This Holiday Give a Gift that Could Have LIfe Changing Benefits

Many of you know me to be a social worker, a vegan health nut (Or perhaps just a nut) and a wellness warrior (certified health practitioner). Health and wellness is my passion and it has never been clearer to me than now that my personal health and wellness is tied to the health and wellness of my community.

In the last few months I have had to deal with the ailing health of various loved ones in my life and the loss of my paternal grandmother and it dawned on me:
  1. It doesn’t matter how much green juice I drink if I alone am drinking it.
  2. All my health knowledge is lost if it’s not being shared and passed along.
  3. The journey to health is a community effort.

That being said I had the idea for The Sankofa Health Histories Project. The sankofa is a West African adinkra symbol which means return and gets it. The symbol is of a bird whose feet are facing forward but whose neck and head are looking back. The significance is that learning from the past ensures a strong future. Many of us are unaware of what we may be predisposed due to family genetics.

This is the time of year that many if not all people are resolving to make major shifts in their lives around wellness (lose weight, workout, stop smoking, get more sleep etc...), however without knowledge of family health history our efforts at making shifts are not as powerful. One of the single most important things you can do for yourself and your family is to collect a family health history because learning about what diseases/ailments run in your family is the best way to ensure it can be managed and stopped from being passed along intergenerationally. 

There is no better time than the holidays as families gather to generate conversations around health. This holiday season my goal is to have at least 100 people in my community (that means you if you are reading this) collect their family health history by January 7th, 2012. I want you all to find out what traits run in your family, what health problems seem prevalent, the age of family members when they died, were there any pregnancy losses or babies born with birth defects, where family members where born, who smoked, exercise habits, allergies, mental health statuses and whatever else you can find out.

While this may not seem like dinner conversation I challenge you to break the silence and be the catalyst in your family to better health for you and your kids, nephews, nieces, cousins, siblings, aunts, uncles, parents (you get the picture). The information you learn could be the difference between an increased quality of life and early death.

Help me help you by agreeing to speak to at least 2 family members this holiday, filling out a health history form and sharing what you learn with other family members. Awareness around health and wellness is the best gift you can give to your loved ones.

My desire is to have my community be more aware about their personal and collective health, generate conversations which moves us into actions around improving our heath in the New Year and beyond. I love you all and I want you to have a healthy life.

Here are links to online health history forms to help you collect info from your families:


Healthy Holidays,
Peta-Gaye Williams, LMSW, HC 



I have been trying to figure out exactly what it is I want to happen this year. My method has always been to write out my intentions and then make a plan; however I didn't do that. I thought out my plan and didn't write it down and while I am not completely off target, I'm not completely on either.

My new plan is to hit the reset button, stop traveling without my map (that only leads to me getting and staying lost) and get it going again.

I never liked repeating things, but I am thankful that I can always start anew; it's like hitting the re-fresh button on the computer it doesn't erase what you did but it allows you to move forward from a clearer space. I hope all of you who have made resolutions that have fallen by the way side can hit the refresh button and start a fresh.

Here's to new beginnings......What goals are you going to set and follow through on this time around?


Happy New Year of Possibilities!!!

2010 is no longer and I hope that you have made peace, found closure and are ushering in 2011 with a clean slate. I offer you this:

May you push past your potential and increase far beyond your imagining. The sky is not the limit. Be BOLD this year and live in abundant joy, love and peace!!!

Happy New Year of Possibilities!!!!!!


Good, Better, Best...Always Get Your Rest

I have not been getting enough rest! I have been sleeping off hours and during times where I am usually productive like on weekends and my train commute to work. I have become the human bobble head, sadly yet comically nodding off infringing on the space of the passenger next to me. Last week my nodding off got so bad the woman next to me got up and moved seats; I suppose she didnt appreciate me using her shoulder as a bolster for my head (lol).

My pursuit to get it all done and to be on top of my game was in conflict with my wellness. When I don't get enough sleep my tolerance is lower, my focus is off, I eat mindlessly and I dont have the same vigor and energy for my workouts and life in general. Thankfully my body cannot go but so long that way before it waves the white flag and surrenders which usually means becoming a little ill or so incapacitated that I sleep like the proverbial lump on a log.

I appreciate the moments when my body speaks up and out and I am forced to realign with nature. Sleep is our bodies way of regenerating. It is in those times of being rested and shut off that our brain can be recharged and our bodies renewed. I am learning that when I honor my bodies natural rhythms I am even more productive, efficient and well. When I am getting enough sleep I awake with a sieze the day attitude instead of begining the countdown, before I even get into the shower, as to when I will be back home and back in bed. My mind is not only clearer but I am more creative and dare I say sexually expressive.

This week I used the power of no to prioritize myself and to get more sleep and I was actually able to wake up early this weekend and get quite a few things checked off my to-do list which make this wellness warrior very happy.

Are you well rested? If not how can you make sleep a priority?

Here are a few suggestions:
  1. Set a bed time and stick to it. Set your alam in your phone, pda or clock to remind you it's bed time.
  2. Make your bedroom condusive to sleep by dimming the lights, eliminating clutter and only using your bed to sleep and have sex.
  3. Enlist help. If you know you won't be able to pull yourself away from tasks to get to bed on time ask a partner, friend or family member to be your accountability partner.Let people know your goals for getting more rest and request that you are not called, texted, bbm'd, skyped, emailed etc... after a certain time in the day.
  4. Turn off distractions like your phone, computer and television.
  5. Create a ritual around sleep. Light a candle, meditate, stretch, or use aromatherapy to get you in the mood to rest peacefully.
Try one or all of the suggestions but more importantly get more sleep which ever way you can, your wellness depends on it.


The 'N' Word

Though small, consisting of just two letters and one syllable, there is immense power in NO.
It lands differently than the hiss of the 's' of yes and quite often gets overshadowed by yesses accolades. No gets associated with 'terrible twos' and negative connotations and has been treated like yesses evil fraternal twin, but truth be told my experience with yes is that it is the black sheep in the family of people pleasing and perfection.

When no eluded me I misused yes and have been burned one too many times. Yes was suffocating me, sucking the life out of me and altering my wellness; the very wellness I work so hard for. Yes only sounded good.

I have decided to stop dating 'yes' and wed 'no'; to have and to hold from this day forward, till death do us part. I will honor our bond and wear its power like an amulet around my neck to ward off energy zappers, health detractors and stress inducers.

I will no longer mistakenly interchange the two. I will say 'no' when I mean it and choose wisely when I say 'yes', my wellness depends on it.

What do you need to say 'no' to in order to say 'yes' more powerfully in your life?


Running For Empowerment

 Momentum is a heck of a thing! After being challenged to go back to the gym after a long hiatus I have to say I feel good in my body(after suffering injuries), I'm stronger, better able to deal with the drama of work (though that is a work in progress...lol), thankfully taking my stress out on the machines and not my loved ones,working muscles that have been on vacation for a little bit, standing a bit taller and feeling a whole lot better. I even made a commitment to run a 5K on Christmas Day.

I am proud of myself and am happy that I have something to work towards. The challenge of running a 5K makes my workouts more meaningful and help push me when I am tired and feeling less than eager to go to the gym. I would encourage anyone who needs motivation to workout to sing up for a run, walk, bike tour or some other fitness event because when the going gets tough you will have a larger goal in sight to remind you of why you are pushing yourself as hard as you are. Also the sense of accomplishment once you are complete will fuel you to do more and encourage those around you to perhaps do the same.

Empower yourself to do more and let me know what fitness challenge you have either signed up for or have done in the past that has fueled your sense of accomplishment.



Are You Setting Yourself Up...For Success?

As a way to manage my stress and to have more peace (both in my home and in my mind) I joined the gym again (thank you corporate rates). I began November 1, 2010 and took on a co-worker's challenge to go to the gym everyday for 30 days. Our deal was that I would work out everyday and she would give up drinking alcoholic beverages for the same time period.

I set my intentions for this challenge, made a plan and visualized my success (something I do regularly when setting goals). I am prideful and I had no intentions of losing this challenge. I realized  keeping the why or reason I was doing this in the forefront of my mind, packing my gym bag at nights, mapping out the times I would attend the gym and having a schedule of exercises to do helped me immensely and kept me on track. With my plan I had no room for excuses.

That being said, I did miss one day due to illness (vomiting + diarrhea= stay at home). I was initially disappointed but realized I had successfully attended the gym for 29 days, 29 more days than I had in a long time. One day could not take away the greater accomplishment. I am now more committed than ever, and the best part is that I have continued the challenge but this time, the challenge is with me, for myself. I am ready willing, and able and am more empowered. Those 29 days were a warm up for the journey and I am happy to say I have begun. I know things may happen that will set me of course (like illness), but for the most part with my intention, a plan and expectations of success, I am clear I can successfully accomplish my goal of maintaining my mental, emotional and physical wellness.

What are some goals you have? How are you setting yourself up for success?