Tag: Wellness

Getting Well

Stress usually isn’t a good thing. Excessive stressors can lead to a number of ailments such as heart disease, obesity, and mental health issues. Naturally, employers should be doing the best they can in offering programs or resources to reduce the amount of stress. At the end of the day, what may seem like a waste of money on employees could be what keeps them happy, focused, and productive— all good things for a company.

NPR, in conjunction with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health, released a poll that found 57% of the surveyed who worked 50+ hour weeks felt that “their job had a bad impact on their stress level”. The poll also found high numbers of workers who felt it negatively impacted sleep and eating habits, too. However, there was some good news: just over half (51%) of respondents indicated that their employers had a wellness or health improvement program in place.

The plans themselves vary. Forbes published a list of the 10 most and least common health and wellness programs that employers provide, and there seems to be a divide between resource-based initiative and material help. For instance, the most common programs include wellness resources and info, access to a wellness publication, and the vague “wellness programs” general. Other programs— like subsidized gym equipment nap rooms, and vegetable gardens,—are far less traditional, although a small number of companies do offer them.

But even though more companies are offering these health programs, less than 40 percent of individuals are actually enrolled in them. That shouldn’t stop employers from offering the programs because these measures do save companies money. Those higher stress levels can translate into illness, and at the end of the day those rising healthcare costs become the employer’s issue.

Another simple measure companies can take to improve employee wellness is keeping better tabs on workloads and expectations. Downsizing may make a company feel like it is becoming more efficient, but the extra workload employees receive can have stress-related consequences. Part of the reason that so much paid time off goes on used is because employees feel that their workload won’t allow them to step away from the desk.

black and white image of stressed woman

Image courtesy of Flickr.

Making sure employees can use their vacation days should be a priority. After time away, you feel refreshed and can approach work with a renewed vim and vigor. If that weren’t enough of a reason, all that unused vacation time costs American businesses billions of dollars.

3 Ways to Improve Sleep Quality

It goes without saying that sleep is super-connected to wellness.  Well, no— it’s more than super-connected, the two are interdependent.

dave-pflieger-man-909049_960_720More interestingly, when you think about it, it is quite amazing that the simple act of doing nothing is one of, it not the most important, things you can do during your day-to-day. So, if you’re finding your waking hours suffering and constantly in need of a pickup, there’s a good chance that sleep quality is something you need to improve. Given that fact, here are three things you can do to improve the quality of your virtually invaluable sleep.

During the Day, DO.

Have you ever been totally exhausted and finally lie down to rest, only to be amazed at how well you slept? It’s just easier for us to fall asleep when we’re actually tired. Making yourself tired by the end of the day is as simple as getting active. Make it a habit to exercise. You’ll get a mood boost when you finish, but when you expend all that energy in a healthy way, your body just can’t wait to get it back. Sleep will fall over you in an instant!

Meditate

It can be pretty tough to sleep when you’re stressed about work, relationships, or even what you’re going to cook for dinner in the evening. Going to bed with a heavy mind can really impact your sleep quality, and when you awake those thoughts may still be there. Remember to take it one day at a time, and try some form of meditation to clear your mind. From reflecting on everything you’re thankful for, to focusing on your breath, there are countless ways to practice meditation and many resources available to help you get started.

Start an Evening Routine

Yes, it’s elementary, but sticking to an evening routine that works for you can be relaxing and will condition your body to know when sleep is coming. Better still, your evening routine can involve something you actually enjoy. Maybe it can even be a part of a longtime goal. Want to read more? Nestle in with a book for an hour every night. Trying to refine your writing skills? Start a journal! The only thing I’d avoid is anything that has to do with screens. Electronic light before bed can have negative effects on sleep, and that would defeat the point of starting a routine in the first place!

5 Healthy Resolutions for the New Year

It’s the new year and that means that it’s time for the new year’s resolutions to be made and then broken within the span of a few weeks. The sad truth is that many people don’t follow through with their resolutions, regardless of how well-meaning they may be. That being said, here are 5 of the healthiest resolutions for men out there. Good luck sticking to them!health and wellness

  1. Get fit and in shape: This is the standard new year’s resolution — the nebulous and esoteric “get in better shape”. That being said, this is a great one to work towards and everyone should try to be healthier. Don’t just focus on weights though; make sure that you include cardio into your exercise routine for a balanced workout.
  2. Watch what you eat: Instead of eating just meat and potatoes (probably the most stereotypical “manly” food there is), try to eat a balanced diet. Not only will this help you lose weight and look better, but you’ll also just be healthier and happier. I bet there are nutrients you’re currently missing out on that you didn’t even know about.
  3. Go to the doctor: There is no pride to be gained from getting sick just because you didn’t feel like you needed to go to the doctor. If you feel as though something is wrong, don’t try to just shake it off. Go to a professional and make sure that it is taken care of.
  4. Quit smoking: While it’s common knowledge that smoking is bad for you, addiction doesn’t pay attention to logic. Quitting smoking is the first step towards a healthier you and you’ll see the benefits across all aspects of your life, especially when you’re able to breath easier.
  5. Ease your stress: Stress is a killer and a leading cause of both unhappiness and unhealthiness. One of the first things you can do to get yourself on the right health track is to find ways to healthily mitigate and get rid of the stress in your life.

All of these resolutions are obviously easier said than done. That being said, once you get started on them you’ll notice an active difference in your quality of life and health. That will make it even easier to continue! If you’d like to read more, the link is here.

5 Tips for Packing a Healthy Lunch

How many times have you complained to yourself about not bringing a healthy, packed lunch to work? I know the feeling — I’m sure that everyone knows that feeling well. Below are five tips to help make packing lunch easier and not an experience that deserves avoidance and excuses. Getting lunch delivered to your office or from a place nearby is an easy and mindless habit to fall into without even noticing. Even when you try to order healthy (such as salad), the reality is that it will never be as healthy as something you prepare yourself.salad, sandwich, wellness, healthy eating

  1. Plan ahead: One of the best things about getting delivery or takeout at work is the minimal amount of effort required to feed yourself — one of the main issues with preparing a packed lunch. Plan ahead and prepare all of the necessary ingredients and packing items so that you can cut down on the work you need to do. Cook enough food to have leftovers for the next day or dedicate an evening to preparing lunches in advance; just plan ahead!
  2. Keep it simple: Healthy doesn’t have to mean complicated. Keep simple healthy ingredients on hand so that you can whip up simple and healthy meals without needing to think so hard.
  3. Add variety: They say that variety is the spice of life and healthy food has the potential for so much variety! Avoid getting bored of your lunch by paying special attention towards trying new recipes and using new flavors in interesting ways. There are so many delicious ways to eat healthy — can you find them all?
  4. Partner up: They say that misery love company! That’s a joke! But seriously though, company makes everything better and that includes eating healthy and packing lunch. Get your partner or spouse to join you in preparing lunches for the week. Turn it into a fun bonding ritual that also helps keep you in better shape.
  5. Stock up at work: Do you like snacking at work? Stock your desk with healthy snacks and options so that you can pack less for lunch and just supplement your lunch with snacks throughout the day.

These are just five ways to make packing lunch easier than it is. Use these tips to double down on your healthy routine and keep moving towards the improved you that you’re aiming for! Click here for the article.

Essential Packing Tips For Travel to Hawaii

Hawaiian Dress Code
The hardest part of any vacation tends to be when packing for one. Packing sounds like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be! In this article, I wanted to share my best wellness and packing tips to help prepare you for your next trip to Hawaii. “Hawaiian Dress Code”: Most places use “Resort Wear” as standard dress code throughout Hawaii. For men, this includes dress-shorts or khaki trousers and a collared shirt. For women, this includes casual skirts, maxi dresses, capri pants, dress shorts, rompers, etc.

What to Bring: A General Packing Checklist

  1. Shorts & T-shirts for daytime wear.
  2. Bathing suit & cover-up (most resorts request that you cover up in lobbies and common areas other than the pool and beach).
  3. Flip-Flops or other water shoes.
  4. Long trousers, for Hawaii activities (like horseback riding, zip lining, hiking over lava, ATV tours, etc).
  5. Sunglasses.
  6. Sunscreen & lip balm with high SPF (WebMD recommends looking for a sunscreen that contains any of the following: ecamsule, avobenzone, oxybenzone, titanium dioxide, sulisobenzone, or zinc oxide).
  7. Hawaii travel map and/or guidebook: Oahu Vacation GuideMaui Vacation GuideKauai Vacation GuideHawaii: The Big Island, Vacation Guide.
  8. Cameras, batteries, and/or other charging devices.
  9. Binoculars and a lightweight backpack.
  10. Personal medicine prescriptions and first aid kit  (“Suggestions for medical supplies you may need on your Hawaii vacation”).
  11. Rain jacket/poncho and hat/visor.
  12. Light sweater – especially if you are staying in any of the uplands/upcountry areas like, Koele, Lanai City, Kula, Volcano and Waimea.

If you plan to hike:

  1. Mosquito repellent.
  2. Hiking shoes or sneakers.
  3. Camelback/water bottle.
  4. Quick-dry clothing.
  5. Some energy bars for fuel.

If you plan to visit high elevation zones:

  1. Thermal underwear.
  2. Windproof gloves.
  3. Windproof jacket.
  4. Winter hat, headband, or earmuffs (guided tours to Haleakala or Mauna Kea will most likely provide a parka & gloves).

Lava in HawaiiIf you plan to watch lava flow:

  1. Hiking shoes & hiking poles.
  2. Hiking pants.
  3. Flashlight.
  4. Gloves.

See more advice for seeing lava activity in Hawaii.

How to Deal with Stress in the Workplace

Dave Pflieger Wellness in the WorkplaceThe stress Americans feel every day can be largely attributed to the pressures and demands of the workplace. Every company should ask itself if it doesnt enough for its employees to assure a positive work atmosphere. Labor itself, along with limited body movement (being sedentary for long periods of time), and a strenuous work environment are all factors that contribute to feelings of tension and general negativity. Of course, over time, stressors begin to take a toll on employee happiness and productivity. It is a company’s responsibility to provide a satisfying work environment for those who work for its success. So, doesn’t it make sense for a company to supply its employees with its own form of stress-reducing exercises and wellness plans?

Roughly one in ten companies, only, has spent time designing a comprehensive wellness program for its employees, offering employees methods for stress reduction including yoga classes, meditative techniques and exercise. Beyond this, companies can introduce educational seminars and more long-term programs to advocate healthy practices. A few companies offer weight-loss and cholesterol management programs, healthy meals in vending machines and cafeterias, and even classes to help quit smoking. This is an intelligent way of addressing the many facets of a single issue: many workers smoke and overeat directly because of the stress they feel. Lowering stress helps twofold. Many of these programs raise feelings of positivity, well-being, and belonging, and inspire group activities, which means group progress. Members of a group do well to inspire each other to work for and maintain good habits. Aspects of a program can be as simple as reiterating good sleep and hygiene patterns. Often, it takes only a reminder and some repetition to instill values pertinent to good health, and one advocate often contagiously affects others around him with good habits.

Healthier workers simply feel better about what they do, and are more likely to come to work with a smile on their face than workers who feel they must sacrifice their priority on health for the sake of their employer. One company, Draper Inc. exceeded any expectations by organizing a team-based weight-loss program and awarding the winning team a prize for its success. What’s more is Draper honors employees monthly who display and encourage healthy lifestyles. It’s no surprise, Drape saw increased worker satisfaction and productivity. Other examples of going beyond the base level would be offering classes that help workers develop new skill, for example, cooking, music appreciation, or learning new computer applications. These give employees a chance to communicate and share experiences with each other in a different light. Positive feelings between co-workers engenders a free and transparent workplace, which helps all to feel more comfortable, appreciated, and motivated to work.

A company’s care for its employees is evident in all aspects of its conduct. Companies must understand their own culture to know how employees feel belonging to them. Jason Lang of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention expresses that a company’s concern for its employees’ wellness should be evident in everything the company does. Wellness is, ultimately, a question of lifestyle choices not of occasional beneficial activity. A company truly succeeds if it can make its impact last outside of the workplace.

 

A Breakfast Worth Waking Up For

Dave Pflieger Breakfast

We’ve all heard it: breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It starts you off with high energy, an alert mind, and a general feeling of well-being. Starting your day on the right side of the bed makes adapting to daily demands much easier and you’ll be thankful you have the fuel to power you through a difficult morning.

But what’s the right thing to have for breakfast? How do put together the right meal? Is there something light enough to not bog us down for the hours after, but substantial enough to keep us energized?

Most experts agree that eliminating simple sugars and instead eating foods high in protein and complex carbohydrates is the way to go. This means no partaking in iconic traditions like pancakes and waffles, and you’ll want to skip that side of bacon with the omelette.

One classic combination that has become a recent trend is a bowl of greek yogurt with fruit and granola. Greek yogurt provides a substantial amount of protein while fruit adds a series of vitamins and minerals that are difficult to find elsewhere. They are also low in fat and do not add any extra cholesterol to your diet. (Certain fruit like avocado mimic the nutritional value of nuts—reputably high in protein, fiber, and good fats—and makes it easy to switch out certain fruits and nuts for others.) With the sheer number of granolas and nuts available on the market and the colorful variety of fruits, it’s easy to form a reliable and healthy habit that never becomes monotonous. Switch up your fruits, switch up your nuts. Just make sure to avoid nuts that are cooked in oils or are otherwise flavored as they often carry unwanted extras like sugars and saturated fat.

Another excellent option for protein is the egg. Eggs are a staple breakfast food ranking as one of the most nutritious foods out there. Authority Nutrition says it better than anyone: “A whole egg contains all the nutrients required to turn a single cell into a baby chicken.” Loaded with proteins, fats, and vitamins, the egg is indubitably the most well-rounded single contributor to a healthy breakfast. They also raise good cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. The versatility and ease in preparing eggs also makes them one of the more fun foods to eat. Omelettes, for example, open up many options as they can be carriers of meats, vegetables, and cheeses, and healthy fats like avocados.

Breakfast starts every day so try and start your day with positivity. Establishing a good routine doesn’t mean leaning on a boring routine. The variety of fruits and nuts and egg preparations gives you endless options for creative cooking. Enjoy!

 

Dave Pflieger Wellness with Xterra

Dave Pflieger and Island Air feel very strongly about encouraging wellness and healthy living in their community.  Island Air has partnered with Xterra to help them fulfill their mission.

In mid 1990s,  mountain biking and  a triathlon met on the island of Maui, Hawaii. The race was named Aquaterra. It combined an open-ocean swim, a race on mountain bikes, and also a trail run.

What the founders didn’t realize, is that this one event ushered in a new type of racing format that helped people become more active. The mountain bikers who were attracted to the event brought their laid-back style and bold self-assurance. The triathletes who participated brought their training style and dedicated personality. 

The typical XTERRA is comprised of the following:

1.5K swim
30K mountain bike
11K trail run

Island Air is a proud partner to help Xterra put together races and benefit their community.

Office Décor Crucial to Office Happiness

In a world where the average employee spends just under six hours sitting at their desk every single day, wellness and contentment can be hard to come by.  According to an article recently completed by The Huffington Post, personal touches and accessories can work wonders in producing a happier feeling at work.

First, note the choice in colors.  Angela Wright, renowned color psychologist, claims that highly saturated, brighter colors work to stimulate, whereas muted colors move to relax and sooth.  Choose colors that correspond to the work you are expected to produce.  Light can also be astronomical in its effect.  Studies show that exposure to natural light increases energy, creativity and productivity.  Artificial light, on the other hand, induces fatigue and stress.  If there is no window available in a workspace, seek out a lamp that can imitate natural light.  Along similar lines, adding a plant within the line of sight can be beneficial.  Not only is it aesthetically pleasing, plants work to improve a variety of useful components to produce productivity; creativity, wellbeing, concentration and focus are all increased under the presence of a plant.  It also produces clean air; Gerber daisies, spider plants and English ivy are particularly productive in this aspect.

Smell is the strongest sense; and, yet, it is horrendously underutilized in terms of inspiring accuracy and productivity.  Lemon, jasmine and lavender have all been show to reduce number of errors in work.  Comfort of temperature can also be a factor; where some consider cold environments to work to keep employees more alert, the article states that the opposite is true—cold temperatures induce higher levels of errors and cut back on productivity.  The optimum temperature is between seventy to seventy-seven degrees.

Moving around can be helpful as well.  Desk chairs can be comfortable, all the while wreaking havoc on the employee’s joints and body.  If bound to a chair for the bulk of the workday, insure that the chair is positioned centered in front of the monitor and keyboard; feet should be touching the floor and the knees should be level with hips.  If it is possible, move around during the course of the day.  This can be particularly beneficial if the office space is designed to be an open-plan workspace; designs such as these can prompt distractions and reduce productivity of the easily diverted.  Don’t be afraid to move about and seek other workspace to meet needs.