Teresa Kay-Aba Kennedy admits to once being the classic corporate perfectionist. A Harvard M.B.A. grad, Kennedy enjoyed a fast-paced media career. At 27 she became vice president of business development and operations at MTV Networks Interactive-a position she says nearly killed her.
Stress and being in constant motion, she says, resulted in an ever-present anxiety. “That was me,” says Kennedy. “I pushed myself to the brink. I had this workaholic mentality.” When she was diagnosed with an ulcerated digestive system, Kennedy knew she had to take control of her life. She left her corporate position shortly after and become a wellness activist.
In 2001, she founded a yoga center in Harlem and is now president of Power Living Enterprises Inc (www.power-living .com), a lifestyle coaching company with programs that teach executives how to lead productive, healthy lives. Most overworked and stressed out employees are lacking S.E.X., says Kennedy: sleep, exercise, and x-tracurricular activities.
Sleep: “It is a vital energy source. It also allows the body to repair itself,” says Kennedy. Unfortunately, most executives don’t get enough. “If your family knows that they can reach you at 1 a.m. at your office, that’s a problem. We often overvalue ourselves at the office. If you drop dead, the work is still going to be there.”
Exercise: Don’t just think of scheduled gym time. It’s important to move every day. “Park your car a little further. Get off at an early subway or bus stop. Exercise raises blood sugar levels, boosts metabolism, elevates your mood, and releases toxins through perspiration.”
X-tracurricular Activities: It’s not all about work. “Take time to pause and play-and laugh. There’s a survey that suggests children laugh 400 times a day; adults only laugh 15 times. Laughter works your insides and releases endorphins, which fight against depression.