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Nov 29, 2017 · Give Yourself Permission

When you want to explore an idea, take a break, or change direction in life – do you ask others for permission?  Are you someone who will consider options and make a decision based on your values and resources, or do you tend to set aside your own priorities and sacrifice your health, sanity, or integrity to please others?

A broad definition of ‘permission’ is consent, authorization, an ‘ok’ – basically, approval from others.  Permission can be appropriate and useful in many circumstances; however, a pattern of repeated sacrifices to one’s health and well-being can be harmful, including when practiced as self-loathing.  Habits of trying to ‘keep up with the Joneses’, feed someone else’s ego, or serve someone else’s values damage one’s mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical well-being.

Steps to practice in giving yourself permission:

  • Take time to really evaluate your core values.
  • Pay attention to (and maybe change) the language you use with yourself.
  • Learn more about setting healthy boundaries: Talk to a qualified coach or counselor.
  • Remember to consider the context in which you and others behave – we all have a story.
  • Are you a human? Human’s make mistakes. Humans change their minds.
  • Consider the Higher Principles of Gratitude, Acceptance, Compassion, Meaning, and Forgiveness.

The tough stuff can also be the most meaningful, the most healing. These practices include setting and keeping boundaries; showing compassion for self and others; and adapting to circumstances while maintaining integrity.  I “dare” you to give yourself permission: to take an extra moment of quiet time, to step away from your work station for lunch, to read a book simply for fun.  Best wishes!


-Nicole Burow, Health & Wellness Coach

Apr 11, 2017 · Adapt fitness: grip assistance Activity Mitt

gripHave you ever needed a little help opening a jar? Or holding a door? Or maybe carrying an item?

We all could use a little assistance sometimes and in various settings – at the gym is no different.

In a fitness setting, sometimes adaptations need to be made in order for us to execute movements safely, effectively, and without pain. Equipment is not built to be usable by every variation of how a human body is built or the way one moves.

Good news: Numerous options for movement adaptation exist at the DAHLC! One option includes grip assistance for anyone who may benefit from additional grip support while holding equipment through a movement.

Grip is a crucial consideration when adding resistance or movement to the human body. Reasons for using grip assistance vary, too: Some exercisers use weight-lifting gloves to provide extra safety when practicing heavy weight training; others may want to protect their hands from rough callouses. Still others may need the security of grip assistance provides in order to successfully maneuver. Safety and security through execution of a movement while maintaining hand control on the weight can be overcome with the use of a grip assistance activity mitt. This adaptive device is used to stabilize your hand and fingers in a grip position around the object you plan to lift or pull.

grip-assist-activity-mitt_step-4_db grip-assist-activity-mitt_step-6_db

Next steps:

  • Ask a Health and Wellness Coach to show you where the mitts are located and how to properly secure the mitt to the equipment you use.
  • Review another resource: NuStep-glove-step-by-step and the activity mitt
  • Learn more information about the “Activity Mitt“, or assistive glove.
  • Stay tuned for more information about adaptive equipment available at the DAHLC in future blog posts or email

Sep 19, 2016 · Chronic WHAT?

HelloIf a chronic condition (blood pressure, anxiety, blood sugar, pain, arthritis, heart disease, depression, or any number of other health issues) has been a concern for you or someone you care for, you may be interested in learning more about the Living Well with Chronic Conditions (LWCC) program.

What does ‘chronic condition’ mean?  Who has a chronic condition?  Do I need to have a diagnosis? What are the age requirements?  My shoe is chronically untied . . . and the condition of my car could be improved . . .

In the case of the LWCC program, the term ‘chronic’ refers to ‘on-going or constantly recurring’; condition means ‘state or circumstance that affects the way a person lives’.

So, would chronic back pain be included? Yes.

What about obesity? Yes. Obesity is a condition of being chronically overweight.

Do I need a doctor’s note? No.

Will this take the place of my current condition management? No, not necessarily.  From patient education at Stanford University, the program “will not conflict with existing programs or treatment. It is designed to enhance regular treatment and disease-specific education such as Better Breathers, cardiac rehabilitation, or diabetes instruction. In addition, many people have more than one chronic condition. The program is especially helpful for these people, as it gives them the skills to coordinate all the things needed to manage their health, as well as to help them keep active in their lives.”


What kind of activities take place during sessions?

  • Participants work as partners to create plans for action
  • Participants contribute to group brainstorm activity
  • Peer facilitators participate alongside current group members

May my caretaker or spouse join me in the class? Great question: A caretaker or spouse (or friend, sibling, parent) may only join the group as an active participant and work through the program alongside you.  This means also being a DAHLC member, paying for the class, and participating in curriculum, brainstorming, and action plans.

Who do I contact with questions?
General registration information: 
DAHLC front desk 507-266-4688,
Information session and beginning of registration:  Thursday, Sept. 22 @ 1:30pm
Session dates
: Oct. 6 – Nov. 10  Thursdays 1:30-4pm
Specific questions to: or 


Aug 24, 2016 · Does Minimally Disruptive Medicine Work?

Great question with an uncertain answer. My science/research/evidence-based trained brain tells me, “be realistically skeptical.” My personal experience tells me, “yes, of course it works.”  This is when I wish I had a giant PAUSE button where I could stop the flurry of information and activity going on around me to be able to analyze the facts and acknowledge the feelings.

Burden of treatment, burden of illness

1 Burden of treatment, burden of illness.

As a wellness coach, I’m trained to be as objective as possible – knowing I have some unconscious bias – and to allow the patient in front of me to be the relative expert in his or her own life.

As a health educator and fitness trainer, I’ve been trained to review objective evidence and choose best practice.  To me, what is exciting  about Minimally Disruptive Medicine (MDM) is that it is a blend of relativity and objectivity to create an effective plan for a patient (or client, or consumer) based on what the patient values and wants for his or her life. In other words, a treatment protocol that improves the quality of life for a particular human being based on what is most important and realistic to that human being.

Here at Mayo Clinic, the patient comes first.  And each patient is a first a human being, then a patient. Does patient-centered care seem like an empty phrase? How can we take a collective step back to re-examine how we practice ‘medicine’ and ‘wellness’ to engage and promote ²effective care that fits?

One option is to attend the ³MDM Workshop next month – September 27-29, 2016. CEs are available for those who qualify (11.5 AMA PRA Category 1 credits).  Watch and listen to this video for more information on kind and careful care.

side1 side2

  1. Rethinking the patient: using Burden of Treatment Theory to understand the changing dynamics of illness
  2. Minimally Disruptive Medicine
  3. Minimally Disruptive Medicine workshop


May 10, 2016 · Tasty Tuesday - DAHLC Center Café

Salmon Florentine and Risotto + spinach was delicious! Thanks for a great meal. Wasn’t able to find recipe on DAHLC website to use in FitBit or MyFitnessPal food tracking; is the recipe out there and I just missed it? Thanks!

Dec 14, 2015 · Preparing for the Holidays

Where does your mind go when someone asks you, “Are you ready for the holidays?”

Do you excitedly express how many times you have listened to your favorite Christmas CD or Pandora station whilst wrapping copious amounts of gifts, baking dozens of cookies, and handwriting hundreds of holiday ‘update’ letters to friends and family?

Or does your heart skip a beat and mind zoom into a frenetic frenzy of to-do lists, momentarily paralyzing your comprehensible speech due to overdrive of unrealistic, unattainable, and unnecessary standards and pressures you place upon yourself?

Truthfully, I fall somewhere between these extremes.

Modern culture has perpetuated the weeks leading up to November and December holidays as a distressful and draining time of year (physically, mentally, emotionally, and financially!) . Here’s a secret: It doesn’t have to be that way!  As a Wellness Coach, I’m offering ideas to anyone with interest to tame the mind, calm the nervous system, and honestly enjoy at least a portion of the time you choose to spend with family, friends, neighbors, or even strangers!

This 5-step plan can help you de-stress this holiday season. Below is an example of how you could create your list. Each color is coordinated to the idea to show you the progression to alleviate stress.

  1. Come up with a grand plan! Make a list of tasks or ideas.
  2. Write at least one reason why each part of your plan is important to you. Certainly add more reasons if applicable.
  3. Determine if there are tasks or ideas you can eliminate or delegate. These are your ‘negotiables’.
  4. Consider potential challenges or obstacles to what you are hoping to achieve. Identifying challenges helps stimulate problem-solving and decision making.
  5. Write out a few action steps for each of  your ‘non-negotiables’. Have a realistic action plan – break it down into as many steps as you’d like. (I like to cross off tasks when I complete them, so my lists have many details!)

destressing-holidays8-compressor (1)

Hope this helps you de-stress this holiday season! Afterall, you should be enjoying this time with loved ones, not stressing about it. And remember, you can use this 5-step process any time of the year!

Oct 5, 2015 · Motivation: Is there something wrong with me?

A question we encounter often here at the DAHLC is, “How can I be more motivated?” This often tags along with the fear of, “Am I the only one struggling?”

Whether you are searching for motivation to exercise, eat well, practice mindfulness, or try something new, we are here to help you explore and discover.

No, you are not the only one. Yes, other people have high and low motivation at various times of day, month, year, and within life.  An important concept to remember is we all have our own life purpose and each one of us delights in some aspect of life.  A key to finding lasting motivation is to connect your behaviors with your values; i.e. find a way to connect your action plan (goals) with what is most important to you (vision).

If you figure out a way to do this on your own, great! But if you’re unsure of where to begin, we’re here to help.

One-on-one wellness coaching, small group coaching, or programs are opportunities DAHLC members have access to in order to sort out life and “get unstuck” or make progress.  Many of our barriers to success have to do with fears and/or beliefs about ourselves or others. Connect with if you’d like to find out more about a free wellness consult or the options below:


To learn more or to register, call or stop by the DAHLC front desk (507-266-4688).


Aug 10, 2015 · Coach Has 'Ah-Ha' Moment

I recently read a post from a women’s fitness blog and had an awakening.  Okay, maybe awakening is a stronger term than what actually occurred.  Probably more of an ‘ah-ha’ moment, as we tend to call them in wellness coaching.

“Where is your exercise taking you?” the writer questioned.  She went on to describe road trips as a metaphor for any journey: Health, spiritual, financial – that typically, there is a goal in mind, an end point, an outcome.  What we often lose sight of is the process and how the process we tend to follow may mold, adapt, influence, or hinder our outcomes.  The process may be as enjoyable or as important as the outcome. Using exercise as an example: the article’s author Krista Scott-Dixon suggests, “We often confuse doing exercise (the means) with the goal (what we ultimately want).”

wallHm. This started me thinking first about my physical activity and then of course my brain looped into multiple other streams of thought.  For now, let me circle back to physical activity.  What do I include in this category? What is most important to me and why? What propels me forward and what do I resist?  As I continued to explore my habits and tendencies (physical and mental), I realized that some wisdom imparted by Stephanie when she came to Active Book Club to share and practice Mindfulness Meditation was ringing clearly in my head: We don’t have to label [exercise or not exercise] as good or bad. It just is or isn’t.  It isn’t “bad” that I missed my run today just as much as it isn’t “good” that I practiced yoga today. That concept is a bit of an eye-opener for me, someone who wants to have a plan and achieve outcomes!

Sure, I may identify with feeling a particular way or may have enjoyed the experience while it was happening.  But what was my purpose for engaging in the first place?  What did I hope to experience?

Before I completely lose you in the cloudy abyss of philosophy and spirituality, let me ask: Where is your exercise taking you?  I’d love to hear or read your comments – respond below or send me an email!


Ideas to consider:

  • Schedule time with  yourself to write, draw, verbalize, or in some way explore and express the real reasons for your actions.
  • Check in with a wellness coach. One-hour consultations are free and can be game-changing.
  • Take time to experience a drop-in meditation class.
  • Sign-up for a program that has a coaching or accountability component so you have dedicated time, space, and external accountability to explore your behaviors.


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