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Stress Management:

Stress can affect health. That's a well-known fact, but recent scientific studies prove that unmanaged stress can have profound negative health effects. No body part is spared! Stress can impact the brain, muscles and immune system, reducing our bodies' ability to fight disease - as well as leaving us feeling tired and reduced.

Stress can be a good thing. When channeled properly, stress can prompt us to achieve. But a study by the American Academy of Family Physicians showed that 42 percent of women, and 31 percent of men, fail to adequately manage their stress.

What to do? We invite you to explore that questions with your colleagues on our Message Board.

To prompt discussion, we provide some findings we learned from Flight Attendants in a survey conducted on this site over the past two months. Note: congratulations to American Airlines Flight Attendant, Lisa Johnson, who won our drawing for a $50 McCormick and Schmick's gift certificate for participating in the survey!

Our survey findings are not scientific, but the insights can be useful. We leave it to you to discuss how best to use this information to "move forward."

Biggest "stressors"

  • Home:
    • Keeping up with maintenance and care
    • Siblings fighting
    • Keeping everyone's schedule on track
    • Lack of time for all family responsibilities
    • I don't know how to say no!
    • Finances
  • Work:
    • Angry passengers
    • Bad weather/delays
    • Terrorist/crashing
    • Wondering if this is the day someone will try to take over our aircraft and I will have to fight for my life.
    • Tired!
  • Commuting/Layovers:
    • Sleeping problems on layovers
    • Time changes
  • As a "stress reliever" - what "I enjoy most about my work:"
    • Spending time with and working with friends
    • Interactions with fellow crewmembers and most pax
    • The people I work with
    • Travel and the opportunity to experience different cities and activities.

We invite you to go to the Message Board and open discussions on these points. Here are several tips. They come from an article in the May, 2006 edition of Ladies Home Journal. How would you apply these?

  • Pay attention to your aches and pains
  • Stay close to friends and family
  • Choose the right exercise
  • Gain a sense of control over "something"
  • Laugh it up
  • Cuddle your kids - or get a pet
  • If self-help doesn't help, consult a professional.

Below are tips on Nutrition and Exercise. We offer principles. Apply these to your life, then go to the Message Board to share your approach and your progress.


By Mary Liz Murphy
Holistic Health Counselor

Mary Liz's USER NAME on our Message Board:
Look for her on-going tips and comments.

Nutrition Tips

Most people know it is important to eat well to build foundation for good health. The problem is most busy people don't know how and find it confusing, complicated or intimidating to figure out what foods are best for them.

The choices you make every day can contribute to your health or to your demise. The following five tips will guide you to make healthy food choices every day and every meal, without extra stress, deprivation or a degree in nutrition.

Indulge in the Free Stuff

Many of your prime nutrients are not going to be on a grocery store shelf.

  • Fresh air - you can't live more than seven minutes without oxygen. It is essential to every cell function. Most people breathe at only 25% their capacity, which means you are denying your body of 75% of the number one nutrient it needs.
  • Water - the second most important nutrient. Water is the universal solvent and rids your body of waste and toxins. Be sure to drink at least 64 oz of pure water a day. Buy a water filtration system for your home and save.
  • Sunshine - provides energy, lifts your spirits and is essential for Vitamin D production. It also helps you to adjust from jetlag.

Look for the Rainbow Colors

Rainbow food, that is fruits and vegetables, are high in vitamin and mineral content, especially powerful antioxidants with reduce inflammation and stimulate your immune system. The more color the better; eat berries, peppers, beets, broccoli, carrots, yams, tomatoes, cherries, melons and more. Give your food palate a splash of color at every meal.

Variety Is the Spice of Life

Eating the same food day after day is boring and probably will leave you deprived of nutrients. In addition, constantly eating the same food may cause food sensitivities. Yes too much of a good thing can be bad. The most commonly eaten foods are also the most common allergic foods, ie dairy products, wheat, eggs, coffee, soy and oranges. Enjoy variety by eating different ethic foods. Select seasonal foods; they are often cheaper, fresher and it is nature's way to guarantee variety.

Go Naked

The closer food is to its naked, natural state, the healthier. Enjoy a handful of raw nuts or carrot and celery sticks, or a crisp apple to appreciate this tip. A baked potato is more nutritious than potato chips. A sliced tomato is healthier than ketchup, although, there are some who argue that ketchup is a vegetable. Avoid processed food. Naked also means avoiding toxic pesticides, chemicals and food additives. Invest in organic whenever possible. Generally, fresh is healthier than frozen, canned or cooked.

Stay on the Move with Fiber

Food high in fiber acts as a mechanical broom through your digestive tract which improves the transit time for food and keeping wastes and toxins from accumulating. Whole foods offer the best antidote to limp, lifeless processed food. Select sturdy whole grains like brown rice, oatmeal and a new favorite, quinoa. Root vegetables with fibrous skins like squash and beets and yams provide ample "roughage". Juicy fresh fruit contributes to your body's requirement for water. Choose organic and eat the skins, if not, it is better to peel to avoid toxins.

Go to the message board and share your experiences, recipes, and comments with these tips and more.


By Caitlin Murphy
Fitness Expert -

Caitlin's USER NAME on our Message Board:
Look for her on-going tips and comments.

Exercise Principles

There are three main components to a well balanced workout: Cardiovascular exercise, strength training (toning) and stretching.

Cardiovascular exercise works your heart and burns lots of calories. Strength training builds muscle that helps your body burn more calories even at rest. Strength training helps increase bone density and prevents injury also. Stretching increases your flexibility, helps you relax and guards against injury.

What's Your Exercise Level?

If you are new to exercise it is great to aim for three 20-30 minute workouts per week. You might find walking to be a great cardio option. At least one of these workouts should include strength training and you should conclude each workout with some stretching.

If you have been exercising for a few months try to aim for three to four 30-minute workout sessions per week. At least two of these workouts should include strength training as noted above. You might want to make one workout per week a yoga or pilates session - but again don't hesitate to go to the Message Board for advice.

If you have been exercising regularly for over six months try to aim for three to four 30-45 minute workouts per week. You might want to try intense cardio like running. At least two of these workouts should include strength training and some stretching, and again consider making one workout per week a yoga or pilates session.


Whether you have a heavy travel schedule, or you work in one location, such as the airport, it is still possible to workout on a regular basis. What follows are some suggestions for fitting working out into your busy schedule. For most workouts you don't need to have a gym or even any equipment except a pair of good running shoes. Other workouts require inexpensive portable equipment like a jump rope and some strength training bands. However if you like to workout in a gym many large chain gyms (24hourfitness, Gold's gym, etc.) offer cheap day passes in many cities - which is cheaper and easier than getting a full membership. Large chains can be found in many cities and a membership to one gets you access to all their clubs.

Also, since you are so busy it is possible to combine your workouts with things that you already do. We have provided you with what we call "creative combinations" which are a great way to get the most bang for your buck out of your workout.

What follows are a few suggestions for workouts. Try them, then go to the Message Board and share your insights and ideas.

Exercise Ideas

5 moves: (squat, lunge, pushup, dips, crunches) these can be used with cardio intervals indoors or outdoors. Try them on a path on a layover, or on a lunch break at the airport. To do this workout:

  • Walk or run for 5 minutes to warm up
  • Perform squats for 1 minute
  • Walk or run for 2 minutes
  • Perform lunges for 1 minute
  • Walk or run for 2 minutes
  • Perform dips for 1 minute
  • Walk or run for 2 minutes
  • Perform crunches for 1 minute
  • Repeat this pattern until your workout time is up, then cool down for 5 minutes and stretch out

Strength Training with bands: this provides strength training with cheap portable equipment used at home or at a hotel.

Group exercise classes at a gym are a great way to workout and get social interaction.

Jump rope: cheap, portable cardio workout that can be done anywhere.

Exercise videos

Walks, runs, hikes, bikes

Since you are so busy it is possible to combine your workouts with things that you already do.

Creative Combinations

  • Walk, hike, bike, run with family, coworkers, friends
  • Walk while talking to family/friends on the phone (headset)
  • Watch TV and workout (bands, 5 moves, jump rope, run, etc.)
  • Sightsee and go for a hike, bike, run, swim
  • Take an exercise class with family, friends, coworkers
  • Meet friends at the gym and workout together
  • Meet friends at a restaurant/ coffee shop near a gym and go after a workout
  • Designate different workouts for different cities conducive to the environment (swim in the southern coastal cities, bike in California, hike in Denver, run in Seattle)
  • Go shopping downtown in a city in order to walk more
  • 15-minute terminal walks (add "5 moves")
  • Read and workout on a exercise bike, elliptical machine
  • Quick workouts (3 x 10 min per day)
  • Help kids with sports practice
  • Use stairs at hotel instead of the elevator
  • Use a pedometer and try to reach 8,000- 10,000 steps per day
  • Structure social engagements around exercise instead of food

Editors note: Mary Liz Murphy, our Nutrition expert above, is my sister. Caitlin Murphy is my daughter. Both are recognized experts - Mary Liz is certified as a Holistic Health Counselor, and Caitlin is not only certified as a fitness trainer, but she wrote a book to help college students get fit (while in college herself) - see

More than that (and here's the editorial comment,) I found that in learning to recover from 9/11, I relied on family. Mary Liz and Caitlin were part of that for me, and they are volunteering their services here to help aviation employees. So I thank them! If you know of any additional fitness and/or nutrition experts, please contact us and we'll provide "links" to them below.

Good luck! Hope to see you on our Message Board sharing your thoughts and opinions - and progress!

And don't forget to enter our ESSAY COMPETITION this summer - tell us how the support you've gotten from your colleagues on the Message Board has helped you.

Remember: community is our strength!