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An Interview with Wellness Blogger Kacy Maska

Posted By NWI, Wednesday, August 2, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Kacy MaskaKacy Maska is a student member of NWI and currently attends Rowan University. She started her wellness journey through a series of unfortunate struggles with weight, bipolar disorder, autoimmune disease, and a knee injury. Through it all, though, she found herself more whole and healthy than ever. She documents her struggles and victories through a blog she created about a year ago called Triumph Holystic Living.

 

We were recently spoke with Kacy about some of her struggles, as well as the reasons behind starting her blog. She told us about what lead her on the path to wellness, and how getting in touch with her physical, spiritual, mental, and emotional health helped her in all the other areas of her life.


NWI: What lead you to start your blog Triumph Holystic Living?


KM: I went through a huge transformation in my diet and lifestyle. After experiencing the amazing benefits and improvements in my quality of life, I was compelled to share it with others.


I wanted to provide something that others could look at to be inspired to make changes in their own lives, so that they too could experience the amazing benefits of improving their habits and consequently, their wellness. So ultimately, to help others, share the knowledge given to me, and to provide some tools to assist others so that they too can live healthier and happier lives.


NWI: Why did you choose the name Triumph Holystic Living?


KM: This was something I prayed through often for some time, and it seemed to spark something that everything else that came to me never really expressed. I wanted to have something in the name that was simple and strong enough to be remembered, yet would make an impact. It also needed to speak to what my blog, page, story, and mission are all about—a holistic, natural, and healthy lifestyle, focused and centered on God. This is why I used a ‘y’ in ‘holystic’, because this journey for me has not only been about a physical transformation and becoming healthy, but also a spiritual transformation and becoming holy, both processes that are intimately interconnected and beautifully display restoration and redemption.


I want people to get an idea from the name of what it is like to be pain free after years of chronic suffering, to come off of multiple medications after being chained to them for years, to feel more healthy and confident in the body being dwelled in, to receive the peace and joy found in Scripture. My transformation story is one from tragedy to triumph, and it is found in the process of day-to-day living, a process that I will always accredit to the amazing transforming truths I have learned and applied both from Scripture and from the science of the human body and nutrition/fitness. Therefore, Triumph Holystic Living seemed to describe truly what my story and mission are all about.


NWI: What are your future plans regarding you and your blog?


KM: Once I complete my internship and officially attain my bachelor’s degree, my goal is to become a Certified Wellness Practitioner through NWI. Then my mission for Triumph will be to establish it as a platform which can serve others in multiple ways, helping them reach their wellness goals. I plan on facilitating online health and wellness group challenges, individual coaching, group workouts, personal training, and selling our homemade essential oils products. The goal for my blog is to provide an example of what a healthy lifestyle looks like, the benefits that can come from making changes, and dispel myths which can become barriers that inhibit us from reaching our wellness goals. I want people to know that being healthy isn’t always expensive or rigorous amounts of work, but something we can all achieve.

NWI: What are some of your biggest struggles?


KM: Definitely doubt. Doubt is one of the worst things I face, I think one that we all face. Before I tore my ACL and meniscus, I was one semester and student teaching away from getting my degree for health and physical education, a job that would provide good benefits: a stable salary, health insurance, a pension plan, tenure, etc. But at the time I had neglected many aspects of my wellness and I wasn’t holistically healthy, which I really got a chance to examine. As a mom of a 4-year-old, a full-time college student and coach, I was so used to being on the go that I never recognized the toll my lifestyle was taking on me holistically.

 

When I had to drop out of school for the semester for my surgery and recovery, experience a taste of what it was like to have my child taking care of me and being unable to take care of myself, and then to be diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis at 25, I realized it was time for a change. The changes I’ve made have greatly improved my quality of life, and I am so passionate about the impact they can make on the lives of others. I felt God tugging at my heart to make a big shift in my plans, to change majors to Health Promotion and Wellness Management, to utilize my gifts, knowledge, and experience to speak to others about how to take charge of their health, and about the ultimate reason why it is important that we do so. However, I struggle with doubt that I will be successful in this career switch, that I have what it takes, that I can help other people, that people will want what I have to offer.

 

I regularly refer myself back to Matthew 6:25-34, and keep moving forward in this mission with all I have, until I either fail or succeed!

 

NWI: What does wellness mean to you?


KM: I think wellness is finding balance and peace; doing your best to holistically stay healthy in all facets of your health. Not only focusing on diet but your physical fitness, intellectual health, relationships, emotions, and spirituality, as NWI's Six Dimensions of Wellness recommends. Wellness is realizing that wellness isn’t a feeling or an emotion, but a state of being able to hold on to what is good and true, even when things don’t feel good or seem like they're worth it.


NWI: What is one piece of advice for someone who may have a similar story to you or that may be struggling in his or her daily life?


KM: Take small steps and keep moving. That’s really it! Don’t give up when you mess up; failure is built into our DNA. You either win or you learn; you never lose…unless you’ve given up. Praying and studying Scripture is huge for me. When I don’t have the strength to keep going—or when I don’t perceive that I do, God gives me the strength and restores my state of mind. Some people may not want anything to do with God, and prayer/theology may not be for them, but for anyone who does, that’s always the first place to start.

 

Remember that wellness is not something that you can finish, it’s the small ongoing steps you take every day!

 



If you would like to read more on Kacy’s story, or need some inspiration throughout your day, check out her blog Triumph Holystic Living at triumpholystic.wordpress.com. She posts articles on everything from having and dealing with an autoimmune disease to strength training and nutrition. She shows how changing your view on food and exercise, and working on other areas in your life can lead to a more wholesome and fulfilling life. For daily ideas, tips, recipes, and inspiration, follow her social media accounts on Instagram @triumph_holysticliving and Facebook at /triumpholystic

Tags:  faith  inspiration  optimism  overcoming chronic illness  wellness 

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Wellness in 10 – 10 out-of-the-ordinary things to be grateful for

Posted By NWI, Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Gratitude is an important thing. It’s been shown to improve your mood, improve your relationships, and boost morale in the office. With Thanksgiving is right around the corner, now is a great time to start looking for things to be thankful for. With that in mind, here are 10 out-of-the-ordinary things that we can be thankful for this November.

 

1.    Rainy Days

This comes easier for some than others. The prospect of being cooped up inside can drive some people crazy! But rainy days can have their upside, too. It’s an opportunity to stay in and tackle some of the reading, cleaning, or paperwork you’ve been meaning to get around to without feeling guilty that you’re not outside. And really – who doesn’t love the sound of rain on the roof?

 

2.    Yard Work

Yard work seems to eat up whole weekends in the fall sometimes, but there’s a hidden benefit to it all. Tasks like trimming trees, raking leaves, and giving the yard a final mow are all ways to sneak in a bit of extra exercise without even trying!

 

3.    Interruptions

It can be infuriating when you’re in the middle of a task and somebody comes in mid-thought and completely derails what you’re doing. More often than not, though, the person doing the interrupting is coming to you because they need something from you, whether it’s help on a project, an answer to a question, or even just to talk with someone for a minute so they don’t feel isolated. In this situation, they chose to come to YOU for that help. Looked at from this perspective, you can take the interruption as a glowing endorsement for you as someone who can be trusted to lend a hand (or an ear).

 

4.    The Sniffles

Getting a cold stinks. We can all agree on that. When you start to get a few coughs or sniffles, though, you may find out who in your life are the ones who take notice and start to show up with care packages of tea and chicken soup. Of course you don’t want a full-fledged cold, but sometimes it’s nice to be reminded of who you have in your life to take care of you.

 

5.    Challenging Coworkers

There’s always THAT ONE PERSON in the office, right? Stubborn, grouchy, annoying, or needy.  It can be very difficult at times to see having that person around as a positive thing. Looked at from a different perspective, though, that person can become an opportunity to practice your relationship building skills. Just like everyone else, that person has hobbies, interests, and skills, and would probably love to share them.  That person, due to his or abrasive personality, probably doesn’t have a lot of friends in the office and would appreciate a little more human interaction.

 

6.    Holiday Travel

Travel during the holidays can be trying. Rushing people, crazy drivers, and impatience in all its forms – it can be rough.  Holiday travel is only as maddening as you let it be, though. If you give yourself plenty of time, plan ahead, and choose your own speed as you go you can see it as an opportunity to spend time in close-quarters with loved ones, catch up on your favorite podcasts or audiobooks, and observe the change in scenery since the last time you passed by.

 

7.    Neighborhood mischief

Sometimes the neighbor kids can cause a little trouble, whether it’s breaking something, painting something, or other general misdeeds. Though those infractions shouldn’t necessarily be overlooked, they do exist as teachable moments. They’re teachable for the kids to learn why what they did was wrong, but they’re also teachable for us. We can practice forgiveness, patience, and mindfulness, remembering that we also were once young and prone to poor choices (that may have seemed REALLY FUN at the time). The kids’ parents will probably also appreciate the grace of a forgiving neighbor.

 

8.    Burnt food

It’s always a bummer when you’re cooking, get distracted, and by the time you get back to the stove there’s an unrecognizable smoldering chunk of coal where your beautiful dinner was supposed to be. Even this can be a cause for thanks. This burnt food can be a reminder to be focused and mindful of what we’re doing, and can serve also as a reminder that we’re fortunate to have food to burn. For most of us a burnt dinner might mean we have to try to salvage what we made and will eat something good and fresh tomorrow, which is more than a great many have to look forward to.

 

9.    Cold Weather

At NWI HQ, as with many places across the country, the change in seasons means the beginning of a long, cold winter full of shoveling, dangerous driving, and bone-chilling outdoor exercise. These cold days can be great for get-togethers with friends who are stuck in the same boat. Since we’re all forced inside, there’s no reason we can’t be inside together having a good time!

 

10. Networking

There may not be a word as eye-glazingly jargon-esque as “networking.” The word invokes the tedium of corporate get-togethers where the conversations being held over mediocre cheese cubes distills down to “how can we use each other to our mutual benefit?” GROSS. Looked at in a different light, networking is really relationship building. By taking time to actually get to know a few new business connections on a level a little deeper than the surface, odds are that you’ll find some kindred spirits who feel strongly about the same kids of causes you do. One place to start might be in the NWI LinkedIn Group.

  

These ten things might not immediately rise to the top of your list when you think of what you’re grateful for, but they’re examples of opportunities for gratitude even in some atypical places. In this spirit, we thank you for supporting the National Wellness Institute, and hope you spend all of November finding the good sides of the situations you find yourself in.

 

Tags:  Gratitude  Health  Optimism  Positivity  Wellness In 10 

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Inspiration

Posted By National Wellness Institute, Friday, March 1, 2013
Updated: Thursday, February 28, 2013

Having an optimistic outlook is beneficial in boosting self-confidence and in reaching goals. Self-talk helps to increase positive thinking and remind you about positive attributes and actions to reduce negative reflection. The following are examples of positive self-talk:

· "I am healthy and improving every day.”

· "I am calm, relaxed, and content.”

· "I am strong, I am fearless, and I do not take criticism from others.”

· "I accept myself unconditionally, right now.”

· "I relinquish my anger, let go of impatience, and accept peace and joy into my heart.”

· "I respect myself.”

· "I release all negative thoughts and will only focus on the positive in my life.”

Not everyone has the same goals, so you may have a different statement than others. The following affirmation guidelines will help you create optimistic statements and help improve positive thinking.

1. Phrase statements in the present tense so goal statements are current and not for "sometime in the future.”

2. Incorporate only positive and productive phrases such as "I will” instead of "I won’t.”

3. Be precise and descriptive in what the goal is.

4. Short statements are important if you plan to memorize them.

5. Adding emotions to the affirmation also enhances the desire for the chosen goal. For example, if your statement is "I accept myself unconditionally, right now,” your desired emotion toward yourself may be acceptance, respect, or tranquility. The emotions you wish to gain from reaching your goal will help shift your mind-set to positive thinking.

6. A routine can be set for repeating the statements or the statements can be spoken at any time depending on what works best for each person.

For more information on self-talk and how positive thinking is related to health, please visit Mayo Clinic.

Article by Kelli Oligney, Associate Editor

References:
Positive Quotes. (2011). Positive Self Talk. Retrieved on February 11, 2013, from http://www.positivequotes.org/selftalk/

Sasson, R. (2013). Affirmations and Self-Talk. Success Consciousness. Retrieved on February 11, 2013, from http://www.successconsciousness.com/affirmations_self_talk.htm

Tags:  Emotional  Inspiration  Intellectual  March 2013  Optimism 

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Inspiration (Aug. 2012)

Posted By National Wellness Institute, Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Music has the ability to motivate, inspire, and provide reminders to listeners of how each day is valuable. Since lyrics in songs can also inspire, this month's Inspiration is devoted to the optimism musiccan bring to one's life.

  • All you need is love, love. Love is all you need. - The Beatles, All You Need Is Love
  • Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end. - Semisonic, Closing Time
  • Optimism is my best defense. - Rod Stewart, Baby Jane
  • You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometime you just might find, you get what you need. - The Rolling Stones, You Can't Always Get What You Want
  • I ain’t settlin’ for just getting’ by. I’ve had enough so-so for the rest of my life. Tired of shooting too low so raise the bar high. I ain’t settlin’ for anything less than everything. - Sugarland, Settlin'
  • Accept your life and what it brings, I know tomorrow you'll find better things. - The Kinks; Dar Williams, Better Things
  • Emancipate yourself from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds. - Bob Marley, Redemption Song
  • It's a beautiful day, don't let it get away. - U2, Beautiful Day
  • Set your goals high and go far. Don't put off tomorrow what you can do today. - Madonna, Spotlight
  • The future is no place to place your better days. - Dave Matthews Band, Cry Freedom
  • Who’s to say I can’t do everything? Well, I can try. - Jack Johnson, Upside Down

References:

Rock Wisdom. (2010). Chapter 1 - Absolutely the 100 Best. Retrieved on July 24, 2012, from http://www.rockwisdom.com/mainpage.htm

Thinkexist. (2012). Song Lyrics Quotes. Retrieved on July 25, 2012, from http://thinkexist.com/quotations/song_lyrics/

Today Has Power. (2011). Songs that Motivate and Inspire. The Best Motivational and Inspirational Songs Ever. Retrieved on July 25, 2012, from http://todayhaspower.com/song/

Tags:  August 2012  Emotional  Inspiration  Optimism 

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The Glass is Half Full and Other Good News About Optimism (Feb. 2012)

Posted By National Wellness Institute, Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A positive outlook on life might lower the risk of having a stroke, according to a new University of Michigan study. A nationally representative group of 6,044 adults over age 50 rated their optimism levels on a 16-point scale. Each point increase in optimism corresponded to a 9 percent decrease in acute stroke risk over a two-year follow-up period.

Previous research has shown that an optimistic attitude is associated with better heart health outcomes and enhanced immune-system functioning, among other positive effects. This study is the first known to discover a correlation between optimism and stroke. Researchers analyzed self-reported stroke and psychological data from the ongoing Health and Retirement Study, collected between 2006 and 2008. Participants were stroke-free at the beginning of the study. Researchers measured optimism levels with the modified Life Orientation Test-Revised, a widely used assessment tool in which participants rank their responses on a numeric scale. The team used logistic regression analysis to establish the association between optimism and stroke and adjusted for factors that might affect stroke risk, including chronic illness, self-reported health, behavioral, biological and psychological conditions.

The protective effect of optimism may primarily be due to behavioral choices that people make, such as taking vitamins, eating a healthy diet, and exercising, researchers said. However, some evidence suggests positive thinking might have a strictly biological impact. The findings appear in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association. The AHA reports that stroke is the third leading killer in the United States, behind heart disease and cancer.

For more information visit: The University of Michigan.

Tags:  Emotional  February 2012  Optimism  Social  Spir  Wellness 

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