Nicole Mixdorf, CEO & Chief Wellness Officer
Why does achieving an ideal work-life balance feel so elusive? Busy professionals are under intense pressure to perform at a high level at work, while also juggling the demands of their home life, leaving little room for much else. They forget how essential it is to spend time rejuvenating themselves, so that they can continue being productive at work while enjoying a more pleasant and balanced life experience.
The remote work trend spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic blurs the line between one’s professional and personal life, making it more important than ever to attain balance. The big question is, how? It is a no-brainer that practices for physical and mental wellbeing keep the damaging impact of work-related and personal stress factors at bay. Employees in today’s climate are experiencing heightened levels of stress and uncertainty, making wellness and wellbeing programs more relevant. In order to balance out the stress we are experiencing, we need to incorporate calming moments into our day, which can consist of movement, time in nature, breathwork, exercise, meditation, music, reading, talking to friends, laughter, or anything else that brings joy. Maintaining balance ultimately enables employees to attain productive, rewarding, and enjoyable working and living environments.
Stress: Inducing Imbalance
Chronic stress that is ever-present in the corporate world leads many professionals to suffer from stress-related health conditions, such as digestive disorders, migraines, insomnia, anxiety, depression, weight gain, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, autoimmune disorders, and more. Most fail even to realize that stress is indeed the underlying culprit.
“When employees experience these types of symptoms, it makes it impossible for them to give 100 percent of their energy or attention to anything, which can have a negative impact on their performance and quality of life,” says Nicole Mixdorf, Chief Wellness Officer at Balance by Nature.
The COVID-19 pandemic has complicated the approaches that companies utilize to achieve individual and collective wellness, as they struggle finding a way to maintain a cultural identity and team unity with a completely remote workforce. A successful solution requires a holistic approach and an in-depth view of an organization’s work culture, its challenges, and requirements. To this end, Balance by Nature adopts a consultative approach to gain an in-depth understanding of its clients’ culture and business, including their needs, vision, values, and goals.
Enforcing the Much-needed Balance
Balance by Nature strategically designs, implements, and manages award-winning employee wellness programs for corporate giants and small organizations alike. From individuals to groups of employees, company-wide or department-wide, Balance by Nature customizes wellness programs for companies of all sizes.
Their mission is to help busy professionals create balance and boundaries in their lives so they can thrive and achieve their greatest potential. The company gathers insights about their clients’ staff to understand what areas of support are needed, and which wellness experiences they are eager to participate in. As Nicole says, “We are an extension of our client’s teams and their business. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach. We not only tailor our programs to each client, but we are also open and willing to design new programs and content based on the changing needs of each client in real-time.”
Balance by Nature adopts a high-touch, high-tech approach to program design, offering both in-person and online wellness solutions for the physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing of employees. The company curates wellness experiences for stress reduction, fitness, nutrition, personal development, and team building.
Their wide range of stress reduction experiences include meditation, mindfulness, growth mindset, sound bath therapy, music therapy, laughter therapy, massage therapy, EFT tapping, acupuncture, and emotional resilience training. Their nutritionists conduct healthy food demonstrations, nutrition presentations, mindful eating programs, and individual health coaching. “I lead inspirational wellness talks on personal development topics to thrive, in addition to in-person wellness retreats and executive wellness events,” adds Nicole.
Humble yet Visionary Beginnings Driven by Personal Challenges
We took our entire company online in 30 days to support our clients that suddenly found themselves with a completely remote workforce to unify due to COVID-19
Nicole has personally experienced the negative impact that work-related stress can have on an individual. “I spent over a decade in the corporate world, working my way up the ladder in a global firm, traveling the world, and achieving great success. However, the stress from work and my father’s cancer diagnosis started making me physically sick. For me, the stress manifested in my digestive system as an autoimmune condition that made everything in my life much harder,” recalls Nicole. Like most ‘committed’ and ‘driven’ (by stress) employees with no perceived time to slow down, she kept on going, hoping the problem would go away. “Sadly, it didn’t,” she adds. Eventually, Nicole’s health condition deteriorated until it started affecting her ability to lead a meeting or do her job, and started negatively impacting her quality of life.
The situation compelled Nicole to take a stress leave of absence from work to heal her body, during which time she attended a wellness retreat that paved the way for a new chapter in her life. “As I removed myself from a large source of stress and started focusing on self-care, the most miraculous thing happened—all my symptoms disappeared! That was when I had an “Aha!” moment and thought ‘wow - you can exercise and eat healthy, but if you have so much stress in your life, none of the rest even matters.’ I knew my story wasn’t unique, and that corporate professionals everywhere were suffering, but in their own unique ways,” mentions Nicole. With the motive to transform the lives of as many working professionals as possible, Nicole founded Balance by Nature in 2012.
Basing the Balance on Measured Outcomes and Flexibility
Unlike many other employee wellness solution providers, Balance by Nature emphasizes the importance of accurately measuring their programs’ impact. As part of their consultative approach, the company sets goals and benchmarks on different metrics to measure outcomes and calculate an ROI on a client’s investment in their employees.
The success story of one of Balance by Nature’s clients demonstrates how a nimble and hands-on approach can have a huge impact for their clients, and for themselves. Their client, Los Angeles World Airports, owns and operates Van Nuys Airport (VNY) and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), the 3rd largest airport in the world. The company worked with LAX to help them reduce their employees’ anxiety and stress and maintain a healthy work-life balance during this global health pandemic that significantly reduced airport traffic and revenues. Taking a dynamic and agile response to the situation, Nicole took the entire wellness program online within 30 days and delivered a virtual gym to her client where their employees can participate in Yoga, Boot Camp, HIIT, Zumba, Bollywood dance, Cardio Hip Hop, Line dancing, Brazilian Samba, West African dance, Chair Yoga, Qigong, Self-Defense, Cardio Kick Boxing, and Pilates.
To motivate and create positivity, Balance by Nature delivered weekly inspirational wellness talks to guide LAX employees through the fear, anxiety, and uncertainty they were experiencing.
She also created an intuitive members-only web portal where their employees could register and watch live stream events, inspirational talks, on-demand fitness videos, and healthy food demonstrations. They could also download healthy recipes, listen to relaxing meditations, and take online stress reduction challenges. Providing employees with valuable resources amid a major upheaval of their business led to a 120 percent increase in employee participation and engagement in wellness activities. Additionally, employees reported in a recent survey that the wellness program positively affected their mental wellbeing, morale, and job satisfaction by over 60 percent.
“ Can you imagine what the world would look like if everyone woke up excited each morning to pursue their passions and purpose? Those are the things that I think about when I craft a new presentation, curate a new wellness experience, or consult with my clients”
Balance by Nature is embracing the shift to online wellness experiences, and is offering virtual team building games, fitness competitions and races, and a wide range of health courses for employees to get fit, balance hormones, improve energy, and restore health. The company launched their signature online stress reduction experiences, 21 Days to Less Stress at Your Desk and 10 Days of Thankfulness, within their platform as well. Employees can even schedule individual personal training sessions, nutrition coaching, Ayurvedic healing consultations, and Reiki healing sessions inside the portal. “Moving everything online has expanded our offerings and our reach. Providing both in-person and online wellness experiences allows us to customize our programs to an even greater degree based on the unique needs of each client,” says Nicole.
Exemplary Achievement and Commitments Fueling the Journey Ahead
With several such success stories under their sleeve, Balance by Nature has positioned itself as a sought-after employee wellness outlet. The company has just been recognized as a Top 10 Employee Wellness Consulting Company in the U.S. for the 2nd year in a row by HR Tech Outlook Magazine. Nicole, who embodies the spirit of wellbeing, has been awarded as a Top 100 Healthcare Leader in the World 2020 by the International Forum on Advancements in Healthcare. She was also awarded the title of Most Influential Woman in Corporate Wellness Services USA 2020 by Acquisition INTL Magazine as part of their 2020 Global Excellence Awards.
“I truly run my company the way I lead my life, heartcentered, transparent, and full of joy,” says Nicole. “Of course, it has not always been easy. I have experienced a tremendous amount of loss and grief since I started my business in 2012, losing some of the most important people in my life. On top of that, I was also plagued by a debilitating health condition that flared up at different times throughout my journey, until I finally healed myself from it naturally, doing what doctors said could not be done. Throughout it all, I chose to not let anything hold me back from achieving my dreams. I always find joy in my days and look for the opportunities within the challenges in front of me. I now measure my success in how much fun I am having. This is how I have grown and evolved, becoming the person I am meant to be, and taking our company to even greater heights.”
Nicole has built powerful resiliency to overcome challenges and turn them into learning experiences, which she shares with her clients through her Inspirational Wellness Talks. Through Nicole’s leadership, Balance by Nature provides employees with tools to better handle the demands of their lives and successfully achieve meaningful balance.
“We want employees to feel good, because happy and healthy employees are better employees. Can you imagine what the world would look like if everyone woke up excited each morning to pursue their passions and purpose? Those are the things that I think about when I craft a new presentation, curate a new wellness experience, or consult with my clients. Wellness is about being the best versions of ourselves each day,” concludes Nicole.