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Archive for the ‘Healthy Relationships’ Category

Last year was a very difficult year for my family, and 2019 has not started any better. Everywhere I turn I am forced to think about the challenges my family is facing. I know I am not alone in the way I feel. I also know that some of you may be living in your worst fear every day. I have spent the last several months trying to keep my head high and not talk about what is going on behind the scenes. I am a very private person when it comes to my family and I do not plaster my every thought on social media. However, keeping all of that inside of me has not been good for my health. I know how to recognize and control my stress but no matter what I tried, I could not escape it.Think Positive motivation

My family is one of the many dairy families across the United States experiencing farm stress. Living in the unknown of the farm takes away all of my positive energy and can be emotionally exhausting and draining every day. I have had to make a conscience effort to focus on the positives in my life and to let the negatives go. I was able to find an extremely wonderful handout from North Dakota State University Extension called 12 Tools for Your Wellness Toolbox in Times of Farm Stress. I had the amazing opportunity to hear Sean, the author, speak at a conference about rural stress. This resource not only applies to farm stress but to ALL stress that EVERYONE faces. The list focuses on the following physical, mental, emotional, personal, work, and financial wellness strategies, which will help enhance your mood, renew your energy and help you stay focused:

  1. Exercise 20 minutes or more daily (walk, swim, ride a bike, etc.)
  2. Get an annual medical checkup with a local health-care provider.
  3. Spend 10 minutes planning your day and priorities.
  4. Take regular 5- to 10-minute breaks in your day to relax and recharge.
  5. Write down 3 things that you are grateful for daily.
  6. Share concerns with a counselor or other professional.
  7. Take 15 minutes each day for uninterrupted conversation with a spouse or family member.
  8. Get involved or stay connected with a friend or group of friends.
  9. Discuss needs of the farm operation but do not let them occupy all other aspects of life.
  10. Seek constructive feedback on your farm operation and ways to grow or improve.
  11. Create a family budget and seek to live within your means.
  12. Select three healthy habits you will try to practice daily. Start today!

Which three healthy habits could you begin doing today? So many times, we try to handle things on our own and in reality, we end up doing more damage than good. I strongly encourage you to figure out who is in your support network. Who do you feel comfortable sharing your personal struggle(s) with? I started focusing on the goodness in this world and the amazing people that surround me. My coworkers and friends have been wonderful! They’ve given me endless amounts of humor to lighten my mood, been a listening ear on tough days and have sent words of encouragement. Don’t feel like you have to hold your thoughts in any longer. Open up and focus on the positive outcomes in your bumpy ride.

 

Brotherson, S. (2017, September) 12 Tools for your wellness toolbox in times of farm stress. Retrieved from https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/publications/kids-family/12-tools-for-your-wellness-toolbox-in-times-of-farm-stress

Stefura, B. (2014, October 13). Don’t let stress get the best of you! Retrieved from https://livehealthyosu.com/2014/10/13/dont-let-stress-get-the-best-of-you/

 

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

Reviewer: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, lobb.3@osu.edu

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I pick “kind”… will you?

I work in Pickaway County, Ohio and the selection for our “One Book, One Community” campaign this year is Wonder by R. J. Palacio. I’ve seen the movie twice and now I am enjoying the book. If you haven’t read the book or seen the movie, I encourage you to do so. This book is a touching read that highlights how people respond to and interact with others who are different from them. It may just open your eyes to what others experience in life.

Why are wonder, kindness and compassion the topics of this blog? We interface with many people every day. How we interact with others not only affects our lives and happiness but it affects others. I encourage you to look at the way you respond to people and situations and to react with kindness and compassion.

Let’s look at some definitions of the word “wonder” when it is used as a noun:

  1. From the English Oxford dictionary: A feeling of amazement and admiration, caused by something beautiful, remarkable, or unfamiliar.
  2. From the Merriam-Webster dictionary a cause of astonishment or admiration.
  3. From the Cambridge dictionary: a feeling of great surprise and admiration, or someone or something that causes such feelings.

These dictionaries define “wonder” as a positive way to view things we might see or experience in life. In the book and movie Wonder, many people viewed the character Auggie as someone very different from them. His face looked different and he was not used to interacting with kids. He faced these challenges with heart.

I encourage you to look with wonder at people and places and to share kindness with those you meet. If someone is different from you – or unfamiliar to you- embrace the interaction with fresh eyes and be open to their friendship. A simple smile goes a long way towards breaking down barriers. Take a moment, pause and treat others how you would like to be treated.

If you have seen the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life”, you know that this classic film highlights the life of a character named George Bailey. Throughout the movie, George is encouraged to look at the positives in his life and explore how his life touches others in his “everyday” actions. Clarence, another character in the movie, shares this thought: “Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?”

Movie Marquee - It's a Wonderful Life

It’s a Wonderful Life

Many people watch this movie around the holidays, but I think it is a great movie to watch anytime. It provides a gentle reminder to embrace life and look for positives, even when we are experiencing challenges.

As you pass through your life, will you pick kindness, compassion and wonder? These virtues will enrich your life. If you need tips or strategies to grow compassion, check out the article Six Habits of Highly Compassionate People from The Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley. Additionally, the Integrative Medicine department of the OSU Wexner Medical Center offers free heart-centered mindfulness recordings to help foster kindness, compassion and gratitude. These resources, exercises and strategies may help you become a more compassionate person.

If you have a story to share, leave a comment or email me at treber.1@osu.edu.

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

Reviewer: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Franklin County, Ohio State University Extension, lobb.3@osu.edu

Sources:

Jazaieri, H. (2018). Six Habits of Highly Compassionate People. Greater Good Magazine. https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/six_habits_of_highly_compassionate_people

OSU Wexner Medical Center, Department of Integrative Medicine. Heart-Centered Practices. https://wexnermedical.osu.edu/integrative-complementary-medicine/heart-centered-practices

Palacio, R.J. Wonder. https://wonderthebook.com/books/wonder

 

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simplify

2019 is here. January is the perfect time to focus on the creation of a simpler life. The hustle and bustle of the holidays is over, there are no outdoor chores such as yard work to worry about yet, and the cold weather allows us the opportunity to slow down and reflect. Imagine having more time to do the things you enjoy with less stress!  Simplifying allows you to have more control of your life, reduces wasted time, incurs less stress, and increases opportunities for more happiness.

Learning to simplify your life can completely change your life for the better. We are all trying to manage life, work, finances, family, etc.  This can be overwhelming and exhausting.  Why not create a plan to simplify this year by choosing one or more of the following suggestions to begin with:

  • Simplify your Commitments
    • Look at your calendar. Is there an activity every single day? Reevaluate these activities, based on their value and reduce them.
  • Simplify your Shopping
    • If you are overspending due to impulse shopping, create a shopping list and stick to it.
  • Simplify your Entertainment
    • There are hundreds of channels to choose from as well as websites, podcasts, YouTube channels, and video games. Make it a priority to spend at least some of your time detached from technology. Do you really want to look back on 2019 and know that your biggest accomplishment for the year was how many shows you binge-watched??
  • Simplify your gadgets
    • We all have an abundance of gadgets, cleaning supplies and digital services. Downsize and use what you determine is absolutely needed. Only use one type of calendar for schedules.
  • Simplify your budget
    • Reduce expenses, create a spending plan, and stop unnecessary spending.
  • Simplify your health
    • Eat healthy food
    • Get enough sleep
    • Exercise
    • Get outside every day
    • Drink plenty of water
    • Reduce intake of sugar/junk food
    • Reduce stress
  • Organize one section of your home
    • Choose one area of your home or workspace to organize. It will make a huge impact on your peace of mind every time you enter it to see the clutter and possessions reduced.

Enjoy 2019!

Written by: Beth Stefura, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Mahoning County, stefura.2@osu.edu

Reviewed by:  Donna Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Erie County, green.308@osu.edu

Sources:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/what-mentally-strong-people-dont-do/201807/5-ways-simplify-your-life

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/prescriptions-life/201901/change-your-life-pick-one-thing-and-do-it

 

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feet

I don’t know about you, but 2018 was a whirlwind of a year for me! It was full of exciting events, like my younger son’s high school graduation, my daughter’s first year of high school and marching band, and several concerts that my husband and I attended. Professionally, I participated in a leadership program with extension colleagues from Ohio and 11 other states. I presented at two national conferences and a few here in Ohio as well. I attended numerous trainings in order to stay up-to-date on the latest information to better help meet the needs of the state. Finally, I taught numerous classes including parenting, fall prevention, food safety, mental health, nutrition, substance use prevention, and activity/exercise. All in all, it was an busy and exciting year.

Each year I am required to enter information and data about the programs, presentations, classes, etc. that I have instructed or presented during that year. Being the procrastinator that I am, I usually wait until December OR January to start entering this required (by January 15th) information in to our tracking system. While every year I tell myself I am going to enter the data on a more regular basis, somehow December rolls around and I find the stack of papers and files still waiting for me. Putting this dreaded task off (yes, I dread entering data) until the end of the year or the beginning of the next year adds stress to my workload, but it also allows me to reflect back over the past year and to remember and think about those programs and classes that I might have forgotten. photography

The leadership program that I participated in for about 10 months, incorporated reflection in to every session. This was not something I was accustomed to doing regularly, so it was a little awkward for me at first. I quickly realized the benefits of both individual and group reflection. Reflection is a very important component for success and growth, which is why the majority of us were participating in the program to begin with. In order to grow in our leadership abilities and competencies we had to be more self-aware and reflection certainly helps you become more aware.

Reflection serves many purposes and can be used for a variety of reasons including:

  1. Help create confidence.
  2. Make you responsible for yourself.
  3. Encourage innovation.
  4. Encourage engagement.
  5. Create an environment centered around learning.
  6. Increased self-awareness and character development.
  7. Increased diversity and relationships.
  8. Dialogue.
  9. Tools for growth.

So, if you atransformationre not accustomed to reflecting, start small. Perhaps set aside 5-15 minutes each day on your calendar to think about and reflect upon your day. Some people prefer to jot down some thoughts, others prefer to discuss their thoughts with someone. Think of some important questions that will help you process your day or to gain new insight, like, “What am I proud of?” or “If I lived today over again, what would I have done differently?”

As you practice reflection, you will gain more self-awareness. This can lead to more personal and professional satisfaction and success. Give yourself a break if reflection does not come easily. Keep looking for ways to incorporate reflection in to your personal and professional life to help keep you engaged and happy. I would love to hear what have reflected on in 2018 or what you will be reflecting on in 2019.

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

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

Photo:

https://pixabay.com/en/feet-footwear-man-outdoors-person-1845598/

https://pixabay.com/en/photography-balls-mirroring-586888/

https://pixabay.com/en/transformation-awareness-awakening-2937517/

Sources:

Harmon, M. (2018). Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho, It’s Off to School They Go. Live Smart Ohio Retrieved from: https://livesmartohio.osu.edu/uncategorized/harmon-416osu-edu/hi-ho-hi-ho-its-off-to-school-they-go/

Porter, J. (March 2017).  Why You Should Make Time for Self-Reflection (Even If You Hate Doing It). Harvard Business Review. Retrieved at: https://hbr.org/2017/03/why-you-should-make-time-for-self-reflection-even-if-you-hate-doing-it

Eisenbach, B. (Feb. 2016). Student Reflection: A Tool for Growth and Development, Weekly Reflections Guide Teaching and Learning. Association for Middle Level Education. Retrieved from: https://www.amle.org/BrowsebyTopic/WhatsNew/WNDet/TabId/270/ArtMID/888/ArticleID/586/Student-Reflection-A-Tool-for-Growth-and-Development.aspx

Walsh, D. (Dec. 2016). How Self-Reflection Can Make You a Better Leader. Kellogg Insight. Retrieved from: https://insight.kellogg.northwestern.edu/article/how-self-reflection-can-make-you-a-better-leader

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Do you need to purchase a gift for the person who has it all? Are you trying to avoid the crush of busy stores? Or maybe you aren’t great at cyber shopping? If one of these describes you or you’re just intrigued, let’s look at a list of “Outside the Box” ideas for gifts this year.

  • Custom Photo Book – Put photos from the past year, a vacation, family events, or even family pictures over time in a custom book you design. These are available online or from pharmacy photo departments. This is a great gift for older family members who don’t really need anything and who perhaps aren’t as involved with social media. ($10 – $25)Bag of gifts
  • Make a Donation in their Name – Think about what really matters to your friend or family member – shelter pets, the local school, their church, the pee wee football program, cancer prevention/treatment, or a youth organization like 4-H or Scouts. Make a donation in their honor to sponsor a future event.
  • Pass on a Family Heirloom – Do you have cookbooks that belonged to Grandma or Grandpa’s military records? Often family or friends would like to have gifts of these items – and you as the giver can make sure they go to someone who really appreciates them.
  • Give the Gift of a Special Day – Present a certificate describing a day at the beach, zoo, water park, Geocaching, or learning to make their favorite cookies. You can pay the fee for you both to attend a sip and paint night at a craft center or some other activity they will enjoy.
  • Make Your Own Coupon Book – Present a coupon book with things your spouse, child, friend, or parent will like. It might include: a lawn mowing, a favorite meal, a back rub, control of the radio station in the car for the weekend, a trip to the ice cream shop, free babysitting or dog walking, a car wash, movie night, game night, nature walk, or a date night (even children enjoy this with just mom or dad).
  • Give a Game – Give the gift of a new game (or classic) with a package of local popcorn or some mini prizes. Play the game together over the holiday. (Both sides of my family do this and it is a great way to cut the kids’ screen time and it promises lots of laughs).

We can’t wait to hear unique gift ideas you have tried, so be sure to comment below with ideas you would like to share. While you try to think of an “Outside the Box” gift idea this year – remember that the gift of our presence just might mean more to your family and friends than the gift of presents.

Sources:

University of Arkansas Research and Extension – https://www.uaex.edu/health-living/personal-finance/Think%20Outside%20the%20Gift%20Box.pdf.

Iowa State University, Extension and Outreach – https://blogs.extension.iastate.edu/scienceofparenting/tag/traditions/.

 

Writer: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County.

Reviewer: Misty Harmon. Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Perry County.

 

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christmas tree with decorations during nighttime

Photo by Sebi Pintilie on Pexels.com

Here it is–December 2018. Another year is ending!  It is a wonderful time of year to celebrate with family and friends.  A time to share joy and kindness.

Let’s look back for a moment. Did you reach all your goals this year?  Did you keep those New Year Resolutions?  Every year we resolve to make changes and improve ourselves, yet often end up feeling tired and over-extended.  Challenge yourself to end this year, and begin 2019, with being present and living your best life.

Before the end of the year:

  • Create a list of the 15 best things you accomplished
  • Make a list of 5 things you wish you’d done
  • Extend a heartfelt “Thank You” to the people who helped get you thru the year
  • Forgive
  • Be grateful
  • Donate 10 personal items to a good cause
  • Apologize for all of the mistake you made
  • Visit that person you kept saying you would visit
  • Make a list of 10 items that surprised you
  • Exercise
  • Eat well
  • Create an action plan to define your path for 2019

Enjoy December.

Written by:  Beth Stefura, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Mahoning County, stefura.2@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Donna Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Erie County, green.308@osu.edu

Sources: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/stories/ten_tips_for_enjoying_holidays.html

 

 

 

 

 

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After watching Oprah Winfrey’s report on 60 Minutes about Treating Childhood Trauma, I began seeking out more learning opportunities on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and a Trauma Informed Care Approach. I wanted to share with you what I have learned.

Trauma is defined as a body wound or shock produced by sudden physical injury, as from violence or accident or an experience that produces psychological injury or pain. Trauma occurs when an individual, family, or community experiences an event or series of events that are harmful, and it affects functioning and well-being. Traumatic events can include abuse, neglect, bullying, terrorism, and war. Trauma does not discriminate. An important point is that what may be traumatic for one person may not affect another person in the same way. For example, being in a car accident may become a traumatic event for one person, and another person may not appear to be affected by it at all.

As a friend, family, or concerned community member, you can help someone who has experienced a trauma by:

  • Asking  “What happened” and “How can how I help?”
  • Allowing the person to express their emotions. Some emotions may be anger, numbness and fear.  There is no one way that individuals express themselves after experiencing a trauma.
  • Listening to someone’s story and showing empathy and concern.
  • Offering practical support.

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are traumatic events that happen to children and adolescents, and they are categorized in this infographic from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation:

infographicResearch has shown that infants, children, and adolescents with ACEs are more likely to experience mental health, physical health, and behavioral health problems.

THERE IS HOPE!  Even if you, a loved one or your community has experienced a traumatic event, it does not mean that all is lost. There are many protective factors that can help to overcome the experience of trauma and build resilience at individual, relational, and community levels. Protective factors will always promote growth, independence, and healing for an individual.

Some protective factors are:

  • Caring adults outside family who can serve as role models or mentors
  • Communities that support parents and take responsibility for preventing abuse
  • Supportive family environment
  • Adequate housing
  • Access to health care and social services

As you live each day, remember that each of us has the chance to make a difference to another person. Trauma can be experienced by anyone. When we begin to recognize the humanity of each person, to not believe that we already know their story based simply on looks or rumor, and to come together as a community of broken people, each person and each community will become stronger.

 

WRITTEN BY: Jami Dellifield, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension

REVIEWED BY: Jenny Lobb,  Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension

RESOURCES:

Brown, Asa Don. Protective and Risk Factors Associated With Trauma: The process of recovery and resiliency. Psychology Today, 2017.  https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/towards-recovery/201704/protective-and-risk-factors-associated-trauma

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. What Are Adverse Childhood Experiences? https://www.rwjf.org/en/library/collections/aces.html

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Trauma. https://www.integration.samhsa.gov/clinical-practice/trauma

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Types of Trauma and Violence. https://www.samhsa.gov/trauma-violence/types

Victoria State Government Health and Human Services. Trauma – helping family or friends. https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/ConditionsAndTreatments/trauma-helping-family-or-friends

Winfrey, Oprah. 60 Minutes News Program. March 11, 2018. Treating Childhood Trauma. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/oprah-winfrey-treating-childhood-trauma/

Youth.gov. Risk & Protective Factors. https://youth.gov/youth-topics/youth-mental-health/risk-and-protective-factors-youth 

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