Category: Vitality and Performance

Addicted To Work?

By LeAnna J. Carey | Aug 27, 2012

Addicted To Work?


"...we need to do a better job of putting ourselves higher on our own 'to-do' list," Michelle Obama.  


A woman executive whom I have known for years informed me last week that she was stepping away from her work world for a few months in order to gain some balance and perspective.  She said it was time to think differently on how she wanted to look back on her accomplishments; in other words, she did not want to sum it all up only with professional milestones.  Without a vision that integrates the two, careers headed in the right direction can leave personal success in its wake.  Why is that?  Overwork and brutal hours may be the new demand, but they are also a ticket to becoming a member of the working wounded club, and nothing will gain you membership like random planning.  My question is, how much time are you devoting to planning your personal best?

Here are three questions to jump start your best quest:


  1. Where do your passions lie? Are you be able to identify activities or topics that you find energizing apart from your career ecosystem?  Another way to think about this question is to ask what you like to accomplish while you are young and healthy?   
  2. Are you addicted to work?  Medical oncologist, Edward T. Creagan, says in his blog "It's been my experience that an 'out of office' response means nothing anymore, we're driving ourselves wacko with no time to power down."  If you suspect that you may be a workaholic, take this quiz ...then turn your iphone off.   
  3. Do your lifestyle decisions support your goals?  Our master body clock is the link between our physical health and well-being.  For example, lack of sleep directly impacts your creativity, ability to learn, and even control and prevent chronic disease.  Your personal best requires good decisions. 


I am well aware that innovators and entrepreneurs believe that the new currency is information - but, I think the new currency is leveraging time.  It is easy to forget about personal fulfillment these days - take some time to remember what you want in life outside of the office. 


"If you neglect to recharge a battery, it dies. And if you run full-speed ahead without stopping for water, you lose momentum to finish the race." Oprah Winfrey


Are You Sleep Deprived?

By LeAnna J. Carey | Sep 23, 2011

Are You Sleep Deprived?

Thomas Dekker said that “sleep is the golden chain that ties health and our bodies together.”  Most of us would agree that we feel at the top of our game after a good night’s rest and feel less than competitive after a restless night.  One third of each day is spent sleeping and a new epidemiology study reports that there has been a decline in sleep over the past several decades by 1.5 to 2 hours, with close to one third of adults reporting they sleep less than 6 hours per night.  The news does not get any better, as other research shows that short sleep duration may be a potential risk factor for newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes.  

So what does this mean for the everyday person who needs to stay competitive in the market place and still have energy for family, friends and self?  First of all, recognize that people are living and working longer.  It is time to start thinking about personal energy and productivity, because employers are looking into ways to maintain high performing work places.  This past June, Representatives Klobuchar and Paulsen announced the creation of a congressional caucus that will focus on ways for companies to support employee health and wellness.  These initiatives are a positive move that will bring the impact of lifestyle health decisions to a greater level of awareness.  Health decisions, however, are personal and making a commitment for healthier lifestyle choices is an effective starting place.

 The obvious choices are to use less alcohol, tobacco, be more active and choose a healthier diet, but there are less obvious changes to make –  like understanding your circadian rhythm and what will tip the scale to keep you unbalanced and less productive.  Your body is composed of many internal “clocks” that stay in rhythm with light and dark, hot and cold, and activity and rest.  Here are some tips on how to create more energy and a more productive day: 

  • Be physically active in the late afternoon.  If you exercise first thing in the morning, your heart works harder in order to send more blood to the skin to meet the core body’s demand to be cooler. That’s why most adults have a peak stamina time is in the late afternoon. 
  • If you have difficulty transitioning from sleep to wakefulness, sunlight helps, but when that is impossible, use bright interior lights that give off at least 400-800 lumen.
  • Your body anticipates a substantial food boost shortly after waking, and this is key to synchronizing the cortisol rhythm to wakefulness.  Try eating 25-35% of your total daily calories at breakfast – this helps coordinate your cortisol rhythm, gives you more opportunity to burn them off and allows you to eat a smaller dinner. 

Try these tips and you will see an improvement in starting out your day with more energy.   “Well-spent day brings happy sleep,”  Leonardo da Vinci

Why Lifestyle Medicine Is A Good Idea

By LeAnna J. Carey | Apr 05, 2011

Why Lifestyle Medicine Is A Good Idea

Cicero said that the art of medicine is valuable to us because it is conducive to health, not because of its scientific interest.  You have to admit, there is a great deal of wisdom packed into that statement and begs the question, where is medicine now and where does it need to go?  With healthcare spending growing faster than inflation and national income [1], it would appear that we should focus on something more sustainable than treating disease, invasive procedures and writing prescriptions.  

One area that is holding promise is Lifestyle Medicine where promoting a healthy lifestyle engages consumers in new levels of conversations with their physician. Lifestyle medicine is defined as the application of environmental, behavioral, medical and motivational principles to the management of lifestyle-related health problems in a clinical setting [2]

I recently, had the opportunity to discuss with author physician, Dr. Stuart Seale, MD and innovator physician, Dr. Virginia Gurley, MD,  the importance of personal health choices, sleep, nutrition, and how personally rewarding it would be for both physician and patient to connect over the elements of integrative and lifestyle medicine.  The discussion over what truly constitutes health and how this topic relates to the fundamental changes needed in our healthcare system coming from physicians is not only motivating, but a call to action for all of us in healthcare to look at our own health behaviors and willingness to be mindful for a healthier lifestyle. I hope that you enjoy this podcast where two physician thought-leaders are doing more that philosophizing, but leading the way in transforming the way we think about and create health.  

[1]Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Office of the Actuary, National Health Statistics Group, National Health Care Expenditures Data, January 2010 

[2]Egger, Garry; Andrew Binns; Stephan Rössner (2007). Lifestyle Medicine. McGraw-Hill. ISBN 9780070138179


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