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This site is an archive of our Well Written Blog posts until April 2020. For the most up-to-date content visit NWIJournal.com.

The opinions and thoughts expressed here those of the authors and do not necessarily correlate with those of the National Wellness Institute. Read more.


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Practical Well-Being

Posted By Stacey Krawczyk, MS, RD, Monday, March 16, 2020

Photo by: Nik MacMillan via Upsplash

In a recent Mintel blog, "Wellness Trends to Watch in 2020", the author states that 2020 will be the year for “wellness for everyone.” Holistic wellness activities that are accessible and achievable will drive consumers’ success. 

As wellness practitioners, it is important we understand the impact our recommendations make as consumers seek our professional guidance and vetting of credible wellness activities, services, and brands. We know from surveys like this one from IFIC that consumers trust health and wellness professionals the most. Shouldn’t we expect they are asking for practical and specific recommendations that help them make choices to improve their well-being?
Fortunately, there is a partner that helps make our jobs a bit “easier.” Pulse Health & Wellness has a unique evidence-based engagement platform that connects health and wellness brands to professional practitioners. Leveraging evidence-based professional resources, coupons, samples of food, and wellness products for clients enables one to cut through the clutter and noise in the marketplace and find practical solutions for clients or patients.

Members and friends of the National Wellness Institute can sign up at nwi.pulseconnect.me to join the Pulse Health & Wellness network at no cost! 

 Stacey Krawczyk, MS, RD, is the Secretary of the Board of Directors of the National Wellness Institute and President of FoodWell Strategies, a food and wellness marketing consultancy.


Tags:  Brands  clinical practice  Emerging Wellness Professional  Engagement  PulseConnect  wellness  Wellness Trends 

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Czech Wellness Councils: When wellness wisdom comes from the community

Posted By Jana Stará and Eva Dittingerová, Friday, April 12, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, May 7, 2019

How can we encourage wellness lifestyles even in countries where the wellness profession is not yet established? How to build upon the current resources in our communities and create a space where both the facilitators and participants or clients can learn and feel connected?

Jack Travis's 12 wellness dimensionsIn this article we share our approach and experiences from a year-long series of Wellness Councils.

There can be moments when you realize that you are longing for a change. And moments when your life just doesn't seem right and your daily routine doesn't serve your needs. You may feel you need to slow down, move more, take a deep breath, eat healthier food, or just need a hug. Yet it seems difficult to do something about it. In moments like that, it's good to have someone by your side to share your wishes, expectations and worries. To encourage each other and to make commitments that will keep you motivated until you meet again.

Do they sound like reasons to engage a wellness coach? Definitely, but since wellness coaching as a profession is not yet established in the Czech Republic, we struck on the idea of Wellness Councils. With the intention to build upon the current resources in local community, we commenced by calling together a circle of people who cared about their own wellbeing and were open to sharing with peers once a month.. 

What is a Wellness Council?

Wellness Council is based on our belief that we can live every day genuinely, with contentment and honesty. According to the wellness philosophy, there is often but little change needed to make our lives more vivid, exciting, happier and healthy. Our council is an open space for exploring what good and healthy life means for each of us specifically, space for sharing, inspiring and motivation. 

Putting wellness and councils together in a framework of monthly meetings dedicated to each of the 12 wellness dimensions, based on the work of Jack Travis, gives a year-long opportunity to kindly observe one’s own state of wellness, to feel inspired by thoughts and experiences of others and receive a little push and support to change for better.

Each event is open to public and everybody is invited to join the group, which always creates a vibrant palette of age groups, backgrounds, life experiences and so on. This reach out to more distant social networks created space for sharing with different, yet likeminded people, who felt that they needed to take first steps towards change or those who were already on their wellness journey. This can be very supporting especially in moments when one lacks support in the closest circles. We can hardly count on help from a demanding boss or family members who live an unhealthy lifestyle. 

Example of a Wellness Council ExerciseWhat is happening in a Wellness Council?

Every session consists of an activity allowing us to explore more about the given topic - both practically (interview, exercise, drama improvisation, brainstorming, drawing, relaxation etc) and theoretically (sharing bits of up-to-date knowledge). We are offering simple ways how everyone of us can be more attentive, relaxed, active etc.

With these small steps the program encourages us to review our current needs and to bring awareness to them during our daily life. There is always an optional “homework” component - simple guidance, instruction for every day of the forthcoming month. For example: Close your eyes for a moment while eating. Take a deep breath when you notice the sky. Find a moment when you are experiencing something beautiful and acknowledge it.

And in every Wellness Council, there is time for stories, too. Sharing stories in a safe way that allows us to revisit our priorities, map our personal history and experience, inspire and call for action. 

Wellness Council ExercisesThe power of sharing stories in a Council 

Having experience with the Way of Council, we felt that its intentions (speaking from the heart, non-judgmental listening from the heart, being spontaneous, speaking the essence, confidentiality and sharing what servers me, the circle and higher good) encourage honest and compassionate expression and can be more than helpful in creating the safe environment for personal stories on wellbeing.

Note: Wellness Council (in the Czech Republic) can (sometimes) look like this. (author Jana Stará)

In council we use a “talking piece” to focus the attention on the person who is sharing their story and there is no one else speaking at the time. The others do not ask questions; do not give advice or comment in any way. During council we share our personal experiences, our own stories through which we can learn from one another and get the sense of belonging to one humankind, the members of which lives are the “same but different.”

Wellness Council ExerciseThe Wellness lessons from stories shared

Every day begins the same way for all. No matter who we are. We all do wake up. 
Not so for the stories we tell and hear – these are very different. You can be say a wellness coach and know general principles of how our bodies and days function. Yet it's always fascinating to remain still and listen to the stories of the days of others. No matter what the rules and advice, when it comes to the joys and struggles of everyday life our human nature and wisdom are being awakened.

Thanks to the stories and council, wellness professionals can constantly learn (just as storytellers, listeners or facilitators would do). Learn a lot about others and maybe even more about ourselves. Learn what it really takes to live well. We strongly believe that empathy, one of the principles of council, is essential not only for sharing safely, but especially for our feeling of being well and grounded in our daily lives. 

Eva DittingerovaEva Dittingerová is an educator, drama teacher, project manager and facilitator who is interested in education through art and nature. “Drama led me to psychosomatically oriented approach to dramatic culture and creation and my interest in stories and it's potential brought me to The Way of Council.”

Jana StaraJana Stará, PhD, is a wellness promoter who dedicated her research and lecturing practice to promoting the concept of wellness in her country. She seeks ways to develop and implement wellness programs with respect to different cultural environment and traditions in Europe. She teaches at the university, empowers individuals, consults companies and believes that better times for European wellness are yet to come.

Tags:  czech wellness council  education  emotional wellness  Eva Dittingerová  Jana Stará  story  wellness 

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NWI Member Spotlight - March 2019

Posted By Marvin D. Burruss, Friday, March 8, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Marvin D. BurrussMarvin D. Burruss, CWP

I am an NWl Certified Wellness Practitioner. I hold a BS Degree in Psychology and an Associate in Applied Science Degree in Health and Wellness Promotion. I pride myself on providing support, motivation, accountability, and education while helping individuals achieve balance of mind, body, and spirit and ultimately improving their personal well-being. 

I am primarily employed by Weight Watchers (WW) as a telephonic Personal Coach as well as a Workshop Wellness Coach. I have been doing telephonic coaching since WW introduced it in January of 2014. I try to provide a rare and an often-overlooked male perspective in a predominately female environment. Eighty percent of my coaching members are males and I supply coaching to this minority population in ways that men can relate to. I believe I have been extremely successful in my work with them.

As a Coach in the Employee Wellness Program at the College of Lake County, I serve a diverse, multicultural, multiethnic and multigenerational population at their urban campus in Lake County. My bi-monthly meetings are focused on assisting employees in reaching their personal wellness goals including nutrition education and living a healthier lifestyle.

For five years I’ve served as the President of the College of Lake County Wellness Club whose mission is to inspire personal and community wellness for students. I‘ve lead this student group in organizing activities such as Blood Drives, Health and Wellness Fairs and other presentations for the diverse student body. I also was a member of the Wellness Commission at the College which supports the college’s initiatives to infuse diversity, multiculturalism, and environmental sustainability into the curriculum and college activities.

Before being exposed to wellness I worked for approximately 25 years as a Construction Project Manager, however, once I started getting involved with wellness, especially having a background and degree in Psychology, I knew right away that this was my calling in life. The more I learned about the benefits of bringing well being and balance into my own life the more I realized how important it was to share this knowledge. One of the things that I find most rewarding about coaching is the positive impact I can have on someone else’s life. It helps to satisfy my need to serve others. Personal Coaching was a perfect fit for my personality and skill sets. 

Unlike many of my friends of the same age who are starting to retire, I’m excited about expanding my second career in coaching. I am working on getting National Board Certified and hope to get into Diabetes Prevention Coaching soon. This is especially personal for me because my Father, almost all of his siblings and many other family members on that side of my family suffer from and/or have succumbed to this insidious disease. Who knows, if I hadn’t changed to living a healthier lifestyle then I might be in that situation as well. I can truly say that wellness changed my life for the better. 

I live in Grayslake Illinois with my beautiful and loving wife, Andrea. Together, we have four daughters and four grandchildren. When I’m not working I enjoy watching football (Go Steelers!!), bicycling, dancing and traveling. In parting as I like to, “Be well, BE MARVELOUS!!!

Tags:  Health and Wellness Promotion  Marvin Burruss  NWI member  NWl Certified Wellness Practitioner  wellness  wellness coach 

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Integrated Health and Wellness Coaching makes its inroads in India for Lifestyle Disease management, prevention and wellbeing.

Posted By Preeti Rao, Friday, January 4, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, May 7, 2019

To truly live a life without disease and fear, one must aspire to achieve perfect health in mind, body, and spirit. This is a cherished belief of many of the Indian population. However, today we try to race ahead of the clock, we are under the constant stress of trying to achieve more and bigger things. The aspiration to acquire things never ends, and it seems like one endless battle for more and more and more! We have forgotten what our scriptures have taught us! If our ancestors were alive today, what advice would they give us to recover from our constant battle with disease and stress?

In Sushruta Samita (Ayurvedic compilation), a healthy person is defined as:“Sama Dosha Sama Agni Cha Sama Dhatu Mala Kriya I Prasanna Atma Indriya Manaha Swastha Thi II” Hence a person is in the state of perfect health when all the Doshas (various energies that govern all the functions of the body — Vata, Pitta and Khapha) are in balance. The mind is blissful and happy and our senses are in control.

Health and Wellness Coaching aims at providing consciousness of self — becoming self-aware of how an individual can become the controller of his/her life. This involves regarding self as a component which is not just defined by the physical self, but rather an amalgam of components like nutrition, exercise, spirit, recreation, social belongingness, stress, and emotions. Coaching as an approach will help individuals achieve the perfect health that is perfect according to them.

It is now believed that many diseases — high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, overweight, chronic fatigue, depression, burnt-out syndrome, and psychiatric illness —manifest from the mind. The art of getting over the mindless chatter or developing the skills required to have control over the emotions or thoughts that cause this chatter is what coaching proposes to offer.

Swami Sivananda rightly said, “A mountain is composed of tiny grains of earth. The ocean is made up of tiny drops of water. Even so, life is but an endless series of little details, actions, speeches, and thoughts. And the consequences whether good or bad of even the least of them are far-reaching.” There has been significant scientific research which directs us to this fact. For instance, ulcers happen to people who are compulsive and obsessive in nature. Impotence and sexual problems are almost always due to performance anxiety, and accidents happen most often to people who are habitually prone to them because they are absent-minded. One must thus conclude that if we could control our minds or be aware of our thoughts or thinking patterns, we can change our overall wellbeing.


“Thinking of disease constantly will intensify it. People should aim to feel always that ‘I am healthy in body and mind’.”

Swami Sivananda


Coaching works through an understanding of the underlying thoughts and perceptions that govern us, and taking effective actions towards an attempt to shift individual mindsets from negative to positive. Coaches help to interconnect and relate the inner self to the outer self by creating a vision that pushes one to take action to move forward on the path that has been created by self to reach goals driven by intrinsic motivation.

This holistic approach to wellbeing is truly the need of the hour. Health and Wellness Coaching finds it inroads in the Wellness Landscape in India today. The industry and general population is waking up to the need of an integrated approach to wellbeing and lifestyle disease management and prevention. In the last two months, I had the opportunity to speak at and attend many conferences focused on Healthcare. While there was a lot of focus on artificial intelligence and digitizing healthcare, a new wave is emerging of industry thought leaders who are beginning to understand and bring to focus the need for sustainable lifestyle habit change. Corporations, insurance companies, and hospitals are beginning to realize the impact health and wellness coaching can have on individual health outcomes and quality of life. I believe the year 2019 will see this trend cement itself in programs that keep in focus all the dimensions of wellness as defined by the National Wellness Institute

While the wellness industry begins its awakening, the grim realities are that there aren’t many credible health and wellness coaches in the Indian market. The market perceives a nutritionist, dietician, or a fitness trainer as a health coach because there is a lack of understanding of who really is a health and wellness coach. For the last two years, Weljii, an evidence-based coaching provider, in collaboration with California Institute of Integral Studies, USA, has conducted six certificate programs that meet all the standards put forth by the International Consortium of Health and Wellness Coaches, USA. Unlike in the West, it’s fascinating to see many medical doctors embrace this program. Today, (70-80)% of all hospital visits in India are due to lifestyle diseases. This provides an incentive for many doctors to take up this program to assist their patients in lifestyle modifications, something their formal training does not cover. Many graduates of this program are now developing their own unique models. 

Weljii is continously expanding its team of coaches to service the market needs. In the last 3-4 years, much effort has been contributed to create awareness and educate the Indian market on this evidenced-based approach to health and wellbeing. Weljii today is the National Wellness Coach Partner for Reliance Jio (a leading telecom company consisting of 100 million subscribers), Aspire (a leading concierge company), SBI Elite (A leading Bank) and Max Hospitals (a leading super speciality hospital). This is just a beginning. It is anticipated that a new wave of energy will transform into an ocean of wellbeing harnessed by integrative wellbeing and wellness coaching, while continuing to provide quality education for talent and skill creation. Welcome 2019!

Preeti RaoAfter ten years in the corporate world, Preeti Rao decided to pursue her passion for spreading wellness by graduating with a master’s degree in Integrative Health from CIIS in the United States. She is a certified wellness coach, yoga teacher, group exercise specialist, personal trainer, and business consultant whose mission is to provide health and wellness services that encourage self-care and self-responsibility in mind, body, and spirit through a range of integrated health modalities in India.

Tags:  Coaching  holistic health  Integrated Health and Wellness Coaching  International Wellness  Preeti Rao  wellness 

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Wellness in 10: 10 Things Wellness is Not

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

10 Things Wellness Is NotThere are many misconceptions about what wellness is, and often times we focus the majority our attention on the physical attributes of wellness. We are making sure to hit the gym, eat wholesome foods and practice meditation, but often we are lacking in other areas of wellness. If this sounds familiar, you are not alone. Many people are confused about what being well truly means. In this month's ‘Wellness in 10’, we'll look at 10 things wellness isn’t.

Wellness is not...

1.     …just working out.

Don’t get us wrong, working out is still very important, (so keep those tennis shoes on!) but being well doesn’t mean you have six-pack abs or can complete a marathon. So often we look at wellness as just working out. If our physical body is healthy then that means we are healthy, right? Not necessarily. Although we know that being physically active is an important part of being well, if we stop here, we are missing 5 other dimensions (according to the National Wellness Institute's Six Dimensions of Wellness).

2.     …only what you eat. 

Wellness is not a fad diet or cutting out certain food groups to maintain a lean body. Good nutrition is essential for a healthy body, but that doesn’t mean you need to lose your love for food to be well. Eating a salad and getting in your greens for the day will benefit your health, but eating healthy alone isn’t going to make you a well person. It's all about balance To be well in the physical dimension of wellness, even healthy eaters need to strike a balance between eating exclusively healthy foods all the time and indulging when they feel the need for a treat. The physical aspects of wellness such as healthy eating and working out are only one piece of the puzzle. While physical wellness is needed to become a wholesome person, we shouldn’t focus all of our energy solely in that area.

3.     …just for hippies and tree huggers.

You don’t need to be an expert yogi or meditate for hours every day to be well. Although these things can increase our well-being, you don’t need to be a master to reap the benefits. You can enjoy the amenities of an "everyday" modern life and benefit from regular yoga or meditation. These practices can help us attain a greater spiritual connection and increase balance in our lives, without requiring us to change who we are.

4.     …being stress-free.

If someone says they are well, don’t believe that they don’t experience stress. Everyone experiences stress, even those who meditate or practice stress management. Just because you experience stress throughout the day doesn’t mean you aren’t well. Stress is a normal part of human life. Learning how to deal with that stress in a healthy way is what makes the difference to the emotional dimension of wellness.

5.     …time consuming.

The most effective way to become and stay well is to find the things that you enjoy doing in your everyday life! You don’t necessarily have to set aside an hour and a half to work out after work. You can be well just by enjoying your daily activities such as walking your dog, playing with the kids, or even volunteering. If you like basketball, go shoot some hoops; if you enjoy being outdoors, go on a hike. Don’t feel the need to take extra time out of your day for an activity you don't normally enjoy but feel you "should" do. Doing the activities you enjoy not only gives you a physical boost, but recharges the emotional, and even spiritual dimensions.

6.     …a quick fix.

While activities that improve your wellness don’t have to be time-consuming, becoming well is a process. Engage in the activities you love with consistency to continually improve your wellness. It doesn’t have to be back-breaking by any means, but becoming well takes time. Putting in the time is the only way to get lasting results. While there are many advertisements for shortcuts to health, in the long run you aren't likely to reap lasting benefits or form lifelong habits for the change you want by turning to a quick fix.

7.     …a magic pill.

Speaking of a quick fix, there is no magic pill or supplement that will make you well. We see so many advertisements claiming that you can “lose 30 pounds in 30 days.” While these may help to some extent, many people often go right back to where they started, because they are skipping the habit-forming, progressive behavior building that forms lasting change. Even when trying to solve a health issue that may seem physical, like weight gain, we are so focused on the physical aspect of wellness that often times we forget to address the emotional or spiritual issues we are facing that may be contributing to the problem.

8.     …cutting things out.

Being well doesn’t mean you need to cut out that chocolate cake or stop binge-watching your favorite Netflix series. You don’t need to lose the things you love to improve your wellness. Wellness is about enjoying things in life so don’t feel like you need to dramatically change your lifestyle just to prove you are disciplined. Improving your wellness has more to do with healthy balance in all Six Dimensions of Wellness than it does with drastic restriction.

9.     …an end destination.

Wellness is a “self-directed and evolving process of achieving full potential” (National Wellness Institute). There is no end destination for wellness. It is ever-evolving and we shouldn’t look to an end destination to be happy. Every day is a new journey and wellness should be looked at as an ongoing process.

10.   …exclusionary.

Wellness isn’t an exclusive group. Wellness isn’t a gym membership, belonging to a church, or even being part of an organization. It’s about wanting to improve yourself and becoming the best that you can be. Anyone can be a part of it. You can be well by sitting on the beach enjoying nature, making delicious food for your family, or simply just taking your kids to the park. You don’t need to pay for a membership or exclusive club to be well. Wellness is for everyone and can be found in almost anything if you want to find it.

This article was written from the viewpoint of college students majoring in Health Promotion and Wellness at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. There are many misconceptions about what wellness is and they are often faced with a lot of questions as to what wellness really means.

It is not uncommon for people to think that wellness is only focusing on the physical dimension, and to assume that students in this major are only going to school to be personal trainers, or, conversely, that they are all “hippies” that meditate all day in all their classes (Which sometimes they do!).

When someone says they are “well” they aren’t saying they spend hours at the gym or eat the perfect diet. Each person is on his or her own wellness journey. It is important to realize that in order to grow in wellness, people need to look at other aspects of life besides the physical dimension.


About the authors:

Baihly is a senior Health Promotion and Wellness student from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. She grew up in Rochester, Minnesota, which played a major role in her pursuing a degree in the wellness field. From a young age, Baihly was a ballet dancer, which greatly influenced her own wellness journey. She believes that wellness is an ever-evolving process, and that each of us must really be in tune with our own body to know what is most needed to improve our wellness.

David graduated from University of Wisconsin-Manitowoc with his associates degree in general education and is now a senior at University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point as a Health Promotion and Wellness Major. David wants to guide people toward reaching their maximum potential and living long, prosperous, and healthy lives. With a particular focus on the environmental and emotional aspects of health, David seeks to help educate people on how to live happier and more sustainably.

Tags:  Stress  Wellness  working out  yoga 

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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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9 Wellness Apps to Check Out

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

Wellness Apps You NeedHealth and Wellness is a vast topic that encompasses so many aspects of our lives. When it comes to improving our wellness, sometimes it’s hard to know where to start. Whether you are a wellness professional or someone who’s just getting started on your wellness journey, these apps can help you along. They can give you ideas on how to improve nearly every dimension of wellness using just your fingertips! While there are paid versions to some of these apps, most offer services for free. Here are nine wellness apps to consider today!*

1. Aaptiv
Whether you’re at the gym or traveling across the country, there is something for everyone in the Aaptiv app. Ever wanted to run a 5k or half marathon? They have a program for that! Need some yoga inspiration early in the morning? You can do that too. Not sure how to lift weights at the gym? Aaptiv has step by step instructions and programs on how to start a weightlifting program. Really this app does it all! You'll find real trainers motivating you to finish strong and playlists specifically set up to push you through the toughest workouts. It's like have a personal trainer in the palm of your hand. There is a free version of this app, or you can get full access for $9.99 a month.

Interested in gaining more knowledge about weightlifting and cardio workouts? Consider JEFIT. It’s for those just starting their workouts who want to get ideas on what to do, to people trying to find some new lifts to bolster their current routine. JEFIT’s user-friendly design allows you to set goals, record workouts, and find exercises to target specific areas. Each exercise has a small video on how to properly perform the exercise, and some tips on proper form, making it user-friendly, even for newbies. If you are looking for ideas to start a new workout routine or want to beef up your existing routine, take a look at JEFIT. It’s 100% free!

3. MyFitnessPal
  With access to the world’s largest nutrition and calorie database, MyFitness Pal is one of the biggest calorie tracking apps. It’s easy to use and allows you to scan the barcode of your food for easy tracking of pre-packaged foods. You can log your exercise and water intake as well as connect to your other wellness apps such as MapMyRun and PolarFlow, allowing you to automatically add in your daily workouts. This app can help with fitness goals, whether you are trying to lose, maintain, or gain weight. MyFitness Pal makes it easy to record your nutrition intake, exercise, and weight in one place. MyFitness Pal offers a free version of their app, as well as a premium version for $9.99 a month.

4. Sleep Cycle
Ever wake up feeling groggy and push the snooze button five times before rolling out of bed? Waking up rested is not just about how much sleep you get, it's also about timing. Sleep Cycle's goal is to help you wake up feeling refreshed and energized.


During sleep, we go through three different phases of sleep: light, deep, and REM-sleep (the “dream state”). This entire cycle takes about 90 minutes, and is repeated many times throughout the night. Sleep Cycle analyzes your sleep and wakes you up in the lightest sleep phase so you wake up feeling rested. It "knows" when your alarm should go off to wake you up in the lightest sleep cycle, allowing you to wake up more easily.

5. Aura
Ever thought about meditation but were not sure where to start? Aura can help to get you in the habit. It has a simple premise: every day you get a new, personalized, three-minute meditation. The daily meditation that appears is based on your mood. The app will ask you if you’re feeling “stressed,” “okay,” “great," etc., to find the perfect meditation for your day. Aura claims to target stress, anxiety and depression. If a short meditation isn't enough for the day, Aura also has relaxing sounds or a Mindful Breather feature, with which you synchronize your breathing to an animated circle that expands and contracts on your phone screen. Aura is a user-friendly way to start your meditation practice.

6. Happier
If you’ve been down in the dumps lately, or just been having a really rough day, you may want to consider Happier. Happier is a self-affirmation app and gratitude journal that allows you to keep track of all the little things in life that make you happy. You can keep your affirmations private or choose to make them public for the other people on the app to enjoy. Happier allows you to look back on the positives. Their supportive community is always there to help you feel better. Try this free app to boost your optimism!

7. HealthyOut
HealthyOut may be just the thing to eat out without sacrificing your diet. You can choose from options such as “paleo," “gluten-sensitive,” and “vegan” to find restaurants that serve dishes with those criteria. You can also use the filters to pick what kind of cuisine you’re looking for, making it easy to narrow down your search and find a restaurant near you. This is the app to try when you’re exploring a new city, or simply want to explore the restaurants in your home town.

8. Lumosity
It’s easy to workout physically, but have you ever worked out mentally? Well Lumosity's mission is just that. This well-known app uses research-based “brain training”science to create fun mini games. These games challenge your memory, attention, and cognition abilities and can then give you an analysis of your cognitive patterns. Lumosity’s games are designed by scientists who are constantly coming up with new challenges to keep you guessing. It is free to download, and the free version comes with three challenges per day for you. When you are ready for more, the paid version has over 50 cognitive games. The monthly price for the paid version varies from $12/month to $5/month depending on subscription length.

9. Mealime
Mealtime is a good app to try if you’re always on the lookout for new healthy meal suggestions. There are hundreds of recipes focused on a healthy, balanced diet. You can even customize it to pick foods that align with a diet you may be on or want to try, allowing you to create your own meal plans. Mealime also takes each ingredient from the recipes you’ve chosen and creates a helpful grocery list for you to check off at the store. Adding to this convenience, the app also provides nutrition information about each recipe. The grocery list feature and most recipes are free, but there are some pro recipes that require a $5 monthly subscription.


*This article is meant for informative purposes only. NWI does not endorse or support any of these applications and is not responsible for the content of third-party websites or applications.

Tags:  fitness apps  healthy meals  meditation  phone apps  wellness  wellness apps 

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How To Tell If A Wellness Coach Is Qualified

Posted By NWI, Tuesday, March 7, 2017

You may have heard that a wellness coach can help you sustain lifestyle changes to reach your health and wellness goals. Your employer may provide coaching services in partnership with your health insurance or employee wellness program. Or, you may have seen a local entrepreneur offering coaching services in your community. But how to you know which to choose? Are they all the same? Which one is right for you? Wellness coaching is unregulated and coaches may have very different levels of training. However, many visionary leaders are striving to change this and working toward certification standards for wellness coaches. In the meantime, experts offer their advice on how to find a qualified coach in this Women’s Health article. Qualities of a good coach include working with your doctor, a drive to help you reach your own personalized goals, and an energizing approach.

Tags:  Coaching  March 2017  Wellness 

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Mindfulness Improves Weight Loss

Posted By NWI, Monday, October 3, 2016

Surprising few in the wellness community, new research has found that a weight loss program that focuses on personal goals and mindful decision making is more effective than other diets that do not include mindfulness.


People in the study who used the mindful approach to weight loss averaged a loss of 13% of their initial weight, in comparison to the control group who lost an average of 5 – 8% of their initial weight. The researchers attribute this significant difference in outcome to bolstering the dieters’ abilities to resist temptation by making food choices consciously, compared to impulsively.


Find the full findings of this study in the online journal Obesity.



Tags:  health  Mindfulness  Obesity  Weight Loss  Wellness 

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Wellness in 10: 10 Ways to Get More Summer Out of Your Summer

Posted By NWI, Monday, July 11, 2016

It almost feels like cheating, writing about how to stay active in July. The weather is warm, the days are long, and people practically vibrate with the urge to get outside.  So that’s why this month we’re going to go a step further and make some suggestions on how to maximize your time outside, so you can squeeze every bit of summer out of your summer.




1.     Pack a laptop


This one may seem obvious, but if you have the ability to take your computer outside, take it outside! Screen glare aside, it’s been shown that spending time around trees and green space makes people more calm and relaxed. Retreating to a picnic table or bench outside, even for a few minutes, can have a significant impact on your day.



2.     Camp


Want to make a commitment to being outside? Do it for a whole weekend (or more)! Many of us feel like camping can be more work than its worth, but with national forest, national parks, and campsites all over the country, there’s sure to be one near home where you can escape for a bit, and run back for supplies if you need to – or if an errant thunderstorm pops up! Here’s a nation-wide directory of campsites so you can plan where you want to go next.



3.     Walking meetings


Meetings can be super boring – nobody is going to argue that. Liven them up and get your fresh air at the same time by taking it on the road. A 30 minute meeting/walk will let you bond with your teammates while engaging your minds and getting you out from behind another Powerpoint presentation.  If it’s a phone meeting, grab your Bluetooth headset and hike while you talk. We won’t tell.



4.     Bike Commute


Commuting by bike is intimidating to a lot of people. It seems dangerous. It takes longer. What do you do when you show up to work all sweaty? The truth is that bike commuting does take more planning, like packing extra clothes and watching the weather forecast, but it’s also a fantastic way to sneak in a workout or two into a day, and – if you plan your route to avoid car traffic – can be incredibly relaxing and fun! You don’t need a ton of gear, either. A bike, a helmet, and a backpack are usually all you need to get started.  Here are some pro-tips from long-time bike commuters to help set you on the right track.



5.     Stand-Up Paddleboard


Many of us have heard of Stand-Up Paddleboarding (SUP for short) by now, but for those who haven’t, it’s an activity where you stand on a floating board, like a surfboard, but on still water, and you use a long-handled paddle to propel yourself forward. In addition to being fun, it also takes balance and muscle control to stay upright. It’s tough at first, but not so tough that you can’t get the hang of it. If you want a different way to explore your local lakes and streams, consider finding a SUP rental near you and giving it a shot.



6.     Row-row-row your boat


For those of you who think Paddleboarding is a bit too much to jump into, but still want to spend time on the water, consider eschewing the motorboat for a more traditional method. Rowing a boat is great exercise for your shoulders, back and core, and can be a great cardio workout. The best part about rowing, however, is that you can bring a friend along and work on your social wellness and level-up your workout at the same time!



7.     Join (or start) a kickball league


More traditional sports like volleyball have had rec leagues for ages, but some other sports like kickball are starting to come into their own. Many of us have fond memories of playing kickball at recess during elementary school. Well, it turns out the game is still just as fun as we remember. If running bases isn’t your thing, some other games that are gaining in popularity are Lightning (the basketball game – also called Elimination or Knockout), Ultimate Frisbee, and disc golf. All these games come with the fun and camaraderie of rec league sports, with only a fraction of the over-the-top competitiveness that some leagues tend to foster.



8.     Walk the (neighbor’s) dog


Want to get outside and feel good about yourself at the same time? Try volunteering for dog walking. You’ll sneak in a walk while exercising a pooch (or pooches), and someone else won’t have to do it.  Local animal shelters are always looking for volunteers for dog walking, or an elderly or infirm neighbor might appreciate having someone pitch in.



9.     Coach


Speaking of organizations who always need help – youth sports organizations often are short-handed when it comes to coaching sports of all kinds. Depending on the level of play, you probably don’t even have to be an expert in the sport to be a good coach. Have you ever seen a kindergarten soccer game? It’s often a blob of 5-year-olds chasing a ball in a circle. Even if you’re not a sports expert, you can still be a solid adult role model, a teacher of good sportsmanship, and a facilitator of love of exercise.



10.  Outdoor Enthusiasts Affinity Group


That’s just a fancy way of saying “hang out with your friends.” If your group of friends usually hangs out indoors, suggest a change of venue.  Try having your book club at the beach, game night at the park, or study group in the back yard. Just remember to bring some sunscreen and bug repellant, and your average gathering can be a breath of fresh air (literally).




Happy July to you all! If you’ve got more suggestions on how to get more summer out of your summer, leave us a comment, or reach out to us on our facebook, twitter, or LinkedIn pages.


Tags:  Biking  Coaching  health  Summer  Walking  Wellness  Worksite Wellness 

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