Tagged "professional inspiration"


How To Avoid Post-Flight Brain Fog

Posted by Amina AlTai on

From coast to coast, red-eye flights to long haul international jaunts, airline travel can be exhausting and a drag.  And for more and more Americans, it’s all in a day’s work. After all, the United States is the largest business travel market in the world and it’s only growing.  But what does all this time in the air do to our bodies and how can we mitigate it?

Many of my clients take planes as often as they do trains or taxis.  And as soon as the wheels touch down they’re expected to be on and ready to deliver groundbreaking insights, presentations and performances. But that is a major challenge for a few reasons. When you’re flying at altitudes of 30,000+, the cabin pressure is low and that pressure does a few things to your body.  First, your blood receives less oxygen, which can cause fatigue, foggy brain and more. Additionally, cabins are kept at around 10-15% humidity which is why many of us leave flights feeling severely dehydrated.  So what’s a road warrior to do?  Well, a few things. 

Get Some O2: Oxygen makes up 65% of the human body - and oxygen is responsible for 90% of the body's energy!

  • I recommend bringing chlorophyll drops in-flight to support oxygenation of the blood while flying. Chlorophyll is extremely detoxifying and also fights oxidative stress, which we get a lot of on commercial flights.
  • Drink a green juice before flying and after you land. The chlorophyll in a fresh green juice is a great way to get oxygen into your blood stream fast.  Make sure your juice contains parsley and cilantro as they’re both uber-alkalizing.
  • Try some liquid oxygen drops: Stabilized liquid oxygen can be a great additional to your inflight beverage as it’s quickly absorbed via the digestive process and delivered to the blood stream.  Many international flights sell the drops right on the plane.

Hydrate Right: When flying, it’s important to add an addition 6-8 ounces of water for every hour flown to compensate for the dehydrating effects of flying

  • Bring a refillable water bottle: On a recent flight from London to NYC, I found that my airplane was equipped with filtered water stations. Since I’m always concerned I’ll never get enough water via the inflight service, I usually bring a few bottles of my own—which can get heavy.  Traveling with these camping inspired bottles that are lightweight, foldable and BPA-free is a great way to ensure you stay hydrated without having to carry it all with you.
  • Avoid alcohol and other dehydrating beverages: One vodka soda at 35,000 feet might seem completely harmless, but that’s not exactly true. When alcohol is present in the blood, it interferes with the bloods absorption of oxygen. Now, couple that with the fact that higher altitudes have less oxygen, the effect now becomes magnified, so you’ll get even less oxygen to your brain. Additionally, you want to steer clear of other caffeinated beverages such as coffee or colas, as caffeine is also a natural diuretic.

Eat the Right Foods: At high altitudes, our palettes change and it’s much harder to taste subtleties.  As a result, airline food is often heavily salted and sweetened for your taste buds to perceive it as edible. 

  • Stay away from sugar: Airport lounges are filled with candy of all varieties. But I urge you to steer clear of it if you’re looking to stay sharp.  Yes, they taste great as we’re cruising across the Atlantic, but they will wreak havoc on our blood sugar, which is a recipe for extreme foggy brain, moodiness and lethargy.
  • Opt for protein-rich foods: Pack your carry-on full of clean protein bars, unsalted nuts and seeds and roasted chickpeas. They’ll ensure your blood sugar stays balanced and you stay satiated.

We’d love to hear your ideas!  How do you beat the post-flight fog?

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Workplace Wellness: How to Ask For a Raise

Posted by Julia McVeigh on

How does compensation relate to workplace wellness? Well, studies like this one show that feeling valued at work is linked with higher rates of wellbeing. And while the notion of "value" isn't simply monetary, it's hard to ignore the glaring fact that money matters. Indeed, given that women still make about 20% less than their male counterparts here in the United States, it’s never been more important to know how to ask for a raise. Here’s how.

Do your research.

Before you decide to ask for a raise, do some reconnaissance around your competitive set. That’s to say, are you currently being paid market value? If you’re not, that’s a strong talking point to begin negotiations, granted you are working to your full potential. If you are being paid competitively, but still think you deserve a raise, don’t worry about it – our next recommendation will help you out.

Take account of what you’re doing.

Have your responsibilities increased since you were hired and/or received your last pay bump? What have you accomplished recently? These are all critical points to consider and make note of as you prepare to make your case for a raise. Be as thorough and specific as possible about the role you play in your company and how that correlates to your overall value.

Understand your motivations.

If you’re asking for more money because you feel like you deserve it, or you’re tired and work so hard, or your bank account is low, then unfortunately you’re asking for the wrong reasons. Step outside of personal motivations and step into the place of your employer: Why should they compensate you more for the work you’re doing? Sell yourself in an active way, focusing on the value you actually bring versus the compensation you feel you need.

Select a good time.

Conversations like this are best had at the appropriate moments, such as yearly or quarterly reviews or work anniversaries. Translation: You shouldn’t be broaching this subject while at your company holiday party or over email when your boss is on vacation. Furthermore, ensure that the timing is realistic: If you’ve only been working with your company for three months, it’s probably not the right time to ask for a raise.

Be prepared to negotiate.

Conversations around compensation can often be a fluid, so it’s important to put on your negotiating pants. In fact, a wise former boss told us in confidence that asking for a number higher than you think you’ll be able to procure is a good strategy (within reason), as it places you in a better negotiating position from the onset. Chances are, this number will be countered with something lower, but you’ll still be happy with what you’re walking away with. At least, we hope so! 

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Lead Your Workplace Into Wellness—Here's How

Posted by Amina AlTai on

Although some corporations have come a long way in terms of supporting employee wellness, there is still a mountain to climb. From cookie-filled catered events to the ubiquitous office vending machine (and its requisite processed snacks), most businesses could use a wellness makeover. Considering that we spend more of our heartbeats at work than anywhere else, this can often create a serious health challenge.

While many of us are resigned to the idea that our workplaces are inextricably unhealthy, there are plenty of ways that you can give your office a wellness revamp. The key to changing your workplace is to be the change. In fact, you’d be shocked at how receptive your fellow employees and/or corporate leadership will be when you use your voice and lead by example.

Here are some of the ways you can do so.

 

REVAMP SNACK TIME

Recently in my health coaching business, I was consulting for a large organization. In nearly all of my one-on-one sessions with employees, they complained that office snacks were sabotaging their healthy habits. They’d be doing great all day...and then the 4pm witching hour would hit and they’d reach straight for the office-provided corn nuts or buttery popcorn.

 

Take the lead and speak to human resources about bringing in healthy vending options through companies like h.u.m.a.n, which supplies macronutrient-dense office snacking options. If cost is a concern, then look to invite in local vendors and have them sample products to employees during the workday. Whether they’re making kombucha or creating gluten-free snacks, most of these business are clamoring to get exposure.

 

RETHINK THE CATERED LUNCH - AND BEYOND

If unhealthy catered lunches are taking you down, put in a request with team leaders to look into healthier options. Large, shared salads, veggie-centric wraps, and fruit platters aren’t always more expensive than sandwiches, muffins, and cookies. Find some menus of locations in your area, share them with whomever is responsible for ordering, and watch the healthy magic unfold. Along those lines, companies like Square Roots and Green Top Farm can help further facilitate healthy eating in the office and beyond. These innovative business come straight to your office and deliver farm-fresh produce and meals. For anyone who struggles to get the groceries post-work, they’re truly game-changing services.

 

GET SOME BACKBONE

Sitting all day can be hard work -- on your back! According to the American Chiropractic Association, back pain costs employers at least $50 billion per year; the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons estimates it to be closer to $200 billion dollars per year! If you’re worried about postural deficiencies or impending back issues, talk to your employee wellness officers about procuring standing desks. These days, they’re so sophisticated that you can choose from a treadmill, bike or standing varieties. If that’s too expensive for your new-to-wellness-workplace, it’s incredibly easy to create a makeshift standing desk out of a pile of books. Do it and I promise you that your team members will follow suit.

 

MAKE TEAM-BUILDING ABOUT HEALTH

When I started my career, it seemed like every activity revolved around drinking or generally over-indulging. We’d wine and dine clients and then arrive home so late that we’d inevitably miss our workouts. That was my life until it took such a toll on me that I developed two autoimmune diseases and had to change everything. These days, work dinners are usually “spin and din” or a fun exercise class followed by a great, healthy meal. 

So, instead of going out for boozy activities, try something a little more active. If sweating with your coworkers isn’t your thing, there are still plenty of ways to keep it healthy. Maybe it’s an interactive experience like Escape the Room or a healthy gelato-making class. Whatever it is, share your ideas with team leads and planners and get the wellness ideas circulating.  

 

REAP THE BENEFITS OF GROUP WORKOUTS

Many local studios will actually comp passes to companies in an effort to get them to experience their offerings. Reach out to a few places in your neighborhood -- it can be anything from group strength training class to yoga to team-inspired indoor cycling (I love Swerve) -- and see if they'd be willing to do a group introductory class. Not only will you be saving your colleagues money, you’ll be setting the stage for an office-wide commitment for good health. And you know what they say: Strength in numbers!

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How to Get Re-Inspired Professionally

Posted by Julia McVeigh on

Feeling professionally stagnated? In a rut at work and can’t get out of it? We’ve all been there – and we know just how debilitating it can be to feel unmotivated and uninspired by your job. Ahead, we’re sharing our tips and recommendations for relocating that career fire. Read on.

 

Take account of your work

What are you working on? And how long have you been working on it? Those are two big questions to ask yourself when you feel the “job blahs” coming on. This is because, oftentimes, people feel fatigued when they are focused on frustrating, tedious projects that seem never-ending. If that sounds like you, get proactive about making a plan to take on a new assignment. Alternatively, speak with the appropriate stakeholders on the status of your current not-so-inspiring project and how you can best move it forward. Chances are you will feel more invigorated and in control as a result.

Push (and pitch) for projects you love

Along those lines, part of finding professional satisfaction is about seeking out projects that bring out the best in you. For instance, I’m a freelance marketing and communications consultant. While I love doing editorial-style writing – such as this blog post! – I also do things I’m not as interested in, such as reporting against social media performance. In order to feel invigorated and inspired, though, I ensure I’m always working and seeking out writing-related projects. Oftentimes this requires working overtime, which is fine by me – as long as I’m feeling passionate and fulfilled, I don’t really care what the time commitment looks like.

Make time for play and creativity

When I’m uninspired, I find that doing creative-oriented tasks like making mood boards, journaling or reading a great piece of writing helps reset my attitude. In fact, studies show that “play time” is integral for employee morale, boosts creativity and enhances motivation. With that said, consider bringing in cards or a board game to your office to take mini “play” breaks, or do something independently creative like coloring or flipping through a great photography book when the work doldrums set in. 

Invest in your development

Feelings of professional stasis can be compounded by not feeling like you are growing, evolving or learning. If that’s the case, consider enrolling in outside workshops or educational courses to help you get to that next level professionally. A great example of this are the courses offered at General Assembly, which focuses on marketing, design, data and business workshops. While these can be pricey if you’re paying your own way, don’t be afraid to ask your employer to sponsor you – many will be willing do so. Moreover, if you're an independent contractor, professional growth workshops are all tax deductible. 

 

 

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