4.19.2017 | printed in the Spring 2017 issue of VITAL magazine
Brandan Fokken, Holistic Director
Brandan has been working with POET wellness for the past six years. He is a sponsored International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness (IFBB) pro physique athlete, published writer, motivational speaker and fitness coach. He loves helping and working with people, especially through the fitness industry. Brandan’s main goal in life is to be a great husband and father to his wife and son. Along with living a healthy lifestyle, he strives to drive others to exceed their expectations by inspiring, educating and motivating them to always achieve their goals.
Melissa Fletcher, Spiritual Guide
Melissa is an ordained pastor, registered dietitian and licensed nutritionist. She brings with her 22 years of experience in educating and counseling individuals in pastoral care, nutrition, fitness and wellness. She provides spiritual and nutritional support and guidance at POET and is married to Chad, another member of the POET family, with four beautiful children. “We are all on this journey called life together,” says Melissa. “Therefore, I value meeting people where they are at and helping them get to where they want to go. Every day is a gift, and blessings come in all shapes and sizes. Because of that, we should strive to live each day to the fullest!”
Sarah Knutson, Holistic Therapist
Sarah is a massage therapist who attained her license from the South Dakota School of Massage in Sioux Falls, S.D. She has been practicing for 13 years and provides a variety of services to POET team members and their families, including on-site massage therapy, homeopathy, foot detoxes and mind-body support. Sarah’s quality of life has improved from natural healing remedies, and she has a deep passion to pass that knowledge on to others and show how the body has the amazing ability to heal itself.
Healthy Habit Challenge: Foster Wellness for Your Mind, Body and Spirit
by Brandan Fokken
A habit is a behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary. Not all habits are bad. However, when they begin to negatively impact our health, it’s important to break them and adopt new habits that promote a healthier lifestyle and quality of life.
The goal of this challenge is to focus on implementing just one healthy change per week. Here are eight simple steps you can take to begin the journey toward a healthier, happier you.
1. WATER: Drinking enough water throughout the day promotes healthy digestion, hydration, brain function and metabolism, to name a few.
Week 1 Challenge: Focus on drinking at least six to eight cups of water per day.
2. ELIMINATE REFINED SUGARS: Consuming too much sugar increases your risk for many long-term health problems, such as weight gain, diabetes and other chronic diseases.
Week 2 Challenge: Focus on replacing sugary treats with healthier options such as fruits, raw veggies or nuts.
3. SLEEP: Our bodies need sleep, but it’s easy to overlook the importance of being well-rested. Sleep promotes heart health and weight loss, may prevent cancer, and reduces stress and inflammation.
Week 3 Challenge: Focus on getting at least seven to nine hours of sleep each night.
4. EXERCISE: In addition to paying attention to nutrition and getting enough rest, exercise is a key component of a healthy lifestyle. Cardiovascular exercise and weight training have tremendous long-term health benefits.
Week 4 Challenge: Push yourself to be active for 20-30 minutes, three to five times each week.
5. CULTIVATE SELF-LOVE: We’re all guilty of being too hard on ourselves. Practicing self-love leads to overall positivity.
Week 5 Challenge: Look in the mirror each day this week and say something positive about what is in the reflection, like “I love my smile” or “I am strong.”
6. ELIMINATE PROCESSED FOODS: Processed and pre-packaged foods are higher in salt, sugar, and fat — three ingredients that can cause a variety of long-term health issues.
Week 6 Challenge: Focus on replacing meals with natural foods and limited processing to maximize nutritional value. Look up a few recipes and try cooking meals at home using fresh produce.
7. DISCOVER YOUR BALANCE: Even though it is difficult, it is important to find a balance between all the areas pulling on you in life such as your work, home, family and health. Take the time to understand where your energy is best spent and make sure you aren’t spreading yourself too thin.
Week 7 Challenge: Write down all the activities you are involved in, work or extracurricular, choose the top three you are most passionate about, and maybe consider if you can still be as involved in the rest.
8. BE STILL: We were created to be human beings, not human doings. It is important to take time to step away from what you’re doing, decompress and refocus yourself. Find a quiet place where you can sit comfortably, close your eyes and just be. Regardless of the chaos life might throw your way each week, it’s important to take time for yourself.
Week 8 Challenge: Focus on taking 15 minutes out of each day this week to simply “be.”
Meditation: The Art of Self-Care
by Melissa Fletcher
In a world that is always on the move, it can be difficult to slow down and simply “be.” Yet there is a simple act of self-care that requires only a few minutes each day and has numerous health benefits for the mind, body and soul: meditation.
Meditation, simply stated, is a practice of being still. It is also a spiritual practice that helps us connect with the higher power in this world. Here are a few tips for developing your own practice. Take a deep breath, slow down and get started.
1. FIND A QUIET AREA FREE FROM DISTRACTIONS. This can be a room in your house, the workplace or even somewhere in nature.
2. GET A MENTAL PICTURE. Focus your thoughts on something positive that brings you joy, such as your passions, the people in your life, or the beauty of creation and the world around you.
3. CONCENTRATE ON YOUR BREATHING. How deep or shallow is your breath? Notice the rising and falling of your chest.
4. CHOOSE A SILENT MEDITATION OR ONE THAT INCLUDES SOFT MUSIC OR NATURE SOUNDS. You can create a personal playlist, or go to a music or meditation app on your digital device with pre-programmed music or sounds.
5. CHOOSE A WORD OR PHRASE TO CREATE A MANTRA. You can even time your choice with your breathing. For example, you can use phrases like, “I choose to live” or “Excellence does not require perfection.”
As you breathe in, think to yourself, “I choose.” As you breathe out, think, “To live.” Continue to breathe and recite the phrase a few times.
Taking time for yourself is essential to a well-balanced life and your overall health. Breathe … and just “be.”
HEALTH BENEFITS OF MEDITATION
• Reduces stress
• Decreases blood pressure
• Decreases pain/Inflammation
• Improves memory
• Helps with sleep
• Improves mood
• Brings clarity
• Promotes peace of mind
• Improves immune functions and healing
Discover Essential Oils: Melt Away Stress with Lavender Oil
by Sarah Knutson
Have you heard about the many benefits of essential oils but aren’t sure what to do with them? Essential oils are used primarily for their scents and healing effects. They can help you achieve a variety of health goals, from serving as an antiseptic and anti-inflammatory agent to promoting relaxation.
When buying essential oils, look for 100 percent therapeutic grade. Do your research and buy only good quality essential oils! If you are new to essential oils, a simple lavender oil can be a great place to start.
Lavender is believed by many to help reduce anxiety, stress and fatigue.
HOW TO USE LAVENDER OIL:
• Add six to eight drops lavender oil in bathwater or a
foot soak to help calm the nerves.
• Put one to three drops in the inside corner of your
pillow case to promote a good night’s sleep.
• For the kids: Make homemade play dough (look for
recipes online) and add a few drops of lavender oil
to the dough to help keep them relaxed and focused
while they are sculpting!
Other Stories in this collection:
Energy for Life: Meet the Energy for Life Team