Up in the air? How I pivoted from travel stress to a new virtual wellness business

self-care Oct 20, 2021

Hello from Vancouver, British Columbia!

This is my first Canadian visit to see my family since COVID – and my first time traveling in two years. Before the pandemic, I used to visit my mom, who has dementia and lives in a nursing home, every five months.

This trip was not easy for my mental health. I’ve written about how the pandemic served as an accelerator for many things, including relationships and stress. In this case, traveling – which meant leaving the comfort and safety of my home, my dog Benji, who is my Director of De-Stress, and my entire routine behind – exacerbated my anxiety big-time.

Planning for international travel meant coordinating a PCR COVID test within 72 hours of the second leg of the flight – four COVID tests in total for this week-long trip! – packing clothes for cold, damp, rainy weather, and a 15-hour travel day.

As a professional wellness speaker, I used to be a seasoned business traveler, not a stressed-out leisure traveler.

I had detailed packing checklists – one for trade show booths, another for speaking gigs and another for personal vacations. As a former academic, research and desk jockey for many years, business travel used to feel new and exciting. And I had gold status with American Airlines.

But over time, travel wore me out.

Once, I arrived at the wrong airport – DC there has three, and it’s a rite of passage to go to the wrong one.

Another time, I was speaking at a conference in Hawaii, where I attended the outdoor trade show like everyone else: in my bathing suit with my iPhone in an armband. As I joined the conference crowd in the pool, I accidentally took my iPhone for a swim. It got ruined on the eve of my overnight flight to the next conference, to which I arrived late. Because I didn’t manually set my fancy watch when I was on a layover, I missed my connecting flight.

Then there was the time when I forgot to pack the AV items for my live wellness lounge – which cost me time and the expense of a last-minute courier delivery.

Sometimes, I’d have trouble acclimatizing to different time zones, so I’d be sleep deprived and blank out on stage. Or, I’d just be downright exhausted after delivering 10 or more byte-size talks a day or over several days. Plus, this road warrior lifestyle meant eating on the run, disrupted exercise and sleep routines, the added stress of cancelled, delayed, super-early or red-eye flights.

Four years ago, I hit pause on travel and began transitioning my signature talk (Eat, Sleep, Move, Breathe), trade show booth and Wellness Lounge booth into an online business.

I invested an enormous amount of time and money to train with the best experts so I could learn everything I needed to know about creating online courses, webinars, communities, and videos.

And I became a 200-hour Yoga Alliance certified yoga instructor, completed Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program and am working towards finishing Jay Shetty’s Life/Success Coaching Certification program.

My advanced training, coupled with a 30-year academic and research career in health, addictions and behavior change helped me to pirouette through the pandemic, leading to the birth of my Byte-Size Wellness Academy (BSWA).

Just as airline stewards insist you put on your oxygen mask first, I believe in practicing self-care so you can then take better care of others.

BSWA is your Virtual Wellness Lounge – delivered to your desktop or mobile device – a comprehensive portal for B2C and B2B audiences designed to level up self-care at conferences and at work.

Here’s a sneak peek of what’s inside

  • 3 self-contained online courses (Self-Care, Self-Care Coaching, Fundamentals of Food & Healthy Eating) with video lessons and worksheets, information guides and resources
  • Prime Your Day module with videos (posture, breathing, desk-time and bed-time yoga practices) and accompanying tip sheets to help audiences prime their minds and bodies for peak performance
  • 7-day Sleep Hygiene Challenge plus bonus resources
  • Video library (with stretch, desk exercises, mindfulness and yoga video breaks, social icebreaker videos and instructions sheets) to keep participants engaged and energized
  • Digital Wellness Resource Center (with downloadable wellness resources including healthy lifestyle tip sheets, starter kits and reference guides, and “Get Up” reminder commercials)
  • Gameboard Style Roadmaps to help navigate and gamify the Program
  • Certificates of Completion
Byte-Size Wellness Academy (BSWA)

Virtual Wellness Lounge and Virtual Wellness Speaker packages available: live streamed from my studio:

Virtual wellness breakouts, keynotes and lunch & learns - guaranteed to get audiences moving in and out of their chairs (with stretch, yoga, dance and deskercises). Bonus: Participants leave with practical, actionable resources to integrate micro-habits easily into busy everyday lives. One step, one byte at a time.

Pre-recorded mind-body break videos, including:

5-minute stretch, deskercises, desk jockey and bed-time yoga, and mindfulness videos

20-minute Out-of-the-Box exercise break (with household props: toilet paper and paper towel rolls, paper plates, soup cans or water bottles)

30-minute Prime Your Body and Mind break (fusion break that incorporates my Eat, Sleep, Move, Breathe approach to Self-Care)

I know I’ll get that ‘travel bug’ again with time, but in the meantime, I’m proud to be your expert virtual wellness coach and virtual wellness speaker – and I’m eager to service your team remotely to invigorate attendees at events or in the workplace.

Find out how I can best help you incorporate virtual wellness experiences into your program by booking a call with me HERE.

Be well,

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