Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Wellness in the Workplace

by Tracey A. Smith, M.Ed., CTRS
For many, the workplace environment has become increasingly intense. The extremely high levels of stress are due in part to companies re-organizing and restructuring, and employee layoffs. Fewer people are left to do more. With most of our awake hours spent in the workplace with co-workers, we may find that we are not bringing our best selves home but rather arriving home to our families with our energy depleted. How can we change this?
Our work place environment is full of all types of energies and vibrations (i.e. healing, negative, energizing, positive, competitive, cooperative, fast-paced, draining). Energy is everywhere, and it is felt in our bodies. Do you know what your body feels like when it is low on energy?  Low vibrational energy impacts our productivity, creativity and relationship building – at the workplace and everywhere in our lives.
Being more mindful of taking a holistic approach to our self-care includes focusing on our wellness in the workplace. We can learn to be more purposeful in rituals and tips to increase well-being while at work. Healing is a daily practice. Here are a few tips you may want to include to design your own work lifestyle.
  •  Positive affirmations to start your day
  •  Use of aromas for self and office (essential oils) – helps shift energy
  •  Look out the window toward the sky or look at a picture of your favorite scenic place
  • Take time to do desktop yoga
  • Be mindful of eating your lunch slowly, chewing slowly, and drinking water after you finish eating. Take time for lunch!!!!

As the owner of Wellness WRKS LLC, I offer a variety of Wellness in the Workplace workshops and trainings designed to create a culture of wellness in your agency or corporation. This is experienced best in a “Top down approach”, empowering administration and management, and then bringing the learning to employees, so that all can recognize their widest spectrum of potential and leadership. Clients served by these organizations then have the opportunity to experience the same.
The Workplace Wellness workshops use creative interactive tools. Primary objectives of all programs include:
·         To increase an awareness of the need for self-care and well-being in the workplace
·         To increase productivity, performance & enthusiasm
·         To increase evidence of risk management & decreased burnout/apathy
·         To increase evidence of healthy work habits, leadership & stress management
·         To assist with conflict transformation and participants’ positive interactions when facilitating change and re-organizing company structure.
 In light of our present economic climate, the workshops can be a refreshing adjunct to stress management and positive change for your employees. We also provide program development consultation and train-the-trainer programming in the following areas: Training and Workshop Facilitation, Diversity Training & Cross Cultural Communication, Conflict Transformation, Re-Motivation and Lifestyle Management. To learn more, go to  
I am interested in learning more about your mission, vision, programs and challenges. Together, we can develop customized wellness action plans and develop a wellness mission for your organization. I also love helping organizations design meaningful and enriching organizational retreats.  
To contact me regarding these valuable services, email or call 215-605-3221

Resiliency through Nutrition: Turning Genes On and Off with Diet

Authored by Erin Murphy, MS Nutrition candidate at MUIH in collaboration with Georgia Tetlow, MD

Did you know there are little chemical groups decorating your DNA like beads on a string?  When we say DNA, we are referring to the set of genes that you inherited from your parents.  Depending on your diet and lifestyle, these decorative beads can move around on the string causing certain genes to be expressed (turned on) and others repressed (turned off).  So the phrase “it’s in my genes!” only tells half of the story…

The other half of the story comes from a scientific field called epigenetics.  Epi- means “outside of” and so epigenetics studies all of the factors outside of our genes that affect the way our bodies operate in the world.  These factors include nutrition, physical activity, hormones, social interaction, stress, exposure to toxins, and more [1].  From an empowered point of view, this means that YOU can consciously make choices that positively affect the expression of your genes through dietary and lifestyle modifications.  In fact, future research may lead to using techniques such as nutrition interventions to prevent, delay, or treat common complex diseases [2]. 

So how can you use nutrition to ensure that the beads on your string are stringing together the picture of a healthy body?  Dietary factors such as macronutrients, micronutrients, phytochemicals (found in plants), antioxidants, fatty acids, and polyphenols (also found in plants) affect the way that our cells interpret the genetic code and translate it into biological processes.  To ensure that your cells are top-notch translators, eat a diverse and balanced diet rich in whole unprocessed foods such as nuts, seeds, fish, leafy vegetables, liver, organic meats, whole grains, and other plant-based foods to add many of the key epigenetic regulators to your diet.

In the spirit of community and education, next time you hear someone say “it’s in my genes!” you can share this resource to remind them of the power for change that is still “in their hands” and together we can lead each other towards health. 

1.       Dauncey, M.J. (2013).  Genomic and Epigenomic Insights into Nutrition and Brain
Disorders.  Nutrients, 5(3), 887-914.
2.       McKay, J.A., & Mathers, J.C. (2011).  Diet induced epigenetic changes and their
implications for health.  Acta Physiologica (Oxford, England), 202(2), 103-

Erin Murphy is an M.S. candidate in Nutrition at Maryland University of Integrative Health and the administrative medical assistant for Philadelphia Integrative Medicine.  Dr. Georgia Tetlow is the CEO of Philadelphia Integrative Medicine ( and combines the best of conventional and alternative medicine to inspire you and give you the tools to care for yourself and be well.