There is a trend that has surfaced in my series of healthy lifestyle inspiration interviews. Let me explain – a while ago, I decided to discover the secrets of healthy and fit individuals. These people are my friends, colleagues, or even distant connections. They inspire me, even if I rarely see them in person. I set about asking them about their methods for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Surprisingly, I discovered a commonality between these people quickly. Almost everyone I spoke to described that when they were growing up, they ate very healthily at home- there was minimal sugar, no soda, and no unnecessary sweet indulgences.
These individuals lived a very active and “healthy eating” childhood, and they carried it forward into their adult life.
Allow me to introduce Jennifer, an executive at a medical communications agency, Health Science Communications (Omnicom Group), in New York City. She leads over 30 amazing individuals as Executive Vice President, Director of Clients Services. She is a busy woman – so much so that I had to run after her in the halls to get her to sit down for the interview!
I know agency people well; having worked with them all my life. They live at 150 miles an hour, they juggle deadlines and are the masters of multi-tasking. They are brilliant and creative. Plus, if you can make it in NYC, you can make it anywhere!
Jennifer was raised in a disciplined manner, with structure and rules provided by her mother and father. She lived in multiple states, all of which had a beautiful natural environment like Idaho, Alaska and Washington. Coming from a farming family, she started chores at a young age. She also explored nature, hiked, and fished. She grew up in nature and loves it to this day. She started skiing at 3, she played softball for years and she even played baseball with the boys! This woman likes to move.
Jennifer prioritizes exercise and relaxation over shopping or other activities. Whenever she can, she steals time to get outside, even if it’s just for a short walk. She is always going on short trips, skiing, kayaking or hiking a trail in the Catskills. She has an endless supply of energy and stamina, which is provided by her active life. I remember once when we were visiting a client and had to be there extremely early. Despite this, she found the time to go to the gym before!
She shared her secrets to maintaining good health and mind/body balance while still being effective at managing her job with me, in the hope that I’d share them with others. Jennifer told me:
“I know I have to take care of myself to do what I want in life and be the best person, manager, friend, and partner I can be. My job and responsibilities are intense, but I never let myself get too busy…”
Interesting last comment. How do you manage to get yourself “not too busy” in a fast paced profession?
Jennifer explained that she constantly prioritizes and takes mini mental breaks, even during the workday. She also knows she needs her daily intake of exercise – and meditation or yoga – and makes sure she takes the time to get them. She goes to the gym almost every morning, no matter what.
She also has eliminated a lot of stressors or time-wasters from her life. She has simplified, and simplified even more and that includes her wardrobe, her hairstyle, and her minimal possessions. Let’s be clear. Jennifer’s energy, time and money go into adventures, trips and wellbeing experiences.
When it comes to food, Jennifer likes to eat simply, healthfully, and organically when she can. She also eats reasonable portions. She only buys what she needs, avoiding having too many temptations at home. She however admits a weakness for dark chocolate and red wine.
I asked Jennifer to summarize her pearls of wisdom for you, and this is what she told me:
1. Always prioritize your health
2. Lead by example
3. Never stop moving
4. Don’t underestimate the importance of sleep
5. Eat to power your body and brain
6. De-stress your life
Be inspired by Jennifer. Work and life balance are difficult to achieve but it is feasible if you make it a priority. Your body and mind will thank you and you will be more productive. Plus you will be an inspiration for your team.
Veronique Cardon, MS
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