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Brooklyn [Metjahic] Girls

Happiness is an emotional state of mind that brings a positive and energetic feeling. It just feels good! But did you know that happiness is also good for you? There are real health benefits to being happy, and studies show that joyful folks tend to eat a healthier diet and are more physically active. It makes sense, really. We've seen over and over how stress negatively affects our health so naturally, it's reasonable to consider the opposite to be true when we are able to replace stress with happiness, creating a positive shift in our hormones and a happier state of mind.

Studies illustrate the wonderful impact that happiness and positivity [which is felt in a state of happiness] have on our health and well-being. Soooo.... let's open ourselves up to more fun, more laughter, more happiness. Experiment: how much happy and positivity can you bring on? Look for opportunities everywhere while using a positive mindset- in the routine, in the mundane, and in all our social connections!

  • The National Library of Medicine did a study on positivity and the results are very encouraging. It illustrates the importance of happiness in supporting our health and immune system. Read the full article here: PubMed Study

  • The American Heart Association sums it up nicely... “If people can find even small ways to increase their ability to see the world in a more positive way, that can be very beneficial to their health" Read the full article here:

  • Improved cardiovascular health and decreased inflammation in the body are some of the physical benefits that can result from happiness. Read the full article here: Time Study

Spending time with family and friends can be a heartwarming way to happinessA family hike in the Colorado mountains is a favorite for me! As is a family (Airbnb) vacay where we tend to gather in the main living area, standing in a circle as we chat and joke around☺. Just passing my family peeps in the kitchen or on the stairwell makes me happy❤.

A trip to Brooklyn is another way for me to get my happy on.... connecting with family while eating favorite foods on repeat and laughing at comedic shows. On a recent visit, I reconnected with Alma, my cousin who I hadn't seen in many years. A single mom to three beautiful girls, with a demanding job, she is often left exhausted by the end of the week, but that didn't stop her from getting her happy on (and mine!) when she drove out one evening to spend time together at Rocca Cafe & Lounge in Sheepshead Bay.

Sitting waterside on Emmons Ave. and adorned with lights (albeit tacky) at the front and throughout the lounge, Rocca begged us to enter and hearing the live Jazz musician begin to play Balkan and Middle Eastern pop, it felt comfortable and familiar. Birthday song renditions in different languages and tempos played at different tables, the sound of clapping and laughter filling the air. Following through with my earlier suggestion of experimenting with happiness, I took it up a notch and requested a birthday song for Alma. The experiment was a happy success! Check out the video to see if you know what language it's in...

Happy, happy days to you! Enjoy a spontaneous "birthday" celebration next time you're out with family or friends🤪.

With love and sparkles,


March 6, 2023

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I'm not talking about taking small steps to achieve a greater goal, although that is a wonderfully effective way to do so [and worthy of a separate post!]. I'm referring to a holistic approach to positive mindfulness. Becoming increasingly aware of our surroundings and noticing small and incredible things. Appreciating nature and thoughtful gestures from family, friends and strangers. And appreciating... other stuff😊.

Have fun and experiment with this: set off to find small things that make you smile or make you wonder in awe. And when people say or do something nice while you're playing with this experiment, truly recognize it and allow it to fill you with positivity. When you really appreciate nature's beauty and life around you, it sparks happy feelings and happy thoughts. That's good for both your mental and physiological self. And when something negative stumbles in your way, you'll have some great, positive emotions and memories to recall that can help you navigate through the negative stuff. Let's work on crowding out negative thoughts with positive ones!

Seeing nature's beauty and feeling love and positivity in everyday things can lead to a happier and healthier whole self: that's the holistic approach to positive mindfulness I'm talking about ❤.


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Zivot fitness fun at IPW

A wellness program can do amazing things for an organization and there are many studies that support its direct and positive impact on both the individual and company level. I'm familiar with some of the great apps and coaching that companies offer employees, and they can be fantastic. Unfortunately, they can also be cost prohibitive for smaller organizations. The bright side here is that not utilizing programs intended for a larger audience opens the door to creativity and specificity when developing a wellness program for the workplace, and that allows for more flexibility as the program grows and changes with team members. I enjoyed, first-hand, incredible benefits when I created a wellness program at IPW, a manufacturing facility in Denver, CO [launched in 2017].

Here are just some of the wonderful things that came about as a direct result of the program:

  • Fostered a sense of community and collaboration across departments.

  • Reduced absenteeism.

  • Testimonials from team members cited improvements in health markers, such as blood pressure and decreased bouts of depression.

  • Lots more smiles and warm greetings!

  • Sessions on healthy eating habits were celebrated with nutritious and delicious potlucks with a rainbow of new recipes and tastings!

  • Fun HIIT classes that had us sweating and laughing!

  • Decreased renewal rate in medical premium two years in a row (company was self-funded)

It began with a simple flyer posted in the Denver facility that let team members know I'll be talking to the group about the foundation of health and wellness during an upcoming lunch. The majority was Spanish speaking, so I reached out and found an ambassador within the group who was bi-lingual. She translated that session for me and many others to come. Like many organizations, IPW had a facility and staff in another state, as well as some remote employees- I found an ambassador at our Indiana location to keep a pulse on things: program interest in our Indianapolis facility was different from that in Denver.

After the program launch and introduction to the foundation of living a healthier life, exciting challenges were rolled out. Challenges where individuals competed against themselves, with prizes that included fresh produce, fitness equipment and kitchen gadgets. Fitness was slowly incorporated into the program. I still remember the first time that I demonstrated a squat and lunge in the main breakroom while wearing dress pants and heels. It was the first time some of them saw these two moves and there were plenty of sweet smiles and giggles around the room. It was a playful energy and soon after, I began breakout sessions where we would do simple and beginner level fitness routines, just 5 or 10 minutes at first. The crowd grew and as we outgrew our space, we moved into the largest empty space of the warehouse-- the shipping area where trucks backed up into our docks to load up with inventory. The Warehouse Manager ensured a safe class each time, removing any pallets or equipment that could be a safety hazard and arranging pick-ups around class timing when possible. I led HIIT classes 2-3x a week and a Zumba instructor (an employee and fitness ambassador) led Zumba sessions 1-2x a week. We had company participation at about 30% for some time, including an older gentleman who we fondly referred to as Papa. He'd work out with his stylish western boots and denim each time - it was wonderful.

With such strong participation and an established program, I reached out to our Cigna partners to learn about wellness incentives they provide and how I can leverage them with the program. That discussion resulted in an on-going partnership where they attended a few of my classes onsite and I kept them abreast of challenges and fun going on. Seeing the positive impact, I received generous support from Cigna annually to help me with the program - they helped with equipment purchases consisting of yoga mats, dumbbells and rack, medicine balls, resistant bands, prizes and more! Cigna and our lab partner, Quest Diagnostic sponsored our first ever Health Fair where I had Quest Diagnostics come out and do basic lab work (and explanation of results) for all employees and their family members [whether they were insured or not]. The event was a success, and we had an overwhelming attendance on an off-work day!

Once the foundations of healthy eating were established and a robust fitness program in place, it was time to take it up a notch. I became an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and quickly began creating 6-week coaching sessions with groups up to 10, both onsite and remote. Sessions began with meditation and gratitude... it was a welcome break during the day for us all.

Continuing to build on the momentum of the wellness program, I introduced belly dancing. In fact, I led all my weekly sales and finance meetings with 1-2 belly dance songs - setting up my camera in the office to include team members in Indiana and Pennsylvania (remote). Disclaimer: I do NOT know how to belly dance. I like the music and the sound the wraps with the coins make, and I led the sessions with a very loose interpretation of belly dancing, at best. Interestingly enough, all the women participating in these weekly meetings learned to perform some of the basic moves, mastering the figure 8!

The best wellness programs include the physical, mental and spiritual well-being of the individual. How they are structured and what they offer will vary-- think of the programs being bio-individual in some sense since they must take into consideration the demographic, location, industry, interest, and other important things of the organization and its culture. When team members are supported this way, wonderful things happen within the organization, allowing the business to thrive and work wholly as one. It truly is a mutually beneficial and beautiful energy, passion and commitment all around.

"IPW’s fitness/wellness program made a profound and positive impact with those employees who participated. Not only did the employees learn about making healthy decisions regarding food and exercise, but it also substantially saved the company money with its health care costs. I am so pleased to have learned that the exercise sessions continue on a daily basis and know the health and well-being of those employees continues to improve. Zivot has left a lasting and meaningful impact." ~Keith Arnold, Co-Founder, IPW
"The program changed my outlook as I experimented with new ideas and learned how to live a healthy lifestyle. It was challenging at first but the more I stayed the path, the easier it got. I felt very strong, energized... such a GREAT feeling! When I was part of the wellness program, I was the healthiest that I had ever been and I was eating a diet that I've never eaten before. I truly miss Senia and what she brought to IPW." ~ Jose Montoya, IPW Shipping Warehouse Manager
"Imagine if you will that you're working in a warehouse with individuals speaking different languages. You would love to connect with them but language barriers make it difficult. Next, imagine a Zivot coach launching a wellness program in this warehouse. Like magic, people start laughing together, sweating together, and sharing a common goal. All of a sudden, the language barrier disappears. Friendships develop. Collaborations develop. Friends put language differences aside, work out together, struggle together and share huge successes TOGETHER. This happened to me!! My time with Zivot has been a life altering experience and I hope it becomes that for you as well." ~Jenny Pfeifer, Warehouse associate, IPW.
"The wellness program positively impacted my life. Participating in the coaching sessions and fitness classes changed my lifestyle for the better: I am eating well now, better managing my work life balance, and prioritizing my time to allow room for exercise. With a healthy body and mind, we can do all things." ~ Tjitra Armendariz, Payroll Specialist, IPW.

With love and sparkles,


Weekly sales and finance meetings at IPW

Healthy snacks coming in for a Zivot coaching session.

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