Do More by Doing Less

By Guest Editor: Jeff Isom, Chancellor of Nikken University

Most of us are continually striving to be active, healthy, and well. The idea of Active Wellness is perhaps more of a process than a result and encompasses a variety of aspects in our lives. One of those areas is the personal growth we work towards as we decide what to create and accomplish on a day-to-day basis.

A question someone might ask themselves is, how do I do more with the time I have? It may be that we can accomplish more by deciding to focus on less. Think about the idea of limiting your daily to-do list to the top 3 most important things you want to accomplish for that day. You could do this same process at the beginning of every week for the week ahead. It is a simple strategy, but one that might prove to be extremely powerful.

This habit turbocharges your productivity because it forces you to prioritize the most significant things you want to achieve, and then causes you to have laser-like focus in getting them done. Having just three items to focus on throughout the day and week can help you stay centered and to accomplish more, even on days when you feel overloaded.

In order to make this approach work, it is important that you write out these 3 main focus areas before busying yourself with “urgent” but not important tasks like checking email, texts, or social media. It is necessary to prioritize what you want to achieve during the course of the day. You can also reference your schedule for the day and your week to see how much time you’ll have to devote to your top tasks.  Then, you can shift around meetings and commitments to concentrate on what really matters.

As you think about putting this Rule of 3 into practice, create your list on a daily basis first in order to realize how effective it can be. You can then add the weekly exercise from there. Make sure that your top 3 items are challenging but also realistic and achievable. This will help you stay motivated and ride the momentum for getting things done.

After you list out the top 3 items to accomplish, it is okay to write down additional minor tasks to take care of during the day (such as remembering to buy stamps, writing a thank you card, or going to the dry cleaner). What’s important is that you prioritize and place your energy on your top 3 tasks, and work on smaller items as time allows. At the end of the day, you can measure your productivity by looking at how successful you were at accomplishing your main 3 tasks.

To accomplish more and to spend time on your highest-impact tasks, you have to act on them on a daily basis. The Rule of 3 is a great way to do exactly that. This habit will help you do more by doing less. It will increase your growth as a person and move you closer towards Active Wellness in a variety of areas in your life.

About the guest editor: Jeff is Chancellor of Nikken University and regularly runs Nikken’s Humans Being More Workshops around the globe!

Workspace Wellness

Boost Your Mental and Physical Health Working Remotely

If there’s a silver lining to the past year, it’s the ability for most of us to work from the comfort of our own home. No commute, no business attire and no noisy coworkers! However, working remotely can come with unique challenges when it comes to mental and physical wellness: burnout, loneliness and uncomfortable working conditions. Here are some workplace wellness tips for the home to help keep you happy, healthy and productive1

Establish a Daily Routine
It is so important to keep the ritual of your regular morning routine as if you were still leaving the house to go to work. Set your alarm for your regular waking time, shower and dress, make your breakfast and coffee, etc. Consider scheduling in a few minutes of meditation every morning before you sign into work. It’s a great way to start your day with a clear and focused mind! You can find many free guided meditations online or through your mobile app.   

Create a Designated Office Space
Not everyone has the luxury of a private office space to work in. If possible, avoid working on your bed or couch. Aside from the back pain you’ll experience, it will be difficult to get into “working mode” in these spaces. Experts highly encourage you to find a dedicated space in your home with natural light, enough space for all your materials and an excellent desk chair! Did you know the average worker sits for approximately 10 hours a day?* Therefore, it’s extremely important to invest in a durable chair with a supportive back.

A separate working space also lets you disconnect at the end of the day. If your office is also the place where you sleep and watch television every night it will be difficult to differentiate work from relaxation.  

Take a Break

Set limits on how long you sit and stare at your computer screen. You need breaks to stretch your body, eat your meals and decompress. Schedule at least 20 to 30 minutes of physical activity every day. Take a stroll around your neighborhood, do an online workout video or try some yoga moves. 

Remember, just because you are at home doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take a coffee or a lunch break. Avoid eating in front of your computer as much as possible. If needed, schedule your lunch breaks at a certain time every day, so your coworkers know that you are not reachable during that time.

Stay Social
Make it a point to stay connected and bond with your coworkers through Zoom lunches or virtual team Happy Hours. Send your best friend a text or give your mom a call – chances are she would love to hear from you! Smile and wave to people you see on your walks when strolling through your neighborhood on a break. We are social beings and we need to maintain that human connection!

Structure a Beginning and End to Your Day
Working from home makes it very easy to stay connected until the late hours of the day. To maintain mental wellness, it is important to set limits and end your work days as you normally would in a traditional office setting. Keep track of your hours to make sure you aren’t constantly working overtime. 

Work smart with workspace wellness to help maintain your active wellness.

1https://www.corporatewellnessmagazine.com/article/promote-wellness-work

*WashingtonPost.com

Expert Workplace and Higher Learning Tips for New Grads

Congratulations, Class of 2021! Whether you finished school on-campus, remotely or hybrid, the end result is you did it! You achieved a monumental milestone and now the future is yours. You may wonder, what now? Should you join the workforce? Pursue higher learning? Well, if you’re looking to join the workforce, we recommend these tips to help you succeed1:

  • Identify the key soft skills (power skills) you have and need. Examples include critical thinking, problem-solving, communication and learning agility. Learning agility is your most important skill, because it means you have the curiosity and motivation to continuously learn new skills throughout your career.
  • Consider core technical skills you have that are likely to stay in high demand, such as digital literacy, data science and data analytics. And then build upon those skills.
  • Focus on skills that are portable and that will be critical regardless of what field you enter. For example, the data analytics skills you developed in your marketing job may be just as valuable — or even more valuable — in e-commerce or product development.
  • Keep a permanent, personal list of past and future learning. This will help you have better conversations about your skills in interviews and on the job.
  • Discover, filter and apply your learning. Utilize low or no-cost technology. You can also use Twitter Lists for streams of topic-specific material from those you choose to follow and platforms like YouTube have many relevant talks and interviews.

Some new grads may find joining the workforce right away to be bad timing, too intimidating or be looking for an advantage to find their perfect position. For these reasons and more, higher education can be a worthwhile option.  Here’s what you’ll need to excel2:

  • Be an effective planner and initiative taker. You’ll need to be mentally ready for the marathon of graduate studies.
  • Have the maturity to rebound from disappointments. Graduate school is a whole different ballgame than college.
  • Build up your stamina to complete long projects on your own, without much interaction or (potentially) direction.
  • Do specific research on job placement for the programs you’re considering. It’s a competitive market out there!
  • Finances matter. You’ll need to weigh the cost of graduate school against your future earning potential, and then figure out how much you can afford to spend on your degree.

Remember, no matter what you choose, this is an exciting time in your life—enjoy it!

1 https://hbr.org/2019/09/why-even-new-grads-need-to-reskill-for-the-future

2 https://www.princetonreview.com/grad-school-advice/should-you-go-to-grad-school-right-after-undergrad

Healthy Dads are Happy Dads!

There’s nothing quite like the thrill of becoming a father. A whole new chapter of your life opens up filled with endless milestones to experience with your child: teaching your mini-me how to talk, walk, run and navigate life. To keep up with your little one for every new experience, you’ll want to be in your best health. In honor of Men’s Health Week (June 14th-June 20th), here are four tips to help be the healthiest dad you can be!1

1. Watch Your Weight
Most men relax their diets and exercise program once they get married and start a family. They gain weight, particularly during their partner’s pregnancy. But once the baby arrives, you have to be as active, mobile and quick as you can. Therefore, controlling your weight should be your top priority and something that will define your health status throughout your life.

2. Manage Your Stress
Working all day and keeping everything under control means you’re probably under more stress than you realize. There are lots of ways to minimize stress – staying active, exercising and communicating with your loved ones are just some of them. Find the methods that suit you the best, practice them daily, and you’ll be a calmer and better parent for the long-haul.

3. Schedule Regular Check Ups
All parents go into action mode the minute they see something is not right with their kids. As soon as they start coughing or feeling woozy, we take them to the doctor’s office and deal with the problem. However, it’s not just kids that need this sort of attention – it’s the dads as well. It’s essential to see your doctor for regular screenings and annual physicals. Your kiddos are counting on you!

4. Find the Balance
Providing for family often requires dads to work long hours. It can wear you out physically and emotionally. Avoiding burnout is a must if you want to enjoy fatherhood and life long-term, so you need to learn how to balance your work and your family more effectively than before. Talk to your employer, talk to your partner, and find a solution that works for both of you.

Remember, you’re doing it all for the sake of your children and a chance to spend more quality time with them. That’s why lots of men don’t really mind altering their habits and introducing positive changes to their lives in order to become healthier, happier and better fathers.

This year’s Father’s Day falls on June 20th, and we have the perfect gift to keep all dads healthier and happier. Receive the Men’s Nikken Watch as a gift with qualifying orders between  June 1—June 30, 2021!* Speak to your Nikken Consultant for further details.

1 https://www.daddilife.com/how-to-be-a-healthier-dad-in-2019/

How Do You Feel When You Breathe?

To breathe is to live! We take breathing for granted, but there are people who have trouble breathing. People with asthma sometimes have trouble catching their breath. Why does this happen? The good news is that there are ways to mitigate asthma.

People with asthma may be sensitive to things which may not bother other people. These things are known as “triggers.” Asthma causes swelling of the airways. This results in narrowing of the airways that carry air from the nose and mouth to the lungs. Allergens or irritating things entering the lungs trigger asthma symptoms, which may include trouble breathing, wheezing, coughing and tightness in the chest.

Asthma triggers vary from person to person. Some people react to only a few while others react to many. Most commonly, triggers come in the form of dust mites, pollen, molds, pet dander, smoke from cigarettes, smog, wood fires, charcoal grills, fumes and vapors from paint, gasoline, perfumes, deodorizers, dust, floating particles in the air and any number of chemicals.1

There is no cure for asthma, but it can be managed with medications, preventative measures and a healthy Active Wellness lifestyle. The key is to learn from past asthmatic episodes and to track them. In other words, if you know your asthma triggers, you can try to avoid them as much as possible, which will lower the risk of an attack.2 Some questions to help track triggers are:

  • Was I making a bed or vacuuming?
  • Was I near an animal?
  • Was I near someone who was smoking a cigarette?
  • Was I exercising vigorously?
  • Was I extremely upset or happy?
  • Was I exhausted?

You can see from the questions which triggers they represent. You then can acknowledge whether or not you’re triggered by dust, pet dander, smoke, exercise, extreme emotions, or fatigue. There are other triggers, but these are just examples of things to pay attention to.

People may feel asthma symptoms come on gradually. For example, warning signs include coughing, chest tightness and/or a feeling of tiredness unlike the usual fatigue. These symptoms occur as the lungs are narrowing slowly. People may also not even notice anything unusual before the airways are uncomfortably blocked. Experience will help determine whether or not an asthma attack is about to happen.

Just to be on the safe side, you can work on reducing the usage of chemical detergents and artificial deodorizers in the home. You can also get rid of old carpeting, vacuum often, and keep pet hair cleaned up as much as possible. Perhaps the one most important thing to do is to use an air purifier.

Since asthma is one of America’s most common and costly illnesses, using a good air purifier is a good preventative measure to help even the healthiest of us breathe clean air. Why not take advantage of the outstanding May promotion for the KenkoAir Purifier® and get 30% off the regular price? Your lungs will appreciate it!

1 https://www.aafa.org/asthma.aspx

2 https://www.aafa.org/asthma-prevention/

Women’s Health: Stay Strong and Healthy

National Women’s Health Week starts on Mother’s Day annually. This year it started on May 9 and continues through May 16, 2021. This yearly observance is led by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health. The goal is to empower women to make their health a priority and to provide steps to take to improve their health.

The basics of women’s health are the same as those for men—eat healthy foods, get adequate amounts of exercise for your age and current state of health, get plenty of restful sleep, refrain from smoking and only drink alcohol in moderation. Nevertheless, there are certain aspects of Active Wellness that are specific to women.

Women have some unique nutritional needs, for example, needing more of certain vitamins and minerals during pregnancy or after menopause. Calcium, iron and folic acid are particularly important for women from puberty onward.1 Since women’s bones are more prone to becoming brittle, especially in their senior years, consuming enough calcium and retaining it in the body is an important aspect of women’s health starting from youth—this helps create healthful eating habits early on.

Lactose is the natural sugar found in milk and foods made with milk. Between 30 million and 50 million Americans are lactose-intolerant, meaning have trouble digesting foods with lactose in them.2 Although this is common, lactose intolerance raises a woman’s risk of health issues related to osteoporosis. Women who are lactose intolerant should take special care to obtain enough non-dairy calcium in their diets or through supplementation.

Women are more prone to iron deficiency, the cause of anemia.3 Like eating calcium-rich foods to maintain healthy bones for a lifetime, eating iron-rich foods supports Active Wellness. Taking iron supplements may be helpful but may have the undesired side effects of constipation.

On average, adult women need between 1,600 and 2,400 calories a day.4 Women who are more physically active may need more calories than those who are more sedentary, as muscles hasten metabolism. The basis of how many calories you personally can consume without weight gain depends on your age, height, current weight, and activity level.

Pregnant women require different nutritional needs than during other stages of their lives. For most normal-weight pregnant women, the estimated number of calories needed is about 1,800 calories per day during the first trimester, about 2,200 calories per day during the second trimester and about 2,400 calories per day during the third trimester.5 Pregnant women should also drink plenty of fluids, avoid drinks with caffeine and sugar, and take a prenatal vitamin.

An additional 450 to 500 calories per day is recommended for well-nourished breastfeeding mothers, compared with the amount they were consuming before pregnancy. The number of additional calories needed for an individual breastfeeding woman is also affected by her age, body mass index, activity level, and extent of breastfeeding (exclusively breastfeeding versus breastfeeding and formula feeding).6

Although Women’s Health Week ends on May 16, all of May is Asthma and Allergy Awareness month. Why not take advantage of the outstanding May promotion for the KenkoAir Purifier® and get 30% off the regular price? Take a deep breath and embrace your inner power—now is the best time to get healthier and stronger!

1, 3, 4  https://www.womenshealth.gov/healthy-eating/healthy-eating-and-women#6

2 https://www.womenshealth.gov/healthy-eating/food-allergies-and-sensitivities/lactose-intolerance

5 https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000584.htm

6 https://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/breastfeeding-special-circumstances/diet-and-micronutrients/maternal-diet.html#:~:text=An%20additional%20450%20to%20500,per%20day%20for%20moderately%20active

Mothers Are Special and Science Proves It

Mother’s Day in North America lands on May 9th this year, and other than honoring moms (which should be done every day of the year) we may reflect upon how motherhood changes women. There is actually a burgeoning science behind mothers’ health as differentiated from those who have not given birth.

As with everything in life, there’s an upside and a downside. Fortunately, motherhood appears to confer many striking pluses, a reward for all those labor pains and beyond!

• According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), women who have children are less likely to develop breast cancer. Being pregnant apparently reduces exposure to certain hormones that are linked to breast cancer—a direct result of not menstruating during pregnancy.

• The risk for breast cancer is further reduced if the mother breastfeeds, as the process the breast cells go through to produce milk, may prevent them from becoming cancerous.1

• A large 2009 study2 showed that mothers who breastfed for at least 12 months in their lifetime had a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes than those who had never breastfed.

• The hippocampus, a part of the brain responsible for spatial memory and learning, actually increases in size during pregnancy and motherhood. This led Canadian researchers to believe that the mother’s brain might actually grow with each child.3

• An Australian study, conducted in 2012 in a small rural town over more than 16 years, showed that despite a mild increase in the risk of being overweight, having diabetes or hypertension, mothers still had longer lifespans. Those with more than four children had an even lower risk of death—these effects are not fully understood but other studies in Israel and Norway showed similar results! 4

Do you know any mother who doesn’t worry about her children or how the environment affects them? Ironically, the World Health Organization (WHO) has isolated a specific environmental risk that puts mothers and other women most at risk: exposure to household air pollution. This is particularly true for women in low- and middle-income countries—the result of using polluting fuels for cooking, heating and lighting.5 The truth is that even in high-income nations, indoor air pollution is a challenge, resulting not from fuel usage but from mold, mildew, dander, air conditioning, central heating and chemical detergents and artificial deodorizers.

Air pollution affects women more than men. Chronic health conditions such as high blood pressure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and asthma are more common in women over 50 compared to men in the same age group—these conditions are directly related to breathing in polluted air. Fine particles and ozone are recognized as the most harmful air pollutants.6

To exercise caution, never use outdoor products indoors, including pesticides and cleaning agents, in the form of powders, gels, liquids, or sprays—powerful chemicals used in the garden or outside the house to clean surfaces and kill pests. After using these products, always wash your hands and any other parts of your body or clothing that might have been exposed to them.

May is not only the month we honor mothers. It’s also Asthma and Allergy Awareness month. Why not take advantage of the outstanding May promotion for the KenkoAir Purifier® and get 30% off the regular price? Why not celebrate mom with the gift of clean air and Active Wellness?  

1,2,3,4  https://www.healthline.com/health-news/motherhood-the-good-bad-and-weird-050914#:~:text=The%20study%20showed%20that%2C%20despite,had%20more%20than%20four%20children

5 https://www.who.int/life-course/news/household-air-pollution/en/

6 https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2015-08/documents/weh_english_100-f-07-028_v2.pdf

Sleep Your Way to Better Health

There’s no question that a good night’s sleep can brighten our days and is an integral part of Active Wellness! Why is sleep so important? Why does it affect us so much? Here are seven bodily actions that take place to help understand the importance of sleep:1

  1. Your brain processes your day while you sleep, sorting and storing information. This process is particularly important for creating long term memories, as your brain consolidates all the information it’s picked up during the day and files it away for later use.
  2. Hormones flood your body during sleep. The pineal gland releases melatonin, which controls sleep patterns. Levels increase at night time, making you feel sleepy. The pituitary gland releases growth hormone, which helps the body to grow and repair itself.
  3. Your sympathetic nervous system needs rest. When deprived of sleep, activity increases in the sympathetic nervous system, which is accompanied by an increase in blood pressure. Scientists studying coronary disease are investigating whether decreased sleep may increase the risk of heart disease.
  4. Cortisol levels are lowered. Known as the stress hormone, cortisol decreases during the first few hours of sleep before rising to peak soon after you wake up. This helps you feel alert and energetic when you awaken.
  5. Your muscles are paralyzed. While asleep, you cycle through periods of non-rapid eye movement sleep (NREM) and rapid eye movement sleep (REM). The most vivid dreams occur during REM. During this stage, your muscles are temporarily paralyzed, so you can’t move.
  6. Anti-Diuretic Hormone (ADH) helps you not have to get up and use the bathroom. It is released by the brain under a circadian rhythm which switches off the need to urinate as often overnight as during waking hours.
  7. Your immune system releases cytokines, which are small proteins that help the body fight inflammation, infection and trauma. Without enough sleep, your immune system might not be able to function at its best.

To help get quality sleep consistently, Nikken has an entire Sleep System that encloses you in a coccoon of magnetism. The latest addition is the Kenko Naturest® Fit, a thin mattress topper with elasticized skirts on four sides, so that it fits easily over the mattress, under a fitted sheet. Made with Nikken Sleep Technology, it has 800 gauss magnets, reflective fibers and rubberthane to help achieve sweet dreams while feeling relaxed and massaged! Alone or as part of a Sleep Pack, it may well change your waking hours as much as your sleeping ones! (The Kenko Naturest® Fit is available for pre-orders. We expect it to be in our warehouses near the end of May.)

1 https://www.health.qld.gov.au/news-events/news/7-amazing-things-that-happen-to-your-body-while-you-sleep

Make Every Day an Earth Day

Earth Day was first held on April 22, 1970 to demonstrate support for environmental protection. It now includes a wide range of events coordinated globally by Earthday.org and more than a billion people from 193 countries1 participate in some way.

Many important environmental events have happened on Earth Day since 1970, but now more than ever, the entire Global Wellness Community needs to collectively recognize the importance of ecology, conservation and restoration. This includes awareness of climate change, plastic and pollution, access to clean drinking water, preservation of wildlife and reconnecting with nature. As a community, we need to be active participants who live on planet Earth, not as humans who regard ourselves as above the rest of the animal kingdom, but as cohorts to wildlife.

Earth Day continues to be a momentous and unifying day each and every year. More importantly, it’s up to each of us to make every day, Earth Day. Paying attention to how we can live in harmony with all things natural on our planet cannot be only one day out of the year. We have to create an Active Wellness lifestyle that helps to restore the Earth. This does not mean we have to disrupt our daily lives in extreme ways. Each individual can help by incorporating small habits that are beneficial to nature.

Here are just a few examples of ways to help the Earth by going a little greener:

•            Drink filtered water rather than water from single-use plastic bottles. Eco-friendly PiMag® Sport Bottle and PiMag Waterfall® are ideally suited to help avoid plastic bottle usage. And, you get clean water with 99.99% of bacteria filtered out!

•            Use washable containers for leftover food instead of plastic wrap.

•            Use cold water for laundry whenever possible. According to Energy Star, up to 90% of energy used in washing machines goes toward heating the water.2

•             Re-use cloth rags for cleaning when possible. This will reduce the amount of paper towels you use. When you do use paper towels, please recycle them.

•             Bring your own mug when you go to get a cup of coffee from your favorite retailer.

•            Bring your own re-usable bags when you go grocery shopping. Many supermarkets provide re-usable bags for purchase. Try to stay away from plastic bags that will end up in mountains of landfill.

•            Animal agriculture is one of the biggest contributors to climate change.3 Even eating plant-based meals a few times a week can help make a difference. Best of all, it may also improve your health!

•            When your local community holds a beach cleanup or similar event, volunteer! It’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

Check earthday.org for ways to participate and to learn more about how to go green.

1 wikipedia.com

2 parade.com/picks, April 18, 2021

3 https://www.earthday.org/our-work/#people-and-communities

Can Grounding Blast Spring Allergies?

Sniffles, sneezing, itchy eyes and throat—spring can be such a beautiful and rejuvenating time of year, but for those of us who suffer from allergies, it can put a damper on our outdoor activities! Unfortunately, allergies affect more than 50 million Americans yearly1 and can be obstacles in Active Wellness.

The most common way to fight allergies is to take antihistamines, but many of us really do not like the side effects that may occur, such as dry mouth, foggy brain and fatigue. What’s a body to do?

Reconnecting with nature by grounding has shown great promise in helping to overcome not only spring allergies but allergies in general. The reason for this is based in science.

Allergies occur when the immune system reacts to a foreign substance—such as pollen, bee venom or pet dander—or a food that doesn’t cause a reaction in most people. The immune system produces substances known as antibodies. When there are allergies, the immune system makes antibodies that identify a particular allergen as harmful, even though it isn’t. Once in contact with the allergen, the immune system’s reaction can inflame the skin, sinuses, airways or digestive system.2

Research has shown that grounding is a viable method to counter inflammation. Since the body runs through a type of electrical current, the Earth’s negative charges can create a stable internal bioelectrical environment for the normal functioning of the body’s systems. The body is naturally able to absorb the negative electrical charges from the Earth since the skin acts like a conductor.3 That’s why grounding requires skin contact with the Earth. Luckily, if we can’t breathe in the pollen-filled air outside, we can use the KenkoGround® directly on our skin while indoors.

The brain, heart and neurotransmitters all rely on electrical signals to function properly. When the electricity is off, certain aspects of health can be compromised and produce inflammation. Put simply, researchers believe that the influx of free electrons from grounding help to neutralize free radicals and reduce the acute and chronic inflammation that causes accelerated aging. Basically, the free or mobile electrons from the Earth can help relieve chronic inflammation by serving as natural antioxidants! 4

Other than grounding, some simple ways to help decrease the risk for allergy attacks include frequent hand washing, staying hydrated, keeping windows closed during high pollen seasons, vacuuming often, keeping your sinuses clear with water or a saline rinse, and helping to boost the immune system with dietary supplements such as Kenzen® Immunity, Kenzen® Omega Green +DHA and Kenzen® Cleanse & Detox.

1 https://www.westsidehn.com/are-allergies-a-sign-of-a-strong-immune-system/

2 https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/allergies/symptoms-causes/syc-20351497

3, 4 https://draxe.com/health/earthing/

2 https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/allergies/symptoms-causes/syc-20351497

3, 4 https://draxe.com/health/earthing/