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As we approach the holiday season with the COVID-19 pandemic still impacting our daily lives, it is time to consider how to celebrate safely.

"Tips for Celebrating Safely This Thanksgiving" Infographic from the Public Health Communications Collaborative. Available at https://publichealthcollaborative.org.

This year may present the perfect opportunity to tweak old traditions and try something new! The CDC has provided guidelines to reduce the spread of COVID-19 while celebrating the holidays. The safest way to keep yourself, your family, and your community safe is to celebrate virtually or with members of your own household. If you chose to gather with extended family, friends, or others this season, know that small, outdoor activities are safer than indoor activities. Those planning to host or attend in-person holiday celebrations might consider whether and how to take the activities outdoors and make them memorable!

If your holiday celebration typically includes time spent in the living room or basement watching a football game or parade on TV with friends and family, might you be able to set up a projector screen or TV in the backyard and continue this tradition? If you don’t have the backyard space to host a gathering while allowing for adequate social distancing, is there a local park or outdoor spot where you could meet family for a picnic or hike? If you’re worried about cold weather, there are ways to keep warm while outdoors. You could:

  • Play games while social distancing to get moving and warm up
  • Sit and chat around a fire pit or outdoor heater
  • Bundle up with blankets, coats, mittens, hats, and other winter accessories
  • Sip on a cup of hot coffee, tea, hot chocolate, or cider

If you are the host of the gathering, encourage guests to bring their own food, beverages, and utensils to minimize sharing and the potential for cross contamination. If you opt to make food or beverages available, consider single use options or designate one person to serve the food so multiple people are not handling utensils and dishes.

Since many gatherings will be smaller this year, and because guests are encouraged to bring their own food, hosts may not need to cook a whole turkey, ham, or other large meal – the perfect opportunity to break from tradition and try new holiday recipes. Roasted turkey breast with vegetables, for example, makes a delicious meal for a family of six.

Holiday celebrations this year will be different for all of us.  With a little planning and creativity, you can find ways to experience comfort and happiness with loved ones – and you may even find a new tradition worth keeping!

Written by: Ashley Markowski, Dietetic Intern at Cedar Crest College

Reviewed by: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Franklin County

Sources:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays.html

Kistler, S.E. (2020). How to plan winter holidays in a pandemic. The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. https://wexnermedical.osu.edu/blog/covid-and-planning-thanksgiving-christmas-holidays


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Towards the end of each calendar year, I contemplate about the upcoming year and think about what personal characteristics I hope to emulate. This year I picked “KIND” as my word of the year and I’ve enjoyed having my “word” as a reminder of how I want to be.

Be Kind words writtten in chalk

Be Kind

The definition of Kindness, according to the Oxford Dictionary is:

Kindness (noun): the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.

In this blog, I will share how practicing kindness can enrich your life and some tips to help you get started.

According to a Harvard Health blog, kindness starts with being kind to yourself. This may mean practicing forgiveness, self-care or eating a healthy meal. I encourage you to “think outside the normal” when you consider ways to practice kindness and to start with being kind to yourself.

The “On Our Sleeves” movement focuses on children’s mental health. Their kindness challenge has some simple tips to help you get started. It shares tips for teaching your kids about kindness but remember these suggestions apply to anyone. In my experience, every time I practice kindness, I gain a positive experience in my life.

Practicing kindness can help you in many ways: It can:

  • Help reduce stress
  • Increase your sense of happiness
  • Help reduce negative emotions
  • Help you feel more connected to others

Are you looking for more inspiration? Visit University of Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center for articles and suggestions for creating good. This 15 minute Loving-Kindness meditation is a wonderful way to strengthen your kindness initiative.

With all these benefits, what are you waiting for?

Please comment below on ways you are practicing kindness.

Sources:

Broderick, M. (2019, April 18). The heart and science of kindness. Harvard Health Blog. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/the-heart-and-science-of-kindness-2019041816447

Loving-kindness meditation(Greater good in action). (n.d.). Retrieved November 9, 2020, from https://ggia.berkeley.edu/practice/loving_kindness_meditation

Writer: Michelle Treber, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, treber.1@osu.edu

Reviewer:    Susan Zies , Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Wood County, zies.1@osu.edu

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Pharmacy and grocery store shelves are full of over-the-counter cold and cough medicines.  Which one do you choose, or are you better off not taking anything?  Do they help or make the cold last longer?  What about side effects?

Woman coughing.

Nothing cures or shortens the common cold.  Most colds usually go away in 7 to 10 days.  Since colds are caused by viruses and antibiotics don’t kill viruses your doctor will usually not give you anything unless you have had it for over 10 days.  Over-the-counter medicines don’t shorten or cure the cold either.  They just provide some relief from the symptoms. 

Why do we get more colds/coughs in the winter?  A study of the rhinovirus (causes the common cold) found it reproduces at lower temperatures.  Our nose usually gets colder than our core body temperature when we are out in the cold winter air.   This makes it easier for us to get a cold.  Washing our hands becomes important so we don’t spread the germs or get someone else’s germs.  

Should we take some medication?  Or what really works?

  • Antihistamines may help dry up a runny nose and help itchy, watery eyes. They can also cause drowsiness in some people and excited or restless in others.  The elderly is at risk of falling as many times antihistamines cause confusion and dizziness.  Antihistamines can also cause an irregular heartbeat. If you have glaucoma, an enlarged prostate, breathing problems, high blood pressure or heart disease check with your doctor before taking antihistamines.   
  • Pain relievers can help relieve fever, aches, and pains.  Be careful as many products have dosages in them. High dosages of acetaminophen can cause liver damage.
  • Cough suppressants can be slightly sedating.  The cough suppressant dextromethorphan has few other side effects.  An expectorant such as guaifenesin helps you clear mucous from your airways. However, it keeps me awake, and what I need when I am sick is sleep and rest. 

The best cough suppressant may be honey. Grandma knew best!  Add a teaspoon or two to a cup of tea or swallow it off the spoon.  Caution: Never give honey to infants younger than a year old. 

  • Nasal decongestants may be helpful in clearing up your nose. However, if you have high blood pressure or our taking blood pressure medication don’t take decongestants.  It is best to only take these for a short amount of time as they lose their effectiveness over time.  Nasal sprays should not be used for longer than 3-5 days as they can cause congestion. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend any over-the-counter cough and cold medications for children under the age of six, due to a lack of conclusive evidence that they work and increased reports of adverse events or even mortality.

Stop taking any over-the counter medications if you have these symptoms:

  • An allergic reaction like a rash, hives, peeling skin, wheezing, tightness in chest or throat, trouble breathing, swallowing, or talking, or swelling of face or throat.  Check with your doctor or get medical help if severe. 
  • Dark urine, feeling tired, light-colored stools, throwing up or yellow skin or eyes which can be signs of liver problems. 
  • Not able to pass urine or a change in urine.
  • Dizziness, feeling nervous, excitable, unable to sleep. 

What works?

  • The neti pot or nasal irrigation helps with breathing until the mucus builds up again.  No side effects with the neti pot. 
  • Getting extra rest.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking lots of liquids, water, juice, soup, or broth.  Water is a good expectorant too. 
  • Honey can help with a cough.  See information above. 
  • Eat a healthy diet, especially vegetables and fruit, which can help you maintain health.
  • Vitamin C and Zinc may help but no affirmative studies have shown they do. 
  • Wash your hands often to prevent getting other’s germs or spreading yours.

Author:  Pat Brinkman, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension

Reviewer: 

References:

Bykov, K. (2020). Cough and Cold Season is Arriving:  Choose Medicines Safely.  Harvard Health Blog at https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/cough-and-cold-season-is-arriving-choose-medicines-safely-2020092220981

Graham, E. (2020). The Do’s and Don’ts of Cough and Cold Medicines. Safe Medication  at http://www.safemedication.com/safemed/PharmacistsJournal/The-Dos-and-Donts-of-Cough-and-Cold-Medicines

Wiley, F. (2015). Tough Out a Cold or Medicate It? Good Question.  Available at https://medshadow.org/tough-out-a-cold-or-medicate-it-good-question/

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With the holiday season almost here, discussions are being held to determine the best practice to celebrate without putting ourselves in the path of the coronavirus.  Older adults need to be exceptionally careful, especially those with high blood pressure, heart, lung, kidney or liver disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer.  These Seniors face a greater risk of developing severe COVID-19.

In-Person or Virtual?

Holidays are a time for families and friends to come together and celebrate the season.  It is understandable that many still want to get together and celebrate the season.  Your decision on whether to stay at home or get together face to face needs to be based on your own health, risk factors and how your community (or the area you plan to visit) is faring.  Before you make your plans, check local transmission rates.  According to researchers at John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, there should be a two-week decrease in COVID-19 cases and a low overall rate (less than 10 per 100,000 people over 14 days).  

If you are in an area with high levels of COVID-19, it is wise to stay home even if you are otherwise in good health and have no preexisting conditions according to practitioners at the Cleveland Clinic.

Virtual Holiday

Should you choose to celebrate this holiday separately from your family and friends, make it memorable.

  • Connect via a digital platform, such as Zoom.  This allows you to do everything from sitting at your Thanksgiving dinner table, watching grandkids open presents or singing favorite songs on a computer.
  • Overhaul your traditions.  Mix up a favorite holiday recipe and send out to everyone! 
  • Create new virtual traditions.  Host a game night on an app called Pogo.  Or watch your favorite holiday movie simultaneously via an app called Netflix Party.
  • Schedule several virtual tours for the holidays. The Smithsonian Institution and the Metropolitan Museum of Art offer many options.

Face to Face Celebrations

In person celebrations are not perfectly safe.  However, a few steps can reduce risks significantly.

  • Wear a mask.  Social distance and wash your hands frequently.
  • Stay as local as possible.  Stay within a 2-hour drive from home.  This minimizes the need to stop along the way.
  • Plan for small and short.  The fewer people you are with, the lower the overall risk.  Keep indoor get-togethers under 10 people and limit to 1 hour. 
  • Bring your own.  Ideally, everyone should have their own food and utensils.  Takeout is an option.  Ask for food to be packed in separate containers for each person.
  • Try staggered eating times, so people from the same household can eat together at the same table.  Consider eating with spaced-out seating.
  • Limit alcohol.   The more people drink,  it is challenging to stay masked and follow social distancing guidelines.
  • Skip the singalongs.  When people sing, small aerosol particles are released into the air and may propel the virus into your 6-foot safety zone.
  • Wash your own dishes to limit cross-contamination
  • Paper plates are safer to use than regular dishes
  • Wipe and sanitize common areas
  • Do not use serving utensils or pass dishes

Remember to pass on the hugs and keep everyone safe.   Be Well this holiday season.

Written by Beth Stefura, OSU Extension Educator, Mahoning County stefura.2@osu.edu

Reviewed by:  Jenny Lobb, OSU Extension Educator, Franklin County  lobb.3@osu.edu

References:

Centers of Disease Control:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays.html

Illinois  Department of Health:

https://www.dph.illinois.gov/covid19/community-guidance/holiday-season-safety-tips

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Each November we take time to recognize National Diabetes Month and American Diabetes Month. In the last 20 years, the number of adults in the US diagnosed with diabetes has more than tripled, reaching 34.2 million people with diabetes (about 10.5 percent of the US population). Here in Ohio nearly one million adults have diabetes and an additional 300,000 have diabetes but do not know it.

National Diabetes Month theme is Taking care of youth who have diabetes.

Diabetes does not just affect adults. That is why the National Diabetes Month campaign this year is “Taking Care of Youth Who Have Diabetes”. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, diabetes is one of the most common chronic conditions in school-age youth in the United States, affecting about 193,000 youth under 20 years old. It is important to help your child or teen develop a plan to manage diabetes, and work with their health care team to adjust the diabetes self-care plan as needed.

Here are some tips to consider for your youth’s diabetes self-care plan:

  • Manage blood glucose levels. Make sure your child or teen takes their medicines as prescribed, at the right time, and the right dose.
  • Encourage healthy habits. Follow a healthy eating plan (especially if your youth is taking insulin), get enough sleep, and aim for regular physical activity.
  • Stay prepared for emergencies. A basic “go-kit” could include medical supplies and equipment, professional contact lists, and a medication list including doses and dosing schedules.
  • Monitor for diabetes complications. Early diagnosis and treatment can help reduce risk for heart disease, vision loss, nerve damage, and other related health problems.
  • Seek mental health support. Encourage them to connect with other youth who have diabetes. Youth may not be used to talking about feeling anxious or alone about their diabetes. Consider summer diabetes camps near you.
Tips to help youth who have diabetes

I am a parent, but my children do not have diabetes. This information left me wondering, “But what can I actually do to help?” What can we as friends and neighbors do to be supportive of kids with diabetes? I came across some research involving in-depth interviews with children who have type 1 diabetes.

They found that these youth mentioned the most positive supporters were sensitive to their needs, but not overly protective. The researchers termed these folks as helpers and normalizers. Most children mentioned their friends who are willing to wait. These friends will wait to eat until the child with diabetes is able to eat. They will wait to eat a food in front of their friend with diabetes until they know they can eat it too. I encourage you to discuss this with the kids or grandkids in your life. Encourage them to be a helper and a friend who waits.

Please check out recorded videos from this summer’s Dining with Diabetes Cooking Demonstrations.  There is also a free online course called Dining with Diabetes Beyond the Kitchen. This is a self-paced course with topics like making healthy choices when eating at restaurants, grocery shopping, or planning weekly meals.

Written by: Emily Marrison, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Coshocton County

Reviewed by: Dan Remley, Field Specialist, Food, Nutrition, Wellness, OSU Extension

Sources:

Rankin, D., et al. Pre‐adolescent children’s experiences of receiving diabetes‐related support from friends and peers: A qualitative study. Health Expectations. 2018; 21(5): 870-877. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6186536/

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). National Diabetes Statistics Report 2020. https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/data/statistics-report/index.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fdiabetes%2Fdata%2Fstatistics%2Fstatistics-report.html

Ohio Department of Health. Ohio Diabetes Action Plan 2018. https://odh.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/odh/know-our-programs/chronic-disease/data-publications/ohio-diabetes-action-plan-2018

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Many communities and families are considering their best options to celebrate Halloween this year. The CDC has ranked different activities and risks related to spreading viruses. The following suggestions are listed as lower risk Halloween activities:

  • Carve or decorate pumpkins with members of your household to display
  • Carve or decorate pumpkins outside, at a safe distance, with neighbors or friends
  • Decorate your apartment, house or living space
  • Have a virtual Halloween costume contest
  • Have a Halloween movie night with people you live with
  • Have a scavenger hunt-style trick-or-treat search with your household members in or around your home rather than going house to house

Whether you have little ones at home, are deciding about passing out candy or do not typically participate in trick-or-treating, why not use Halloween to plan a fun meal? Using the colors of orange, black and purple, mix up the fun and add some tasty treats to your menu.

Making orange (and red) vegetables a regular part of your diet will help reduce the risk of chronic disease, as well as improve overall wellness. The next time you are at the store or farm market, look for orange peppers, carrots, pumpkins and other winter squash. Many of those vegetables can be prepared in a variety of ways and one easy way is to roast them in the oven. Add a little olive oil and some herbs and roast them in the oven alongside your favorite choice of meat.  

Choosing Winter Squash at the Farm Market

Canned pumpkin is a healthy and convenient ingredient. Although these suggestions might sound unusual, my colleagues who teach nutrition education and my household can attest that these are adult and kid approved recipes:

Add some dark colors to complement the orange such as black olives alongside a vegetable tray or as a garnish for cooked dishes. Blackberries are a delicious fruit and can be served alongside orange slices.

For fall snacks, not only are pumpkin seeds easily available this time of year, sunflower seeds are also a crunchy treat. Enjoy a handful of seeds as a snack or toss some on top of a salad or winter squash soup. Chopped nuts (like peanuts, almonds, walnuts) are a nice garnish on top of salads or soups.

Bowl of soup with pumpkin seeds garnish

Sweet Treats: While candy (in moderation) can have a place in celebrations, it lacks nutrients like fiber and vitamins and minerals. Try some of these sweet treats:

  • Make popcorn, a whole grain, and toss it with cinnamon and sugar
  • Serve fresh fruit slices alongside the pumpkin dip
  • Bake apples or pears with cinnamon. For optional toppings, add chopped nuts or a drizzle of honey
  • Warm up some apple cider and garnish with a cinnamon stick

For a spooky presentation, fill clear, food grade gloves to “serve” up some snacks. Fill them with dry cereal, nuts, mini-pretzels, snack mix or popcorn for bony fingers. While this Halloween might look different than those in the recent past, consider using the day to create a healthy and memorable menu this year.

Written by: Patrice Powers-Barker, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Lucas County

Reviewed by: Misty Harmon, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Perry County

Sources:

Ellis, E. (2019). Enjoy a Healthy and Happy Halloween. Eat Right, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Retrieved 10/20/20 from https://www.eatright.org/health/lifestyle/holidays/enjoy-a-healthy-and-happy-halloween 

Halloween. (2020). Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention. Retrieved 10/20/20 from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays.html#halloween

Photo credit: farm market from CDC and squash soup from Pixabay

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It seems like when something upsetting happens, it isn’t usually one small thing at a time.  It is many small things that add up to big things and then BOOM! I am overwhelmed with disappointment.  Disappointment in my own reactions, disappointment in others, and disappointment in the situation(s).  Lately, these situations have been coming at me fast and furious and I am feeling very overwhelmed and underprepared for dealing with them.  I thought since I was experiencing this, I would write a blog to remind myself what I need to do to help myself and hope that you resonate as well.

Disappointment can lead to resilience, but first we have to work through the disappointment and not let bitterness overtake us. Resilience is our ability to “bounce back” from set-backs.

Karen Stephens shares these tips for helping our children deal with disappointment in the article “Disappointment and Dismay: Supporting Kids When They Don’t Get What They Want “. These can also apply as we help a friend who is dealing with disappointment or we can even apply these tips to our own situations.

  • Build a strong attachment to another person.

Who do you talk to when you are disappointed?  Is it someone who complains along with you?  Is it someone who you can cry with?   Is it someone who listens when you share what happened?  Who gives you honest feedback and asks questions to help you process? Find your tribe and be part of someone else’s.

  • Learn to share center stage.

Ask yourself if this situation is all about you. I have a tendency to take things very personally.  Sometimes I am disappointed and the situation really has nothing to do with me at all.

  • Build others up.

Are you sharing the successes of others or do you find yourself putting others down to build others up?  When we take time to celebrate the successes of others, we begin to realize that we are part of a greater whole.

  • Use your words.

Take the time to express yourself.  This can be by talking to another person, writing in a journal, or using art or music to share. If you don’t know where to start, try using the two lists activity to name your disappointments.

  • Express your feelings.

It is okay to not be okay.  We should share when we are hurt, angry, sad or disappointed.  And we should also share when we are proud and happy.  Support others who share their feelings with you.  Thank them for trusting you.

  • Respect the feelings of others.

As we are well aware every time we open social media, each of us has a different opinion and a different way to approach a situation.  Others may not agree with you all of the time, but through honest conversation and sometimes agreeing to disagree OR by setting boundaries about topics you will talk about, you can be in healthy relationships with others.

Learning how to face our disappointments head on will help you navigate through the feelings of disappointment.  I love Winnie the Pooh. The support and love that his group of friends show one another remind us that with others, we can overcome. These words from A.A. Milne say it all when we are working through our disappointments: “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart…I’ll always be with you.”

Winnie the Pooh and friends in a canoe

Written by: Jami Dellifield, Ohio State University, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Hardin County

Reviewed by: Jenny Lobb, Ohio State University, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Franklin County

References

Greenberg, M. (2015, June 30). 8 Ways to Bounce Back After a Disappointment. Retrieved October 14, 2020, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-mindful-self-express/201506/8-ways-bounce-back-after-disappointment

Manfred F. R. Kets de Vries. (2018, October 26). Dealing with Disappointment. Retrieved October 14, 2020, from https://hbr.org/2018/08/dealing-with-disappointment

Milne, A. (n.d.). A quote from Winnie the Pooh Library. Retrieved October 15, 2020, from https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/6659295-you-are-braver-than-you-believe-stronger-than-you-seem

Moore, C. (2020). Pandemic Disappointment: How To Deal When Your Plans Get Canceled. Retrieved October 10, 2020, from https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-deal-with-disappointment-if-coronavirus-has-interrupted-your-plans

Stephens, K. (2007). Disappointment and Dismay: Supporting Kids When They Don’t Get What They Want. Retrieved October 14, 2020, from https://www.easternflorida.edu/community-resources/child-development-centers/parent-resource-library/documents/dissappointment.pdf

Images

https://pixabay.com/photos/sadness-disappointment-collapse-4273889/

https://pixabay.com/photos/winnie-the-pooh-wall-painting-437940/

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I heard a quote recently that stood out to me: “The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.” I feel often like the days are flying or moving faster than I would like. This quote reminded me that I am in control. 

Controlling your time and schedule isn’t easy and something that takes constant adjustments and awareness.

Dwight D. Eisenhower shared a matrix that he used to help with tasks and prioritizing his time. It can help you with that list as you:

1. Identify at a glance what needs to be done.

2. Move tasks around based on how important or urgent.

3. Have an overview of where you need to focus your attention in the short and long-term.

4. Stay on top of all your to-do lists.

Let me share an example from my own life.  While working from home I knew I would miss the movement that accompanies my usual daily tasks. I am not often confined to a desk and I prefer moving around.  I look forward to classes at the gym for the movement and socialization.   Using Eisenhower’s model I went through each step with my movement and working from home concerns in mind.

Identify at a glance what needs to be done: I need to work some walks and movement into my new workday, as well as other times throughout my day.

Move tasks around based on how important or urgent: I will start my day with a workout; an exercise video or a run. I will also take a stretch break in the afternoon and stand to complete some of my work tasks.  I can listen to music and I gave myself permission to dance.  Occasionally, I’ll even invite my new “coworkers” join. 😉

Have an overview of where you need to focus your attention in the short and long-term: I set reminders on my phone and log my workouts in an app to track progress. 

Stay on top of all your to-do lists: each week I look at my tasks, my needs and make any necessary adjustments.

Image created by Courtney Woelfl

With so many of us moving our offices to our home, some kids schooling from home, gyms closed, activities reduced and more it can disrupt our normal routines. These disruptions can throw us off balance and create extra obstacles to overcome.  Using these to guide your priorities and the matrix to determine your schedule and to-do list can help with any changes you might be dealing with related to staying home and other battles.

I am no Dwight D.  Eisenhower commanding the Allied forces in Europe or a president making decisions for the entire United States, BUT I am in command of my own time and to-do list, and you are too!

Writer: Alisha Barton, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Miami  County, barton.345@osu.edu

Reviewers:   Courtney Woelfl, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Chuyahoga County, woelfl.1@osu.edu

References:

Eisenhower’s Urgent/Important Principle: Using Time Effectively, Not Just Efficiently; http://commonhealth.virginia.gov/documents/wellnotes/UsingTimeEffectivelyNotJustEfficiently.pdf.

Midgie, BillT, Mind Tools Content Team, Mind Tools Content Team, & Mind Tools Content Team. Eisenhower’s Urgent/Important Principle: Using Time Effectively, Not Just Efficiently. Retrieved from https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newHTE_91.htm

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About a year ago, I wrote a blog titled Fall: A SAD Time of Year. I talked about my experience with the winter blues, a milder form of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). I contrasted symptoms of winter blues versus SAD, and I reviewed things you can do to alleviate symptoms. As I write this today, once again I find myself struggling with the change in the seasons. The shorter days, overcast skies, colder temperatures, dying plants, and turning leaves make me yearn for the long, hot, sunny days of summer. I know many people love fall, football, pumpkins and pumpkin spice everything, sweaters, cool temps and everything else this time of year brings, but I dread it.

dark foggy autumn woods

I don’t remember exactly when I started to loathe fall, but it was likely in my early 30’s. Research suggests winter blues or SAD usually begins between the ages of 18 and 30 but can begin at any age. I knew I dreaded fall more and more each year but I didn’t understand why. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I finally realized why I dislike fall so much, and it made so much sense. While symptoms of winter blues or SAD usually start in late fall to early winter for most people, I start noticing the effects in late summer to early fall. Summer is my favorite season, so I knowing it is ending likely adds to my earlier onset of symptoms.

man running along the roadside in the country

By the time winter sets in, I have taken steps to help reduce the effects of the winter blues. Once I quit resisting and dreading and loathing the change in seasons, and start being proactive, I notice a marked improvement in my mood, energy, motivation, and overall well-being. One critical component for me is exercise. I use exercise all year round to help with my mental health and overall well-being, but it’s even more critical during the fall and winter months. Running outside is my favorite, which is a win-win, if I can run during the day, since exposure to bright light can also help with symptoms. I worked as an exercise physiologist for 22+ years, so I am well-aware of the benefits of exercise but finding the motivation and energy this time of year is still sometimes a challenge. I am presenting a webinar on November 4th at 11am titled No Gym? No Problem where I will provide tips and tricks to work activity and exercise in to your day with little or no equipment.

This year, I notice that I am more tired than usual as the seasons are changing. I have tried sleeping more and sleeping less, but I have yet to find my sleep sweet spot right now. As I am adjusting, I am giving myself grace and permission to be OK with not being OK. We are all living in unprecedented times, and everyone has struggled in one way or another. This season is a struggle for me even in a good year, so there is no reason to beat myself up, especially this year! I hope you will give yourself and those around you some grace and allow yourself and others to be OK with not being OK. Of course, if you feel like you need professional help, please don’t hesitate to seek out that assistance. Mental health is critical to overall health and well-being and I want us all to have both now and well into the future.

Written by: Misty Harmon, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Perry County, harmon.416@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Shannon Carter, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Fairfield County, carter.413@osu.edu

Sources:

Harmon, M. (2019, October 21). Fall: A SAD Time of Year. Retrieved from https://livehealthyosu.com/2019/10/21/fall-a-sad-time-of-year/

Rush University Medical Center. (n.d.). More Than Just the Winter Blues? Retrieved from https://www.rush.edu/health-wellness/discover-health/more-just-winter-blues

Robinson, L., Segal, J., Ph.D., & Smith, M., M.A. (2019, June). The Mental Health Benefits of Exercise. Retrieved October 07, 2020, from https://www.helpguide.org/articles/healthy-living/the-mental-health-benefits-of-exercise.htm

National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD), Division of Viral Diseases. (2020, September 11). Personal and Social Activities. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/personal-social-activities.html#event

Bohlen, A. (2020, September 17). Pizza for dinner again! Retrieved from https://livehealthyosu.com/2020/09/17/pizza-for-dinner-again/

Carter, S. (2020, August 31). Beating the Pandemic Blues. Retrieved from https://livehealthyosu.com/2020/08/31/beating-the-pandemic-blues/

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You are invited to take a break! Sign up for the Ohio State University Extension, Live Healthy Live Well 6 -week Email Wellness Challenge. Two weekly e-mails will be sent directly to you from an OSU Extension Professional from October 19 – November 30, 2020.

You will explore different ways to “Take a Break”. Our creative writing team will share ideas to help you:
• Break the Ice
• Enjoy Breakfast again
• Take a Technology Break
• Explore a Play Break
• Take a Rest Break
• Break the Mold
• Try a Snack Break
• Explore Holiday Breaks and Traditions
• Breaking Free

What is the cost? It’s FREE!!

Who can participate? Any adult with an email account.

How do I sign up? Find your Ohio county below. Go to the link listed beside your county and register. Many, but not all Ohio counties are listed. If your county is not listed, please register with this link: go.osu.edu/yp4hfall20

CountyGo Links
Adamsgo.osu.edu/adamhighfall20
Belmontgo.osu.edu/belmontfall2020
Browngo.osu.edu/2020fallchallenge
Butlergo.osu.edu/2020fallchallenge
Carrollgo.osu.edu/carrollfall20
Champaigngo.osu.edu/champaign2020
Clarkgo.osu.edu/clarkfall2020
Clermontgo.osu.edu/2020fallchallenge
Columbianago.osu.edu/columfall20
Coshoctongo.osu.edu/coshoctonfall20
Cuyahogago.osu.edu/cuyahogafall2020
Darkego.osu.edu/westfall2020
Defiancego.osu.edu/NWOhiofall2020
Fairfieldgo.osu.edu/lhlwfall
Fayettego.osu.edu/Fayettefall2020
Franklingo.osu.edu/fall2020franklin
Fultongo.osu.edu/NWOhiofall2020
Hamiltongo.osu.edu/2020fallchallenge
Hardingo.osu.edu/fall2020hardin
Henrygo.osu.edu/NWOhiofall2020
Highlandgo.osu.edu/adamhighfall20
Hockinggo.osu.edu/lhlwfall
Holmesgo.osu.edu/HolmesFall2020
Lickinggo.osu.edu/lickingfall2020
Lucasgo.osu.edu/lucasfall20
Mahoninggo.osu.edu/mahoningfall
Medinago.osu.edu/medinafall2020
Meigsgo.osu.edu/meigsfall20
Mercergo.osu.edu/westfall2020
Noblego.osu.edu/noblefall2020
Ottawago.osu.edu/lhlw2020fall
Pauldinggo.osu.edu/NWOhiofall2020
Perrygo.osu.edu/perryfall2020
Pickawaygo.osu.edu/pickawayfall2020
Pikego.osu.edu/pikefall2020
Preblego.osu.edu/westfall2020
Rossgo.osu.edu/fall2020ross
Sanduskygo.osu.edu/lhlw2020fall
Trumbullgo.osu.edu/trumbullfall20 
Vintongo.osu.edu/vintonfall2020
Warrengo.osu.edu/warrenfall2020
Washingtongo.osu.edu/washingtonfall2020
Waynego.osu.edu/waynefall2020
Williamsgo.osu.edu/NWOhiofall2020
Woodgo.osu.edu/woodfall2020

For more information, contact Michelle Treber, treber.1@osu.edu or Lisa Barlage, barlage.7@osu.edu

Stay Safe, Be Well and Take a Break!

Written by: Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, treber.1@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County, barlage.7@osu.edu

Jamie Lemaster, Office Assistant, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, lemaster.158@osu.edu

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