Overall Wellness: Dream Big, Dream Bold. Dream Smart.

In my little schpeel on my blog, I say I am a dreamer. And while I have always had my feet firmly on the ground and kept a realistic view of myself and my world, it has never stopped me from dreaming and dreaming big. When I was younger, that dream was to be a world champion gymnast. I never was that, not even close. The most gymnastics I did was tumbling classes and making everything a beam.

When I decided to take the step to create this blog, I decided to just push through the insecurity and develop this blog. I have been blogging for about 3 years with my private, personal blog and always wanted to create a more professional blog to share my passion. I decided to take the leap and to follow my dream of sharing my passion of wellness with the internets (yes, I call the internet “the internets”…I also refer to google as “the google machine”…I think I’m hilariously funny. Most people think I’m mostly an idiot).

Anyway, there is a point to this post..



This morning I found a post from Fitness and Wellness News about a few tips about following your dreams. 

1.) Make some concrete goals and decisions in regards to your dream.

2.) Be prepared to get some tough love and criticism. Make sure to remember your goals and your dream.

3.) Set yourself up to be successful. Set those awesome SMART goals. Be prepared for some setbacks and know how to deal with them.  Know who you are and use it to your advantage. Make sure to keep yourself in check and be realistic. Let people know what you are doing and why you are doing it.

4.) Finally, take pride and joy in those accomplishments. I can’t tell you how much I was jumping off the wall when I had 10 followers on this blog. Find joy in your accomplishments and hard work.

There are TONS of different tips and tricks of how to follow your  dreams. This was just an article that resonated with me and that I wanted to share.

I wanted to share with you one of my dreams (beyond being a gymnast…). I dream that one day wellness will be more than a side project or hobby of mine. I dream that wellness will be my career. And I don’t necessarily mean that running my blog will be my career because I run this blog to share with you my thoughts on wellness and some research and news about wellness. Right now, at this point in my life, being a wellness consultant is something I would consider as a “dream job” and something that I am continually working towards achieving that dream.

What are some of your dreams?

Occupational Wellness: Is Your Job Killing You?

One of my co-workers and I sometimes joke about how we want a treadmill desk (we have gone as far to look it up on Amazon…) but THIS article in the Washington Post really sparked my interest. I try to make sure I don’t spend too much time sitting at my desk at work as I know that it is bad for your body, your eyes, and your mind to just be sitting at your computer for hours on end. I will admit though when I get into a project and start analyzing data…I forget that I need to get up and move. My supervisor in my GA and I would actually go on “wellness walks” throughout the day (partly to get up and move and partly to just get out of the office and soak up some sun).

Anyway, more about the research and less about me. This study looks like a longitudinal (14 years) study looking at 100k+ workers and analyzed their mortality rate on the basis of how long they were sitting during a day (6+ hours a day versus 3 or less hours a day). Even taking into consideration diet, participants (are they really participants?? hmmm) who sat for more hours had a higher rate of mortality than those who sat for fewer hours (oh and as an added bonus ladies, we are more likely to kick the bucket than guys…34% vs. 17%…)

Some Australian researchers also did a little research and found that for adults (25+), every hour you spend plopped in front of the TV watching your favorite guilty pleasure show (I swear I won’t be watching The Bachelorette tonight…) you can shave 22 minutes off of your life. So…if I were to watch the Bachelorette tonight…which is 2 hours … I not only lose 2 hours of my life watching the drama unfold but I also am looking at losing 44 minutes of my life. Literally. (I tend to sit and watch the show and then during commercials do my dishes, clean, pack my bag for the next day, etc.)

So what is the bottom line? We know we need to eat healthy and work out. But can’t you just knock that workout out before/after work? I mean…if I am analyzing some data…not to throw a meme in this or anything but…



Well…you got time for that if you want to keep your life expectancy up. So instead of taking on long break, take so shorter breaks. Problem solve to figure out what you could do to get up and get active without losing work time. For instance, instead of having a printer in my office, I use the big printer and have to walk to it every time I print something.

What are some other ways you can get moving during the work day? Share in the comments below or on my Facebook, Twitter or email me at wellnessblogging.outlook.com!

Overall Wellness: 15 Tips/Ideas to Boost Your Wellness

A bit of a disclaimer:  these are taken from the book, Wellbeing:  The Five Essential Elements (citation will be at the end of this post) with some personal information interwoven in.

Career Wellbeing 

  • Figure out what your strengths are and make sure that you are utilizing your strengths every. single. day.
  • Find a mentor/role model and start interacting with them.
  • Find a friend/some friends at work and make time to chat with them.

Social Wellbeing 

  • Deep breath. Get 6 hours (that’s right, 360 minutes) of social interaction. Email a friend. Grab lunch w/ someone at work. Make weird faces at your boyfriend (is that just me that does that? Oh, alright then…moving on)
  • Those friends of friends that everyone has? Work on those connections too! Work on strengthening your network.
  • Still trying to figure out how in the world you are supposed to work, sleep, workout, AND get 6 hours of social time into every single day? Try working out w/ a friend. The whole “kill two birds with one stone” but minus bird murder.

Financial Wellbeing 

  • Don’t buy stuff. But experiences. I still to this day share some of my Alaska trip experiences with people. But I rarely chat about my haul from the Nike outlet mall.
  • When you can, work on giving back to others. Again, the experience of buying something for someone else can have a more lasting impact on you than buying a new watch.
  • Make saving idiot proof. Before you even see your paycheck, have x amount chucked into a hard to get to savings account of some sort.

Physical Wellbeing 

  • Get moving. At least 20 minutes a day.
  • Get sleeping. The right amount. Not too much. Not too little. Goldilocks that sleep cycle. (Didn’t know you could use Goldilocks as a verb did ya?)
  • Make eating healthy idiot proof as well. When you buy groceries, don’t buy temptations. Stock up on those whole foods and healthy options.

Community Wellbeing 

  • Figure out your personal mission. Now figure out how your personal mission and you yourself can help out the community. Then do it.
  • Let your personal mission be known. Let people know what you are passionate about. Connect w/ relevant groups.
  • Start now. It can be small but just start getting involved with your community.

Rath, T. & Harter, J. (2010). Wellbeing:  The five essential elements. New York City, New York:  Gallup Press. 

Physical Wellness: That Infamous Line from “Legally Blonde”



Was Elle Woods correct? Well, I’m not sure if she was entirely correct in her reasoning…but yes. Exercise does indeed improve your mood. In fact, getting just 20 minutes of activity every day has been shown to bump up your mood (even more so when you get active in the morning!)

I’m one of those people that I can read scientific research and think, “Uh yeah, I guess.” but I have a hard time believing it until I see it with my two eyes. While I was gone on vacation, I went for a run a couple times, but not everyday. My friend that I was staying with said something that made me think of this Legally Blonde quote. She said that I seem “better” on days that I work out. And that got me thinking and reflecting of during the winter when I would do 30 minutes of pilates every morning and how my mood was affected by that. On days that I wasn’t too tired and had gotten enough sleep, doing pilates in the morning was a great way to start my day. On days when I had gotten to bed late or had a restless night of sleep…it was labored and detrimental to my day and mood.

While reading about physical wellbeing in my Gallup book over vacation, they mentioned that getting some sort of activity at least 20 minutes a day can improve your mood. The mood enhancers were one of the reasons why I wanted to be active every day this month and while I fell short a bit on that during vacation, I have been able to jump right back into my active lifestyle and reap the mood benefits of getting my workout on.

Do you notice a difference in yourself on days you are active vs. when you are not active?



I have learned my lesson to make sure I have some posts in drafts to easily post up on days like today…but I am jet lagged, vacation lagged, and feeling really ill today…so I don’t have a wellness post and I am really sorry about that.

I finished reading the wellbeing book by Gallup last night on my flight and I made a ton of notes and scribbles so expect a new blog post tomorrow. But for today, I am going to learn my lesson and take some time to get back to feeling better.

Spiritual Wellness: What’s Faith Got to Do, Got to Do with It?

For some reason, I am all about reading articles this week…hopefully ya’ll enjoy a mix of personal posts and posts reflecting on either research or published articles. Today’s article that I found discusses the affect that faith can have on therapy. While I am not religious, I can see the parallels in faith and therapy. There tends to be a negative stigma that is attached to therapy and I can see how having a strong belief in a higher power could contribute to having belief in therapy. Dr. McCabe linked faith and therapy really with belief. It all stems from one’s attitude and it seems, from some of the research presented in this article, that when you have a strong belief in God (or any other deity) it can have a positive impact on one’s progress in therapy.

Dr. Rosmarin offered further explanation for why religious faith might aid psychiatric treatment. “There’s a vulnerability associated with physicality,” he said. “I think people, psychiatric patients in particular, might recognize that vulnerability and recognize that things can’t be counted on. “Sometimes medications don’t work, and sometimes psychotherapy doesn’t work,” he continued. “But if someone believes in something that is metaphysical, if someone believes in something spiritual, which would ostensibly be eternal, permanent, unwavering, omnipotent, then that could be an important resource to them, particularly in times of emotional distress.”

Obviously it is going to be hard to do extensive research with a good research design since you cannot just randomly assign participants to a faith/no faith condition and it depends on the strength of one’s faith as well as what one is in therapy for…there are just a great number of conditions that cannot be controlled for in this research, but it is an interesting concept.

What are your thoughts on faith and therapy? Do you think there is a link?

Physical Wellness: Where Are the Stairs?

I gotta say…I kind of really love Mayor Bloomberg and his push for health and wellness in NYC. I don’t think I realized just how much he has done for the city until reading THIS article which outlines how he wants to make taking the stairs a more inviting and easy option. The article briefly touched on other initiatives that Bloomberg has worked on such as improving the bike program, banning smoking in restaurants (thank goodness I’m from Iowa which is a smoke free state!) as well as his fairly infamous initiative to reduce soft drink cup sizes.

Anyway, Bloomberg essentially wants to make taking the stairs an easier option for New Yorkers by making the stairs more visible and less of that “am I going to be murdered and no one will find me for 50 years in here” feeling. I love this! I can’t tell you how many times I have walked into a building and been searching for the stairs and I can’t find them or they are locked and I have to take the elevator. And then I feel like a complete goob because I’m taking the elevator to the 3rd floor or something.

I think my favorite part of this article (besides absolutely every single sentence) was when a reporter asked if Bloomberg took the stairs in his 5 story building. And all 71 years of Bloomberg (in my mind smiled knowlingly) and said that there is a nice elevator in his building, but he takes the stairs.

What are your thoughts on this new initiative? He mentioned in the article about what they would be doing to make sure that having the stairways was still compliant with fire code (having the doors that will shut if the fire alarms go off and having fire escape windows in the stairwell), but are there other things that he needs to take into consideration? How would this type of initiative go over where you live? Would people be supportive of this or resist this change? Sometimes I think I get so excited to hear about a great health/wellness initiative that I forget that people don’t necessarily want to change the way the live… For example, when Iowa because smoke free, a large number of people in my hometown were completely outraged. Whereas I was like, “it’s about time!”

PS: I just wanted to share this picture quickly w/ ya’ll! I went up to the mountains yesterday!


Mental Wellness: “Life Is too Short”

I was reading through some top wellness news hits (and this is admittedly kind of late seeing as this article was written 6/11/13) and came across this HuffPo article, Life Is too Short:  10 Things to Stop Tolerating. And as I was reading, like I do w/ most lists like this, I started thinking about what my 10 things were. (One thing to keep in mind when you are reading lists like this is that they are based on a general consensus. There will be something things that apply to you and others that don’t. I like to think of these lists as a jumping ground of what my own list is).

So I present to you, Vanessa’s 10 Things to Stop Tolerating List (I’ll note the ones that are the same from the HuffPo article). And really, mine are in no particular order.

10.)  Keeping up with the Joneses (from HP):  this is one that has taken probably the worst financial toll on my life. Throughout college I was obsessed with keeping up with my friends and roommates who were always buying new things, designer things, had big closets, ate out for every meal, etc. Since then, I have been able to see more of the value in my spending and making sure that I am being more conscious about it. I participated in a financial wellness presentation at my grad school and learned a lot from the speaker about financial wellness. I also started dating das boy who happens to be an ace at being cautious with this spending. Life is too short to try and keep up with a lifestyle of excessive spending. It adds too much stress and doesn’t fulfill me at all.

9.) The “Shoulds”:  I have admittedly chosen a “different” life path than most. I say “different” because I have no desire to get married or reproduce. I don’t want to. And I can’t tell you how many times over the years of me saying this people have told me I will change my mind and when I meet the right guy everything will change. Because getting married and having offspring is what I should be wanting to do with my life. No one even took the time to listen to my argument or my side that maybe the right guy for me wouldn’t want any of those things either. Maybe it is ok to not want those things. Maybe it is ok to want those things (the majority of my friends have at least married, some have reproduced). But maybe we need to stop putting shoulds on people’s shoulders and let people decide what they want to do with their life. You can read more about my thoughts of should HERE.

8.) Stressing Out and Being Disorganized  (combined two from HP):  I combined these two because for me being disorganized leads to stress. When my office is a mess, I get stressed out more easy. When my apartment is a mess, when my day isn’t organized…I am someone that needs and values organization in my life. I like schedules. I like routine. And there is nothing wrong with that. I get stressed out when things don’t go as planned. Since I know this about myself, I try to schedule things out. Even with my vacation, I have scheduled relaxation times, scheduled times to work on this blog, scheduled times to go have fun, etc.

7.) Holding Grudges:  life is too short to continue to be mad at someone and to be hateful. Those of you that know me personally may start to point a finger and say, “But Vanessa, what about…” and to that I respond with that I don’t hold a grudge against this person. I have come to terms with what has happened and I’m letting myself let go. I’m not forgiving but what happened was unforgivable in my eyes, but I’m letting go of the anger and hurt that I feel from that. Because life is too short to be angry all the time.

6.) Being Miserable:  (combined a bunch from HP) life is WAAAY to short to spend too much time being sad, depressed, and/or miserable. Way too short. Sometimes it’s hard to get out of a situation that makes you miserable. But you can do things that make you happy until you can get it. For me, the apartment I live in right now is terrible (every time I say “terrible” I think of Frank Calliendo impersonating Charles Barkley…”that was turrble”) but I can’t just get out of that situation right away without having to pay an insane amount of money. Which doing that would make me even more miserable. So I found a new place to live to get excited about and every time I kill a massive cricket in my apartment, I think about my new place that I will be moving too soon. Some situations that you are miserable in can be fixed much faster. The point is, life is too short to spend the majority of your time feeling like crap.

5.) Love:  life is too short to not love someone. Whether it is family, friends, significant other, a pet…life is just too short to not get to experience what love is (both giving love and receiving love). Life is too short to not have people in your life that you love and that love you.

4.) Do Something You Love (adapted from HP):  whether it is your actual job or it is a hobby. Plain and simple. Life is waaaaay too short to not get do follow your passions and do something that makes you happy. (This is actually why I started this blog. I love wellness and wanted the chance to get to do something every single day that excites me. And that truly is blogging about wellness).

3.) Alone Time:  learning to be ok by yourself and being alone is something that I really think is very valuable. Not to be pessimistic, but there won’t always be someone with you all the time. And getting that alone time and placing value on it (instead of dreading it) can be a really valuable thing. Whether it is letting yourself just think during a solo run or even going to a restaurant alone to eat. Having alone time is something that is really great and sometimes overlooked.

2.) Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone:  Get out there. Seriously. Do something that scares the life out of you. I picked up my life and moved to Kentucky for grad school where I didn’t know a single soul. Not one person in the entire state. And to this day it is still one of the greatest things I have ever done. I learned more about myself in the two years that I lived in Kentucky than I did in all of high school and college. I did something scary. I wasn’t always the best at it but I did it. And honestly, I am a stronger and better person because of it.

1.) Be Healthy (from HP):  I have spent a lot of my life not being healthy, which comes as a shock to some people. But I have battled my demons and I can tell you, at 25, life is too short to not value your health. Find a physical exercise that excites you. Experiment with cooking healthy foods. Surround yourself with people that value health. Don’t beat yourself up. Value your health.

What are some of the items on your list? Anything major that I missed? Let me know in the comments below! Or you can tweet me, like my facebook page, or send me an email (wellnessblogging@outlook.com)

Have a great weekend!

Social Wellness: Re-Connecting w/ a Best Friend.

Sorry for the late post! I will be back on a normal posting schedule tomorrow! I was busy traveling and catching up w/ my friend that I am staying with this week while I am on vacation.



(My friend Marn and I w/ one of our favorite teachers senior year of high school. My sweet burns lines were courtesy of a tennis tournament the day before prom…)

I don’t do a lot of social wellness posts because, well, I’m not very strong in social wellness (I’m an introvert and socially awkward) and it isn’t a dimension of wellness that I feel particularly knowledgeable about. But I took advantage of some flying time this morning and was reading more of the Well Being book (read my thoughts on Career Well Being HERE). I was reading about social wellbeing and wanted to share, per usual some of the research that Gallup is doing (I swear I am not being sponsored by Gallup! They just do some interesting research!)

Some of the most interesting (to me) findings are that your social network, more than your family, have impacts, both positive and negative, on your social wellbeing. Being around people that have high wellbeing is more likely to increase your overall wellbeing and the same is true for people who are low in wellbeing. The people that you are around have an impact on your wellbeing. (I’m having flashbacks to my Org Psych class and my hero of all hero’s Ben Schneider…oh Ben, such an amazing researcher…I completely fan girled when I met him at SIOP San Diego. Ok, back to the actual blog.)

So why exactly is it important to know that people in your social networks can have an impact on you? Well, as Gallup found out, they have in impact on not only how happy you might be but also on your “habits, behaviors, and health” (pg. 35). Even more interesting…if you have friends that are smokers, Gallup found that you are 61% more likely to pick up the habit. Even more shocking is that even if you don’t surround yourself with friends that smoke, if one of your friends has a friend that smokes, you are almost 30% more likely to pick up the habit. The people that you are around to more than just boost your mood. They have the potential to have a last impact on your for years to come (I don’t think I really need to bring up any of the research that has been done on smoking…we all know it, right?)

The point of this little tid bit of information (there was more than just this brief research in the social wellbeing section) is to place an emphasis on making sure that your social circle is a positive one for you. I’m not here to tell you how to make your friends or how many friends you should have. I’m just here to pose some questions and help you figure out what is right for you. For me (keep in mind I’m a pretty strong introvert), I tend to be very cautious and careful with who I let into my life. Which means it sometimes takes me a long time to meet people and develop friendships (I can safely say it took me a good year when I moved to Kentucky to develop some strong friendships). Conversely, my friend is very extroverted and trusting of people and is very good at putting herself out there and she builds friendships faster. There are positives and negatives to both and it is trying to figure out what is right for you.

How healthy is your social circle?

Financial Wellness: …er I don’t have a cool/witty title for this one…

I really just wanted to share this article. I am subscribed to variety of different newsletters and this Gallup one has to be one of my favorites. I signed up for it when I was taking my Well-Being Finder. They basically just send you a newsletter with new research that they are churning out.

THIS one by Frank Newport touches on something that I struggle with-I have money to get by week to week, but if something catastrophic happens (er, like car problems) I tend to not be as good to go. Turns out, I’m not alone in this headache. Around 70% of Americans struggle with the same issues I do. The Gallup research in this article indicates that until you are looking at around $48k/yr, unexpected major expenses are stressful and sometimes downright impossible to cover. (I’m lucky that my mom forced me to buy savings bonds as a little kid and she keeps them tucked away in a safety deposit box and they are my “oh shit money”.)

This research presents various different findings including people’s feelings on their spending (“Did you worry yesterday that you spent too much money?”) and how they feel basically about their financial security blanket. For the most part, American’s are feeling good day-to-day but once something major comes at them, it starts to get stressful and they may not have money tucked away for that.

This is really just some interesting research and unlike some research articles, the information is easy to read and comprehend and it just makes sense (I can’t tell you how many times in grad school I would read a research article and just go…Image

What are your thoughts on this research? Do you feel it is accurate? Do you have any financial tips on how to make sure you are covered if a major expense comes your way?

PS:  I leave TOMORROW for vacation! And since this is a financial wellness blog post-I stalked ticket prices for about a month to figure out when they were generally the lowest and got a ticket for less than $150 and I am staying w/ a friend (so no hotel costs!). I also knew that flights are generally cheaper M-Th and go up F-Su so I’m flying out on Thursday and coming back on Tuesday. Just a quick trip and not putting a major dent in my pocket book!