Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Healthy People’ Category

city with bright lights

Photo by Peng LIU on Pexels.com

In Ohio, it’s hard to get away from that orange glow in the sky. The glow stems from our cities and towns, restaurants, car dealerships, street lights, but invades our night sky so we can’t see the stars and constellations. According to scientists, almost a third of the world’s population cannot see the Milky Way, and in developed countries such as the United States, it’s around 80%! In big cities, such as New York, you may only be able to count around a dozen or so stars in the sky. We have to shut our curtains and drapes, so that we can rest peacefully in the darkness. Fortunately, some places are better than others. If you go out west to Wyoming or Idaho, where it is less populated, you can see the moon, stars, and planets in their mystery, grandness, and beauty…

Turns out the dark night sky and darkness in general, provides more to us than aesthetics alone. Darkness can influence our circadian rhythm, a natural cycle that governs hormones, body temperature, sleep and wake patterns, hunger, activity, and a vast array of physiological functions. The rhythm has evolved over millions of years. Artificial light has crept into existence since the late 19th century, which seems like a long time, but that is only a fraction of evolutionary time. As such, artificial light, whether it be outdoor or indoor is thought to disrupt this natural circadian rhythm that has evolved over millions of years. Such disruptions might lead to health disorders such as poor sleep, cancer, obesity, diabetes, and mood problems.

What can we do for our health at night? Besides closing drapes and blinds to block out outdoor artificial lighting, we can turn off all sources of blue light, emitted from smart phones, screens, and TVs. Turn off all lights that really don’t need to be on at all. Taking an inventory of sources of artificial light will help. Try to use dim light with low color light indoors and outdoors (eg, low wattage incandescent, less than 3000K) beginning at dusk. Also, consider getting back to reading an old fashion paperback book rather than on a tablet.

Some organizations promote advocating for anti-light polluting community features and practices, such as street lamps that use specific types of lighting and project light towards the ground. Individuals can go to their city planners and government officials to advocate for night friendly features and practices.

Missing the Dark: Health Effects of Light . 2009 Jan; 117(1): A20–A27. Pollution at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2627884/

Stevens, Richard. (2016) What the Rising Light Pollution Means for Our Health. Editorial at BBC website at http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20160617-what-rising-light-pollution-means-for-our-health

Dark Sky Organization at https://www.darksky.org/

Author: Dan Remley, Associate Professor, Field Specialist Food, Nutrition, Wellness, OSU Extension

Reviewer: Amy Meehan, MPH, Healthy People Program Specialist, OSU Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences

 

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Does that question cause you some anxiety? Even thinking about it may feel impossible!
Our phones are used for so much these days; banking, shopping, entertainment, keeping in touch, navigating and more. Even my kids share ways their teachers incorporate their phones into their school day with quizzes and classroom research. 

cell phone

As our use of our phones has grown, so has the research suggesting that our phones can impact our health: physically, mentally and emotionally. With this in mind, taking a break from your phone can be a powerful way to improve your health and well-being. The benefits of taking a break from screens are vast and impact many areas of our daily life. Improved mood, better sleep, a healthier work/life balance, being more present in everyday moments and even a more focused driver are all positive benefits from a break. 

Putting down your phone can be easier said than done.  It doesn’t have to be permanently. Just a few small changes in the way phones are used in your daily life can have a big impact. Here are a few to consider:

Remove phones for transitional moments in your day: walking, getting ready in the morning, driving etc.  Instead of allowing your phone to distract you focus on walking from your car into the grocery store.  Be present in the moment. Pay attention to your breathing, what you see, what you smell.

Consider other ways to fill down time: We haven’t always had our phones. What did you do with your downtime before?  Our phones often control or take over our downtime with checking on social media or playing a game.  Think about what you used that downtime for before you started crushing all that candy and try to implement some of those activities or hobbies.  

Put your phone away before bed: The blue light emitted from our phones can impact sleep, making it harder to fall asleep or stay asleep. Our mind needs time to unwind after technology use throughout the day.   Shutting off your phone 30 minutes before bed can help you achieve more restful sleep and help your brain produce the melatonin it needs to fall asleep and stay asleep. 

Find opportunities to explore the real world: Get outside, spend some time in nature.  Focus on building real relationships.  Walk over and have a conversation with a neighbor face to face instead of texting.  Call a friend or make plans that don’t include screens or your phone. 

Put your phone away during conversations:  Studies show that people feel less connected to conversation partners, and found their partners less empathically attuned, when a cell phone was present during the conversation. Having a phone present can be a barrier to a deeper or meaningful conversation. These conversations require trust and undivided attention.   Putting your phone away shows your loved ones that you are listening and focused on them. 

Whether as a temporary breather or an opportunity to create enduring change, there is much to be gained from taking a break from your phone. Screen-Free Week is April 29- May 5. Take the online pledge and you’ll receive support and tips for going screen free.
There is no need to go it alone- consider getting close friends, family, and household members to join you in this effort.

 

Resources:

Commercial-Free Childhood. (2019). Rediscover the joys of life away from screens. Retrieved from https://www.screenfree.org/

Gomes, M. (2018, April). Five Reasons to Take a Break from Screens. Greater Good Magazine. Retrieved from https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/five_reasons_to_take_a_break_from_screens

The National Sleep Foundation. (2019). Three ways gadgets are keeping you awake. Retrieved from https://www.sleep.org/articles/ways-technology-affects-sleep/

Written by: Alisha Barton, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Miami County

Reviewed by: Amanda Bohlen, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Washington County

 

Read Full Post »

If you had asked me last year my definition of wellness, I would have said eating right, exercising and lowering my risk of getting sick. However, wellness has many aspects and is connected to more than just those three areas. This last year has taught me how important some of those other areas are to my health and well-being.

The Ohio State University uses an integrative approach to wellness that promotes nine dimensions of well-being. Their student wellness center identifies each of the areas and gives a description.

wellness wheelEmotional Wellness
The emotionally well person can identify, express and manage the entire range of feelings and would consider seeking assistance to address areas of concern.

Career Wellness
The professionally well person engages in work to gain personal satisfaction and enrichment, consistent with values, goals and lifestyle.

Social Wellness
The socially well person has a network of support based on interdependence, mutual trust, respect and has developed a sensitivity and awareness towards the feelings of others.

Spiritual Wellness
The spiritually well person seeks harmony and balance by openly exploring the depth of human purpose, meaning and connection through dialogue and self-reflection.

Physical Wellness
The physically well person gets an adequate amount of sleep, eats a balanced and nutritious diet, engages in exercise for 150 minutes per week, attends regular medical check-ups and practices safe and healthy sexual relations.

Financial Wellness
The financially well person is fully aware of financial state and budgets, saves and manages finances in order to achieve realistic goals.

Intellectual Wellness
The intellectually well person values lifelong learning and seeks to foster critical thinking, develop moral reasoning, expand worldviews and engage in education for the pursuit of knowledge.

Creative Wellness
The creatively well person values and actively participates in a diverse range of arts and cultural experiences as a means to understand and appreciate the surrounding world.

Environmental Wellness
The environmentally well person recognizes the responsibility to preserve, protect and improve the environment and appreciates the interconnectedness of nature and the individual.

I like to think of these nine dimensions in relation to a wheel. When each area is full and evenly distributed around the wheel, it runs smoothly and is strong. However, if areas are missing or less than full then we have a weak, bumpy rolling wheel. Completing a self-assessment shows areas that are thriving and other areas that need greater attention. In examining your own well-being, where could you use some improvements? I encourage you to use that information and set a wellness goal for the next month. Make it something that won’t be too hard to accomplish. For example, take the stairs instead of the elevator or add one more glass of water to your daily beverage intake. This makes it easier to create a plan towards a healthier well-balanced you.

 

Mazurek Melnyk, B., & Neale, S. (2018). Wellness 101: 9 dimensions of wellness. American Nurse Today13(1), 10–11.

The Ohio State University Office Of Student Life. (2018). Nine Dimensions of Wellness. Retrieved from https://swc.osu.edu/about-us/nine-dimensions-of-wellness/

 

Author: Amanda Bohlen, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Washington County, bohlen.19@osu.edu

Reviewer: Dan Remley, Field Specialist, Food, Nutrition, and Wellness. Ohio State University Extension,  remley.4@osu.edu

Read Full Post »

Stress is something that every person encounters in life; relationships, weddings, jobs, births, finances, vacations, deaths, etc. all create stress.  Some events might be happy, positive events, like having a baby, but they still can be stressful.  According to the Mayo Clinic, stress effects our bodies physically, mentally and behaviorally.

Common effects of stress on your body:road sign - one pointing right with the word stress and one point left with the word relax

  • Headache
  • Muscle tension or pain
  • Chest pain
  • Fatigue
  • Change in sex drive
  • Stomach upset
  • Sleep problems

Common effects of stress on mood:

  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Lack of motivation or focus
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Irritability or anger
  • Sadness or depression

Common effects of stress on your behavior:

  • Overeating or underrating
  • Angry outbursts
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Tobacco use
  • Social withdrawal
  • Exercising less often

If stress isn’t managed properly it can wreak havoc on your body.  Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Southern California, Kim Goodman says “Chronic stress can lead to depression, anxiety, low tolerance levels and interpersonal relationship challenges.”    Our ability to effectively cope with stress is determined by how we respond to it.  Jack Canfield developed a formula to explain this concept E (event) +R (response) = O (outcome).  He states “every outcome you experience in life is the result of how you have responded to an earlier event in your life.  Likewise, if you want to change the results you get in the future, you must change how you respond to events in your life…starting today”.   Here is an example of putting this formula into practice:  you’re stuck in traffic (E) + you cuss, beep your horn and yell out the window (R) = your angry, anxious, experience muscle tension and your blood pressure increases (O).  Now let’s use the same scenerio but change our response and see if the outcome is different.  You’re stuck in traffic (E) + you turn on some music, maybe return phone calls or spend the time contacting a friend you haven’t had time to connect with (R) = you remain calm and relaxed and your productive.   It really isn’t about the event/situation, rather it’s about YOUR response to it that determines what the outcome will be and whether stress controls you or you control your stress. 

So what are some self-care practices that will help improve the way we respond to different events/situations?

  • Exercise daily
  • Eat well
  • Get enough sleep
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs
  • Practice relaxation exercises
  • Take time for yourself

Remember, you have a choice in how you respond to stress and the toll it will take on your physical, mental and behavior health.  So choose wisely!

Resources:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress-symptoms/art-20050987

https://dworakpeck.usc.edu/news/why-stress-management-important-self-care-tips-anyone-can-put-practice

https://www.jackcanfield.com/blog/the-formula-that-puts-you-in-control-of-success/

https://www.nami.org/Find-Support/Family-Members-and-Caregivers/Taking-Care-of-Yourself

Written by: Lorrissa Dunfee, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Belmont County

Reviewed by: Alisha Barton, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Miami County

Read Full Post »

open laptop with smart phone on video call in front of it

How many times a day, a week, or a month do you say, “I am so busy?” When I look at my calendar, yes I still use paper, there are times when I get a little overwhelmed and wonder why I am so busy. I color-code my calendar to denote meetings, presentations or classes, blogs, and personal appointments. This allows me to quickly glance at it and prioritize my work, in theory. However, at times, my calendar can leave me a bit stressed.

Have you ever heard someone bragging about how great they are at multitasking? I admit, I used to. I could be working on several things at the same time and keep it all straight, or so I thought. I realized I was not completing these tasks as well as I could or should. The truth is that there is no such thing as multitasking. Yes, I just said that. This former self-proclaimed multitasker just denounced the entire concept!

Research shows that multitasking is a myth. Our brains are good at switching tasks very quickly. So much so, that we mistakenly think we are able to do several things at once. Now, there are exceptions. For instance, as I type this blog, I am walking on my treadmill. These two activities require different areas of the brain; therefore, I am able to both of them simultaneously, reasonably well . I also have been walking for 4+ decades, so it requires very little brain power. Now, if I was trying to learn a new physical activity while compiling this blog, I would likely have trouble.

I decided to look at proven strategies to help increase productivity since I sometimes feel soo busy. I discovered some interesting research. For instance, employees at green companies are more productive, blue skies may decrease productivity, negativity in the workplace can hurt productivity, and hiding from your manager may increase your productivity. While these all make sense, I really wanted to focus on things that I can do immediately.

According to an article by Heather Stringer called Boosting productivity, these are a few tips to start with:

  1. Grow your attention span. Even though technology can empower us to accomplish things faster, Larry Rosen, PhD has found that those benefits can disappear when digital distractions are so readily available.
  2. Write out your goals. Many people who work are familiar with the idea of setting goals for themselves, but achieving those goals can be elusive. Research is showing that establishing a habit of writing about goals can boost performance.
  3. Get together. The idea of fitting in another meeting may seem counter-productive for people working in group settings, but research ­suggests that taking time to debrief as a team can improve productivity in the long run.
  4. Get out of the chair. Researchers are finding that employees with stand-­capable workstations may be more productive than their seated counterparts.

I plan to implement some of these strategies to help increase my productivity and reduce how often I feel soo busy. I will keep you updated in future posts as to how it is going and I will add more suggestions. I would love to see your tips for increasing productivity in the comments.

Reviewer: Your Name,

Image:

https://pixabay.com/photos/laptop-computer-technology-asus-425826/

Sources:

Newman, K. (2019). Why You Never Seem to Have Enough Time. Greater Good Magazine. https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/why_you_never_seem_to_have_enough_time

Stringer, H. (2017). Boosting productivity. American Psychological Association. https://www.apa.org/monitor/2017/09/boosting-productivity

Henion, A. and Johnson, R. Workplace Negativity Can Hurt Productivity. Research@MSU. https://research.msu.edu/workplace-negativity-can-hurt-productivity/

Noble, C. (2013). Hiding From Managers Can Increase Productivity. Working Knowledge. https://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/hiding-from-managers-can-increase-your-productivity

Hewitt, A. (2012). Employee at ‘green’ companies are significantly more productive, study finds. UCLA Newsroom. http://newsroom.ucla.edu/releases/study-certified-green-companies-238203

Noble, C. (2012). Blue Skies, Distractions Arise: How Weather Affects Productivity. Working Knowledge. https://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/blue-skies-distractions-arise-how-weather-affects-productivity

Weinschenk, S. (2012). The True Cost of Multitasking. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/brain-wise/201209/the-true-cost-multi-tasking

Hamilton, J. (2008). Think You’re Multitasking? Think Again. NPR. https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=95256794

 

Read Full Post »

One of the biggest joys of being an Extension Educator is hearing the stories of others and sharing the highs and lows of daily life. I love living in the community, and have come to realize that if I want it to be a better place, it begins with conversations with others.

Every day, each one of us lives in joy, in sorrow, in anger, in sadness, in the known and in the unknown. And yet, we don’t always share with another the truth of how we are feeling. When asked, “How are you?” A standard response is “Good”. When in reality, we are happy, excited, frustrated, sad, exhausted, silly, or many other emotions. It is so important that we begin to share our emotions with one another, that we share one another’s joys and sorrows.

When talking with a group of young adults about finding balance and setting boundaries in relationships, one of them asked me, “How do you do that without hurting someone else?”

While helping dairy farmers learn more about sharing one another’s joys and burdens with family and friends, one of them asked me, “How do you start that when it’s not what I was taught?”

During a class for parents going through a divorce, one of them asked me, “How do you help your child when they are isolating themselves?”

Each of these questions, asked with honesty and openness, led to a shared discussion for everyone present. The beauty in those moments was the community that was built for each person present.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) shares that “emotional wellness is the ability to successfully handle life’s stresses and adapt to change and difficult times.” For optimal emotional well-being they suggest 6 strategies for improving your emotional health:

  • Find the positive
  • Reduce Stress
  • Get a good night’s sleep
  • Allow yourself to grieveteam-386673_1920
  • Spend more time with others
  • Practice mindfulness

The NIH also reminds us that “positive social habits can help you build support systems and stay healthier mentally and physically.” Through our relationships with others, we learn how the world around us works. Being in relationship with others is an important part of our well-being. What are the ways that you are involved with others each day? Some places you might be involved within your community are: service groups, exercise, social groups, family, athletics, work, school events, the grocery, driving from here to there, and many more.

Building a community is the responsibility of each of us. Be vulnerable. Try something new. Reach out to someone you have not talked to recently. Through our sharing of our life experiences, each of us will learn that we are not alone and we are loved. Take time today to reach out to the community you currently have created and don’t be afraid to look for community wherever you are.

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

Reviewed by: Lisa Barlage, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County

Sources:

US Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, Emotional Wellness Toolkit, https://www.nih.gov/health-information/emotional-wellness-toolkit

US Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, Social Wellness Toolkit, https://www.nih.gov/health-information/social-wellness-toolkit

Queensland Government,Social and Emotional Wellness,  https://workplaces.healthier.qld.gov.au/public-resources/health-topics-ideas-for-action/social-and-emotional-wellness/

Photo: https://pixabay.com/photos/team-motivation-teamwork-together-386673/

Read Full Post »

Many of us plan to eat healthier but sometimes “life” gets in the way. Do you pack the same old thing for your lunch? Do you run through a drive-thru just for the convenience? If this sounds like you, keep reading for tips to help you eat a healthier lunch. March is National Nutrition Month, which provides a great opportunity for us to make a few food changes. Do you want some smart shopping tips for veggies and fruits? Visit Choose MyPlate for tips to help you save money while shopping for veggies and fruit.

What are some benefits of planning your lunch?

  • Save time
  • Healthier options, likely
  • Save money

Are you ready to pack a healthier lunch? You can use this Food Prep Chart to plan lunch for five days. As you look over the food categories, check the food in your pantry, refrigerator and freezer. Circle your favorite foods in each of the categories that you want in your lunch.

Step 1: Start with a base of lunch greens. Select a variety of greens including spring mix, spinach, cabbage, or lettuce. Remember the darker the green vegetable, the more nutrients it contains.

Step 2: Pick your protein. Think about what you have on hand and what you want on your salad. You might add chicken, eggs, beans, tuna, or tofu.

Step 3: Prep your veggies. Wash and chop a variety of colorful veggies to add to your salad. Look for fresh, frozen, canned, or ready-to-eat varieties.

Step 4: Pick your grain. Consider adding a whole grain to your salad. Try quinoa, whole grain tortillas, whole grain crackers or croutons, or brown rice.

Step 5: Add a fruit. Select fruits that are in season. Add berries for a luscious treat. If you don’t like fruit on your salad, have your fruit on the side or as a snack later in the day.

Want more ideas? Check out these themed salads:

Salad with corn, avocado, black beans - Southwest Style Salad

Southwest Salad

Southwest Salad: Base, Beans, Corn, Tortillas, Salsa & Spices. You may not even need dressing with the salsa. Add chicken and avocado if desired. Check out this South of the Border recipe.

Salad with chicken, strawberries, nuts, oranges. Seasonal foods.

Seasonal Salad

Seasonal Salad: Base, add apples in fall, green onions in spring, and roasted root veggies in winter.

Salad with chickpeas, beets, vegetables

Vegetarian Salad

 

 

Vegetarian: Base, chickpeas, tofu, nuts or seeds.

Learn how to roast chickpeas here. 

Remember that your mix-ins can add flavor, color, nutrients, and calories. Find the ones that work for you and add them to your lunch salad.

What’s one way that you pack a healthier lunch? Share your ideas in the comments.

 

Blog adapted from Food Prep 4 Lunch Webinar. Jones, T. and Treber, M. December 2018.

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

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

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »