Practitioners’ Perspectives on Wellness and Self-care

“We strive to give people permission to treat themselves,
women in particular.”

~ Margaret Olson

There’s a lovely healing place in Evanston that offers a variety of relaxation and meditation options. Continuing the spirit of self-care, the Network of Entrepreneurial Women was given a lovely overview of the Heartwood Center in mid-June.

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We gathered in one of the large meeting rooms to get to know nine of the health practitioners in the space, and I am eager to book a ‘spa day’ at the Heartwood as a summer break. The major theme of the discussion that taking time for healing and therapy is not a luxury, but a necessity. Everyone should take time for massage, acupuncture, life coaching and other wellness needs in order to be more balanced and healthy in life.

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The Heartwood Center, located on 1818 Dempster Street in Evanston, is a holistic wellness community currently counting 40 practitioners in its circle. The center rents out treatment rooms for Acupuncture, Chiropracty, Hypnotherapy, Life & Health Coaching, Massage Therapy, Naturopathy, Personal Training, Physical Therapy, Psychotherapy, and Spiritual Direction. Practitioners can sublet rooms, offering a fabulous start-up opportunity for those seeking to expand their practice without having to provide in-home services.

“I wish that everyone knew that they deserve wellness therapy.”
~ Rebecca Sturgeon

Oncology massage therapist Rebecca Sturgeon provided a Manual Lymphatic Drainage demonstration by which each of us can clear our seasonal allergies simply by gently massaging the skin around our neck. This gentle technique also offers assistance with migraines, fatigue and a general sense of heaviness. Rebecca incorporates this healing method into her massage practice. While her focus is on clients going through or recovering from cancer, she also tends to reach a clientele of “Stressed out women over 40.”

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Melissa Sanchez is a dance therapist offering individual and group classes. Her emerging specialty is addiction treatment as well as working with the formerly incarcerated. An active proponent of mental health services, Melissa’s dance therapy assists those with codependence, trauma or PTSD to express themselves through creative movement. Her sessions can look like dance parties, or be more introspective meditative movements. In the near future Melissa hopes to offer a self-care for healers workshop, focusing on those whose profession involves assisting others.

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Kathy Kessenich views herself as a facilitator of creating an awareness of what is going on in the body. “Many people feel uncomfortable in their own skin” she said, and her massage practice strives to reduce blood pressure, increase endorphins, relax muscles and increase the blood flow.  Her focus is on Swedish massage that provides relaxation and stress relief, but she also practices deep tissue massage for chronic muscular issues. She also works as a wellness facilitator, assisting clients in in making simple changes in health choices and product uses.

“It is not a luxury to have a massage,
it is actually taking care of yourself.”
~ Kathy Kessenich

Ixchel Mulberger is a licensed massage therapist and acupuncturist certified in oriental medicine. She spent a decade learning and perfecting her skills until she felt comfortable making a shift to establishing her own practice last year. Her acupuncture focuses on pain management, but she also seeks to educate clients about preventive care so they come to her before chronic problems arise.

“A lot of what we do sounds airy-fairy,
but it is something that is meaningful and deep and helpful.”
~ Ixchel Mulberger

Margaret Olson practices Manual Lymphatic Drainage and offers abdominal work in her massage therapy sessions (with permission). She is trained in oriental medicine and combines her work with muscles and joints with energetic meridians. She works with athletes, clients recovering from surgery and those with autoimmune diseases. Since joining the Heartwood Center, Margaret has expanded her own practice of mindfulness, which she blogged about in a 2-part series.

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Marsha Smith is a psychotherapist who started with the Heartwood Center 8 years ago when it was located in downtown Evanston. She seeks to help people trying to become unblocked and trying to find their own sense of direction. Her focus is on helping adults of all ages with a variety of issues, and also ensure they stay healthy when dealing with life changing health issues.

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Marsha said that one man who came to her felt queasy thinking about getting therapy, but later stated that he discovered “learning to be able to take his own side of things” through the sessions. Marsha partnered with Margaret on witing about integrating mindfulness and massage, and she seeks to partner with the other therapists at the Heartwood to create a holistic plan for her clients.

“People want to be understood and develop their natural abilities
to work through problems and find solutions.”
~ Marsha Smith

Yvonne Mitchell incorporates a modular approach to offer spiritual and life coaching. Through vision boarding, hypnotherapy, personality assessments and passion testing, she helps clients develop their passion in life whether mid-career or through retirement. She also helps people who are terminally ill to develop a joy strategy and develop completion activities to work around the pain and also engage in activities they deferred. Her practice comes from the loss of her husband and her own grief process and the activities she completed with him.

“I am grateful to be in this community
of practitioners and quality providers

and look forward to accessing these services for myself.”
~ Marsha Smith

We sipped on delicious tea and coffee sponsored by Alphay and sampled My Health Beet’s delicious chocolate truffles.

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The Heartwood also offers event space, including the lovely Skylight room fit for banquets and dancing, as well as a conference room in which we met where one could host speakers, panel discussions, or other events. Upstairs there is a lovely classroom associated with the Tsogyaling Meditation Center, that also hosts wellness classes such as Yoga and Tai Chi. Gong Therapy is also offered.

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NEW – The Network of Entrepreneurial Women is a group of Chicagoland business women who are upgrading business networking with fun and creative events that inspire attendees to work together, refer each other and most of all cheer each other on as the membership succeeds. Events rotate around various suburbs on a semimonthly basis, usually the 2nd Wednesday and 4th Thursday of the month. RSVP for our upcoming events at Meetup, or like us on Facebook and check up on the calendar there.

People photos courtesy NetworkHoncho.com

 

Discussing being your best boss

“I believe in recharging as often as possible.
Go somewhere luxurious to luxuriate.”
~ Niquenya Fulbright of Building Bridges Consulting

Last week the Network of Entrepreneurial Women held a discussion on treating ourselves. As we nibbled on savory paninis and vegan chocolate pralines at Let Them Eat Chocolate, NEW co-founder Erica Thomas provided tips on how to become better bosses to ourselves, while facilitating a lively discussion around self-care.

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Erica stressed that as our own boss, we have to be the best boss, in order to keep our business functioning and energized. “Burnout can ruin a perfect production schedule,” Erica said. “Avoiding burnout has to be prioritized as highly as project goals.”

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Our attendees covered the full spectrum of women business care taking needs, including 2 nutrition and wellness experts, a fashion designer, a wardrobe stylist, a brand consultant, a technology consultant, and a small business coach. With our introductions we had to state how we treat ourselves. These treats ranged from booking luxurious getaways to pampering in retail and at home spa places.

A “2011 study found that frequent small pleasures,
like double lattes, pedicures, or soft socks provides
more happiness than infrequent large ones like sports cars or vacations.
Research shows that breaking up enjoyable experiences into brief events
— such as two 20-minute massages at different times
rather than one 40-minute massage —
gives people more pleasure. “

~ 33 Ways To Be Happier by Dina Spector

While massages and manicures and pedicures were popular, the majority of ladies present love to take a (jacuzzi) bath. To soak our stressors away, this article suggests taking a champagne bath, and offers a less extravagant milk and honey recipe a la Cleopatra. Before that bath, My Health Beet’s Svetlana Burak recommended dry brushing to exfoliate and detoxify.

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Highlighting that treats do not have to be high-cost or difficult to implement, many women also enjoyed getting lost in a story, whether through a popular TV series or by being transported into a book. Savoring a delicious meal or anticipating a glass of wine at the end of the day also served as pleasurable rewards for a job well done.

“Self-care is such a buzz word that it’s often tossed around
without people really thinking about what it means to practice it.
The truth is that integrating self-care into life is a choice
and a practice, and it only happens successfully
when someone is conscious and consistent about it.”

~ During Your Next Launch, Don’t Neglect Self-Care by Kate Swoboda

One way to treat ourselves better is by stopping to review what we have achieved. We each grow and learn every day, and looking back on a to-do list from a year to 6 months ago can indicate milestones we may not recognize as we adopt new skills into our regular routine.

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When asked what we would give our best employee suggestions ranged from a day (completely logged) off to family outings to writing down a daily or weekly list of accomplishments. Realizing that acknowledgement of things well done is a key motivator, we encouraged each other to print certificates of achievements for the things we sometimes fail to recognize.

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Getting in touch with nature also offers the opportunity for a re-set and turns out to be extremely helpful for the brain. John Haltiwanger writes that people who appreciate nature are happier, healthier and more innovative.

“Natural environments stimulate the brain
in ways civilization cannot,
exponentially improving our cognitive abilities
and igniting our imaginations.”
~ John Haltiwanger

Erica suggested that solopreneurs evaluate their businesses based on Crain’s “Best Places to Work 2015.” The selection criteria included: quantitative issues about pay, promotions, health care and other benefits, hiring practices as well as fairness of pay, vacation time, relationships with management and co-workers, career development and other day-to-day workplace issues.

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Being self-employed can cause for some pitfalls of bossiness. Key to preventing burnout is to also acknowledge our biorhythms, which we can sometimes try to push through. Once again, the best places to work example came to the rescue with the question “Would you work for someone who made you come into the office during a blizzard?”

“It’s OK that you don’t do everything.
It’s OK that someone else does it for you.
You have the wisdom to understand:
‘that’s not my strong suit, that is not my best quality’.”
~ Brand Consultant Cierra Cole

Delegation was also discussed and encouraged, whether it be training a 3-year old to shred papers, engaging older children in answering the phone, or outright hiring someone. Erica stated that we tend to take the longest doing the things we don’t like to do, and outsourcing that task to someone else can free us up to more productivity. Being a perfectionist can hinder that process, but one member pointed out that getting it done is better than for it to be perfect.

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It was lovely to lounge in a welcoming and comfortable space while bonding over indulgences. We look forward to revisiting Let Them Eat Chocolate in Andersonville, and are excited to spur each other on in our respective ventures.

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Continuing our theme of wellness and self-care, our next Wine Women and Wellness Event will coincide with a Women Out Walking presentation. NEW member Svetlana Burak of My Health Beet is partnering with Kim Leider, a Training Leader with Ava Anderson Non Toxic to present: “Clean Living Inside and Out” at the Evanston Public Library on Thursday, May 28 from 7 to 8:30 pm.

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Group photo courtesy NetworkHoncho.com.

NEW – The Network of Entrepreneurial Women is a group of Chicagoland business women who are upgrading business networking with fun and creative events that inspire attendees to work together, refer each other and most of all cheer each other on as the membership succeeds. Events rotate around various suburbs on a semimonthly basis, usually the 2nd Wednesday and 4th Thursday of the month. RSVP for our upcoming events at Meetup, or like us on Facebook and check up on the calendar there.

 

Learning and growing with NEW

NEW’s Crain’s Small Business Day was a blast, and full of nuggets of wisdom by our fabulous guest speakers. During our meet and greet ladies mingled and were introduced to NetworkHoncho.com with their pop-up of a new small business networking tool that is currently in beta launch.

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Members and visitors also perused my wares at my pop-up table.

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Then we gathered around for formal introductions and a business card exchange, with a variety of very interesting businesses represented.

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After learning more about each other we split into three groups for roundtable discussions.

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Peggy Goddeau discussed retirement planning, highlighting how inflation and taxation do not increase at the same rate, and we thus have to base our retirement planning on projected true buying power. She recommends a balance between cash flow and debt management based on three categories of assets: protection, savings and growth. As a financial advisor with The Heartland Group, Peggy offers consulting services for anyone at any age to ensure their retirement is on the right track.

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Dr. Crystal Foreseman Landers offered wellness tips which included an 80/20 rule for eating whole foods (80% of the time), and allowing for 20% of not-so-nutritious meal or snack decisions. This would allow for 2 ‘cheat’ meals a week, creating less pressure than a vigorous diet. She also recommended having lean protein with each meal to counteract food cravings, and paying attention to what we are eating instead of multitasking while we chew. She also recomended drinking 1/2 of your body weight in ounces to stay properly hydrated.  Dr. Crystal offers additional naturopathic health tips at Living Tree Natural Health, Inc.

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Author and speaker Niquenya D. Fulbright discussed the 4 P’s of profit, which are not price, product place or promotion, but passion, purpose, partners and productivity. She recommends that to achieve a goal, we need to make a list of weekly steps to get there. This makes long-range planning far more effective, because we know we can do one thing a week in a specific category, and then feel more accomplished about doing another thing the next week. She also stated that sunk cost should never be considered when making a decision (and who isn’t guilty of hanging on to something just because we spent so much time and money on it already?). As President and CEO of Building Bridges Consulting, Niquenya transforms dreamers into successful entrepreneurs by giving them the tools to turn their passion into a viable business.

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After all this insightful learning it was time for a pint and we gathered around to dine on our host Shannon’s Irish Pub’s delicious food.

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NEW will gather tomorrow in Geneva for our November Meet & Munch. We will revisit the lovely Peaceful Parlour for some tea time and to gather ideas for eco-friendly holiday shopping.

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Peaceful Parlour is an eco-friendly shopper’s paradise located in Geneva, IL. The boutique offers products that are locally made, USA made, natural or organic, hand crafted and made from renewable or sustainable materials. Their focus is to find products with environmental and community benefits, supporting local artists, small businesses, fair trade and women co-op groups around the world.

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Due to Thanksgiving, this will also be our only event for November. No Wine, Women and Wellness on 11/27, since we’re all likely to be gathered around dinner tables.

Photos copyright NetworkHoncho.

NEW – The Network of Entrepreneurial Women is a group of Chicagoland business women who are upgrading business networking with fun and creative events that inspire attendees to work together, refer each other and most of all cheer each other on as the membership succeeds. Events rotate around various suburbs on a semimonthly basis, usually the 2nd Wednesday and 4th Thursday of the month. RSVP for our upcoming events at Meetup, or like us on Facebook and check up on the calendar there.

Establishing a fitness routine

In May I joined Hip Circle Studio to develop more of a fitness routine.

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Because winter was so long and my social life had me attending numerous potlucks and barbecues my summer clothes remained snugger than last year and I knew I wasn’t naturally walking and stairmastering  the winter padding off like I had in past years.

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I started with CardioBelly, which promptly got me recruited for the Custer Street Fair flashmob. After a 6-year hiatus from bellydancing, the moves are still a bit rusty, but they do come back with practice.

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For a bit more toning I added Moxie Boxing to my routine, which is a fun class of kicking and throwing punches while holding small weights in your hands. No gloves required.

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Right after my birthday I was talked into sampling Kettlebell AMPD, but that workout is still a bit intense so I am going to give that another whirl after my body has adjusted more to the other muscle moves I put it through. This one session did happen to be picture day, so I am a poster-child for the time being.

KettlebellPosterChildphoto copyright Hip Circle Studio

We get stickers after each class and thus far I have attended two fun fitness parties that serve as a reward for filling a card with 5 stickers. Each party features a local business and offers a fun activity.

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When the studio went on summer break I dug up my jump rope and purchased a matching pair of shoes (and pants that didn’t shimmy down) to motivate me to jump by the lake.

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Initially I stumbled through 5 minutes, but after a month of thrice-weekly intervals I am up to 8 minutes of jumping with occasional zen moments of no tripping for a minute or 2.

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I hope to keep it up as the weather cools down (possibly in the laundry room, which won’t be near as scenic).

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To warm up I do some of the floor exercises at home that we do in class as well, and on rainy non-class days the Bikini-ready Fast DVD comes out, which I can complete much easier now.

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When I picked that up years ago I tended to shut it off at 15 minutes from exhaustion. The home workouts are only 20-30 minutes, but still make me feel better than if I just rolled out of bed without any movement.

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My arms feel more toned and I know I have more stamina to walk. I haven’t dug out the scales from my closet because I still believe in Alexandra Jaye’s notion, but I will be monitoring the skinny pants waistline on a monthly basis.

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This coming month is all about nutrition, monitoring the ratio of my veggie intake vs. carbohydrate intake, which I know needs to be reversed. Even if I don’t go back to the ‘skinny’ size again, I know being healthy and fit makes me feel better about me, and gives me more energy to enjoy the rest of my life.

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You can peruse Hip Circle Studio’s schedule at www.HipCircleStudio.com. Zumba is fun too, and every class is filled with lovely women, empowering words, and fantastic playlists. Who doesn’t like to break a sweat to “I’m Sexy and I know it”?

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Stressbusting at Meet & Munch

Last Wednesday we had a lovely time de-stressing at Hub83 in South Barrington. Hub83 is a co-working space where start-ups, entrepreneurs, freelancers, telecommuters, and small or previously home-based businesses can work in a collaborative office space and get access to resources that can help grow their business.

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The company provides commercial shared office space which includes shared and private desks, meeting and conference rooms, and optional private offices that can hold 1-6 people. The clean and bright South Barrington office felt professional and inviting. Other locations in Chicagoland are under review.

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After introducing ourselves Ann Marie Berg, a worksite wellness consultant offered tips on how to de-stress.

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She mentioned that everyone who sits at a computer for an extended period of time should take stretch breaks every 20 minutes. She also reminded us to check our posture throughout the day and ensure we don’t slump, as that compresses our organs. Everyone sat up straight for the duration of the meeting.

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She noted that a stressor to one person could be nothing to another, such as timeliness. Not being punctual can put one person into stress mode, whereas another isn’t as concerned with minutes on the clock. She noted that in addition to stressors based on workload, loneliness and sadness can be stressful on the body, but we don’t not always realize those are underlying symptoms.

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Our coping mechanisms for stress tend to be addicting habits, such as smoking, drinking too much alcohol or emotional eating. Instead of resorting to those behaviors, Ann Marie recommends breathing exercises, stretches to unclench the muscles where we hold our stress, and monitoring your self-talk with a rubber band on your wrist.

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We did some very simple yet quite energizing stretches, and then engaged in a breathing exercise that further relaxed us. She also recommends 10% Happier by Dan Harris for further reading. Ann Marie recommended going for frequent walks, exercising, and finding a hobby.

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To go to sleep, she recommended tensing and relaxing groups of muscles, she takes an inventory of what is in her drawers in her bedroom–counting what she owns instead of sheep. Aroma therapy in the form of a few drops of lavender oil on a tissue under one’s pillow might also help.

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Member Belle Kohen of Creative Coaching provided the following tips for a healthy, less-stressed lifestyle:

  • Take a morning walk
  • Exercise to get endorphins going
  • Decrease your hyper state and avoid caffeine
  • Drink a lot of water
  • Stop ingesting anything an hour before bed
  • Turn all screens off 1 hour before bed
  • If you read, make sure the light source is behind you
  • Untense your muscles before sleeping
  • Make sure the room is dark and quiet

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We were treated to drinks and munchies from Melaleuca by member Marianne Guinee, and enjoyed the presentation and overview of products she provided for us. Melaleuca has 400 products for home and family wellness, including  a complete line of skin care and cosmetics, bath and body solutions, and over-the-counter pharmaceuticals.

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It was a lively and joyful afternoon, and we look forward to de-stressing more on July 24 during our family Barbecue in Busse Woods.

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Most photos courtesy www.NetworkHoncho.com.

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NEW – The Network of Entrepreneurial Women is a group of Chicagoland business women who are upgrading business networking with fun and creative events that inspire attendees to work together, refer each other and most of all cheer each other on as the membership succeeds. Events rotate around various suburbs on a semimonthly basis, usually the 2nd Wednesday and 4th Thursday of the month. RSVP for our upcoming events at Meetup, or like us on Facebook and check up on the calendar there.