Meet Kendra. Sports marketing manager extraordinaire. It’s no surprise that she excels at work since it combines her sporty and creative sides. Her love of ‘all the things’ describes how she surfs, cooks, photographs, travels, hikes, takes design classes for fun, and shows up for her family, friends and sports teams. I wanted to interview and hear from someone who REALLY deals with ‘work-life balance,’ and is able to live a healthy, well-rounded life, while succeeding in a fast-paced job with tight deadlines, high expectations and lots of responsibility. Thank you Kendra for all your wisdom, insight, inspiration and great ideas to incorporate!
DEFINING HEALTH: What does being healthy mean to you?
Inside + Outside. Being healthy is a combination of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health—not just physical. A lot of people focus on outward appearance because it can be the easiest and most obvious thing to measure. Having a good balance in all areas of your health is what keeps you feeling grounded and happy. The more you prioritize yourself and your health, the more you keep doing it and the better you feel.
Listening to yourself. Learn your own body and what it responds to. Figure out what healthy looks like for you, and then own it, and let it evolve. Health will look different for everyone. And no one should try to fit someone else’s mold of being healthy—it’s not a one-size fits all.
CHALLENGES: What challenges do you face at this stage in your life in prioritizing your health and wellness?
Work-life balance. I have to prioritize my ‘life’ every single day so work doesn’t overtake it. It is easy to get up, go to work and have work bleed into your personal time. There is always work to be done and messages to respond to. I’ve found that if you set boundaries and are transparent with your bosses and coworkers, they respect them and your healthy behaviors.
WFH separation. It can be easier to neglect physical activity when working from home since there is less of a transition from the office to personal space. If I don’t do any physical activity, things will stress me out that wouldn’t have before, and it becomes more difficult for me to think clearly and focus. I am, however, more hydrated than ever before (since working remotely).
Technology. Technology makes it so I’m always connected—I’m on Zoom calls all day, have instant messenger and email open on my laptop, plus my phone which gets texts, calls, alerts and emails. On a normal day I’m inundated with work communications from 8 to 6 (and later), and outside of work, I’ll facetime friends and family, go on social media, and send messages. It’s technology overload. I feel it physically and mentally. When I have the chance to leave my phone in the other room and unplug, I will. Those are difficult moments, but they always help, especially when it comes to rest. You have to disconnect before going to sleep. Online shopping and googling before bed is a bad idea 😉. I try to monitor how much time I spend on my phone and do the best I can on weekends to toss it aside.
SUCCESSES: What have you found to work or be successful in living healthy or achieving your wellness goals?
Starting the day off right. If I can get my heart rate up in the morning (with a workout, fresh air or stretching), I feel more balanced and make healthier decisions the rest of the day. I try to check in with myself throughout the day and evaluate my internal language and ‘self-talk.’
Healthy snacks and mindful eating. I like to eat a lot of fruits and healthy snacks when I work from home, and try to have lots of good options around. A misconception or barrier to eating healthy is that you need to make elaborate meals. I try to eat what I want and eat it consciously. Your body will tell you what it wants to eat. If I’m craving carbs or protein, I go with that. And if I need veggies, I’ll have them in a smoothie (with fruit).
Scheduling workouts. Enrolling in live workouts forces me to stop working. The class will start whether I’m there or not. I try to pick my days at the beginning of the week and choose a few classes to attend, knowing that if I’m not feeling up to it or if my body needs to relax, I can reschedule. I also try to switch up my routine so I don’t get burnt out, and space out more intense workouts.
Flexible mindset. I make up my mind ahead of time and allow for flexibility in my schedule because life happens. I will aim for a goal (like making all my workout classes) but won’t feel guilty if I don’t meet that goal. Just aiming for it will give you more success than if you didn’t have a goal in the first place.
Rewards and creative outlets. I enjoy treating myself and not withholding things that I like. And when I have them, I really enjoy them, which makes me happier and healthier. Creative outlets (like reading, art, taking photos on a walk, etc.) allow me to use the parts of my brain that I don’t always use at work.
PRIORITIZING: How do you find time to make health a priority?
Goals + Flexibility. Setting goals and allowing for flexibility within those goals. No two days (or weeks) are the same—at work or in my personal life. I understand that it’s okay for my goals to change and that what looked healthy in one stage of my life might look different in the next stage. Similarly, I will structure and plan out my day (so I know what’s coming), but allow myself to move it around according to what’s working and what’s not. I will add things to my schedule, but not feel guilty if I don’t get to it.
RECOMMENDATIONS: What advice do you have for someone in your life stage to live a healthier, fuller, more abundant life?
Lifestyle: Volunteering has always been helpful and blesses you even more than the people you are working with. I look forward to finding more opportunities (post-COVID) to give back as it gives you a broader perspective and allows you to look outside yourself. Prioritizing my spiritual health also makes me more balanced.
Mindfulness: Start with the mental game. Even being physically healthy is a mental game so you can’t neglect the mental and expect a physical change. Make your mental health a priority—whether that means journaling, calling a friend, therapy, whatever it is. Check in with yourself, and be aware of your thoughts and how they affect you. ‘Whatever you think will happen.’
Be honest with yourself and how you’re feeling. If you’re anxious or overwhelmed, try to figure out where it’s coming from. If work is stressing me out, I’ll try to do something that disconnects me or puts me in a different head space. After putting it aside (and maybe processing it on my own or calling a friend), my mind is clear, and I can come back to it with a different perspective.
Fitness: Find a routine that works for you! Listen to your body to know how hard to push yourself. I love sports and athletics so I find joy in integrating the physical part of health. I like variety and will sometimes run or hike, bike ride, take online dance classes, or sign up for live training sessions. I find creative ways to get physical activity in because it helps mental health so much, and prevents me from feeling burnt out.
Nutrition: Buy foods that are healthy, and delicious. Healthy doesn’t always mean a salad, and healthy for you isn’t necessarily healthy for someone else. I grocery shop at the beginning of the week and try to find versatile ingredients that can be used to make a lot of different dishes.
I love finding recipes (especially for international cuisine) on Pinterest to keep food exciting. I’ve discovered new flavors and combinations that I wouldn’t have thought of (and that I can bring into my ‘normal, daily food.’). It’s been really fun.
Clean Living: I have started cooking a lot so I pay more attention to food ingredients. I will buy organic meat because it tastes so much better. Oh, and brown eggs are so much better than white eggs. Trader Joe’s makes shopping for smaller quantities and fun snacks easy.
Beauty: I wear a lot less makeup now than ever before, and am way more comfortable being makeup free (and I’m saving money)! I also do all the steps in my skin care routine since I’m already at home, and can air dry my hair more often. I am paying attention to how my skin reacts to products and am more aware of the ingredients and chemicals being used. After using the 100% Pure face masks, I can’t go back to the $1 face masks.
Rest: Rest is not overrated. I’ve really learned the value of rest this year! Our culture worships being busy and equates it with importance, and that’s really unfortunate. I can get caught up in busyness but try to create down time and convince myself that having down time is being productive, because it is. Taking rest is actually a success (and nothing to feel guilty about). It means you listened to your body and can get to the other thing tomorrow. Rest is giving yourself a break and refueling; and whatever puts your body and mind at ease (e.g., watching TV, painting, hiking). You can’t stay balanced if you don’t stop going.