Stressed out? Eating badly? Skipping the gym? Sleeping with your phone rather than your partner? Experiencing brain fog and lack of focus? Then this book is for you. Linden Schaffer was an overworked, stressed out, on-the-go professional who found time to refocus, recharge, recommit to wellness on the road. Now she is sharing her secrets, identifying the obstacles that keep you from experiencing true wellness and, with scientifically backed-data, showing how you too can learn to embrace wellness. Learn what it feels like to recommit to the things that help us feel more energized, more focused, and more mindful of those activities in which we engage.
Living Well on the Road helps readers to identify those areas of life that need recharging, and brings greater awareness to those in search of a way to find wellness, happiness, and overall well-being even as they move through their busy days. Whether on the road, in the office, or at home, any reader can find ways to dramatically improve their mental focus and physical wellness if they implement the ideas and advice found within these pages.
In Living Well on the Road, readers will find:
1.a practical real-world approach to understanding and managing your wellness
2.a researched and scientifically investigated how-to manual that encourages a healthier way to manage your lifestyle
3.personal accounts of how small changes can lead to major positive life changes
4.easy to implement tactics proven to reduce stress and sick days
5.increased productivity and creativity through refocused attention
6.feel-good experiences that take 5-minutes and release the stress and tension of your workday from body and mind
|Publisher:||Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.|
|Product dimensions:||5.90(w) x 8.80(h) x 1.10(d)|
About the Author
Linden Schaffer is a wellness travel expert, consultant, and founder of the first wellness travel company, Pravassa. Since having founded Pravassa in 2009, Linden has been leading travelers around the world on wellness tours, which offer group and individualized itineraries for the people and companies that are looking to restore productivity and creativity. As a winner of the prestigious British Airways Face of Opportunity contest, Linden contributes to columns in The Huffington Post and MindBodyGreen, is a regular speaker at conferences around the country, and has participated in international conferences in Colombia, India, and Spain in order to bring wellness travel opportunities to these countries. When Linden is not traveling the world, she is based in New York City.
Read an Excerpt
Living Well on the Road
Health and Wellness for Travelers
By Linden Schaffer
Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group, Inc.Copyright © 2017 Linden Schaffer
All rights reserved.
ARE WE WELL?
Your job is making you fat. And sick. And stressed. I know, I've been there. For 15 years, I was an active participant in New York City's rat race. Up before dawn, out the door, I would be lulled back to sleep on the subway ride into my office and hit the ground running at Rockefeller Center — Diet Coke in one hand, whole wheat wrap in the other. Between answering phone calls and emails, I'd squeeze in 20 minutes to eat at my desk, only to look up past sunset and realize another 10 hours had passed. Back on the train, I'd leaf through a magazine or thumb at a smartphone game to numb my brain from the day. Then, waiting for take-out at my neighborhood Thai dive, I'd glance at my watch, sickened by how little time stood between scarfing down the paper bag's contents in front of an episode of Lost and bedtime. After five-and-a-half hours of sleep (if I was lucky), my alarm would sound and I'd start the vicious cycle over again.
If so, you are one of many on the corporate ladder striving toward the top rungs of your career, family, and financial expectations without the supportive foundation needed for your well-being. Whatever you gain, however, is at the expense of your health, made worse by a laundry list of bad habits: lack of sleep, grueling schedules, unhealthy eating, and irregular exercise. Caught in a vicious cycle when it comes to managing our lives, these hefty barriers make any positive lifestyle or behavioral change seem near impossible.
In 1948, the World Health Organization defined wellness as "a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, not merely the absence of disease." An article published in the 2014 Journal of American Psychosomatic Medicine concluded that men and women who experience high stress at work carry a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Aside from the typical genetic factors, excess weight gain and the inactivity of sitting for hours on end are contributing factors to manifesting the disease. Most of us are managing stress poorly; any healthy lifestyle changes necessary to reach our optimal health are reducing as we cling to ineffective coping mechanisms.
According to the 2012 Stress in America survey, the harmful coping mechanisms of overeating and drinking alcohol to combat stress are on a steady decline, down 9% and 5%, respectively. While this might appear to be a step in the right direction, we have replaced these behaviors with other sedentary habits including binge-watching TV, listening to music, or reading a book. These coping mechanisms may offer short-term relief, but can exacerbate long-term physical issues and still leave us lying awake at night mindlessly reaching for unhealthy foods or dangerously skipping meals altogether. The long-term side effects of these fruitless tactics can manifest into irritability, anxiety, fatigue, mental exhaustion, loss of creativity, poor decision-making, chronic heartburn, depression, and lack of motivation. Not exactly positive steps in the direction of personal health and wellness.
AMERICA'S CURRENT HEALTHCARE SYSTEM
We do not have a "health care" system aimed at preventing illness, but rather a "disease management system" that overemphasizes drugs and surgery after the patient becomes ill.
— Dr. Andrew Weil, director, Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine
The state of our national healthcare system is in flux. Not one program is comprehensive enough to predict, combat, and maintain personal well-being. The United States spends more on healthcare than any other country in the world, yet has the worst health outcomes when compared to all other developed nations. In 2000, the World Health Organization ranked U.S. health outcomes in 37th place out of 191 countries. Ouch.
As a nation, we are not getting what we need or want from our current reactive disease management system, especially when it comes to behavioral health and stress-related illnesses. Of the 270 million people with health insurance in the United States, only 19% feel their healthcare coverage is providing what they need to maintain their health. If you're grading, that's an F.
Chronic stress is the largest modern healthcare problem, and its overwhelming side effects continue to wreak havoc on our lives, playing a role in every one of America's top chronic illnesses. Cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, ulcers, insomnia, and sexual dysfunction are all traceable to our lifestyle choices and therefore may be preventable. When left untreated, consistent high stress can develop into many other chronic conditions. Repeated exposure to high stress in the office or in your personal life may make you prone to bouts of anxiety, be the cause of your trouble sleeping, or leave you feeling unrested even after being in bed for 8 hours. You may burst into tears watching a TV commercial or yell at your children for a simple "kid" mistake. Add all this to muscle fatigue and physical body pain from prolonged sitting in front of your computer and electronic devices, which screws with concentration and weakens your immune system, and it's no wonder we open ourselves up to more serious health risks, all of which can lead to burnout or worse: the development of a major illness.
Wellness, as defined in today's medical community, is formal preventative care: immunizations and screenings for common diseases with attention paid to weight and unhealthy practices such as smoking, excessive drinking, and drug use. But today's general practitioner is not trained in prevention, unless your physician practices integrative medicine. Most physicians receive their bulk of training in medical schools and are trained to remove obstructions to your health once you already have them. By one doctor's own admission speaking at a wellness conference I attended, any of his additional on-the-job education typically arrives in the form of a young, pretty female pharmaceutical rep with free samples.
Think about it: we've been trained from a young age to go to the doctor only if we feel unwell or need a shot. Today if you are seeing your doctor for tests to find out what is wrong, you've most likely already missed the prevention boat. It is time to teach yourself how to manage your wellness so your next visit to the doctor can be to discuss how you are controlling your health, not your illness.
Up until 2000, Corporate Wellness was a company nurse, health insurance and a benefits plan. Then corporations had a collective Aha! moment; it's not Work and Life, it's just life.
— Tevis Trower, founder of Balance Integration
Long hours and twenty-first-century lifestyle demands weigh heavily on our health and well-being. According to the Stress in American Study, people are struggling to manage the relationship between stress and health, with overall findings reporting that most working Americans believe their stress levels are higher than what is healthy. When we are not given the tools or the support system to properly manage our stress levels, our stress increases, kicking off a downward spiral that can be hard to reverse.
In the office, employer-covered health insurance has been on a downward trend since 2008 according to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. With 57% of the working population currently covered, this number continues to fall yearly, and future predictions do not appear to be getting brighter primarily due to the overall cost to employers. In a 10-year span from 2004 to 2014, the average annual health insurance premium has increased 69%, with employee contribution climbing to an all-time high of 93%. Of those still fortunate enough to be receiving employer-paid coverage, 70% fall into high-income earning brackets. And even then it's not a free ride, as many are still expected to contribute to the rising costs of their coverage by paying higher deductibles and/or monthly contributions.
Companies have been aware and scared of these rising healthcare costs for years and have lobbied the U.S. government to implement real change in the form of public health policy and benefits. The passing of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) in 2010 was the first large-scale public policy, which applied real benefits to ease the strain of employer-paid healthcare and pass on more affordable options to individuals. Open enrollment began in October 2013, and the data available to discern its successful (or unsuccessful) implementation is still years in the making, yet numbers have shown that people who were previously uninsured now have healthcare coverage due to the act.
The collective consciousness agrees on the need for improved public health, and this dawning has been the catalyst for other healthcare initiatives from influential Americans. Some programs, such as Michelle Obama's Let's Move initiative to raise a healthier, less obese generation of kids have been well received. However, some have created public vitriol, such as former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg's proposal to ban sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces.
While both initiatives have sparked conversation and even celebrity endorsements, as in the case of the Let's Move initiative (hey Beyoncé), they also touch at the heart of the U.S. healthcare scenario: we are not taking care of ourselves even when more and more is being expected of us in all aspects of our lives. As a 47-hour workweek society, we drink 3.1 cups of coffee a day, 130 million of us are not getting enough sleep, and 26% are still going to work every day even though we feel completely burnt out.
No matter your political affiliation or what you contribute to your traditional healthcare plan, wellness spending, which includes the food, fitness, spa, alternative medicine, and travel industries in addition to workplace wellness, topped a $3.4 trillion global spend in 2013. $3.4 trillion! People are clearly looking for something outside of the traditional healthcare model to feel better, function better, and just live better.
In case you haven't noticed, your job-related stress triggers don't stop just because you've left the office. No one works 9 to 5 anymore. One of the greatest inventions of the last decade, the smartphone, is also the largest modern-day contributor to our anxiety and hyper alertness. Like a slot machine, we are now conditioned to check our phone every time we see a notification, hear a ding, or feel a vibration — even when what is coming through is junk.
The age of boasting about your ability to multitask is dead. Eating at your desk while answering emails, talking on the phone, and checking Facebook is still happening, but with minimum retention — effectively making your workday twice as long with half the results. Studies now show that multitasking contributes to short-term memory loss, as the cost of switching gears between multiple tasks means you're never fully engaged in one area of concentration.
In a 2012 workplace study, University of California Irvine researchers found that workers who have their email systems set to notify them every time a new email arrives were in a perpetual state of high alert, with correlating higher resting heart rates than those who did not have constant access to their email. This addiction to always being occupied, combined with mounting lifestyle stressors, contributes to the latest workplace loss of productivity defined as presenteeism.
Presenteeism — being physically present at work, but under performing due to illness, stress, and distraction.
American author Mark Twain coined the term "presentee" in his 1892 book The American Claimant, and the concept was later popularized in the 2004 Harvard Business Review article "Presenteeism: At Work — But Out of It." This broad-spectrum phrase covers a range of issues that have an adverse effect on your time in the office: allergies, chronic disease, stress, financial strain, and family health issues.
While it is difficult to quantify, according to the Integrated Benefits Institute, presenteeism accounts for three times more lost work time than absenteeism — not being at work in the first place. To your employer, this means if workers take an average of 5 sick days a year, an additional 15 days of work are lost to presenteeism. Considering the cost of direct healthcare benefit payouts, it is less expensive to send someone to the doctor to "fix" a problem than to let an undiagnosed indirect health issue linger untreated.
Presenteeism is a new area of study, so questions around how to evaluate causes and create preventative measures are still being formulated. Yet one thing is for sure: if presenteeism is ignored for an extended period of time, it turns into more frequent absenteeism.
So, how should you (and your employer) combat this phenomenon? Strategic renewal. Allow for daytime workouts, better quality of sleep, true nonworking vacation time, and digital detoxes — these are all ways to reduce your overall stress levels and refocus and renew your concentration levels, energy, creativity, and zest for life. While the general consensus is that one's overall well-being is an individual responsibility, companies are now beginning to admit that since you spend most of your waking hours at the office or thinking about work, they need to offer programming, flexible time, and real-world tools to help combat workplace stress in a tangible way.
The Global Wellness Institute estimates that today workplace wellness is a $41 billion industry, with only 25% of large companies offering on-site wellness programming. Many consider a lunch-and-learn education session workplace wellness and go on to provide no additional programming or implementation. This leaves 75% of us having to fend for ourselves until companies catch up with the trend.
Obviously, not all wellness programs are created equal. A survey of current workplace wellness shows today's platforms typically focus on weight loss, smoking cessation, subsidies for gym memberships, and online marketing tools that provide tips for healthier living. Johnson & Johnson, a leading U.S.–based consumer health company, has implemented wellness programming using the above focuses for more than 35 years. Representatives for the company have said that providing wellness programing for over 125,000 employees has saved the company millions of dollars in healthcare costs when it comes to chronic illnesses like obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and tobacco use.
Currently, the biggest issue workplace wellness faces is that work/life management programs are still being lumped together with illness/disease management programs under the overall healthcare umbrella. While they are in fact all wellness, the statistical data as it relates to healthcare really only offers hard results in terms of quantifiable healthcare claims for illnesses: Did you lose weight? Did you stop smoking? Did you use your gym membership? At present, there is very little hard data available on the corporate integrative programs (yoga, meditation, nutrition consulting, creative writing sessions) which center on prevention and individual lifestyle management/stress reduction programming. Remember, our healthcare system has created habits related to both health and cost which reinforce that the only time you see the doctor is when you are unwell. No hard data can be provided for the times you do not see the doctor because you feel great.
Yet empirical evidence supports the claim that an overall wellness approach toward health creates positive well-being. Case in point: I started to create and prioritize my own wellness routine — yoga, meditation, less meat, less sugar, weekly cardiovascular exercise, and dietary changes instead of over-the-counter medicines, fast foods, and couch sitting. I felt great and got sick less often. After a 3-year absence, I called my own physician to make an appointment. She had put my medical records in storage. She thought I moved.
While there is no formally defined across-the-board definition for workplace wellness programs, the most comprehensive study available to date is the 2013 RAND Workplace Wellness Study, which was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The RAND study is steeped in controversy due to its limited research and sampling, as well as its focus on high-cost health program (i.e., old-school) offerings such as health screenings and blood analysis. These programs are not fun, social, or interactive, but instead are a turn-off to employee participation, so companies have to turn to financial penalties that shame people into participation.
But some interesting statistics arose: 67% of employers cite poor health habits of employees as the top company challenge when it comes to maintaining affordable healthcare. Employees who did participate in the wellness programs had their healthcare costs rise more slowly than those who did not participate. And while only 2% of the participating companies reported actual healthcare savings as a result of the workplace wellness programs, the overall sentiment is that a long-term company and personal investment is worth it.
Excerpted from Living Well on the Road by Linden Schaffer. Copyright © 2017 Linden Schaffer. Excerpted by permission of Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Foreword by Andrew McCarthy
Introduction: Practice Makes Perfect
A Peek at What’s Inside
1. ARE WE WELL?
America’s Current Healthcare System
Millennials and the Future
Are You Already on the Brink of Burnout?
Interview with Tevis Trower
2. GET REST
Nurture Your Nature
Blue Light Special
Your Bed Is Calling
Sleep Your Way to the Top
Say Goodnight, Gracie
Interview with Dr. Ana C. Krieger
3. GET FIT
Please, Don’t Take a Seat
Step Away from the Screen
Meet Me for a Sweat Sesh
Let’s Get Physical
Interview with Well+Good Founders
4. GET ZEN
The Rise of Stress
The Western Origins of Zen
What Is Mindfulness, and How Do We Get Some?
Meditation Does Our Body Good
Mindfulness at Work
What Does Self-Care Have to Do with It?
Interview with Dr. Miles Neale
5. GET LOCAL
It’s a Concrete Jungle Out There
Hug a Tree
Fresh Air for the Soul
Reach Out and Touch Someone
Interview with Richard Louv
6. GET FOOD
Food as Medicine
Do You Know the Muffin Man?
Feed Your Soul
You’re Already Sweet Enough
Eat Real Food
It Lives in Your Belly, Baby
Your Food Future
Interview with Dr. Robin Berzin
7. LIVING WELL ON THE ROAD
Beam Me Up, Scotty
Fight for Your Right
I Wear My Sunglasses at Night
Craft Your Path
8. GET RESULTS AND SUSTAIN SUCCESS
I Can’t Get No
If You Build It
A Little Help from My Friends
Evaluate Your Sleep
Create a Sleep Routine
3-Minute Calming Exercise
2 Minutes to Refocus
Items for Your Grocery Cart
52-Week Wellness Implementation
Wellness Packing List
Jet Lag Killers
Wellness During a Day on the Road
Mini Steps to Success
About the Author