when i look at my life exactly 1 year ago
i can't help but be overwhelmed with how different things were.
It was likely 90 degrees, 100% humidity, and I was en route to my office on Broadway in the heart of Manhattan. I had squeezed in a morning workout at Equinox in the Flatiron, and was looking down at my iPhone frantically checking my zillion emails while crossing the busy, taxi-filled streets and bumping into people with my heavy bags filled with my gym clothes, laptop, green smoothie, and gosh knows what else. Even that sentence was exhausting to read, am I right? So, you probably get it.
These were my mornings… stressful, chaotic, and uncomfortable.
Might I add that this is coming from a girl who insists on forcing herself to look for the positive at all times. So, I’d make a point, amidst the crowds, to notice the unique architecture of the buildings and the charming shops on University Avenue bustling with the young energy of NYU students. I was living out a lifelong dream. These were what I called my ‘Felicity moments.’ Purple flags waving in the breeze.
I’d get into work around 9:30am, although the anxiety around my job started upon waking up. In New York, work never stops. It wasn’t uncommon to get emails throughout the night. I found myself working well into the wee hours of the early morning to meet deadlines or ‘overachieve,’ and also meet unrealistic standards I’d set for myself to measure up to colleagues, or just the generally high bar that’s inherently set in that city.
work was non-stop and i felt a constant sense of stress and never being good enough.It didn’t matter how much I talked myself off the ledge, it was an unhealthy environment for me, period.
The physical environment included an amazing office space. Amazing doesn’t do it justice. This open space exposed brick loft, decorated with a boutique and edgy sense of style down to the very last detail including the bar cart, was pristine. I was lucky. And I mean that with every cell of my being. However, it started to occur to me, that my successes and contributions at work weren’t personally gratifying. The positives did not outweigh the negative effects of the lifestyle. And, sitting all day hunched over a computer screen while full of tension didn’t help the situation.
The stress wore on me, and like it works with most coping mechanisms, I used things like food for comfort and sacrificed many parts of my own health for my job, thinking that it was the right thing to do.
All of these details are just to simply paint the picture that it doesn’t matter how good things appear to be on the outside, it’s what’s on the inside that counts. And, it doesn’t matter what you do, or where you work, or what industry you’re in, or where you live, these are likely natural feelings that come along with any corporate environment. We all want to do the best that we can at our jobs. We want to meet the expectations of ourselves, our peers, our managers and the company as a whole.
we don't want to fail.
So we push ourselves to the max and often times sacrifice our health
I have since moved across the country to a small beach community where there are no incessant horns or sirens, and no taxi cabs in sight. Instead you hear things like birds chirping, dogs barking, and occasionally the neighbor waxing his surfboard. I’ve been able to take ample time to reflect on my New York City experience, and one thing that usually comes to mind is this: we need help. We can’t always do it alone. And, with most of us being employed by great companies both big and small, it’s important that those companies understand the needs of their employees.
Health benefits have the reputation of being a confusing, frustrating beast so we as employees write them off and utilize them only if absolutely necessary.
And, that’s no one’s fault. It’s unfortunately the reality and complexity of our healthcare system in the U.S. Thankfully, we seem to be taking strides to better it. Slowly but surely. All the while, there are new companies forming everyday that are attempting to bring health and wellness services to corporations that are fresh and innovative, waiting to challenge traditional benefits’ status quo. I believe the world is waking up to this epidemic of stress, and lack of self-care, whether it be through eating, exercise, sleep, or mental and emotional well-being.
for me, nutrition is the key.
And, I suspect that I’m not alone in that. After all, food sustains us and is an essential daily need. With nearly 2/3 of America being overweight, there is clearly a problem at hand. People are abusing food in ways that are likely affecting their overall happiness and quite frankly, their satisfaction with life. I am a firm believer that our jobs should never contribute to our weight management issues. And from personal experience, I know this is something that can be difficult.
food should be our fuel, not our escape.
Putting our health first and nourishing our bodies with the right foods can have a huge impact not only on our performance at work, but our overall mental state, and more importantly help us avoid any potential future chronic illnesses. Often times we may need the guidance of health professionals to truly live our best, healthiest lives to become the highest functioning employees that we can be. That’s why I believe it’s in the best interest of companies to offer services that help their employees manage key components of their everyday well-being. Only then can they begin to contribute to the organization from a place of confidence, clarity, and creativity.
I’ve since made it my mission to both work with a company whose goal is to better connect the right nutrition advice to as many people as possible, and to personally help people myself.
For more information on Gina visit: www.fullonhappiness.com
*Please note that the thoughts and opinions put forth in this blog piece are in no way, shape or form a reflection of the lack of care and support I received from any of my former employers. I’ve worked for amazing organizations with incredibly supportive and generous employee benefits and I am forever grateful for everything they brought to my life. The decision to change my lifestyle had everything to do with me, and nothing to do with them.