back from believing in myself, and discover my true potential and entrepreneurial spirit,” Clarisa said.

Mindfulness, once acquired, is like a superpower and it can radically transform your brain and your life! She believes a “Healthy mind = Successful Life”.

“I had to overcome fear, doubt and limited belief in my capacity to have my own business”, said Clarisa. “I can help you believe in yourself, overcome your fears, live consciously in the present and take charge of your live!,” she concluded.

 

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:

[contact-form-7 404 "Not Found"]

 

 

 

 

 

 

family and career Balance in relationships, unhappy couple

Snow White, Cinderella and the pinky swear: 5 Steps to relationship balance

Balance in relationships, unhappy couple

Remember our princesses’ stories in which the prince woke up Snow White? Or the other prince –or was it the same prince? – was able to fit Cinderella’s foot into the crystal shoe? Finding a great relationship or getting married isn’t the end of the race. It’s actually the beginning of a new chapter in your life, with new rewards and new commitments.

Entrepreneur Yasmine Robles shares with us that she is up early morning and works till all hours of the night. Being the CEO of her own website design and branding company, Robles Design is bitter sweet. She loves her career but feels resentment for lack of time because she wished she could spend more of it with her husband as a couple and be there for him and his goals while being with their kids and taking “me” time.

So how do you balance your partner, your family, long hours at work and time to yourself?

You create it. No worries, easier said than done but you’re in luck today because I am giving you my best steps so you can stop feeling frustrated about having to juggle it all and not getting anywhere. Here goes!

Step 1

Make an HONEST assessment. So what’s really going on? Is all the arguing and blaming really about you working late hours or is it that he is still resentful because what you said about his mother or are you trying to stay away because you no longer feel a connection?

Be honest. Once these issues are addressed, then everything will easily fall in place or will actually give you a fighting chance. Because as long as you don’t deal with the underlying reasons for the feuding or late nights at work then there will never be peace.

Also, what are your new goals? At the beginning of the relationship we know all about our partner, their hopes and dreams. Then, as the years pass, we don’t even ask anymore; even worse, we assume. So take this time to share each other’s goals as individuals and as a couple. Is this vision where you see yourself at this time?

Upset couple lying side by side in bedStep 2

Make a plan together. Now that the underlying reason is out of the way, what are your needs? What are his or her needs? Where can you compromise? Find the sweet spot. Don’t think of it as giving in, think of it as trying something new. It’s ok if the new plan isn’t exactly what you expected or you aren’t sure is going to work but you are willing to give it a shot. It takes two to build a relationship. Remember, this isn’t the end all be all, this is just a plan for right now and it will take form. ALWAYS look at the bigger picture……….and that’s LOVE.

Get resources, family, friends, a nanny, a housekeeper once a month. Get creative. Stop making excuses.

PS: While you are making the plan, if too much fighting or power games ensue, ask yourself if you are playing out the same unhealthy dynamics of your parents? NO BUENO. You must look at the underlying symptoms.

Step 3

Keep your promises. Remember when we were kids, how important it was when we did a pinky swear and it counted? Remember those times. You might have to say no to working late, you might have to learn to call it a day. It might not feel natural at first but take a stand for your relationship. As Adam Toren says in Entrepreneur.com, “Don’t backslide. Once you find yourself in a good situation, or even find the person of your dreams, it’s easy to think, ‘Well, that’s taken care of,’ and jump right back into your business full-time. Understand that another person in your life isn’t a project you can set aside until you’re ready to work on it. You’ve made a commitment, with the attendant’s responsibilities.” This is so true!

Step 4

“No” is a complete sentence. The truth is there will be months where there is more biz than love life, or more family time than girl time… and for those times… BREATHE… and ACCEPT… You are doing your best. And you don’t have to do it all, you can choose what makes you happier… Release any shame, sister.

Step 5Busy Woman with Baby

Remember what’s truly important in your life. No one ever said on their death bed, “Damn, I wish I would have stayed late to hand in that report.” It’s more like, “I am so happy we got to spend all that time together, and that we took that trip to Jamaica.” Well, I made that one up but seriously, Bronnie Ware, an inspiring woman and author of “The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying” mentions the second biggest regret is “I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.”

In her words…

“This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret, but as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.”

(Now, it’s us women who end up on the “treadmill of a work existence.”)

Extra

It’s simple. Not easy but simple. If you have a great partner and a wonderful family, make time for them. If you don’t think you have a great partner ask yourself, is it because we don’t spend enough time together and have I forgotten what made me fall in love with this person in the first place? Remember LOVE must be nourished. But if you give your all and your partner still doesn’t meet you half way, it’s time to reevaluate the big picture. You can only carry the relationship alone for so long before it sucks the life out of you.

 

3 Mindful ways to improve productivity and reduce anxiety at work

Aixa Lopez with her daughter Andrea

Aixa Lopez with her daughter Andrea

The word mindfulness reflects the state of mind of being conscious or aware of something. In the past years, we have heard how this word has been used to describe the importance of being in the present moment and not worrying about the past or the future.

In the late 90s, I started reading about mindfulness looking for tools to manage my stress and anxiety. I was working in the manufacturing industry and in charge of a production area. Not only this area worked 24/7, but we were measured by production output, cycle time, shipments, material shortages, and quality complaints. Our year-end bonus was tied to these metrics. I felt responsible for the performance of each one of my employees, for the performance of the engineers supporting my area and releasing new products, for validation processes and for ongoing investigations to release units on-hold. I felt responsible for the equipment that broke down and how fast it was put back into service.

When you work in this industry, you learn how to multi-task and how to deal with stress in a very peculiar fashion. For instance, I remember changing my shoes at the beginning of the shift and wearing nursing shoes to walk faster around the manufacturing facility.

I learned how to focus on the end-result. That helped me later in life when I had to manage 200 construction employees and a very demanding city Mayor. I easily communicated with the Mayor to send asphalt crews to fix potholes at 6:30 am while preparing my daughter and dropping her off at pre-school. Yes, I was very “productive”; however, I paid a high price for it.

At age 32, while I was running from one meeting to another and being late for the second meeting, I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I thought it was the result of my hurry. I started feeling chest pains and all of the sudden I felt dizzy. I was taken to the hospital. My blood pressure was almost 200/100. After several days of physical exams, I ended up getting a catheterization. My doctor instructed me to slow down and live a mindful life. I had read about it but never paid too much attention. At the end of the day, my life had always been measured by accomplishing tasks, and that’s what I knew better.

After that incident, I decided to start being more mindful, sometimes succeeding and sometimes failing miserably. You know, women, we put tremendous pressure on fulfilling all of our roles “perfectly”. I started reading more and more about awareness, being present, working smartly, but for some reason the implementation was not as easy as it seemed on the books.

mindfulness garden seeds

Several years later, I was falling again into the old pattern. I decided to put a stop to it and make a change in my life. The decision I made has paid off tremendously and has allowed me to identify three mindful ways to work and improve my productivity without losing myself in the process. Honestly, it’s a daily effort. There are days in which I still feel overwhelmed, a sign that I have to stop and take some time off for myself to recalibrate. Here are the three mindfulness principles I practice:

  1. Identify what is important to you.  I was asked once who was the most important person in my life. Guess what I said? My daughter! Wrong answer. It should have been “ME”. Without a sane mom, there is no happy daughter. Now, I make sure I have a physical exam every year, I take time to meditate, exercise, eat healthy, read every night, go on road trips, volunteer at church, and do other activities that make me happy. All this keeps me sane and nurtures my body and my spirit. It makes me a better wife, daughter, mom and professional.
  2. Instead of trying to control the future, think about the worst thing that could happen, embrace it as a possibility and let it go.  This is a challenge for me. I always try to plan things ahead of time. Trying to control now what could happen in the future is a lost cause. It’s futile, and it creates a lot of anxiety. One of my supervisors said to me once that I had the “worry gene“, and added that most of the things we worry about never happen. If one or two of those things do happen, then we shouldn’t feel like it is only OUR responsibility to fix it.  Worrying is the most difficult thing for me to work on. I am an engineer, so my brain is set to fix things. Whenever I can’t fix something, I feel defeated. The book Dale Carnegie’s Stop Worrying and Start Living  has helped at improving this issue. What’s the worst that could happen if something doesn’t go the way I want it to? What would I do if that happened? Only then I get mentally prepared for that outcome. Believe it or not, that takes a lot of stress out from my mind, and it allows me to shift my focus into the present. When you switch your focus to the present moment, ideas start flowing easily, and you start getting the results you wanted. I can guarantee you that most of the times, the “worst” never happens, and if it does, then you already know what to do.
  3. Celebrate every accomplishment.  It is easy for me to celebrate everything. That’s part of my Hispanic culture. However, celebrating does not come easily to everyone. In the past, I would share with someone some good news; perhaps a nice small accomplishment, and I would get an “Oh, okay,” plunging me into such a bad mood.  Getting upset about it was a huge mistake on my part. We let our surroundings dictate so much of how we feel. In the past, one negative word could make my day miserable. Now, I force myself not to fall into that trap. I celebrate everything. I pat myself on the back. I value my efforts. If I receive a negative feedback, I meditate on the merits of it.  If it has merits, I put it in my toolbox for the next task, if it has no merits, I just let it go. Celebrating small accomplishments will motivate you and will allow you to produce more and better results.

Celebrate your accomplishments

As we become more mindful, we declutter our brains and souls from the burden and anxiety that everyday life brings. That allows us to connect with ourselves and with others. When you connect, you listen, you become aware of the alternatives you may have and how to make things work in a leaner and productive way.

When you are mindful, things flow and results are accomplished.  Have you wonder why sometimes you have outdoor plans and all of the sudden it starts raining and you don’t know what to do. Then, you suddenly decide to try something else and the day turns out better than you ever imagined. Why? Because you just surrendered and allowed new ideas to flow. That’s the concept behind all this.

I urge you to try any of these mindful ways. You’ll see the difference. Go for it!