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Take Your Health into Your Own Hands

Posted By NWI, Friday, November 2, 2018
Updated: Friday, November 2, 2018

Take 5 minutes to learn your personal cancer risk and get simple steps to take charge of your breast and ovarian health.  

Your health is in your hands.

Bright Pink is an organization like no other that seeks to advance the conversation around breast and ovarian cancer beyond awareness to action. It is built on a foundation of focusing on health, not cancer.

Today, Bright Pink is launching a new and improved version of their digital quiz, Assess Your Risk, to better empower all women to learn their breast and ovarian cancer risk and manage their health proactively. While Breast Cancer Awareness Month is an excellent time to talk about breast health, Bright Pink is fiercely committed 365 days a year to ensuring women can be their own best health advocates. They have updated their flagship program, Assess Your Risk, to do just that.

Take your health into your own hands

Want to learn more about what's different?

Already assessed your risk? Believe it or not, you should assess your risk annually as your breast and ovarian cancer risk can change over time and the medical community is always learning about new factors that affect our risk.

Bright Pink Copyright © 2018. All rights reserved.

Tags:  Breast Cancer  Cancer  Health  Ovarian Cancer 

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NWI Member Spotlight — November 2018

Posted By NWI, Thursday, November 1, 2018
Updated: Friday, November 2, 2018
Kristi Leonard - Member Spotlight

Kristi Leonard EdD, MA, CWP, NBC-HWC

NWI Board of Directors Member

Assistant Dean of Students - Central College, Pella, IA

In 2016, Kristi returned to her alma mater, Central College, as the Assistant Dean of Students, Wellness and Well-Being. Her primary charge is to further Central's Integrated Learning plan through providing focused vision, oversight, and management of wellness-related initiatives, programs, and services for students.  She also oversees Counseling Services, the Maytag Wellness Center, and is the Pella Regional Health Center liaison. 

Prior to her return to Central, Kristi served as a faculty member at Waldorf University from 2005-2016. She was a tenured Associate Professor of Wellness, the Wellness Department Chair, and served as the Faculty Chair for three years, where she represented the faculty in many capacities. She was honored with the Waldorf Board of Trustees Outstanding Faculty Award in 2014. From 2000-2005, Kristi worked at Luther College in the areas of wellness, residence life, and student activities.

Kristi has been and is very active in her local communities. She is currently a member of the Pella Wellness Consortium, the Pella Professional and Business Women’s Forum, the Pella Youth Coalition, and Leadership Red Rock. She co-constructed an outdoor labyrinth in college prairie grass for the community to use, and collaborated to create and facilitate a Healthy Kids program as well as a 3K3 walk/run/wag event, in which all proceeds went to the American Cancer Society. She was the Chair of the Forest City Wellness Coalition, Vice President of the Forest City YMCA Board of Directors, a member of the Forest City Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, and a member of the Puckerbrush 5K committee. 

Globally she has created, developed, and implemented a study abroad course and experience titled “Exploring Wellness in Yucatan.” She looks forward to putting this course into action again during Central’s 2019 two-week spring break.
In her free time, Kristi enjoys working out, watching sports, listening to music, reading, and spending time with friends, family, and her husband Terry and their one-year-old cavapoo, Gracie.

Kristi Leonard can be contacted at: 

Central College
812 University
Pella, Iowa   50219


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Compassion Fatigue in Nursing

Posted By JoAnne Worthington, Wednesday, October 31, 2018
Updated: Thursday, November 1, 2018

All nurses are at risk of experiencing negative personal experiences, during their careers from occupational factors. When we witness patient suffering, traumatic events, untimely deaths, or when errors occur that lead to patient harm; negative personal outcomes occur. Often the effects are short-term; however, with continued exposure or contact with traumatic circumstances, secondary traumatic stress/distress can develop. Once feelings emerge that include being overwhelmed with a fear of work and somatic complaints such as insomnia, aches/pain, anxiety, and depression, compassion fatigue (CF), is usually present.

Self-compassion, mindfulness, and meditations can be thought of as mental exercise, it takes time and is a skill set to learn.

CF is not simply feeling tired of work, nor is it burnout. CF is a combination of physical, emotional, and spiritual responses resulting from continued self-sacrifice. When nurses work towards optimizing the health and well-being of others, often their self-care is lacking. CF is noted when clinicians lose the ability to nurture others, as empathic fatigue is another way to think of CF. When nurses lose the desire and ability to care for others, there are personal consequences of inadequate performance which can lead to errors, decreased health physically, as well as psychosocially.

CF affects each person directly by impacting their well-being, familial relationships, and job satisfaction. On occasion, personal distress develops in which the nurse may choose to cope using unhealthy behaviors such as smoking, overeating, and self-medicating with alcohol or recreational drugs. Additionally, withdraw behaviors can occur, such as absenteeism, countertransference of negative reactions with incivility/bullying of peers, and lack of engagement at work, with family, and within their community. CF does not affect just the individual nurse; family, friends, patients, coworkers and institutions will experience negative outcomes and consequences as well. 

CF is a significant issue for patient safety, and there are evidence-based practices that can decrease one’s risk. Personal self-care is necessary for coping and stress management to maintain the ability to care for one’s self, family, community, and patient/populations. Seeking work-life integration by meeting physical, emotional, and personal spiritual needs are not realistic at all times. Self-care in itself is limiting due to prioritizations with work and family. Integration of one's career with self-care along physical, emotional, and spiritual cultivation is necessary to promote one's well-being to facilitate empathic caring of others. As we are all reminded before flying, always put the mask on yourself first to best provide for those surrounding you.

Mindfulness-based practices have been found to be effective for both stress reduction and self-compassion. Prioritizing one’s time to work towards self-care is not being selfish, it is, in fact, foundational for personal growth and resilience. Mindfulness practices noted in nursing literature to improve and combat CF are Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, MBSR, and Mindful Self Compassion, MSC. Both have specific interventions that can be performed within five minutes of any part of one's day. A technique known as a body scan is when one takes a general survey of how one is physically feeling, usually sitting down. Begin at the toes and slowly move/scan up the body with thoughtful observation. Areas in the body are then discovered that are experiencing tension. When one is mindful of tension, relaxation exercises with breathing and gentle stretching can be beneficial. Loving-kindness meditations can be easily learned to extend from those we love and care for to include ourselves. Start with thoughts of those we love; I wish them peace, I wish them health, I wish them to live at ease, I wish them _____________. Then turn those exact thoughts to yourself, without any self-judgment; I wish myself peace, May I know health, May I live at ease, May I _____________. Talk to yourself as you would a dear friend.

Being Mindful can be stressful at first, noticing every time one is critical of one's self or one's negative self-talk can be enlightening. Self-care goes beyond diet and sleep; it includes gifting one's self with time to deep breathe, accepting one's limitations as not negative but with wisdom. Self-compassion, mindfulness, and meditations can be thought of as mental exercise, it takes time and is a skill set to learn. Acknowledging when work-related events/triggers create feelings of stress/distress responses should be encouraged to give nurses the opportunity to seek resources and supportive services. 

The ability for personal timeouts such as quiet rooms/spaces, debriefing opportunities, and mentoring of novice nurses all have been showed to have a positive effect on preventing CF. Seeking support spiritually and emotionally is also recommended. There are many resources available to nurses; employee assistance programs are usually at no cost, meditation and light yoga practices online are too numerous to list, and wellness integration programs for stress reduction are also available including Cranio-Sacral therapy, Acupuncture, and massage. Mindfulness can be learned; please see the below noted references for more information. If we as nurses would only treat ourselves and each other the ways we treat our patients, more nurturing work environments would ensue. Let’s start to work together more proactively to promote this shift in our culture to incorporate self-care, interventions in times of stress/distress, and incorporating skills/resources all nursing staff can use to promote best possible patient care outcomes.  



Bazarko, D., Cate, R. A., Azocar, F., & Kreitzer (2013). The impact of an innovative mindfulness-based stress reduction program on the health and well-being of nurses employed in a corporate setting. Journal of Workplace Behavioral Health, 28, 107-133. DOI: 10.1080/15555240.2013.779518

Boyle, D. A. (2015).  Occupational stress in oncology nurse caregiving: Caring for ourselves. Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing, 19(5), 499. doi: 10.1188/15.CJON.499

Figley, C. R. (1995). The transmission of trauma. In C. R. Figley (Ed.), Compassion fatigue: Coping with secondary traumatic stress disorder in those who treat the traumatized (pp. 248 -254). London: Brunner-Routledge.

Harris, C. & Griffin, M.T.Q. (2015).  Nursing on empty: Compassion fatigue signs, symptoms, and system interventions.  Journal of Christian Nursing, 32(2), 80-87. doi: 10.1097/CNJ.0000000000000155

Neff, K. & Germer, C. (2018). The mindful self-compassion workbook: A proven way to accept yourself, build inner strength, and thrive. New York: NY, The Guilford Press.

Potter, P., Deshields, T., Berger, J.A., Clarke, M., Olsen, S., & Chen, L. (2013). Evaluation of a compassion fatigue resiliency program for oncology nurses. Oncology Nursing Forum, 40, 180-187. doi:10.1188/13.ONF.108-187

Regan, K.R. (2012). Basics of compassion fatigue.

Stamm, B.H. (2010). The concise ProQOL manual. (2nd ed.). Pocatello, ID:

JoAnne WorthingtonJoAnne Worthington, MSN, RN-BC, OCN is a registered nurse in the state of Ohio for over 20 years. Certified in both medical-surgical and oncology nursing. She is an adjunct faculty for Cincinnati State Technical and Community College for fundamental nursing students (ADN program). She is currently in her senior year of the DNP program at Mount St. Joseph University.

Tags:  Compassion  Fatigue  Nursing 

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Mindful Eating For Middle Age and Beyond

Posted By Nicole Christina, Friday, October 26, 2018
Updated: Thursday, October 25, 2018

Use snack or mealtime as an opportunity for a little break.

Mindfulness has become such a buzzword that hardly a day goes by that we don’t hear it applied to something new; mindful gardening, mindful flossing... Yet its increasing popularity gives us some insight into the impressive benefits it offers. The way we approach food and eating can have a profound effect on our overall health and happiness. After all, the way we eat is one of the most basic ways we care for ourselves, and we’re confronted with food choices several times a day. Mindful eating — being fully present and non-judgemental around our eating — is a total game changer. It allows us to pause, focus on our body’s unique hunger signals, and ask ourselves what would make our body feel satisfied and energized. It is the ultimate in self-care. And self-care is vitally important for keeping our minds and bodies working well in the second half of life.

Yet we often miss this wonderful opportunity to reboot, rest and recharge. Instead of taking a well-deserved break as we eat, we’re trying to catch up on the latest celebrity gossip, and order shoes online. Even though we know by now that multi-tasking means we do several things poorly because our brain doesn’t like to split attention, this is the way most of us live. But I’m going to make a prediction; if you insert just a few rest stops into your day — and eating is the natural time to do it — you will feel more balanced and well overall. And you will feel healthier, both in body and spirit.

Of course, food and eating are tricky subjects, particularly for women. I’m going to go out on a limb and assume that most women reading this are focused more on losing weight, not using eating as a way to bring some calm and revitalization to their day. Indeed, in my experience as a therapist specializing in food and body issues, it is clear that many of us could benefit from a new relationship with food. Over focus on weight loss is a terrible waste of our limited time and resources. It takes precious energy away from our creative pursuits. Over focus on weight loss also makes us boring and self-focused. And then there’s the little problem that diets have a 95% failure rate. Better to focus on overall health and how we want to spend our time here on earth. Mindful eating does just that.

Imagine how your life would change if you used eating as an opportunity to care for yourself, nourish your body, and take a well-deserved rest? What if it was an opportunity to bring some pleasure into your day? Ask your body what whole foods would make it feel more energized and satisfied? And you don’t need to look at your friend’s plate. Everyone has different bodies and different nutritional needs, as well as different preferences.


Here are 3 simple ways to practice mindful eating on the go:

  1. Use snack or mealtime as an opportunity for a little break, sneak in time for satisfaction, and even delight. Look at your food and appreciate the colors, textures and flavors. Get curious about where all of these foods come from.
  2. Even sipping your coffee or tea with your full attention makes it more satisfying and more relaxing. It’s a whole different experience preparing your tea with intention and care. Compare this to drinking your drive-through beverage in the car with the radio on.
  3. Make sure you are breathing into your abdomen and taking a moment to just be present. Imagine that your only job in that moment is to rest and enjoy your food. Your body loves getting a good dose of oxygen. You will digest your food better, and feel calmer overall.

Even if you can only take one mindful sip of coffee in the morning, and the rest of the day is a blur, give that time to yourself as a gift. 

Nicole ChristinaNicole Christina, LCSW is a psychotherapist, professional blogger, and host of the acclaimed Podcast Zestful Aging. Nicole interviews inspiring woman about their projects, as well as their own metamorphosis as they age. She also presents on topics related to aging well, and has recently taught at Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Syracuse University and OASIS. Her online course, Zestful Aging; Simple and Sustainable Habits for Health and Longevity, can be found at

Tags:  Diet  Middle Age  Mindful Eating  Mindfulness  Nutrition 

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Living a Life of Legacy

Posted By Brent Hines , Friday, October 19, 2018
Updated: Wednesday, October 17, 2018

According to a study from AARP, 83% of Americans have at least some form or fashion of a plan for death. This is really a surprisingly high number given that somewhere around only 50% of baby boomers even have a simple the way, only 28% of you millenials out there have a will!

Happy grandparents sitting on a dock with grandchildren.However, I pose a very different question...rather than asking what percentage of Americans have a plan for death, why aren’t we asking what percentage of Americans have a plan for living?  

A plan for living is called Retirement Planning...a plan for dying is called Estate Planning...combining them both is called Life and Legacy.

When it comes to investments and retirement planning, there seems to be a very polarizing phenomenon that occurs between far too many financial professionals and the average, hard-working family. The financial professional seems to lose all emotional intelligence and exchanges the role of counselor or advocate for the role of “Know-it-all.” 

Forgive me for just a moment, but this isn’t helpful! It’s like they are rehearsing for their potential 15-minutes of fame on Bloomberg or CNBC. Newsflash…we don’t care that you can use financial industry lingo. We want a coach, not a prima donna!
So, instead of going straight down the financial rabbit hole of focusing on all the tactics, techniques and tools, let’s take a step back and recalibrate to confirm alignment; through the philosophy of Purpose-Planning-Product.

Define your purpose before building your plan, and by all means, before choosing a financial product (stocks, bonds, mutual funds, annuities, real estate, etc.). Now, with this mindset you will remove a ton of the stress and anxiety around the actual investment choices you make. If you have a rock-solid purpose defined, then that will drive the design of your financial, retirement and legacy plans because it will be all about your needs and dreams, not the advisor, not the market, and certainly not the financial product du jour.


1. Beware of the Silent Assassins; Taxes and Inflation!

 The three phases of our financial lives are the Accumulation Phase, Spend-down Phase, and Legacy Phase. Think of it as taking on the challenge of climbing Mt Everest. The Accumulation Phase is like the ascent, the Spend-down Phase like the decent, and the stories told about it for years to come is like your Legacy Phase. Two keys to success in all three phases is to have a tax balance approach. Meaning we are paying attention to the tax consequences of our decisions today, and in the future. Where are tax rates today in comparison to where we believe they will be in the future? Additionally, putting the money aside (aka savings) is the beigest hurdle, but once we do set it aside, can we really afford to put it under a rock for the next 5, 10, 30 years? The answer is no, and the longer the time horizon, the more important each percentage rate of growth matters. Don’t forget, use the Purpose – Planning – Product philosophy as your compass.


2. Daydream a bit.

What will that first day of retirement look like? – Let that inner-child out right now and dream out loud for a bit. Day-one of your ideal retirement will look like what? What time does the alarm go off (or does it at all)? Where are you? What scene do you take in while sipping that first cup of retirement coffee? What will you wear that day; flip flops, boat shoes, ski boots, or are you barefoot? Seriously, dream and write. Write down everything. The color of the house, the temperature, who’s with you, how you feel. OK, this is fun and all, but what’s the purpose of all this warm and fuzzy feeling stuff? A budget. A retirement budget. 

Hopefully, we’re already living by our budget now (if not, START today!). It is very difficult (and probably unrealistic) to build a retirement budget out of thin air and expect it to be accurate. Yes, our retirement budget is best built on the foundation of our pre-retirement budget. Some expenses will go away entirely, other expenses my go up (hopefully some fun ones!) and some new expenses that we’ve never had prior may need to be added. Regardless, the budget in retirement is mission critical. It should be aligned with your vision and values and, it becomes your playbook for what is hopefully the most joy-filled years of your life.


3. Start talking.

 Share these dreams, plans and wishes with those most important to you. For whatever behavioral and emotional reasons, we tend to suppress way too many of our feelings, visions and desires around money. Take a few people out for coffee and share your new approach to building the life and legacy of your dreams. At bare minimum this means your spouse, you executor, your beneficiaries, your pastor, your financial planner and your accountability coach. There are many reasons why this makes good sense. Just to name a few…take your executor to an Executor’s Boot Camp (either through the Foundation for Financial Wellness, or run one on your own) and get them in shape. Additionally, it’s great to begin speaking these wishes into reality; your accountability partner will love to know what’s on your heart and help keep you on track. And one last one, would be the old load bearing truth of “If you want to master something, try teaching it.” As you begin putting spoken words to your heart-felt “why”, you’ll begin to find holes in your thinking, gaps in your assumptions, misunderstandings from your loved ones. Wouldn’t you rather work on these things now, rather than leaving it up to interpretation once you’re gone?

National Wellness Institute + Foundation for Financial Wellness

The National Wellness Institute has partnered with the Foundation for Financial Wellness (FFW) to develop financial wellness trainings.

Brent HinesBrent Hines, CFWE, CFWC is the founder and Chairman of the educational non-profit, Foundation for Financial Wellness. The Foundation’s mission is to improve people’s lives by empowering them with the knowledge and the motivation to take control of their financial lives. The Foundation’s curriculum is rooted in the principles of Behavioral Finance which makes every class topic taught by the Foundation unique, innovative and extremely valuable.

Tags:  Education  Finance  Financial Wellness 

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