Rest, Relaxation, and ROI

According to the “Global Spa & Wellness Trends Forecast” published by Spafinder Wellness Inc., workplace wellness is one of the top 10 trends in the spa industry for 2016.

The study suggests that this is a direct response to a growing number of businesses across the country taking the well-being of their employees more seriously, for the health of both their teams and their companies’ bottom lines. I was recently able to look into this trend for a freelance article, and while it’s not one that is taking off as quickly as some spa professionals would like, it’s gaining popularity and acceptance in both offices and resorts.

Read more:

Photo: Cranwell Resort spa, JCS

…And the Winner is

Screen Shot 2013-11-08 at 11.48.46 PMThe votes are in and a winner has been chosen! Beat your hands on the desk or laptop briskly for a drumroll, please…

The winner is Natasha Clark, author of The Wicked Mrs. B!

Natasha is the founder of The Lioness Group, a full-service media relations firm in Springfield, Mass., and publishers of Lioness magazine. Natasha also manages the Partners in Education program at Springfield School Volunteers where she recruits the business community to get involved in the local school district. taking top place, Natasha wins a gift basket from Berkshire Naturals and Berkshire Outdoors of Lenox, Mass. with a lemongrass-scented soy candle, soap, and foaming hand wash.

It’s been another great Blogtoberfest season! Thanks to everyone who wrote, read, and voted … we’ll do it again next year.

Prize Secured for Blogtoberfest Guest Post Contest!

There are nine days of October left, and that means nine more days of Blogtoberfest! Guest posts submitted and published between now and Nov. 1 are eligible to win The Jump’s annual contest, and we’ve just secured our first prize, with more to come.

Readers will be asked to choose their favorite post on or about November 1, and voting will run for a week. At that time, one lucky winner will receive a gift basket from Berkshire Naturals and Berkshire Outdoors of Lenox, Mass.!

The holidays are nearly upon us, and this is perfect for gift-giving… but I’m fine with it if you’re gifting yourself. Regardless of who it is, the recipient will receive a basket with a lemongrass-scented soy candle, soap, and foaming hand wash. It’s wrapped and sitting in a cat-proof area of the house now, and I can already smell the lemongrass when I walk by.

I’m psyched about this prize, and grateful to Berkshire Naturals and its owner, Jay. Check out their web site — you can order great, organic stuff right online — if you’re in Western Mass., make a trip to Lenox to visit the store or even go on an outdoor adventure!

…to Finish is to Win

In September 2010, I was newly separated and sleeping on an air mattress in a one-bedroom apartment.

Sorry to start off with a bummer; don’t worry, it gets better.

I’d left behind a lot — my kayak included — but had gained new residence in the Berkshires and had a great job. At some point in August a co-worker told me about the Josh Billings RunAground, an annual bike, paddle, and run triathlon that can be completed as a team or as an Iron Man event. The paddle leg can be completed in a canoe, kayak or on a stand-up paddle board, and it sounded like something I really wanted to try. It’s also named after Josh Billings, the writer and humorist who, in his day, was more well known than Mark Twain. Today, it’s his turns of a phrase that are most recognizable, like “the wheel that does the squeaking is the one that gets the grease” and its many permutations. The official motto of The Josh is another Billings’ quote: To finish is to win.

Woman’s influence is powerful, especially when she wants something. ~ Josh Billings

Once convinced an amateur could take part, I was on the hunt for a team, and a kayak to borrow. Thankfully, I found both at work, and dove nearly literally into my first Josh experience.

After completing my five-mile paddle in 2010, I had an athlete’s high and remembered what that felt like, after months of hermit-like behavior. At the party at Tanglewood afterward, I had a great time with friends and remembered what that felt like, too. It was a great way to turn a new leaf, chucking it off to one side with a bright yellow paddle.

I couldn’t wait to return to the boat ramp, but my knee, its meniscus, and the ACL had other plans. In 2011 it started to wobble like cooked pasta, and in 2012 it was locked into a full-leg knee brace following surgery. This year I was rehabbed, reunited with my own ‘yak, and ready to come back… I was determined to find a team to compete with me in my Comeback, Part Two.

Once again, I found a teammate at work — my sassy friend Holly, who’s achieved some crazy fitness goals in the last two years and was ready to try her first 10K. She, in turn, signed on our cyclist, Nick — a Lenox native and a serious bike racer. We had our ringer.

I arrived at the town boat ramp early in the morning, ready to meet Nick at the end of his run, grab the wristband that symbolizes the relay baton, and run my boat to the water’s edge. The Josh course starts in Great Barrington, Mass. with the cyclists, who complete a 27-mile course that ends at the Lenox town boat ramp, where dozens of paddlers wait for their teammates with flailing arms and brightly colored outfits.

Be like a postage stamp. Stick to one thing until you get there. ~ Josh BIllings

The paddlers splash into the Stockbridge Bowl — a 372-acre ‘Great Pond’ — and complete 1 3/4 turns around its outer edges. There are a lot of different vessels, from the best racing canoes to boats held together with duct tape, and there’s water-based shoving involved… but it’s all in good fun. Their final destination is the beach at Camp Mah-Kee-Nac, where the runners wait to accept the wristband and take off on a 10K run toward the entrance to Tanglewood.

Laughter is the sensation of feeling good all over and showing it principally in one place. ~ Josh Billings

On Sunday we had a sunny day for the race, along with a sharp wind and mild temperatures. All three of us were out to best personal times and, literally and figuratively, finish each mile and put them summarily behind us.

One of the rarest things that a man ever does, is to do the best he can. ~ Josh Billings

With a collective time of three hours, 41 minutes to completion to finish in 13th place in the 39 and under male/female category, I’d say we did that just that. The talk of Comeback, Part Three continued into Monday morning as well… who knows what goals we’ll be looking to reach then, but a frenzied romp through water and woods is a great way to find things, no matter what you’re seeking.

If you ever find happiness by hunting for it, you will find it,
as the old woman did her lost spectacles, safe on her own nose all the time.