Create blocks of time in your calendar- When we schedule our day and not just those important daily tasks but also email, text messages, social media and other interrupters we don’t have to switch gears every few minutes which creates lots of empty time to get refocused back on track. Save time and feel less rushed because you can already see your day in advance and you feel confident that you can get it done without rushing and still have time to relax and have fun.
As a part of my series about “How to Slow Down To Do More” I had the pleasure to interview Kim Goeltom. She is a Certified Master Wellness Coach from the International Association of Wellness Professionals, founder of the Empowered Living for Superwomen Program, Speaker, Master Coach Leader and an example of living life slower for not only her clients but for her own well being. She has been on a holistic journey for over 20 years and has been coaching in various modalities for more than 15 years. It has only been in the last 3 years that she switched her focus to health and wellness coaching due to her own health challenges that she experienced in 2015 and 2016. She has been married for over 20 years and continues to enjoy adventures of traveling, hiking, eating all different kinds of food, reading and spending time with family, which is most important to her.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to this specific career path?
My journey to finding a healthy lifestyle has given me insights into the many challenges one encounters. This enables me to bring a high level of empathy, respect, and understanding to my clients.
I was a workaholic who survived on performance addiction and said ‘yes’ to everyone and every project and by doing that it took a toll on my health. I ended up with Adrenal Fatigue and didn’t have the energy to do anything.
For those who don’t know about adrenal fatigue, it can affect everyone a little differently. For me, it impacted my ability to think clearly, sleep, absorb nutrition and fully function in a capacity that I had been used to. Most nights I could only physically sleep 4 hours and it felt like I had hit the pause button and never felt rejuvenated the next day. Not sleeping was creating brain fog and a roller coaster with my eating and it got to the point that I wasn’t even absorbing nutrition from most of my food. I was getting more depleted and sick each day. I thought it was an ‘aging’ challenge, not a lifestyle challenge.
I was tired of being tired all the time and saying ‘no’ to all the fun things that I wanted to say ‘yes’ to!
After my diagnosis, I started exploring wellness and my journey of study organically led me to what I am doing today; helping to guide other highly driven female professionals who are exhausted from managing everything and everyone to overcome the nagging feeling that there’s never enough time in the day to get it done and the weight on their shoulders is only getting heavier so that they can finally figure out how to release the pressure and feel energized to live a life outside of the ‘to do’s’.
With technology, I am able to work with clients all over the world using a video conferencing platform. No need to worry about additional commute time to get to a physical appointment and hitting traffic on your way home.
According to a 2006 Pew Research Report report, 26% of women and 21% of men feel that they are “always rushed”. Has it always been this way? Can you give a few reasons regarding what you think causes this prevalent feeling of being rushed?
I don’t think it has always been this way. It has been this way for awhile now.
Technology is amazing. I believe that technology has also turned us into an ‘instant gratification’ society. People have a sense of needing to be on all the time, not to miss anything important with either work or personally. There is this sense of needing to respond to an email, text messages, messenger, facebook, and instagram in real time.
When we are constantly feeling interrupted it can create this sense of needing to rush and hurry and feel like we can never keep up.
Not to mention, every time we switch gears unexpectedly it takes another 10–15 minutes for us to get back to where we were in our work, thoughts or day to continue before the interruption, again creating this sense of needing to rush, because so much time is lost every time we are interrupted to take a call, answer an email or text.
For example, let’s say I am in the middle of writing a blog and I hear a beep on my phone and I know that I am expecting to find out if I got a particular contract or project, I switch gears to check that message just to find out it was a reminder to go pick up something from the grocery store later. When I go back to writing my blog article it will take me 10–15 minutes to get my brain back to where I left off. If I do this more than 4–5 times a day, I just lost an hour in switching gears and now feel rushed to make up the lost time by rushing and having more pressure in being rushed to get everything done. This is just one example, I see this happen all day long to so many people in various ways.
Based on your experience or research can you explain why being rushed can harm our productivity, health, and happiness?
Being rushed can create several challenges in our mind but also in our bodies. For example, when most people are rushed, they tend to start breathing shallowly. When that happens we start taking in less air, which we absolutely need to nourish our bodies and brain, and end up in a cycle where we are inducing stress in our bodies, just by how we breathe!
As you can imagine, this puts stress on our organs and affects our ability to think clearly, how we sleep, how we digest food and the list goes on. If we stay in this state we can start the fight or flight response which puts our body on alert mode, again increasing our stress levels and ability to have the harmony in our health and wellness that we are all looking for. When we are stressed we are not performing at peak health and not sharing the best version of ourselves. We aren’t available to be our best for ourselves or for those around us.
I know when I am stressed and operating in this mode, that I become short fused, unhappy, and frustrated easily. A person who is not rushed and relaxed feels like they can tackle the world and they can, because they are breathing air and oxygen into every cell of their body to the fullest capability so that they can live their best life ever.
What a difference being rushed vs not rushed can make in our daily lives with decision making, energy levels, how we interact with family, friends or colleagues and how we digest our food and life too!
On the flip side, can you give examples of how we can do more, and how our lives would improve if we could slow down?
Interestly enough, when we actually slow down, we start breathing life in fully, living in the present and are actually more productive and capable than a rushed person zooming here and there.
For example, a great way to slow down, is to block time to check email, text messages and other social media. When we create chunks of time for our work, social media, email and other daily tasks and don’t let notifications from all of our social media sources interrupt our day, we don’t switch gears unexpectedly and that hour I mentioned earlier that people lose when they switch gears 4–5 times a day, they just saved that hour. I have seen clients save 3 hours a day by not switching back and forth and slowing down to be in the present by chunking their time in 45 minute segments on their calendar; having dedicated time for social media and email in addition to their work or personal task list become more efficient and relaxed because they are not rushing anymore. They have a schedule that is allowing them peace of mind to get done what they need to do and still have fun and relaxation too!
We all live in a world with many deadlines and incessant demands for our time and attention. That inevitably makes us feel rushed. Can you share with our readers 6 strategies that you use to “slow down to do more”? Can you please give a story or example for each?
My 6 Steps to Slowing Down
- Breathe like a baby- Just watch a baby breathe and then reflect on your breathing and see what is different. A baby takes deep belly breaths, due to stress and modeling those in our environment, most people breathe shallowly. Start relearning how to breathe like a baby and watch your body start to feel relax and less inclined to rush.
- Create blocks of time in your calendar- When we schedule our day and not just those important daily tasks but also email, text messages, social media and other interrupters we don’t have to switch gears every few minutes which creates lots of empty time to get refocused back on track. Save time and feel less rushed because you can already see your day in advance and you feel confident that you can get it done without rushing and still have time to relax and have fun.
- Practice Mindfulness- We worry when we are thinking about the past or future which prevents us from being in the present. When we are present we aren’t rushing we aren’t worried, we are just in that moment and that is nurturing to who we are. Everytime you feel rushed, just take a deep breath and focus on the present. If you can, go outside and be in nature and take in fresh air and just absorb what you are seeing in that moment and try to just focus on the here and now. Do this as often as you need to until it becomes second nature to you.
- Learn to say No- There are lots of things that we want to do in this world, but at the end of the day, we are one person and we each have the same 24 hours in a day. Make sure you have not overbooked yourself to the point that you can’t have fun or relax. When we say ‘no’ we are creating boundaries that help us to live healthier, happier relaxed lives.
- Create a Daily Self Care Routine- Most people think that getting a luxury massage or spa excursion is self care. I look at those as icing on a cake (who doesn’t love icing?!). We need a cake to put the icing on or we can become an overworked, exhausted, and frazzled person that is not enjoying the best life possible. Creating a self care routine that you can live by daily is key to avoiding this. This could look like blocking time in your calendar to practice mindfulness, taking a nap, reading a book, or whatever it is that nurtures you. For each person, this is different. Do a little soul searching and rediscover what is it that truly nurtures you and do that daily!
- Take time to nourish yourself with yummy healthy food! This may seem like an obvious one, but when we are rushing around and get into that fight or flight mode we tend to make unhealthy food choices which doesn’t energize us. If you have 10 cups of coffee to try to get your energy levels up, your body is going to start to feel super rushed and a new cycle will begin. By eating healthy nourishing foods, we naturally create a relaxed state in our body.
How do you define “mindfulness”? Can you give an example or story?
I define mindfulness as being in the present moment and being aware of my surroundings in that moment.
For example, if I stop what I am doing or am in between things, and just take 60 seconds to take in the smells, the sunshine, the temperature and just be aware of everything that my body and mind is experiencing in that moment, that is mindfulness to me. When you do that, it is easy to just relax and not feel rushed. It reminds me to focus on my breathing and just be me in that moment.
Can you give examples of how people can integrate mindfulness into their everyday lives?
An easy way to integrate mindfulness into everyday life is to realize first of all that you can do this anywhere and at any time of day. If we can create a routine, it is easier to follow and will eventually become a habit that we truly benefit from. I like to include this as part of my morning routine. I try to incorporate this throughout my morning. For example, when I am in the shower, I like to be mindful of the soap, the shampoo and feeling the warm water on my body. After I have had a shower and ready to eat my breakfast, I like to take a few minutes of silence and just be mindful of my energy, my day, the smells around me, the weather and really breathe in that energy of what is happening in that moment. I also like to set a daily intention as part of my mindfulness practice. Maybe that day, I want to be more aware of a deadline and having multiple times in the day as reminders to be mindful so that I can stay relaxed and high functioning. When I am stressed, I am not a great performer in any area of my life. Relaxed is best for me!
Mindfulness can be incorporated at any time of day and anywhere it works best for each person!
Do you have any mindfulness tools that you find most helpful at work?
When I first started implementing mindfulness, I needed more reminders than anything at work. I would put recurring reminders in my calendar daily just to get into the habit of being mindful and this was especially helpful when I was working at the office or my home office, as I would get lost in a project and forget to be mindful. Now, I don’t have to have those recurring reminders at home or at work anymore, as they have become habits, like brushing your teeth!
Something I still do, is have a little note by my monitor that just says, Be Mindful. This is a reminder for me to practice mindfulness throughout the day so that I can stay relaxed, focused and energized.
For those who work in a busy office and find it hard to be mindful with all of the distractions around you, I recommend taking a walk around your office building as a way of incorporating mindfulness. Or go to the restroom for a few minutes to practice mindfulness. Finding a place at your office where you can create a new habit of checking in with yourself and just being present, focusing on your breathing will energize you and get your recharged for the rest of your work day!
What are your favorite books, podcasts, or resources that inspire you to use mindfulness tools or practices?
I love Books! Here are a few of my favorite that inspire me to use mindfulness:
- The Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh
- The Power of Now by Echkart Tolle
- Healthy Happy Sexy by Katie Silcox
- Awakening to the Secret Code of Your Mind by Dr. Darren R. Weissman
- Habit Changers by M.J. Ryan
- A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook by Bob Stahl PH.D & Elisha Goldstein PH.D
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
My favorite life lesson quote was inspired by my Wellness Coach, Morgan Sheets, and it is, ‘doing nothing is doing something’. She shared this with me when I was going through my adrenal fatigue and found it hard to relax and didn’t see value in rest with my massive projects and to do lists to be tackled. I began to remind myself and use this phrase to help stay on track. Morgan helped me to understand why doing nothing was important and that resting was actually doing something. I would encourage everyone to practice doing nothing and just resting, it is so nurturing and the best gift that you can ever give yourself.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
That is a great question. If I could inspire a movement.. I would love to see mindfulness taught in our schools. If this is taught from an early age and becomes lifestyle habits, the future generations would have this sense of being grounded unlike any other generation before them.
By being grounded and present, they would change the dynamics of the workplace, society would change, and interactions with family and friends. When people are mindful they are happier, healthier and live their best life. I could see that truly making a huge impact with a wide range of how that would be expressed in the rest of society.
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Thank you so much for these insights! This was so inspiring!