Maintaining One’s Health and Wellness Amidst a Busy Schedule – Shenuka Fernando

Shenuka Fernando – Head of Service Delivery and Product Knowledge Trainer, Spa Ceylon

With the ‘Continent Award for Best Spa Manager’ under her belt, Shenuka Fernando, the Head of Service Delivery and Product Knowledge Trainer at Spa Ceylon, the world’s largest Ayurveda Wellness chain, is currently in the prime of her career. As the grand-daughter of Janet Balasuriya, Shenuka continues her grand-mother’s legacy in both her professional and personal life. Thus far, she has succeeded in maintaining a healthy balance between her job, family and personal well-being, and via her role as Head of Service Delivery she helps her guests at Spa Ceylon achieve total wellness in mind, body and soul.

As a leading lady of a world-famous spa chain, it is one of Shenuka’s responsibilities to represent the company’s values as she explains – “Spa Ceylon’s principles are firmly hinged on the principles of Ayurveda. Ayurveda teaches that reaching a perfect state comes from the balance of your internal constitution and with your environment. Spa Ceylon takes this principle across all their touch points, with our suppliers, staff, customers, the environment, plant and animal life, ensuring we work towards restoring overall balance within the company and the world we function in, thereby promoting overall wellness. This is something I have taken to heart as well, which forces me to think about almost everything I do and its larger impact on the world. It’s amazing how just a little bit of thought about your actions can change them for the better.”

According to Shenuka, “Health and wellness are important for any woman, irrelevant of whether she works or not. Wellness is something that you choose to pursue. It’s a choice you make in life that requires a constant effort to achieve. While health and wellness go hand in hand, wellness goes beyond the confines of general health. It encompasses a positive outlook of your mind, body and soul, and is something we often have more control over than health, which is why we need to make use of wellness and make positive choices to live your life to the fullest! It is important because it impacts so many areas of life. Everyone wants to live their life to the fullest potential. Unfortunately, this is not easy. Life often comes with challenges, but you need to be the change you want in your life. Upon doing so, you’ll notice significant benefits in both your personal and professional life.”

“I’m one of the lucky ones that have a work environment that promotes wellness and it’s also a family business that understands the demands of a mother. However, I would say the main thing is to set a schedule for everything. If it’s in the schedule it gets done. I’m a very determined person who values my family and my job, so I stick to what I plan. I make a schedule every month, break it down to weeks and evaluate the past week at the end of the week. Another thing I learned at a conference, which I have taught my team members as well, is out of the 24hr day I take out 8 hours for sleep and I divide the 16 remaining hours into 20 minute time frames, which when calculated is 48 timed 20 minute windows, and then I break down the tasks I have to do into those time frame windows. Every first 20mins of the day I use to plan and schedule work, family, prayer and relaxation into the remaining 47 time frames of the day. This method doesn’t always work exactly on time, but it helps me a lot to monitor my efficiency and create the balance I need. For anyone, understanding where your time is going is the first step to work life balance”, responded Shenuka when asked how she maintains a sound balance between her health, work and family life.

Speaking of how the health requirements of a busy female professional differ from those of any other, Shenuka stated, “Having a career gives women a sense of purpose, self-efficacy, control and autonomy. They have a place where they are an expert on something, and they are paid for it. However, the downfall of juggling work and family life most often causes an excess amount of stress. Stress is how the brain and body respond to any demand. Some women may cope with stress more effectively and recover from stressful events more quickly than others. However, long term stress can turn into chronic stress, which can be challenging. Because the source of long-term stress is more constant than acute stress, the body never receives a clear signal to return to its normal function. With chronic stress, those same lifesaving reactions in the body can disturb the immune, digestive, cardiovascular, sleep, and reproductive systems. Some people may experience mainly digestive symptoms, while others may have headaches, sleeplessness, anger or irritability. Over time, continued strain on your body from stress may contribute to serious health problems, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and other illnesses, including mental disorders such as depression or anxiety. Making your health and wellness a priority will help reduce stress levels.”

With regards to the contributory factors to poor health and its effects upon a woman’s professional life, Shenuka said, “Whereas characteristics such as white teeth, acne-free skin, thick, beautiful hair are all symbolic of good health, characteristics such as high body fat levels, poor posture are indicative of suboptimal health. Having a busy schedule without planning and balance results in stress, unhealthy eating habits and sleeping disorders. It’s clear that quality sleepers can heal from skin problems more rapidly and appear healthier. High fat levels and poor posture not only reduce efficiency, but also contribute to lack of self-confidence. Self-confidence is crucial to success, and well-groomed, rested women look confident. Personal appearance will help to compensate for any other insecurities and help to build confidence.”

Eating healthy is a vital necessity. However, most professionals have just about enough time to grab a quick snack amidst their busy work schedules. Shenuka kindly provided three vital points of advice to professional women struggling to maintain a healthy diet, whilst adhering to their demanding schedules. “I would say that just like anything else, you need to take a little time and plan. This may be very hard to do, but once it’s done it makes life so much easier. 1. Make a food variety plan (I have made a 2-week meal options plan so that I pick something from that each day). I would suggest meal prep. Take 20 minutes of your Sundays with your children, husband or partner for meal preparation. 2. Cut up vegetables like peppers, carrots, celery, and broccoli, so they are ready for salads, snacking, or to be tossed in a meal. This helps me stay on track especially during times like when you return home after a tired day and you want to eat everything in sight. Instead of snacking on potato chips or cookies, you can grab veggies and hummus, and snack on those while you prepare dinner. 3. Keep healthy snacks such as nuts and fruits to have on the go.”

Addressing the issue of rest and relaxation, and the essentiality of ensuring that a busy woman get the appropriate amount of down-time she requires, Shenuka explained, “Even though rest and relaxation are necessary for everyone, and there are many ways to get it, we need to find the methods that are best suited to each individual and fit into their respective lifestyles in order to make it work. I suggest digital detox. Stress and anxiety are common complaints for working women these days. Disconnecting every evening will help you to slow the pace of your day, so you can finally relax. I put all my thoughts of the day that passed and day to come in to prayer. Once offered in prayer you need to take it out of your mind. Breathing exercises before sleeping will help you have a restful sleep. Having access to all the sleep ritual products by Spa Ceylon has personally helped me. The Spa Ceylon Sleep Intense Body Cleanser, Body Elixir and Dream Essence Mist have become my best friends. Neroli helps take away daily stress, while Ylang Ylang calms and Lavender helps to sooth the senses, promoting calm and restful sleep. One of the common causes of chronic insomnia is stress. Concerns about work, health or family can keep your mind active at night, making it difficult to sleep. By having a daily night routine, which is just like teaching a baby the difference between night and day, you can train your brain to relax when it’s bed time, resulting in restful sleep.”

Voicing her opinion on the best ways to energize the mind and body, Shenuka presented three of the most effective methods –

Create your own morning ritual.

This ritual can be anything you want it to be—drinking a cup of your favorite tea, meditating, journaling, practicing your favorite yoga pose or sequence, whatever makes you feel content.

Waking up at least 20 minutes before sunrise is called Vata time. Vata energy fills the atmosphere during the hours before the sun comes up. According to the Ayurvedic clock, if you start your day early before sunrise it gives relaxation to your mind and thereby increases energy levels. 

Treat yourself to a massage.

A massage is a great way of relieving tension held in the body and it also helps clear the mind, leaving you stress free and mentally recharged. Research has shown that massage aids blood flow, and so delivering oxygen to all the body’s cells, which we need for energy. So, when you feel run-down and stressed out, you’re more likely to develop a cold or other illness, and feel lethargic. By applying pressure and massage through specific points and channels, it can boost your lymph system, meaning your body can detoxify itself more effectively. This helps your blood circulate better, getting rid of that tired feeling. You’ll feel fresh and energetic for days after the massage.   

Drink plenty of water.

The principles of Ayurveda suggest that the way you choose to drink water also affects your overall health. It is a good idea to always sit and drink water rather than stand. By sitting and drinking, your muscles and nervous system are much more relaxed and helps the nerves to digest food and other fluids easily. Ayurveda also suggests that we complete drinking 7–8 glasses of pure water in small quantities on a daily basis. Drinking tepid water can help in proper digestion and metabolism, which promotes weight loss, and relieves bloating and pain. Staying sufficiently hydrated will clear out toxins and ensure that the body’s vital energies flow smoothly for an extra boost of energy.

“Every detail of each Spa Ceylon Spa and Spa Ritual has been thoughtfully designed and detailed to perfection, to ensure that guests receive a totally fulfilling and relaxing spa experience like no other.

Guests checking into Spa Ceylon are welcomed by the calming aroma of warm organic essentials oils of lemongrass, sweet lime, and water grass – to help begin a sensory journey to soothe, calm and relax the body, mind, and soul. Every element is detailed and designed to complement the other, from the precise signature massage movements by the Spa therapists, ambiance, music, and fragrance, making the luxurious Spa Ceylon experience uniquely different. We have many locations at the heart of the city and in resort holiday destinations, which are perfect locations for an energizing spa experience during the day, for de-stressing at the end of the workday or ideal for relaxing weekend indulgence. We are open 365 days a year and some locations are ready to serve until 11 pm. Spa Ceylon also provides the opportunity to those on a tight schedule to take home the Spa Ceylon experience with them by selecting the body, bath, scalp and hair care preparations, and home aroma blends available at the spa boutique to relax your body mind and soul”, Shenuka said of the means by which Spa Ceylon caters to the needs of the busy female professional.

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