My New Focus for 2015: Mental Health

As the holiday season came and went, Lululemon launched a campaign encouraging people to “give presence.” The company encouraged people to put their phones away, communicate, and enjoy time with their friends and family without being distracted. This campaign really stuck with me. What exactly does “give presence” mean? When you take a step back and think about it; most of our days are consumed with to do lists, worrying and planning about future events or tasks, or dwelling on a past event. How often are you really just living in the present? The truth is probably not very often…

Living in the present and being in the present is hard to do in this day and age with so much technology and the ability to be so easily distracted. I took this campaign as an opportunity to challenge myself to try to enjoy the little moments in life more; take time to relax, reflect, and truly connect with those around me day to day without distraction. This challenge has led me to finding ways to take a few moments in each day to really bring myself back to the present. My two favorite ways are to journal and to do simple meditation. Both techniques relax and reset my body and mind.

Meditation has amazing health benefits and many researchers say it is something everyone should do daily, even if it is only for a few minutes.  Studies show that meditation can improve a variety of psychological areas; including stress, anxiety, addiction, depression, eating disorders and cognitive function. Meditation can also reduce blood pressure, pain response, stress hormone levels, boost your immune system and strengthen your cellular health. Meditation shouldn’t be scary or intimidating at all. It can be as easy as taking a deep breaths and closing your eyes for a few minutes.

Check out this great article via MindBodyGreen that gives you six easy ways to do simple meditations.

A Health & Lifestyle Coach’s Guide through the Holidays

With the Holiday Season in full swing and the year coming to a close, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to sit down and talk to a new close friend of mine and women entrepreneur; Stephanie Ferisin. Stephanie is a health and lifestyle coach based in Boston, MA and is going to share with everyone a little about her journey as a woman in business as well as some key tips for staying grounded and healthy during the stress of all your holiday parties and festivities.

Stephanie
Stephanie Ferisin; Health & Lifestyle Coach

 

1. Can you tell us a little about your business and the journey it took to get where you are today?

I help men and women make peace with food and feel at home in their bodies. Because everyone deserves freedom over food, health and happiness.

I know what it’s like to feel powerless around food. It doesn’t feel good. Especially when you know that if you could just get over this “eating thing,” you could step into your full potential. The thing that we don’t realize is that when you try to tighten your grip on controlling food, you swing in the exact opposite direction, eventually. You binge and you feel disappointed, like you lack willpower or control.

But I can tell you now that it’s only when we stop fighting to control our weight that food loses its power over us; we clear our minds of the constant obsession – the calorie-counting, scale-weighing, guilt-induced dieting – and we create more brain space to do what we love to do.

Trust me, I would know. After nearly ten years of battling my weight, I finally dropped my end of the rope. I’ve healed my relationship with food and my body and am now dedicated to helping others do the same.

In 2014, I founded Stephanie Ferisin Health & Wellness with the intention of helping men and women struggling with body image and weight management issues find freedom over food and confidence in their skin and their step. Since then, I’ve learned so much about myself. Being a female solopreneur is both scary (talk about stepping out of your comfort zone!) and liberating at the same time. Similar to my journey in improving my health and healing my relationship with food and my body, I’ve found that there is incredible power behind our mindset. Think about it: the way you do anything is the way you do everything, right? Better yet, the way you eat is the way you live your life. For me, that’s meant trusting myself when taking risks. I trust that I may make mistakes along the way (I’m perfectly imperfect. We all are.), but I’ll learn from them and grow from the experience.

2. With 2014 coming to a close, what advice do you give to your clients looking to make changes in the coming year?

As this year comes to a close, I’m thinking about all of the incredible changes I’ve experienced – I started my business, became a barre fitness instructor, got engaged and have solidified friendships with people who are more like family, who love and support me. With the coming of the New Year, I know many people start thinking about health-related (or really, weight-related) goals. Perhaps they want to lose weight, “slim down,” get toned muscles, you name it. But so long as they are preoccupied by the size and shape of their bodies, they will be fighting for control. And by now you know that trying to gain control over your weight is not the answer to achieving long-lasting health and happiness.

So as you prepare to set your intention for the coming year, consider the following: “When we decide the journey matters as much as the result and that we want to have a good time, most of the time, we radically change our personal definition of success.” – Danielle Laporte

It’s not about the goal, it’s about how you feel when you get there. So if you’re looking to make positive changes in your life — your health, your career, your love life, your social life — consider thinking about how you’d really like to feel along your journey. To help you get started, I’ve outlined the steps you can take to identifying your core desired feelings and getting crystal clear about what you want. Enjoy!

5-step exercise to identify your core desired feelings:

  1. In each of the areas of your life (listed below), describe how you would like to feel.
  • Lifestyle/livelihood, Body/wellness, Relationships/society
  1. Narrow down your core desired feelings to 3-7.
  • Stay away from bold words like confidence and success
    • Go deeper and ask yourself, “What is confidence?”
    • Ex: confidence is feeling acceptance
  • Don’t rely on outside forces to define your reality
    • If you want to feel acceptance, how can you set the rules up for yourself? Can you practice more self-compassion and find acceptance with yourself? Ask yourself: “What can I do to bring this feeling to the moment? How can I set up the rules for myself?”
    • Remember, you can’t choose what happens to you but you can choose how you feel about it
  1. Declaration of core desired feelings
  • Write it down on a piece of paper and place it somewhere visible. It’s your reminder when you feel like you’ve gotten off track.
  1. Question your motivation
  • Why do you want what you want? Who am I trying to please?
  1. Check-in
  • If you find yourself sliding back to old habits or thought patterns, ask yourself: “Am I moving towards or away from my core desired feelings?”

A big thank you to Stephanie for sharing these amazing tips on getting through the Holiday Season and beginning a new journey into 2015. I hope everyone takes something from her message and enjoys the next few weeks with friends and family!

If you want to work or learn more about Stephanie’s Health and Lifestyle coaching visit her website at www.stephanieferisin.com

This article also appears on Women’s iLab to inspire the next generation of female leaders.