Welcome to Week 4 of Back to School!

It's our last week of school!

Welcome to Week 4! We have done a lot in just 3 weeks. We're gradually building our healthy habits checklist each week. Today, we're focusing on Tough Conversations, Omega 3s and the 10 Minute Clean. Below is your lesson and assignments!

Each week, we'll have a new workout. But, the old ones will remain active so you can go back at any time. Here are the links:

Week 1:  Weekly Lesson      Weekly Workout 

Week 2: Weekly Lesson      Weekly Workout

Week 3:  Weekly Lesson     Weekly Workout

Week 4: Weekly Workout

Let me know if you have any questions. Have a a great day!



Communicate and Boost Your Well-Being!

Weekly Assignment #1: Throughout this week, listen, learn and converse.

After working with so many people over the years, I can tell you that there's a common thread that binds us all. We all struggle to communicate effectively at times. Thus, communication can be a major source of stress in our lives. This also means that good communication can be a major source of well-being and connection. 

We know how a great a good conversation feels. We also know how tough it can be when we feel like we're not communicating well or we feel like we're not being seen, heard or understood. There are also times when we struggle to communicate what we're feeling or we may even have trouble figuring out what we're feeling. Considering there are 2 people in a conversation each with their own challenges, it's no wonder that communication can be tough sometimes. 

So what are some steps we can take to improve our communication styles? Here are 5 steps that you can take this week when you find yourself in a tough conversation or when you're struggling to find the words.  

  • Always remember that we all want to be loved, seen, heard and understood. When you're in a conversation, as hard as it may be sometimes, listen to what the other person is saying and reflect it back. You don't have to agree with someone to show that you hear and understand what they're saying. A conversation becomes much more effective when each person feels heard. 
    • An example is a couple who was renovating their kitchen found that they were constantly getting into arguments about little decisions. When they took a step back though, they realized that they felt like the other person just wasn't listening to them. And, when this happened, they each fought harder to be heard and this resulted in an argument. To remedy this, they each tried resist the urge to respond immediately with their own views and instead to reflect back what the person was saying and then explain their own views. An example is "If I hear you right, you're saying that you want the room to be painted purple because you find it calming. Is that correct? I'd like it be calming too. Maybe we can find a color that works for each of us?"
  • Listen. Sometimes, we're not listening but rather waiting for the other person to finish speaking so that we can say our next point. If we're responding immediately when someone finishes their thought, this may be happening. Next time you're in a conversation, try to silence your thoughts and be present with what someone is saying. After hearing what they say, then respond.
  • Ask yourself, "What's my role here?" This is a critical question. Often, we focus on what the other person "should" do and neglect our part. But, think about what part you play in a scenario. 
    • This can be tough. For instance, if you're having trouble with someone you're working with, imagine what it would be like to work with yourself. What are the challenges? What are the benefits? The greater awareness you have, the better the conversation.
  • Next question, "What am I wanting {fill in the blank} to hear?" Conversations can be HARD. At the end of the day, try to get really clear on what you want the other person to hear from you. Otherwise, your message may get lost in details.
    • For instance, a spouse was really annoyed that the other spouse was traveling for a second weekend in a row and was ready to complain that the traveling spouse was spending too much money and that they should stay home. But, when they took a step back, they realized that what they really wanted their spouse to hear was that they missed them and wanted to spend more time with each other. A much different message from the initial message.
  • Do not give the silent treatment. If you grew up in a home where this was common or if you're just used to doing this because you struggle to communicate, try to break this habit. 
    •  If you're silent because you don't know what to say, simply say, "I can't talk about this right now. I have to think about it but let's talk tomorrow." It says that you're taking care of yourself but also that you'll return to the conversation.
    • Then, refer to the paragraphs above this to get clear on what you're wanting to say.

As I said, conversations can be tough and wonderful. They not only bring us closer to people but help to make our lives better. Luckily, we are all given endless opportunities to practice. These five steps can help reduce some miscommunication, help our relationships grow and boost our well-being.

Good luck this week!

Have you had your Omega 3s today? 

Weekly Assignment #2: Eat 3 - 4 servings or more this week of omega 3 rich fish or chia** or flax seeds. 

We've been gradually making tiny changes to our diet. We've been concentrating on vegetables and sugar but today we're bringing omega 3 fatty acids into the mix. 

Why Omega 3s? 

Research has shown that omega-3 fats may help to relieve inflammation, depression, arthritis, and high blood pressure. They also may reduce the risk of breast and colon cancer, alzheimer's disease, dementia and coronary artery disease. They have even been shown to improve the look of our skin and decrease hearing loss. They are also a great mood and well-being booster!

Don't worry. You don't have to have a source of omega-3s every day. But, aim to consume 3 - 4 servings this week. If you eat fish, try to have at least 2 of these servings be fish. A serving of fish is about 3 oz, or the size of a deck of cards. 

If you don't eat fish, you can get all of your servings from chia seeds or flaxseed. A serving is about 2 tablespoons for seeds. In addition to containing omega-3s, chia and flax also contain fiber. In fact, chia seeds are a whole grain and one serving contains about 11 g of fiber. 

**If you are on a blood thinner or high blood pressure medication, check with your doctor before having chia seeds to make sure there would not be any interactions.

What are Omega 3 rich fish?

The superstars are salmon, canned sardine, anchovies, trout and Alaskan halibut. 

Can I just eat a supplement?

Good question. You could. But, the omega 3 rich fish also tend to be rich in protein and vitamin D. They also may contain other nutrients that you just don't get from a supplement. Plus, if you're having a healthy fish for dinner, this means that you're probably not eating a hot dog  which means you're having a healthier dinner :) 

I'm all ready to try the chia and flaxseed but I have no idea what to do with them. Any ideas? 

Ask and you shall receive. Yes, it can be confusing to try new ingredients. I would recommend going to a bulk food aisle at your whole foods or grocery store and just getting a small amount of each one so that you can try them out. They both work great in a smoothie with your favorite fruits and veggies. Chia can also work in a chia seed pudding. It may sound strange but it tastes a lot like tapioca. There are also cereals that contain flax. Or, you can simply add your own on top of fruit or yogurt. You can also take basmati rice up a notch with a Basmati Rice with Flax and Garbanzo Beans.

Remember, you don't have to have a serving every day. Bon Appetit!

    Getting Organized!

    Weekly Assignment #3: Each day, take 10 minutes to clean or declutter.

     Clutter has a way of creeping into our drawers and on to our desks. Piles of mail, piles on our desks or expired food in our fridge can seemingly come out of nowhere. 

    A great way to boost our well-being and our peace of mind is to reduce clutter and get organized. Usually, we all want to do this but the task often feels huge. So, we put it off until "I have time".

    Instead of waiting for a day when you have hours, the challenge is to take tiny steps with small chunks of time. Because we're going to set a time limit of 10 minutes, this won't feel too overwhelming. Don't worry. You'll be surprised how much you can accomplish in 10 minutes.

    Daily 10 minute Challenge

    1. Choose an area to focus on -OR- do a quick clean to a whole room.
    2. Set the timer for 10 minutes.
    3. Do not get distracted or allow yourself to start reading the paper or catalogs, etc. If you haven't read them already, the odds are that you can safely toss them.
    4. For 10 minutes, do as much as you can to clean, dust or declutter an area.
    5. When the timer is up, you're done.

    Repeat the process each day this week.

    That's all for week 4! Have a great week! 

    Don't forget to check out your Week  4 Weekly Workout as well as the Daily Meditation and Stretch!

    All material provided here is for informational or educational purposes only. Please consult your physician regarding the applicability of any opinions or recommendations with respect to your symptoms or medical condition. Use or reproduction of text or photographs is prohibited without written permission from WellStyles Consulting®.