Archive for April, 2014:


Get smart about your health. Give yourself a SMART goal.

Chances are, you’ve heard of SMART goals. Long used in the corporate world, many of us have started setting them to achieve personal objectives – especially when we make the decision to begin the journey to wellness.

At WellAdvantage, we encourage our clients to set SMART goals for their personal wellness visions. In fact, clients who begin a wellness regimen by setting SMART goals are far more likely to achieve success than those who take a more casual, undocumented approach or those who try to achieve too much, too soon.

But exactly what are SMART goals and what makes them a smart choice for you?

Let’s dive into this acronym. We think you’ll be amazed at its simplicity.

S SpecificSimply state your goal, being as specific as you can. Note what you’ll do and when you’ll do it. Write down the days of the week and times, and any specific details that will help you manage your goal. For example, if you want to exercise, note your type of activity and what days and times you’ll be doing it – schedule it like a doctor’s appointment.

 

M MeasurableMake sure your goal is measurable. How will you measure it? How will you know when you have accomplished your goal?

 

A Attainable / Action-OrientedIs your goal challenging, but still possible to achieve? What actions do you need to take in order to achieve your goal?

 

R Realistic / RelevantIs your goal realistic to achieve with your available resources? Are you willing to commit to it? Why do you want to reach your goal? Is your goal relevant to your life’s purpose and your big picture? Will achieving your goal help you lead the life you want to have?

 

T Time-BoundWhen do you want to reach your goal? Are you able to track the progress you are making toward it?

 

Examples of SMART goals

On Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I will pack my bag with gym clothes in the morning and go to the gym directly after work. I will work out using the elliptical for 30 minutes.

To help me lose 5 pounds:

  • I will journal my food for the entire day on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays and stay under my allotment of 1400 calories.
  • I will plan my weekday meals and make my grocery list by Friday evening, so I can shop on Saturday mornings for the next week.
  • I will not eat after 7 p.m. on weekdays, except for hot tea, water or one piece of fruit.

Take the first step!

Health and wellness are your most important assets. Following these guidelines for setting and pursuing your SMART goals is the first step toward achieving the healthy life you want to lead.

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Meet WellAdvantage’s Director of Coaching Programs Liz Clark

WellAdvantage Director of CoachingLiz Clark, CHC, RYT, is a director of coaching programs at WellAdvantage. Ms. Clark obtained her health coach certification through the American Council on Exercise and her wellness coach certification through WellAdvantage, Inc. She is also a certified American Lung Association Freedom from Smoking Facilitator.

Passionate about wellness, Ms. Clark has dedicated her career to helping others be their happiest and healthiest.  She understands how empowering it is to work with clients, and is committed to helping individuals realize their vision of becoming their best selves.

In addition to working with clients, Ms. Clark trains coaches through the WellAdvantage Coaching Institute, a training program she created in collaboration with her WellAdvantage co-director, Sherry Del Giorno. She is excited to nurture other health and wellness specialists through their process of professional growth.

Ms. Clark has a long history of guiding others in their health and wellness journey In addition to health coaching, she has been teaching yoga for nearly 15 years. A certified yoga instructor , she was trained by the internationally renowned YogaKids Intl, Inc.™ and the Yoga Center of Columbia, Md.  Registered with the Yoga Alliance, Ms. Clark teaches a wide range of classes for children and adults, and specializes in using yoga as a catalyst for creating positive changes in life.

Bridging her two areas of interest and expertise, Ms. Clark is currently developing a yoga, meditation and breath-work series designed to work in conjunction with a smoking cessation program. This cutting-edge project is evidence based and experiential in nature. Ms. Clark and her WellAdvantage colleague Cathy Rees are tracking data on the effectiveness of the program and hope to present research on the topic next year.

Ms. Clark also has 25 years of marketing experience in the health and wellness industry.  Working as director of marketing for the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia, she gained a broad range of experience from website design to advertising to program management. She also marketed her own yoga business for many years.

Married for 23 years with a daughter in college, Ms. Clark resides in Sykesville, Md.  When she is not working with clients, she enjoys dancing, singing, water recreation, and spending time with family and friends.

Workplace biometric screening alerts employee to life-threating high blood pressure risk

WellAdvantage conducts many workplace health and wellness programs that benefit both employees and their employers.

Some attendees simply come to obtain information or learn more about the benefits offered through their company or health provider. Many take advantage of the special services and testing. In the case of one employee, a casual visit turned into a life-saving experience.

Emory went to a biometric screening conducted by WellAdvantage, his company’s wellness provider. The nurse at the screening informed him that his blood pressure was extremely high. She was ready to call 911 and recommended that he go immediately to the hospital.

Emory declined the nurse’s offer to make the emergency call, but took her advice to spend some calm time in his office and return to have his blood pressure rechecked. When he returned, his blood pressure was still dangerously high.

Emory immediately went to an urgent care facility, where the providers recommended he go to the hospital’s emergency room. He declined admission to the hospital, but immediately followed up with his doctor. He has been taking medication for his condition ever since.

It appears the simple act of attending a company-held biometric screening allowed Emory to avoid a potentially life-altering stroke and other consequences related to high blood pressure. The doctors believe Emory’s high blood pressure may have been the cause of the recurring headaches experienced prior to his diagnosis.

Emory is grateful that his company offered this screening … and that he decided to attend. His participation potentially saved his life!

WellAdvantage CEO honored among “Maryland’s Top 100 Women”

WellAdvantage CEO Jeanne Puglisi Sherwood has been named to The Daily Record’s list of “Maryland’s Top 100 Women.” The list, now in its 18th year, recognizes outstanding achievement by women as demonstrated through professional accomplishments, community leadership and mentoring.

“I am honored to be among such a distinguished group of women,” said Ms. Sherwood. “This represents a great achievement on both a personal level as well as for the power of women-owned business in our state. I’m proud to have such a dedicated group of WellAdvantage employees on our team.”

Maryland’s Top 100 Women

WellAdvantage CEO named to The Daily Record’s list of “Maryland’s Top 100 Women.”

Ms. Sherwood, a registered nurse, founded WellAdvantage in 2001. Based in Sykesville, Md., the company provides clients with access to activities, services and education to promote healthier lifestyles. Working with employers, insurance companies and individuals, WellAdvantage offers innovative, customized programs that cover fitness and exercise, stress reduction, smoking cessation and healthy eating through workplace programs and one-on-one coaching.

More than 370 nominations were received this year. A panel of judges, made up on business professionals and past award winners, reviewed the applications and selected the 2014 honorees. The awards will be presented at an evening reception May 5 at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall in Baltimore and profiled in the May 9 issue of The Daily Record.

“Each of Maryland’s Top 100 Women honorees is different in some way from one another, yet all share a common goal–to inspire those around them to be the best,” said Suzanne Fischer-Huettner, publisher of The Daily Record. “Women are an amazing resource for our state, and The Daily Record is honored to recognize their accomplishments.”

Does Daily Stress Affect Mental Health?

Is it true that what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger? Many people believe daily stress builds strength and helps endure future obstacles; however, University of California, Irvine, psychological scientist Susan Charles suggests that daily stress may not build strength and actually negatively influences long-term mental health.

Charles’s study (released April 2, 2013) used data from two national surveys that focused on daily obstacles and the mental health impacts on participants after 10 years. Researchers discovered that mental health was affected similarly by small life experiences compared to major events. Small issues such as an argument at home influenced the future of participants’ mental health.

Those who properly manage daily stress lead happier and healthier lives. Managing stress takes practice as the pressures of life can be overwhelming at times. Incorporating daily stress management can benefit future mental health and decrease psychological distress. Use the following ideas and methods to help manage everyday stress:

  • Determine whether stress is internal or external. If you are constantly dwelling on the negative and worried about things beyond your control, this is internal (self-generated) stress. Recognizing the form of stress you have can help you control stress.
  • Engage your senses for immediate stress relief. Using sight, sound, scent, taste, and touch can decrease stress levels. While some individuals may relax to music, others may find the scent of a candle helps them unwind.
  • Stress relief takes practice, so if one management technique does not work for you, try something else.
  • Is stress keeping you awake at night? If so, using a white-noise machine may be beneficial and help you conquer stressful tasks the following day.
  • Maintain a network of friends who you can talk to about your stress. Surrounding yourself with positive friends can decrease anxiety and increase optimism during stressful events.

Posted By National Wellness Institute, Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Article by Kelli Oligney, Associate Editor

Reference:
Mikulak, A. (April 2, 2013). Negative emotions in response to daily stress take a toll on long-term mental health. Retrieved on April 2, 2013, from http://www.psychologicalscience.org/index.php/news/releases/negative-emotions-in-response-to-daily-stress-take-a-toll-on-long-term-mental-health.html

Segal, J., Smith, M., and Robinson, L. (March 2013). Quick Stress Relief. Help Guide. Retrieved on April 17, 2013, from http://www.helpguide.org/toolkit/quick_stress_relief.htm

It’s Spring (FINALLY!) What Are Your Exercise Goals?

Some of the WellAdvantage staff enjoying National Walking Day. Let’s face it. It’s been a long and miserable winter in much of the country.

With the exception of the workouts many of us got from shoveling, sledding with the kids or walking faster to get inside our warm offices and homes, the season has been a bust for those who enjoy a regular outdoor exercise routine.

So now that Spring is finally upon us, and many of us are ready to make up for months of hibernation, what’s the best way to take advantage of the warm days ahead?

According to WellAdvantage Coaching Program Director Sherry Del Giorno, easing into your warm-weather activities is as important as having a weekly exercise goal. So what should you keep in mind?

Don’t overdo it. The first day of warm weather is tempting, but starting out where you left off last Fall won’t make up for lost time. Ease back into your routine by starting off slowly. Your body will thank you for not pushing it. Whether your sport is tennis, running, Zumba, dancing, bicycling or power walking, if you’ve been inactive for several months you need to start slowly. Remember, your body may not be in sync just yet with everything you want to do.

Set realistic goals and make them specific. If you have trouble finding an extra half hour a day, setting a weekly goal of three hours of exercise isn’t realistic and leads to one or two days of pushing your body to its limits. A single day of vigorous exercise often leads to sore muscles or, even worse, injuries that may sideline you from enjoying your activity. Don’t disappoint yourself. Set a goal you can meet and you’ll soon reap the benefits it gives in return.

For example, if you’d like to walk 30 minutes a day, try 10-minute walks three times a day. Be specific with your goals and name the days and times you’ll be exercising. The more specific and realistic you are at the onset, the more likely you will be to achieve your goal. Many people find it helpful to add their exercise regimen to their appointment calendars, that way they are less likely to schedule other activities during their exercise times.

Celebrate your achievements. Whether you have a solo exercise routine or participate with friends or family, take a moment to celebrate your milestones. Share your activity with friends on Facebook, at work or at the dinner table. Perhaps you’ll inspire others to make a commitment to exercise – or join you in a friendly challenge!

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