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Brain Drain: How Stress, Fatigue, and Daily Habits Sabotage Our Work—and How to Fight Back!

Join me for my session “Brain Drain: How Stress, Fatigue, and Daily Habits Sabotage Our Work—and How to Fight Back!” at the 2015 ATD Regional Conference, May 6th.

A major issue facing companies today is employee exhaustion and low productivity.  According to a Harvard Medical School study, 96% of senior leaders report feeling burned out.  Additionally, over half of employees say that work stress has made them look for a new job, leave a job or turn down a promotion.

But while the “do more with less” mentality that came to prominence during the recent economic downturn shows no signs of abating, we often add to our stress by unknowingly sabotaging ourselves.  The result is disengagement, feelings of malaise and restlessness, and even physical illness.  What can we personally do to keep ourselves in a positive and productive state?

While research shows that stress can actually shrink the brain, a healthy brain is associated with effective, goal-directed behavior.  In this high-energy session, Kirsi will demonstrate that productivity is about more than a strong corporate culture and work satisfaction. It involves an integrated set of principles that can be understood and applied regardless of role or position.  Participants will learn how to adopt healthy work habits in their company that improve brain health, relationships and productivity, and have an opportunity to develop an action plan for elevating their own performance.

To register visit:


How Less Stress Can Attract and Retain Talent

Join my SHRM webinar on “How Less Stress Can Attract and Retain Talent” on Tuesday, April 21st.

A recent study showed that over half of employees say that work stress has made them look for a new job, leave a job or say no to a promotion. You’ll learn how reduced employee stress can improve morale, retain key employees and can help your organization win a Best Places to Work award  – and how your organization can apply a similar approach.
Learning objectives:
    • Success components of effectively reducing work stress that drives engagement and retention (why many current approaches are not enough)
    • Business benefits of reduced work stress and improved morale
    • Case study: How to structure a wellness program to boost morale, attract and retain talent

To register click here.

5 Steps to Boost Employee Productivity

Employee productivity is directly related to health and wellbeing. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, productivity losses related to personal and family health problems cost U.S. employers $1,685 per employee per year or $225.8 billion annually. A stressed, overwhelmed employee will have problems remembering where files are, focusing on a task or concentrating in meetings.  Motivation, engagement and work satisfaction are diminished. Over half of employees say that work stress has made them look for a new job, leave a job or say no to a promotion.

Stress is designed to help us. When the body’s stress response is working properly, it helps us stay focused, energetic, and alert. It also helps us meet challenges. Stress is what keeps us alert during a presentation and can sharpen our concentration.

However beyond a certain point, stress stops being helpful and starts causing major damage to our health, mood, and productivity.

In today’s Information Age we are experiencing an unprecedented amount of stimulants that stress our nervous system beyond what we can handle and even recognize. We don’t realize that from a biological point of view that we are in the 21st century, that we are safe and that we are not threatened by lions or tigers. Our body is constantly taking in “insults”; the buzzing of our phones, text messages, a constant flood of emails or a seemingly endless to-do list. Our body does not differentiate among these “insults” as non-threatening stresses, which causes the same stress response. As we experience these insults repeatedly throughout the day our health starts to deteriorate.   It can come in the form of headaches, muscle tension, muscle pain, chest pain, fatigue, upset stomach, insomnia, anxiety, restlessness, lack of motivation, lack of focus or irritability.

To read the full report click here.

Is this getting in the way of your success?

How can a man go from being a successful CEO of a business he created to being escorted from his own home in a straight jacket? That is exactly what happened to Paul Huljich. He hit a wall. He was by any definition a healthy human being, mentally, emotionally and physically until it started – the s word: stress. The full story unfolds in his book, “Stress Pandemic”. In it Paul describes how he is diagnosed with bi-polar as a result of stress and despite world renowned doctors telling him he would be plagued with the disease for the rest of his life, he heals himself completely.

And I get it. I too hit a wall. I was like the Energizer Rabbit, just going and going and going. Back when I was still in the corporate world I got caught up in the awe of working at a multinational company and not just having 1 role or 2 roles but 3 roles. 2 of which required international travel. I didn’t stop to second-guess it; I was moving forward in my career and doing what it took. Fast forward a few years and one day in mid conversation my body hit the floor. I had fainted and yes it was because of stress. I didn’t get it. I thought I had my health “right” and “under control”. I had no illnesses. I was young. I worked out at the gym 2-3 times a week. I ate my salads with chicken. I was fit and healthy or so it seemed.  Stress crept in and hit me like a ton of bricks. It literally felt that way. I lay in bed the remainder of that day feeling completely drained, weak and perplexed.  It was right after that experience that I started turning my health around. Today I am glad to say I am healthy and have a handle on stress. In fact I now work with people and corporations to help them reduce stress and get their health back on track.


You may think, “I am not stressed, I’m fine”. Are you sure? Do any of the below sound familiar to you?

  1. Your mind does not get quiet, you’re always thinking, analyzing, reflecting on work no matter where you are. It’s always on your mind – first thing in the morning and last thing at night as your head hits the pillow. Heck you even dream about work.
  2. You don’t know how to keep still or just be. You always need to be doing something otherwise it just does not seem right.
  3. Sleep is not a priority. You get less than the 7-9 hours your body needs.
  4. Even when you’re off work, you are still connected to it through your beloved smartphone – man’s new best friend. It does not leave your side. You check it constantly. The mere thought of leaving your phone somewhere else makes you feel uneasy.


If this is you, it’s time to clean up your life. Take a good hard look at yourself and get real about what is happening. You can take back your health and life.  There is no cookie cutter approach to a full solution. I want to emphasize full solution. There are great recommendations like having vitamin C to decrease your cortisol levels (a stress hormone) but that alone will not fully address or eliminate the day-to-day stress you have on the job and outside of it too.

It really comes down to a full solution that is uniquely designed to suit your body and lifestyle. It has to be addressed from many angles.

If you want to find out what specific steps you or your employees need to take to reduce stress and get healthy contact me @