My timing could not have been better…
I was looking to up my game in the virtual events industry as a professional speaker and producer of virtual wellness experiences. After all, my EAT/SLEEP/MOVE/BREATHE approach to wellness and self-care is especially important right now, as we continue to navigate the pandemic.
But then, two weeks ago, I was blindsided by an unexpected health crisis.
This is me, the Wellness Warrior, attending a virtual conference.
I was just diagnosed with a thyroid disorder, which hurled me into a state of total exhaustion.
Walking up the stairs was about all the exercise I could handle. Suddenly, I went from feeling healthy and fit – and teaching my clients how to accomplish this – to experiencing these all-over-the-place symptoms:
Before I launched my wellness business in 2012, I ran ‘The...
My father lived for my visits home to Vancouver - from my graduate school college days until he passed away 3 years ago. I never appreciated how much he held onto every minute with me until Sunday when my son Josh returned to college (Miami University where I did my master's degree).
After Josh left, I walked into his room and broke down and cried. My dog is still moping around and hasn't left Josh's bedroom ....
If nothing else, the pandemic has helped us cherish the gift of time. The gift of being present. A renewed opportunity to seize the moment because we don't know what tomorrow will bring.
Like my dad, I savored every moment, every memory I could get with Josh. I arranged my work schedule around Josh's schedule so that I could be present with him at home -- in our PJ's, enjoying t he simplicities in life like talking, watching movies and hockey games.
Our lives are so much more integrated now while working from home, attending back-to-back Zoom meetings, working-out at...
My Peloton bike has been storing clothes and clutter, not burning calories and collecting points.
So on New Year's day, I decided to finally take my Peloton for a spin and start the "new year, new me" resolution: to get up early and squeeze in some exercise before starting my workday.
Otherwise, my plans to exercise EOD don't happen. I'm swamped with back-to-back Zoom meetings. My days blur into evenings. And by the time a window of exercise opportunity presents itself ... I'm too tired....
..... and instead binge watch a Netflix series (I just finished Schitt's Creek; I loved the "byte-size" episodes. What have you been watching?)
Peloton instructor Kendall Toole shared some thought provoking messages during her 30-minute "top 50 of 2020" end of year ride like "Do Less. Give space for more to happen."
The pandemic has prompted us to pause, reflect, reset, and envision possibilities for change.
Here's what I will do differently in 2021:
Last month, on December 15, 2021, I became a U.S. Citizen. To my surprise, I had the interview, test and Naturalization ceremony all in the same day.
I was so nervous about the test. But not sure the time spent studying was worthwhile. One of the questions I was asked was: "Who is the President of the United States." Seriously!
As I left the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services building in Baltimore, feeling like a proud and grateful American, a bird greeted me. The bird was a red robin: a symbol of renewal, fresh beginnings, hope but also danger.
I awoke this morning in tears, feeling scared for our country (I live in the Washington DC area, where I moved 6 years ago from Toronto, Canada). I pulled out Trump's "Dear Fellow American" letter from inside my Naturalization package to read for the first time. Some excerpts include: "You share the sacred rights, responsibilities, and duties that unite us as one people," "Our patriotism is the bond that holds us all tightly...
Just a short email to say: I get it - there’s a ton of content that needs to be crammed into your virtual conferences. Between keynotes, breakout sessions and networking marathons, your attendees will be sitting in back-to-back-to-back meetings. And that’s not good. Or healthy.
I can provide one simple fix: Movement! I have 58 five-minute video breaks featuring office yoga, stretching, desk and face exercises, and mindfulness practices. If you’re booking a virtual event in the next six months, let’s talk about how I can customize and incorporate energizing short breaks directly into your meeting program. I’ll get your participants out of their chairs to stretch, breathe and move – resulting in an invigorated, healthier audience that’s ready to learn and engage.
Here's a sneak peek of my virtual wellness experiences.
Just a short email to share an easy way to re-energize your telecommuting team:
You know how Fitbit activity trackers and Apple watches vibrate every hour, encouraging you to stand up, move or breathe? Well, most people don’t know what to do next -- that’s because they get the reminder, but no breathing, movement or stretch break ideas.
I can help increase your team’s overall productivity with my video micro-breaks. By addressing ‘what’s next’, your team can choose from among my variety of 5-minute stretch, desk and face exercises, office yoga and mindfulness breaks. Best of all, I can customize any of my byte-size programs to YOUR company’s goals as part of an overall employee wellness program.
Here's a sneak peek of my virtual wellness experiences.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic drove millions of employees to home-based offices, the number of virtual meetings and video conference calls have skyrocketed. And as the remote workforce continues to grow, so too does the amount of time we’re all spending on virtual platforms: Between Zoom, Google Meet and Microsoft Teams, more than 600 million participants are sitting in online meetings and events every day. Let’s face it: The last thing any planner wants is an audience that’s filled with dread when your calendar invite pops into their inbox. Even worse is seeing a gallery of Zoom Zombies staring back at you during your event. Here’s what to look out for and how to 'cure' Zoom zombie syndrome.
You might create Zoom Zombies if...
We get it. COVID happened so fast that no one could prepare for the new norm of meeting virtually. We had no time to design effective approaches for virtual meetings.
Take your meeting from mind-numbing to memorable by adding mind-body breaks throughout!
Incorporating micro-breaks into long virtual meeting days will retain participants' focus, keep them alert, and socially connected to others.
Regardless of whether you plan meetings or attend them, here are 3 ways to reduce “Zoom” fatigue and make your meetings and conferences virtually memorable.
1. Increase focus and retention with mindfulness breaks
It’s utterly unreasonable to expect any person of any age to sit still for hours without end. Give participants a 5-minute break every 60-90 minutes or between back-to-back sessions to reset and refocus.
Mindfulness breaks give participants time to pause, reflect on the information learned or observed and digest it. These reflections could produce...
Last month I attended my first virtual conference.
12 hours a day.
Here's what I observed. Live events are tiring but virtual conferences are downright exhausting.
At live events, attendees are moving and exercising during the day, like walking from the conference venue to the meeting venue and walking between breakout sessions.
At this event, I walked from my bed to my desk and walked to the bathroom between breakouts.
I may have clocked a thousand steps all day.
Most of those steps were accrued when I walked during my lunch breaks. Alone. And stretched a bit during the coffee breaks. Alone.
Networking opportunities were limited. Occasionally, us attendees were thrown into Zoom breakout rooms and tasked to complete a group brainstorming exercise with a group of strangers. There were no social icebreakers and time to build camaraderie.
The virtual event left me with sitting fatigue and learning fatigue. But what could I expect after sitting in...
It took a lot of courage for me to come out from hiding behind my computer, self-record a video and share - unedited - with you and others in my network.
Call it the COVID courage. I hope you too will go outside your comfort zone during this unprecedented time and try something new. Honor yourself - the new you - as you navigate the new normal.
Click the video below and have a look and listen to my story:
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Questions? Unsure if this program is for you? CLICK HERE to schedule a Zoom video call and let's talk!
Remember: It's the small changes repeated with consistency every day that lead to lifelong...