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Mind + Matter: A survey of healthy tips from our Top 100 Women

This month, we asked the Top 100 Women from 2015 and 2016 to share the one thing they do each week to stay healthy. We heard back from 50 honorees, many of whom shared a variety of tips. In fact, there doesn’t seem to be just one weekly activity that these high-achieving women do for their health. But if there was a category that came up again and again in their answers it was a focus on emotional and spiritual health.

“Mental health is key to our overall well-being,” Veronique Diriker, director of development for University of Maryland Eastern Shore, said. “So, I paint or draw each and every weekend, and during the week if I have time.  The arts are my passion.  When I create a piece, I lose all sense of time and I am in my happy place.”

Ramsey, Gina02MF for web

To stay healthy, Gina Ramsey spends 30 minutes each day playing with her dogs. (The Daily Record/Maxmilian Franz)

Forty percent of the women who responded said they do something every week –mindfulness, prayer, personal reflection or expressing gratitude– that centered them and helped their emotional health.

Dr. Marlene Mahipat, the president and founder of Mediquest LLC, said she continually works on staying “grounded.” Every morning, she greets the day with five-sentence mantra-like prayer to remind herself that “all my actions be those of positive intentions. May my words be those of compassion and comfort.”

Not surprising, yoga was a favorite physical activity of respondents. Walking, swimming, cycling and jogging were other workouts that earned shout outs. Many women also mentioned practicing moderation in what they ate, drinking plenty of water and acupuncture.

Finally, getting enough sleep was big on the list for these career-driven professionals.

Here are more responses from our Top 100 Women:

“I have a self-imposed rule of eating healthy during the week but allowing indulgences on the weekends.  I don’t go overboard but a bit of wine, cheese, and chocolate are always something to look forward to on the weekend.”

Christina Bolmarcich, Principal Attorney, Semmes, Bowen & Semmes, P.C.

“Drink at least 80 ounces of water a day to stay hydrated!  Most of us are chronically dehydrated and that leads to many problems; sluggish feeling, mental fogginess, etc.”

Leslie Simmons, RN, FACHE, President, Carroll Hospital, Senior Vice President, LifeBridge Health

“Deep belly breaths – in through the nose, out through the mouth.”

Jennifer Litchman, Chief Communications Officer, Vice President & Special Assistant to the President, University of Maryland, Baltimore

“I spend 30 minutes each day playing with my dogs before I get up and get dressed.”

Gina Ramsey, Vice President of Digital Media, Adventure Web Interactive

“I get up early in the morning and work out then to avoid feeling too tired to do so in the evening.  I start my morning feeling energized and ready for my day.  At 60 years old, I feel better than I did when I was younger.”

Nancy Rodriguez-Weller, RPh., FASCP, Assistant Professor of Pharmacy and Pharmacy Administration, University of Maryland Eastern Shore

“I think sleep is important to overall health, so I try to get adequate sleep each night.”

Karen Johnson Shaheed, Vice President & General Counsel, Bowie State University

“I believe happiness and health go hand-in-hand.  I am the most fulfilled when I can do something for the greater good so I continually look for small ways I can impact the lives of others.  A simple smile and hello to a stranger, a bag of food for a homeless person on the corner, helping someone in need, mentoring a young team member at work, coaching my daughter through a life lesson that she can pass on are all things that make me a healthier, happier person.”

Yvette Diamond, Chief Operations Officer, Three Dog Logistics

“For years we’ve had Great Danes. Mostly sedentary, lovable, HUGE dogs. We lost our Great Dane last year. I convinced my husband to downgrade from a giant breed to a large breed. So, we now have a seven-month-old Chesapeake Bay retriever! He’s got me going all day, every day! Walks, jogs, playing ball, barking at the vacuum, driving me nuts! Get Healthy? Get an active dog! They’ll also bring joy.”

Renée M. Winsky, President & CEO, Leadership Maryland

“I turn on my music and I simply dance. I dance as if no one is watching and I make sure to attempt all of the latest dance moves that are way outside of my age group. Then I ice myself.”

April N. Richardson, Attorney & Entrepreneur, D.C. Sweet Potato Cake

“I decided to embrace technology, got a Fit bit, Apple Watch, and challenge my family to weekly walk numbers, and contests. It is fun and gets everyone moving.”

Denise K. Mersinger, CFP, CRPC, First Vice President, Wealth Management Advisor/Global Wealth Management

“Put yourself first!  I start each day with early morning yoga.  This allows me to get my energy flowing while building strength and getting some well-deserved, head-clearing meditation.  I also do this first thing in the morning to avoid the possibility of derailment due to circumstances out of my control.”

Elizabeth Kemp Caulder, Chief Marketing Officer, Media Star Promotions

“I have been a vegetarian since my teens. It’s surprisingly difficult to get sick in even the most challenging countries if you don’t eat meat or fish! I spend all of my time in airports walking – walking before and between flights fires up your circulation and reduces the damage that sitting for long flights can do. Finally, I experiment with local healthy traditions:  reflexology in China, the hammam in Turkey, saunas in Finland. You feel great afterwards and you meet locals.”

Alexandra Wrage, President & Founder, TRACE International