Let the Holidays Move You!

iStock_000018006002XLargeThere is a real connection between stress and illness, which is why it’s important to take it easy this holiday season. Don’t get caught up in the stress of finding the perfect gift or creating the ultimate light display. Enjoy the season instead of driving yourself crazy. Use these eight tips to keep you healthy while enjoying the holiday festivities!

  1. Stick to it. Stick to your regular exercise routine as much as possible, especially during the holidays.
  2. Take advantage of layovers. Flying? Don’t sit around waiting to board your flight – walk around the airport.
  3. Let the music move you. Dance or exercise to your favorite holiday music.
  4. Get 15 minutes of sun each day. It peeks out, we promise!
  5. Choose fresh fruit in lieu of fruit cake.
  6. Delegate. Delegate wrapping presents or baking. No one to delegate to? Opt out of the least important tasks.
  7. Just say “Ho Ho No!” to perfectionism. No one expects you to be Martha Stewart.
  8. Carry it over. Make a New Year’s resolution with friends to start a daily walking group.

Duck Fans Out-pledge Beaver Fans in Healthy Life Civil War Challenge

CivilWarChallenge-Nov29 (15)As with all friendly rivalries, there are winners, so congratulations Duck fans for winning the Healthy Life Civil War Challenge! The 1,500 plus Oregonians who took part in the fourth annual PacificSource Healthy Life Civil War Challenge have something to cheer no matter their allegiance: They are all winning at living healthier.

In the off-field battle to determine who is healthier, Ducks fans edged out the Beavers by 114 pledges. But a 35 percent increase in overall participation and a $10,000 donation to four Oregon charities resulted in a touchdown for healthier communities.

From Oct. 19 through Nov. 26, Ducks, Beavers, and Oregonians statewide united in friendly competition to encourage, achieve, and take an active role in healthy living. By pledging to take part in the PacificSource Healthy Life Civil War Challenge, participants took steps toward making themselves and their community healthier, while raising funds for four Oregon nonprofits in the process.

Healthy Life Civil War Challenge Nonprofit Donations

All participants in the 2014 Healthy Life Civil War Challenge helped to raise $10,000 for four Oregon nonprofits that provide prevention and wellness programs:

  • The Linus Pauling Institute – Healthy Youth Program ($2,086)
  • Girls on the Run in Portland ($2,510)
  • The Lane Coalition for Healthy Active Youth ($3,397)
  • Health Beginnings of Central Oregon ($2,007)

Thank you to those who pledged to get moving, eat healthy, go tobacco-free, or relax!

Yoga: My Lunchtime Escape

Photo courtesy of MiiiSH

Photo courtesy of MiiiSH

Stress management and work don’t usually go hand-in-hand. But to maintain a healthy lifestyle, finding ways to relax during the “daily grind” is vital. One of our employees in Portland, Michelle, gave us a great guest blog post about how she’s using yoga to take a breather in the middle of the day. In her own words, here’s Michelle’s yoga story:

Scrambling to answer a ceaseless ringing phone, speed-reading through emails and shuffling through mounds of mail; it makes even the most devoted employees day-dream about an afternoon soaking up the sun on a warm beach (Piña colada in hand, of course). Unfortunately for me, all I see when I steal a glance out of our office window is a menacing grey sky, complete with sideways blowing rain. That’s a devastating contrast from my Malibu beach day fantasy. But this week, just as I was about to clock out for my regular lunch time ritual of adding hot water to my cup of “Suddenly Soup” and hunching over an old copy of the Portland Business Journal, a calendar invite popped up for “Group Yoga” in the training room.

Meet Michelle, our first time yoga-ing guest blogger.

Meet Michelle, our first time yogi and guest blogger.

As if kicking off the high heels and slipping into stretchable pants wasn’t rewarding enough, I walked into a warm oasis that awaited me in the heart of India training room. Our yoga instructor, or as I like to refer to her, “Tour Guide through Nirvana,” greeted us with a welcoming smile. The unfamiliar, yet tranquil sounds of yogi tunes were peacefully playing in the background while I found my way to my destined yoga mat, which would serve as my lunch time escape.

For the next hour, my mind focused on flowing through the practice with as much pace, rhythm and structure as my uncoordinated body could handle. Most importantly, my mind was NOT focused on work. Deep synchronized breathing replaced desperate panting from schlepping huge boxes and endless phone calls. My wrists (that are usually cramped from furious typing) were now lucid in holding a downward dog. Most importantly my mind got a mental vacation while I journeyed through an entire hour of zen.

For the next month, momentarily putting work OFF and getting my “chi ON” will become my weekly routine. Luckily, I’m pretty flexible, so I was able to twist into a few bound half-moon poses. But if I’m being honest, my yoga talents were really showcased during the Happy Baby Pose, Corpse Pose, and my personal favorite, Shavasana: see nap time. 

If you have a Hawaiian vacation on the books, that’s probably the best option for relaxation. But for the rest of us, lunchtime yoga is definitely (a very close) second best option!