Is Work Life Balance A Myth?

Initial Results From The Study On Job Stress

We’ve all heard work life balance is the key to stress management, but is it true?  Our study on job stress shows some interesting results.

Work life balance is based on a few assumptions:

  • The binary push and pull relationship between work and home is the main reason for women’s job stress
  • Women are the only ones who experience this issue
  • Women without children at home are less stressed

Is that true?

According to the more than 1000 people who participated in our study, no.

  • Men and women reported an equal amount of job stress
  • Fewer than 10% of the women with children at home reported caring for children (or any other work life issue) as the top cause of job stress
  • The results were exactly the same for men with children at home
  • Across the board the pace and pressure of work, an uncertain future, and the environment at work far outweighed work life issues as causes of stress.

So, what does that mean?

Work Life balance doesnt work

We are focusing on the wrong problem when trying to manage stress!

Pace and pressure at work (and other issues relating to being busy) were the leading causes of stress for more than 50 percent of the people in the study.

We don’t have an issue with balance. We have Trouble With Busy!

Which means traditional stress management and employee wellness programs are trying to solve the wrong problem!

Study results indicate improving the stress environment at work involves organizational factors as well as personal factors.

Many of the respondents indicated adjusting productivity expectations in the face of change or lack of staff would reduce stress. Others, especially nurses and lawyers, didn’t expect the stress environment to change, but rather accepted the pace and pressure as part of the nature of their work.

So if the pressure isn’t going to change, what then?

Rather than looking at stress as a binary, push and pull system between work and life, we need to be looking at what I call an ecosystem of stress.  Everything we do interacts with everything else.  Some things give us pleasure and add energy to the system.  Other things draw energy out of the system.  Just acknowledging the sheer number of things you pay attention to can reduce stress.  Yes, it’s a lot.  You have a good reason to feel overwhelmed. If that isn’t going to change, then the key to managing the stress ecosystem is to feed energy and resources back into the system and manage other drains.

For example, by supporting our physical health, we can feed resources back into the system. When I work with high performers, sleep is always an issue. Good quality sleep is one of the best ways to manage stress, but also one of the most difficult to protect.  We often eat away at the margins of our day to get more done.  Staying up later and getting up earlier may seem like the right thing to do, but over time lack of sleep allows the stress hormone, cortisol, to build up in the body. High cortisol levels result in:

  • increased fatigue
  • headaches
  • back aches
  • anxiety
  • digestive distress
  • depression
  • decreased sex drive
  • impaired immune system
  • increase risk of heart attack and stroke

Protecting your sleep can make a huge difference in how you feel and feed energy back into your stress ecosystem.

But, how do you make time for sleep?

By looking at stress as a system, it is easier to pick out priorities, such as sleep, and find opportunities to eliminate or reduce drains on the system.  Yes, this is easier said than done.  Managing your stress system requires hard decisions about what you will allow to be in that system, and there lies the issue.

There isn’t a magic formula to balance out your world, but it is possible to step back, assess your system, and make choices about what you allow in that system.  Being aware of what is draining your energy and resources, and actively feeding energy and resources back in is the key.

ELiz has been delighted to offer a new program The Trouble With Busy providing insights and tools to manage your stress ecosystem.  The most exciting part of the new program is using the research data and being able to provide specific data on stress environment of the individual organization. The next phase of research examining stress within organizations and interventions for improvement is in process now.  Those results will be reported in the future.

Until then, let’s let go of the idea of balance and start addressing the Trouble With Busy!

Eliz Greene survived a heart attack at age 35 while 7 months pregnant with twins.  For more than a decade she has been on a mission to inspire other busy women to improve heart health so they can live longer, feel better, and stress less.  She is a motivational women’s wellness speaker and author. Her humor and personal stories  illustrate simple strategies for health and success participants can fit into an already busy day.  Her research on job stress and professional women make her a great fit as a Women’s Leadership Speaker

UWM Women’s Leadership Conference

iStock_000019139109_DoubleToday I have the great honor to be surrounded by 500 impressive women leaders in the Milwaukee area at a conference hosted by the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee School of Continuing Education.

Did you know spending time with other amazing women can lower your stress and reduce your risk of heart disease by 30%?

That is just one tip from our session today.

Were you in the Juggling Stress Program today?  Please leave a comment below and share your “I will because”

You can find the Job Stress Study Survey here: http://elizgreene.com/job-stress-study/

Could Job Stress Be The New Smoking?

Could stress at work be the new smoking?

Job Stress SurveyAfter working with women to improve heart health and manage stress for more than a decade, I discovered there isn’t enough data about the specifics of the job stress environment and how it impacts men and women differently.

This led me to embark on a multiphase research project to explore this important topic.

Research suggests the stress environment in the work place could be as dangerous as second-hand smoke. In fact, the United Nations’ International Labor Organization calls chronic job stress a global epidemic.  How risky is job stress, really? We all know stress is a risk factor for heart disease and other illnesses. According to several studies, if your job is highly demanding and you have little control over how you do that job, your risk of heart attack and stroke increases by nearly one-third.  For women, the risk increases by 40 percent. In addition to being a significant risk factor for disease, job stress decreases productivity and creativity and increases health care costs, absenteeism, and hinders employee retention.

That is the bad news.

The good news is, like smoking, job stress is something we can control.   No, you may not be able to change how you do your job, but you can control your reaction to the situation and offset the stress with healthy habits. Removing exposure to second-hand smoke has decrease the incidence of heart disease by 30%.  What would be the impact of better managing the stress environment of work?

The study is currently in the first phase, collecting data about job stress.  A broad base of responses from all ages, genders, and job categories is needed.

How can you help?

Please take three minutes to complete this simple survey about job stress.

Click here to take the Job Stress Survey

The larger the sample of respondents, the more significant the results will be.  No personally identifying information is collected.
The second phase will explore job stress in specific companies and associations. We are looking for organizations to partner with us on the study as well as companies who have created positive work environments to use as case studies. Several health care organizations and associations have already joined the study.  We are seeking companies in varied industries to increase the validity of the study. These organizations will receive detailed reports about their unique job stress environment and there is no cost to participate. If you know of a company or association that would be a great fit for the study, please fill out the contact form here.

The third phase will examine the effectiveness of stress environment interventions in organizations.

The initial results of the study have been fascinating and I’m looking forward to sharing the results and working to create healthy stress environments at work.

Eliz Greene is a heart health journalist and motivational wellness speaker specializing in serving women in business. Her humor and personal stories of recovering from a massive heart attack while seven-months pregnant with twins illustrate simple strategies for health and success participants can fit into an already busy day. Her Heart of Wellness Video Program is making a difference in employee health around the country:

“I went into this thinking how inconvenient it would be to find a few minutes a day to watch these videos. After all, I’m sure most of us have heard these topics before by other wellness programs or even our doctors. However, once I started, I came to appreciate the approach. The calm and relaxing way the topic was relayed, actually helped me process the information better. Reminding me “I Will Because” kept me focused on my purpose. The best part, my blood pressure has improved!” City of Bryan, Texas Employee

Click here to start your own path to the Heart of Wellness today!

10 Simple Ways To Decrease Your Risk Of Heart Attack

Heart Month Tips on CBS58

Eliz Greene was the guest on CBS58 today at 4:30.
CBS 58

Download a copy of the 10 Simple Ways To Decrease Your Risk Of Heart Disease ebook by clicking the image below:

10-simple-ways-ebook

Did you see the interview? Please leave a comment or question.

Eliz Greene is a heart health journalist and motivational wellness speaker specializing in serving women in business. Her humor and personal stories of recovering from a massive heart attack while seven-months pregnant with twins illustrate simple strategies for health and success participants can fit into an already busy day. Her Heart of Wellness Video Program is making a difference in employee health around the country:

“I went into this thinking how inconvenient it would be to find a few minutes a day to watch these videos. After all, I’m sure most of us have heard these topics before by other wellness programs or even our doctors. However, once I started, I came to appreciate the approach. The calm and relaxing way the topic was relayed, actually helped me process the information better. Reminding me “I Will Because” kept me focused on my purpose. The best part, my blood pressure has improved!” City of Bryan, Texas Employee

Click here to start your own path to the Heart of Wellness today!

 

Tips To Keep Moving Even When You Are Injured

How do you stay active when you can’t walk?

A Thanksgiving kitchen accident involving a pot of boiling water put my 15-year-old daughter in a walking boot to protect her scalded foot for a month.  Her injury healed well, but in the process we needed to find ways for her to stay active.

I shared some of my favorite seated exercise videos with her PE teacher and realized, maybe you would find them handy too.  Not only are the tips great for when you are injured, they are also sneaky ways to fit in activity while seated at work!

The key is to use these videos as guides and adjust the movements to fit your current abilities. They are also useful for people who may be less steady on their feet or need modified activities due to age or illness. Hopefully, you won’t be injured, but in the event you, or someone you know needs some help maintaining active healthy habits, check these out:

Eliz Greene survived a heart attack while seven-months pregnant with twins. She is a Motivational Women’s Wellness Speaker who works with busy people to improve heart health, so they can live longer, feel better, and stress less. Eliz is the author of the Busy Woman’s Guide to a Healthy Heart as well as 3 other books on wellness.

Choosing A Fitness App: Wellness Tip for Busy Women

With thousands of fitness and weight loss apps available, how do you choose one which will actually help you meet your goals?

That’s a good question!

Several studies have been conducted recently which provide clear evidence suggesting well designed apps can increase activity levels and keep you motivated. As I wrote in an article on HealthyWay , one study was critical of most apps for failing to meet all of the American College of Sports Medicine’s Guidelines for Physical Activity, but I don’t think that is really the issue. Most Americans get just eight minutes of physical activity per day, or 56 minutes per week. ANY increase in activity is beneficial. If a free app reminds you to get up and move around more, that is excellent.

According to a study in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, fitness app users are more likely to exercise had have lower BMI than non-users or those who used an app for a while and then quit.  This is good news.

So, what makes a fitness app effective?

Group of young woman exercising

It turns out even just setting goals and tracking your progress can do the trick.  An Irish study, indicates that participants who used an interactive app which provided feedback about progress towards goal significantly increased daily activity over a group which used an app that simply logged steps.

Look for fitness apps that combines elements known to support behavior change:

  • Positive and interactive: Providing uplifting messages, support, and motivation is key. The FitBit app does this very well. The app is simple, tracking steps and allowing users to log other data such as ounces of water or calories consumed. The real beauty comes through badges earned through steps, encouraging messages (you are almost to your goal), and the ability to connect with friends in good-natured competition.
  • Specific and incremental: “I will take 10,000 steps today” is a more specific goal and will be more successful than a goals such as, ‘I will be more active’. Successful apps ask users to make measurable daily goals.
  • Intentional and motivational: If you are intentional about something on a daily basis, change will happen. Most apps have the option to set reminders or have prompts built into the design.
  • Individual and flexible: Cookie cutter activity or eating plans are less likely to be effective than plans that can be modified to fit individual needs. Apps that allow users to set beginning fitness levels, age, injury issues, dietary preferences, etc., will be more successful. The University of Florida Study recommended Sworkit as a comprehensive and flexible app.
  • Simple and easy: If an app is too complicated or is discouraging to use, you won’t be likely to go back to it day after day. I’m a fan of Johnson & Johnson’s 7 Minute Workout App. It is simple to use, mixes up activities, and is quick.

Want more? Check out this article from PositiveHealthWellness.com on the 10 Best Fitness Trackers!

The key is to find an app (or a couple of them) that encourages and supports more activity.

What app gets you moving?  We’d love to know what is, or isn’t, working for you. Please share in a comment below.

Eliz Greene survived a heart attack while seven-months pregnant with twins. She is a Motivational Women’s Wellness Speaker who works with busy people to improve heart health, so they can live longer, feel better, and stress less. Eliz is the author of the Busy Woman’s Guide to a Healthy Heart as well as 3 other books on wellness.

Say Yes To Risk

Sometimes it is healthy to say yes!

Most of the time, my wellness advice is about saying no, protecting your time and energy in order to stay healthy and manage stress.  Have you noticed, as adults we tend to take fewer risks?  We tend to play it safe, which makes sense, of course.  We have responsibilities. We have priorities. However…

Risks often lead to fun, and fun is good.

Laughter, fun, just plain getting out of the ordinary reduces stress. When was the last time you raised your hand and said yes to something outside your comfort zone?

Here is the crazy thing I said yes to recently:

Owen Morse and Jon Wee of The Passing Zone emceed the awards ceremony for this year’s National Speakers Association Convention.  They needed a female volunteer from the audience. I raised my hand.  So… was there risk?  Let’s just say it involved a swing contraption and knife throwing! Enjoy this video shot by my Livestream Digitial Event Conference Talk Show cohost Thom Singer

As you can tell, I laughed (and screamed) a lot!  It was fun, a great way to end the convention, and, oh yes, a big time stress relief!

Have some fun. Laugh a little. Say yes!

Eliz Greene survived a heart attack while seven-months pregnant with twins. She is a Motivational Women’s Wellness Speaker who works with busy people to improve heart health, so they can live longer, feel better, and stress less. Eliz is also a Live and Virtual Event Emcee.

What Is The Heart Of Wellness?

After months of work, we are proud to announce The Heart of Wellness!

The Heart of Wellness is a science-based program that anyone—sedentary or fit—can use to improve long-term well being. The high energy and high content keynote program is combined with a daily follow up program that is measurable as well as motivational.

When you connect simple, achievable daily habits with the motivation to be healthier, real change becomes possible. The follow-up program hosted by Avanoo delivers 30 easy days of inspiring stories, thought-provoking, lessons, down-to-earth activities, and daily intentions to discover your personal healthy lifestyle.

In just 3 minutes a day, here’s what you’ll learn how to do:iStock_000020828583_XXXLarge

  • Spark your own motivations for getting and staying healthy
  • Choose and use simple, research-based health habits
  • Integrate movement, food, sleep, and medical care for optimum wellness
  • Connect with others to create health accountability
  • Give your heart its best chance to thrive

When you connect simple, achievable daily habits with the motivation to be healthier, real change becomes possible. Join wellness expert Eliz Greene for 30 easy days of inspiring stories, thought-provoking, lessons, down-to-earth activities, and daily intentions to discover your personal healthy lifestyle. In just 3 minutes a day, here’s what you’ll learn how to do:

  • Spark your own motivations for getting and staying healthy
  • Choose and use simple, research-based health habits
  • Integrate movement, food, sleep, and medical care for optimum wellness
  • Connect with others to create health accountability
  • Give your heart its best chance to thrive

 

The Heart of Wellness is a science-based program that anyone—sedentary or fit—can use to address long-term wellbeing. Isn’t it time you started your journey to the Heart of Wellness?

Regularly $99.99

Offered to you at $49.99
Join Now!

Go Red For Women Speaker Eliz Greene at Ladies Night Out

Kansas women dance in the aisle at heart health event with speaker Eliz Greene

Wichita, Kanas hosted the Go Red For Women Ladies Night Out tonight with Eliz Greene as the keynote speaker.  Eliz got the audience up dancing and shared down-to-earth tips to improve heart health including:

  • Using a pedometer to increase activity
  • Managing stress by connecting with other fabulous women
  • Getting over denial and taking charge of your heart health

Did you attend this fabulous event?  Please:

  • Share your #IWillBecause in a comment below
  • Download the Move Your Bootie Ebook
  • Let Eliz stay in your ear for the next 30 days! Preview the Heart of Wellness Avanoo Program and join with the discount coupon HEART15

iStock_000020828583_XXXLargeWhen you connect simple, achievable daily habits with the motivation to be healthier, real change becomes possible. Join wellness expert Eliz Greene for 30 easy days of inspiring stories, thought-provoking, lessons, down-to-earth activities, and daily intentions to discover your personal healthy lifestyle. In just 3 minutes a day, here’s what you’ll learn how to do:

  • Spark your own motivations for getting and staying healthy
  • Choose and use simple, research-based health habits
  • Integrate movement, food, sleep, and medical care for optimum wellness
  • Connect with others to create health accountability
  • Give your heart its best chance to thrive The Heart of Wellness is a science-based program that anyone—sedentary or fit—can use to address long-term wellbeing. Isn’t it time you started your journey to the Heart of Wellness?

Regularly $99.99

Offered to you at $49.99 with the code HEART15

Join Now!

 

 

Eliz Greene survived a heart attack while seven-months pregnant with twins. She is a Motivational Women’s Wellness Speaker who works with busy people to improve heart health, so they can live longer, feel better, and stress less. Eliz is the author of the Busy Woman’s Guide to a Healthy Heart as well as 3 other books on wellness.

Heart Of Wellness At Protection 1

Daily Habits to improve heart health

Eliz presented The Heart of Wellness: 5 Daily Habits to Live Longer, Feel Better, and Stress Less to employees at Protection 1, the speaker sponsor for tonight’s Go Red For Women Ladies Night Out in Wichita, Kansas.

Five simple daily habits done during the work day can significantly improve heart health! They include:

  • Moving your bootie
  • Standing up once per hour
  • Drinking water
  • Breathing deeply
  • Turning off electronic stress inducers

Did you attend one of the sessions?  Please:

  • Share your #IWillBecause in a comment below
  • Download the Move Your Bootie Ebook
  • Let Eliz stay in your ear for the next 30 days! Preview the Heart of Wellness Avanoo Program and join with the discount coupon HEART15

iStock_000020828583_XXXLargeWhen you connect simple, achievable daily habits with the motivation to be healthier, real change becomes possible. Join wellness expert Eliz Greene for 30 easy days of inspiring stories, thought-provoking, lessons, down-to-earth tactivities, and daily intentions to discover your personal healthy lifestyle. In just 3 minutes a day, here’s what you’ll learn how to do:

  • Spark your own motivations for getting and staying healthy
  • Choose and use simple, research-based health habits
  • Integrate movement, food, sleep, and medical care for optimum wellness
  • Connect with others to create health accountability
  • Give your heart its best chance to thriveThe Heart of Wellness is a science-based program that anyone—sedentary or fit—can use to address long-term wellbeing. Isn’t it time you started your journey to the Heart of Wellness?

Regularly $99.99

Offered to you at $49.99 with the code HEART15

Join Now!

 

 

Eliz Greene survived a heart attack while seven-months pregnant with twins. She is a Motivational Women’s Wellness Speaker who works with busy people to improve heart health, so they can live longer, feel better, and stress less. Eliz is the author of the Busy Woman’s Guide to a Healthy Heart as well as 3 other books on wellness.