I haven’t always been a great sleeper, but I have started practicing a sleep Microstep that seems to help me get better sleep. I give myself a bedtime and I make sure that I go to sleep at the same time all week. It seems to stop me from tossing and turning and it prevents me from overthinking about the many things I have on my plate for the next day. I also use an unplugging Microstep so that I stop spending so much time on my phone. Many of us are addicted to our phones and I found myself being one of them. It’s so easy to get caught up in notifications and social media that you can easily start neglecting responsibilities at home and — I imagine for some — at work as well. To get around this distraction, my phone goes into Do Not Disturb mode from 9 p.m. to 9 a.m. every night. If there is an emergency, my family knows how to reach me.

I started using Microsteps because I was looking for something to hold me accountable to work out and take time for myself. I want to serve as a role model at work, always smiling and welcoming, and I have set a precedent that I am always available to help — whether it’s work or even personal matters. But before I can help others, I need to take care of myself. Thrive’s webinars and Microsteps have helped me do that.

Making connections with my colleagues is very important to me. I help my teammates when they are going through a rough time, when they need to talk about what is happening at work or at home, and I am told I give great parenting advice. I have learned to listen, then act. I am also the “Rah rah! Let’s go, NWH Foundation!” woman at work. For example, for the yearly Northwell Walk event I take pride in being that high-energy teammate that makes you sign up, fundraise, and encourages you to complete the walk.     

If I could give my younger self some advice about stress, it would be to take time for yourself. Whatever can’t be done today can be done tomorrow. Leave work at the same time every day. Spend time with family, spend time on yourself, exercise, meditate, go for an hour-long walk. Do anything that helps you clear your mind and get through your day positively. I was diagnosed with high blood pressure at 32 years old, and I knew I had to make a change or my health would be going down a bad path. I took my own advice and that is the reason I made the positive changes that keep me healthy today.

A great antidote for stress is joy. My joy trigger is looking at pictures or videos of my grandson, Hudson. It never fails to make me smile, laugh, and forget my troubles. I also enjoy taking a walk after work with my girlfriends, husband, son, or sometimes alone when I need time to wind down. I take advantage of that time to bond with my friends, find out what is going on with their lives, bond with my husband, or talk about just anything. The same goes for my son and daughter-in-law who are two of my favorite people in the world.

I’ve been to a few Thrive workshops at this point, and I have to say that they are so positive and motivating. They show you that healthy living is not a chore, but something that you can do in small ways to improve your overall well-being. A simple 15-minute walk each day can eventually turn into an hour-long walk. Once you begin seeing the results and feeling better, it truly motivates you to do more for yourself.


  • Annette Serrano

    Operations Manager for the Foundation at Northern Westchester Hospital

    Northwell Health

    My name is Annette Serrano (she/her). I am the Operations Manager for the Foundation at Northern Westchester Hospital. I have been at NWH for 28 years, and been in the Foundation 26 years. I actually was here when they first created the Foundation. I take great pride in my work, great pride in NWH, and I am fortunate to work with the best team ever! We are not only colleagues; we are family. I also take great pride in working for Northwell Health. I am married, have two adult sons, Matt (33) and Michael (28), a year-old grandson Hudson, and two wonderful daughters-in-law. I live in Bedford Hills, in Westchester County.