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Archive for the ‘Healthy Relationships’ Category

 

As we get ready to surround our televisions to celebrate a famous groundhog who tells us when the next season will arrive, have

Man holding Groundhog

you ever wondered why? As the seasons change from winter to spring, Groundhog Day allows each of us to turn over a new leaf and transition with whatever news the groundhog brings. So, whether you listen to Buckeye Chuck or Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction this year, take some time to come out of hibernation and set goals for the next season no matter how soon or far away it may seem.

Groundhog Day to many is a silly and fun holiday; however, it has ancient origins. February second marks the mid-point between Halloween and Mayday, which historically, was a major festival marking the changing of seasons. In a German tradition, badgers made these types of seasonal predictions, letting people know when to expect the next season. Folklorist Stephen Wick from the American Folklife Center and Veterans History Project found that with immigration, the first account of a modern American Groundhog Day ritual happened on February 2, 1840. At this event, a Pennsylvanian storekeeper noted that the groundhog coming out of hibernation would determine 40 more days of winter or an early spring.

Thinking about how the holiday took shape helps to re-frame the reason for the season or seasons depending on what the groundhog says. As we take this time to transition, setting intentional goals as we all come out of hibernation can be crucial to personal and professional growth in the next season of our lives.

SMART Goals illustration highlighting each step Specific, Measurable Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound

When looking forward and thinking about the next season, setting goals is an important first step. S.M.A.R.T. goals are a popular approach to goal setting that takes into consideration, what you are doing, how long you plan to take, and helps ensure you will be successful.

In the next season, establish your goals S.M.A.R. T. by making them…

  • Specific : What needs to be accomplished?
    • What will the new season bring for you and your loved ones? Make sure the goal is for something you want or need to accomplish. The University of California suggests that it serves as a “mission statement for your goal.”  
  • Measurable: How will the goal be successfully completed?
    • As you plan a goal for the new season, the measurement should provide you with information. No matter what type of information you learn, setting measurable milestones along the way can ensure goal making success.
  • Attainable: Can I do this?
    • As you consider, can I do this, think about your abilities and whose help you may need.
  • Relevant: Is this something that needs to happen now?
    • In this next season, think about the goal and when it needs to happen.
  • Time-Bound: Can this goal be achieved in the specified time frame?
    • Setting a time for the goal to be achieved by is important. Making a time-bound goal helps hold you accountable in this new season.

As we come out of hibernation and transition to a new season, set a S.M.A.R.T goal for the next period in your life. While celebrating Groundhog Day this year, include time to set new goals for the new season; however, quickly or slowly it arrives! We would love to hear what your S.M.A.R.T. goal is or will be!

Sources:

Bailey, Ryan. Goal Setting and Action Planning for Health Behavior Change. Am J Lifestyle Med. 2017 Sep 13;13(6):615-618. From https://doi.org/10.1177%2F1559827617729634

Bringing people together from all over the World: Groundhog Day. Image. The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club. https://www.groundhog.org/legend-and-lore

SMART Goals: A How to Guide. University of California. (n.d.). Retrieved January 30, 2023, from https://www.ucop.edu/local-human-resources/_files/performance-appraisal/How%20to%20write%20SMART%20Goals%20v2.pdf

Set SMART Goals. The University of Minnesota. (n.d.). Retrieved January 30, 2023m from https://effectiveu.umn.edu/tips/smartgoals

Winick, Stephen. Groundhog Day: Ancient Origins of a Modern Celebration. (February 1,2022). Retrieved January 30, 2023, from https://blogs.loc.gov/folklife/2022/02/groundhog-day-ancient-origins-of-a-modern-celebration/

Author: Ryan Kline, Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, 4-H Youth Development/Family and Consumer Sciences, Ross County, kline.375@osu.edu.

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

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sunrise shining through trees with snow on the ground

Whether you love the wintertime for the beauty and possibilities that a fresh snowfall brings, or dread it for the cold temperatures and less daylight, it is important to give some thought to your wellness plan this winter. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Take time to be still. Learn to keep calm and be mindful in the present moment.
  • Do one thing at a time. Instead of trying to manage multiple tasks simultaneously all day long, give yourself the ‘brain break’ of doing just one task at a time. It’s harder than it sounds! During the writing of this article, I had to close my email, silence my phone and I still had 6 ‘distractions’ from my own thoughts that could have caused me to start working on multiple things. Instead, I made a note about each item to complete later.
  • Take a technology break. The constant notifications we get from all our electronic devices make it difficult to focus and be still.
  • Create something new! This could be a piece of art, a musical number, a new recipe. The act of creating can light up other parts of your brain that may be yearning for use.
  • Practice self-care. There is no substitute for eating healthy foods and getting enough sleep. Give your body what it needs.
  • Find ways to relax. Try meditation, yoga, massage, or take a walk in the woods.
  • Get outside. There is no substitute for natural light. If you work during the day, try to go for a walk during a break or lunch. Find a winter outdoor activity you enjoy like walking, hiking, tubing, ice skating or snowshoeing.
  • Invite the birds into your yard. Did you know that bird watching can help you feel more relaxed and happy? Providing bird seed and a heated water bath is sure to attract feather friends.
two birds at a bird feeder in the snow
  • Get moving. Physical activity works your muscles and expends energy. Exercise not only makes us stronger, it improves mood. Try a new type of indoor exercise like tai chi, pilates or line dancing.
  • Connect with others. It’s natural for some people to want to ‘hibernate’ during the winter. It’s important to connect with others. Make a date with a friend or family member.

For more ideas, check out these articles on finding joy in winter and beating the winter blues. Set a goal yourself this winter to be well. What is one small change you can make?

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

Reviewer: Christine Kendle, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Tuscarawas County, kendle.4@osu.edu

References:

Lobb, J. Opt Outside to Beat the Winter Blues. Live Healthy Live Well, The Ohio State University. 7 Jan 2021.

Powers-Barker, P. I Can’t Control the Winter Weather. Live Healthy Live Well, The Ohio State University. 24 Jan 2022.

Stanton, L. Wonder and Wander in Nature this Winter. Live Healthy Live Well, The Ohio State University. 30 Nov 2021.

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Toy Holiday Village

For those of us who celebrated the holidays, we may have spent time with family and friends focusing on what are the important things in our lives. Thinking of the things you are grateful for has benefits not only to your mental health, but your physical health as well. It is possible to continue those warm, fuzzy feelings into the new year by practicing mindful gratitude.

Gratitude should be on your mind. Feelings of gratitude release both dopamine and serotonin in our brain. This promotes more positive emotions and can improve our mood. What is important about the release of dopamine is that it makes us feel good. In turn, our brain will crave more of it, making thoughts of gratefulness easier to put into practice.

Gratitude is an emotion, and a healthy one when used correctly. Keeping sarcasm out of the equation, the feeling of gratitude can help to replace negative emotions such as resentment or regret. Gratitude lowers your risk of depression and feelings of hopelessness, making it a great tool to combat the winter blues.

Gratitude helps your body. Stress has been identified as a factor in many health issues, and gratitude has been shown to help! A study by UC Davis Health in 2015 found that individuals who practiced gratitude had:

  • 16% lower diastolic bp and 10% systolic bp.
  • 23% lower levels of stress hormones
  • 25% lower levels of dietary fat
  • 20% less fatigue in heart failure patients
  • 9-13% lower levels of Hemoglobin A1c
  • 10% improvement in sleep quality

Gratitude can be simple. You may not have won the lottery today, but you may have been fortunate enough to have watched a hummingbird outside your window. Or maybe you were able to leave for work on time and beat all the traffic? The more you practice paying attention to the positive things in your life, the easier it will become.

How can you get into the habit of being grateful? Try to incorporate one or more of these techniques into your day for at least 15 minuets.

Person writing in a journal.
  • Write in a gratitude journal either what you are excited for in the morning, or grateful for happening in the evening. This helps us to focus on what’s important.
  • Give sincere complements to others around you. This not only helps you, but can brighten someone else’s day
  • Be grateful during an activity. Focus on the enjoyment you get from participating. If you are doing something outside, this is a great way to enjoy nature.
  • Create a Grateful Board. Similar to a vision board, this activity has you thinking about the great things that already exist in your life and what you are excited for in your future.
  • Prayer and meditation are another way to quite your mind and reflect.
  • Pay it forward by volunteering for causes that matter to you.
  •  Write thank-you cards or thinking-of-you cards. What is great about this practice is that you don’t have to send them if you don’t want to, but focusing on that person in your life will help you feel better about that relationship.

Using gratitude, you can choose to be happy.  Find what technique would work best for you, and plan how you can incorporate it into your schedule.

Author: Casey Bishop, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, MACP, OSU Extension Paulding County

Reviewer : Susan Zies, Assistant Professor, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Wood County

Resources:

Ryan, R., Patel, S. (May, 2018). Gratitude strategies to feel better fast. Emotional Fitness: Timps and Skills for Mental Health. https://u.osu.edu/emotionalfitness/2018/05/31/gratitude-exercises-to-feel-better-fast/

Singh, Maanvi. (December, 2018). If You Feel Thankful, Write It Down. It’s Good For Your Health. NPR, Shots. https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2018/12/24/678232331/if-you-feel-thankful-write-it-down-its-good-for-your-health

UC Davis Medical Center. (November, 2015). Gratitude is good medicine. UC Davis Medical Center; Medical Center. https://health.ucdavis.edu/medicalcenter/features/2015-2016/11/20151125_gratitude.html

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2023 words with the ocean and sunset behind the words 2023.

As we start the new year, this is a perfect time to look at our perspectives on our health and well-being. 2023 brings new possibilities especially when it comes to our health and wellness routines. After the ball drops on New Year’s Eve, many people start out highly motivated and determined that this year things will improve. However, within about six weeks, motivation dwindles.

Many times, it is challenging to know where to begin. So, if you are feeling unsure how to start, I suggest you consider small strategies that will help you achieve your goal throughout the entire year.

Here are strategies to consider for the new year.

Aim to eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables. Approximately one in 10 adults are meeting this recommendation. Start by choosing one new fruit or vegetable each week to add more color to your diet

the year 2023 numbers created with fritys and vegetables

Buy pre-cut fruits and vegetables. These are convenient and an effortless way to encourage you to choose fruits and vegetables when you are hungry. Check your local ads for sale items and utilize coupons while grocery shopping.

Volunteer at a local community site. Community engagement by volunteering your time can positively impact your mental health. Your health begins with mental health.

7 women smiling and wearing gray shirts with white writing with the word VOLUNTEER on their shirts.

Aim for 30 minutes of activity every day. Our bodies are meant to move. Activity promotes good circulation, which allows cells and substances of the immune system to move through the body freely and do their job efficiently. Movement increases metabolism. Non-movement leads to impaired blood circulation and decreased metabolism. Remember some movement is better than no movement.

Sit less, stand moretry having a walking meeting or stand more during the day. Choosing to sit less and move more provides benefits our health, mind, and body.

Move for 2-5 minutes every hour. Physical inactivity is the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality. Moving more will support bone health, enhance brain power, burn calories, and increase circulation.

Start your day in a positive way. Try to listen to a positive podcase in the morning or read 5 to 10 minutes in a positive book. Try positive affirmations the morning.

Make one slight small change for your wellness this year. Whether it is from a movement perspective, a nutrition standpoint, or a mental health space. Put your goal in writing. WRITE IT DOWN! Share your change with a friend or family member to hold you more accountable. One small change can help you be a healthier person in 2023.

Author: Susan Zies, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, M. Ed., OSU Extension Wood County

Reviewer : Casey Bishop, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, MACP, OSU Extension Paulding County

Resources:

https://www.dietaryguidelines.gov/

Human Performance Institute, Inc (2018), Johnson and Johnson.

 Webinar “A Healthier You in 2023” by Dr Megan Amaya, Associate Clinical Professor, Director of Health Promotion & Wellness, Co- Director, Bachelor of Science and Health & Wellness, The Ohio State University, College of Nursing, December 14, 2022.

https://www.nami.org/Blogs/NAMI-Blog/February-2022/How-Volunteering-Improves-Mental-Health

https://www.juststand.org/the-facts/

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Planning for your future and sharing your decisions with your family is one of the most important gifts that you can give. So many times, adult children and family members are confronted with an unexpected crisis that disrupts their loved one’s lives. By waiting until a crisis occurs to talk about your values and preferences, your wishes for health care, living arrangements, or details of your finances may not be known. If you wait until a fall, accident, or serious diagnosis to initiate these conversations; big decisions may be driven by assumptions.

Planning ahead reduces the burden that can fall on your family or loved ones. The death or serious illness of a parent can affect both the psychological and physical well-being of adult children. If you procrastinate, your loved one’s emotions and state of mind could suffer. The decisions they make without knowing your wishes can make them feel guilty or incompetent if something goes wrong. They may feel helpless when trying to navigate the cost of healthcare. Research has shown that children who are not prepared for their parent’s death or serious illness have a harder time accepting this reality and are more likely to struggle with mental issues such as depression and anxiety. They are already upset about their loss, so adding the fact that they must make financial and personal arrangements afterward make it an especially stressful event. In other words, when a parent or loved one does not plan ahead, it leaves the difficult decisions up to their loved ones. In this situation, the older adult becomes the innocent bystander, while their family navigates the difficult decisions. This reactive mindset disregards the potential disagreements between family members as well as any emotionally driven decisions that may be made.

Having these critical conversations early will help prevent disagreement with family members. As with many families, there are a multitude of personalities with differing opinions, values, and goals. Having clear guidelines with open communication takes away the opportunity for competing ideas that can tear the family apart. Decisions made on behalf of their parents can lead to a lifetime of resentment among children even after the parent has died. Pre-planning promotes harmony within the family during your last years of life by avoiding rivalries, financial problems, and personal disagreements.

Preparing for your future will reduce the weight on your loved ones considerably, leading to less stress and anxiety. By embracing a precautionary and cooperative state of mind, you can empower your family for anything that lies ahead, which is one of the greatest gifts that you can give.

The Healthy Aging Network telecast on end-of-life planning addresses some of the important things to consider when planning for your future. If you would like to learn more, please contact Kathy Tutt at tutt.19@osu.edu.

Written by: Kathy Tutt, Family and Consumer Scienced Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Clark County

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

References:

     Hebert, R.S., Schulz, R., Copeland, V.C., & Arnold, R.M. (2009). Preparing family caregivers for death and bereavement. Insights from Caregivers of terminally ill patients. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, 37, 3-12. doi: 10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2007.12.010

     Umberson, D., & Chen, M.D. (1994). Effects of a parent’s death on adult children: relationship salience and reaction to loss. American Sociological Review, 59, 152-168. doi: 10.2307/2096138

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The holiday season is a magical time of year, yet for many, the holidays bring stress, anxiety, conflict and even heartache.   Often stress starts at Thanksgiving and runs through the New Year.    Holiday triggers, can create internal and external forces influencing our mind and body, creating stress and anxiety during the holiday season.    Give yourself the gift of a stress-free holiday by being aware of common holiday triggers and learning ways to cope with holiday stress.

 Be aware of these common holiday triggers:

  • Increased expectations:  Choosing which family member’s gatherings to attend after years of unresolved conflict and finding ways to dodge the uncomfortable conversations at the holiday table is stressful.  We often feel pressured to meet the expectations of others.
  • Financial strain:  Wanting to create the perfect holiday experience comes with a price tag that affects our finances often into the New Year.
  • Time management concerns:  Balancing work, family, friends, and additional commitments is more challenging than ever this time of year!
  • Eating concerns:  For those with any kind of negative relationship with food the holiday focus on food is triggering. The food pushers who do not take no for an answer when offering food is overwhelming.  Eat mindfully, have a game plan and if necessary, remind your family that your eating habits are not up for discussion.

Ways to Cope with Holiday Stress:

  • Connect with those you trust and are comfortable with.  A support system is always important, especially this time of year.
  • Practice empathy and compassion for yourself and others. Give yourself grace when you need it, remember everyone has their own struggles.
  • Try not to set unrealistic expectations of yourself.  Establish boundaries and do not be afraid to say no.  Create a holiday spending plan.
  • Set a schedule for shopping, cooking and holiday activities.  Make a to-do list helps visualize and manage your time.
  • Continue healthy habits.  It is alright to indulge in some of the holiday treats,  remember to keep your physical health a priority.
  • Adopt one or two mindful exercise that work for you (deep breathing, visualization, stretching).

Be kind to yourself this holiday.  Practice self-compassion.  Spend time with your favorite people, books, hobbies, movies and say “no” to anything that does not make you happier.    Have a wonderful stress-free holiday!

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

Reviewed by: Shari Gallup, Assistant Professor, Ohio State University Extension, Licking County, gallup.1@osu.edu

References:

Holiday Depression Triggers What Causes Holiday Blues? (webmd.com)

10 Common Holiday Stresses and How to Cope With Them | Psychology Today

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Paper turkey with words written on paper feathers

November is National Gratitude month and with Thanksgiving quickly approaching we often take time to reflect on aspects of our lives for which we are grateful. Every year in November my cousin’s family creates a paper turkey of gratitude. They do this every evening before dinner with the family and any guest, writing what they are thankful for that day on a paper feather and add it to Mr. Turkey. The end result is a fantastic visual representation of the family’s gratitude. The practice of gratitude leads to a variety of positive outcomes. I challenge you this year to express your gratitude not just on one day, or for one month, but throughout the year.

Author and researcher David Horsager, says the single greatest commonality in happy people is gratitude. Furthermore, those that are thankful are more content and fulfilled.

Other benefits of expressing gratitude:

  1. Builds stronger relationships
  2. Increases positivity
  3. Decreases anxiety
  4. Improves physical and psychological health
  5. Enhances empathy
  6. Reduces aggression
  7. Improved self-esteem

Gratitude can be an example of a mindfulness practice. “Mindfulness means paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn. Here are a few tips to practice gratitude as mindfulness:

Open journal with pencil
  • Observe – when do you say thank you is it reactionary, as an afterthought, an expression with emotion and sincerity.
  • Write a thank you note.
  • Journal – note 3-4 items you are thankful for monthly, weekly, daily.
  • Create a collage – pictures or items to express your gratitude.
  • Gratitude flower or tree – write out something you are grateful for on a paper leaf or petal and create a design. Like my cousin’s paper turkey.
  • Reflection or guided gratitude meditation.

Written by: Laura Halladay, NDTR, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Greene County

Reviewed by: Megan Taylor, 4-H and Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Union County

Sources:

Allen, S. (2018, March 5). Is gratitude good for your health? Retrieved November 9, 2022, from https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/is_gratitude_good_for_your_health

Giving thanks can make you happier. (2021, August 14). Retrieved November 9, 2022, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/giving-thanks-can-make-you-happier

Horsager, D. (2020, November 25). The greatest secret of the magnetic person. Retrieved November 9, 2022, from https://trustedge.com/the-greatest-secret-of-the-magnetic-person/

Oppland, M. (2022, August 06). 13 most popular gratitude exercises & activities. Retrieved November 9, 2022, from https://positivepsychology.com/gratitude-exercises/

Thrive tip: Well-being through the practice of gratitude. (2022, February 06). Retrieved November 9, 2022, from https://hr.wustl.edu/well-being-through-the-practice-of-gratitude/

Picture Credit:
Paper Gratitude Turkey provided by Jill Dow
Journal Photo by Jan Kahánek on Unsplash

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The holidays were always a big event in my family with lots of food, fun and family togetherness. I never realized how much time and effort it took my parents to get ready for the holidays until I had a family of my own. The weeks leading up to the holidays can be stressful, so here are three simple ideas I do to help prepare and I hope it helps you too.

Declutter and Clean

Over the course of a year, we gather a lot of junk that takes up space. Before cleaning, consider purging instead of jumping right into cleaning. During November, I take time each day (only 20 minutes a day) to declutter my desk, small closets, and even the refrigerator to make room for holiday foods. Seeing a clean space feels very motivating! Once decluttering is done, let the cleaning begin! You don’t have to tackle everything but basis like dusting, vacuuming, and cleaning the toilets can be done in a short amount of time.

In the Kitchen

The kitchen usually becomes more important during the holidays since we spend time baking and cooking. If you will be preparing this holiday season, consider making a menu, then create a list of everything you need before making a trip to the grocery store, saving both time and money. Check your cupboards to see what items you already have! For more tips on planning for the holidays, here is a great, 30-minute webinar.

Decorating Main Spaces

Finally, it’s time to decorate! I tend to feel overwhelmed with this task and began decorating only the main living and dining areas. The bedrooms usually get a holiday throw pillow or blanket and a candle. In the kitchen I use seasonal dish towels and placemats. And of course, my holiday wreath on the front door!

The weeks ahead can be hectic. Following these simple tips and being mindful of your time beforehand can help ensure that you will be able to enjoy your family time together.

Written by Shari Gallup, Assistant Professor, Ohio State University Extension, Licking County, gallup.1@osu.edu

Reviewed by, Beth Stefura, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Mahoning County, Stefura.2@osu.edu

Sources:

Barledge, L., Gallup, S., Lowe, J. (2022). Webinar. Set the Table: Plan for Both Wellness and Savings. Webinar: https://go.osu.edu/giftsweb2.

Carter, S. (2017).  Stretch Your Time and Money This Thanksgiving. https://livehealthyosu.com/2017/11/13/stretch-your-time-and-money-this-thanksgiving/

Center for Disease Control. https://www.cdc.gov/mentalhealth/stress-coping/cope-with-stress/

Marrison. E. (2021). Homemade Cleaners: Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise. https://livehealthyosu.com/2021/11/01/homemade-cleaners-healthy-wealthy-wise/

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Fall is here!  The mornings are cooler and there is a hint of color on the trees.  Fall is a perfect time to enjoy the beauty of the season.  Cool morning air, beautiful colors  and even some pumpkin spice. It’s time to pause, reflect and recharge.  With the holiday season around the corner, it’s the season to slow down and assess your health and wellness.

Change is challenging, not only for the trees but for people too.  Ask a friend or colleague to join you in your journey to wellness.  Here are some tips for a healthier fall:

  • Boost your immunity– as colder weather arrives, it’s important to boost your immune system with foods containing Vitamin C (oranges, limes, grapefruit, peppers) to help fight off infections. Almonds, garlic, ginger, and spinach also aids immunity health. Wash your hands often and drink lots of water.
  • Have dinner with your family.  It’s a perfect time to reconnect with your family. Families that eat together tend to consume healthier meals and strengthen family relationships.
  • Visit a local farmers market. Add in-season  fruits and vegetables into your meals. Apples, turnips, brussels sprouts, and squash are great in-season options to add to your meals for nutrient dense benefits.
  • Watch those tailgate party calories.  Enjoy,  yet consider filling up on vegetables and modify foods to healthier options.
  • As cooler weather arrives, it’s a perfect time to get outdoors and enjoy the beauty of the season. Take a walk-in nature for increased physical activity.
  • Sterilize your most touched items.  Your cell phone, keyboard, remote, and tablet are exposed to bacteria. Wipe down these surfaces frequently with a sanitizing wipe. 
  • Get enough vitamin D — This essential vitamin helps the body absorb calcium. We get most of our Vitamin D from the sun, so our intake decreases when the weather is colder since we spend most of our time inside during the fall/winter seasons. If you find you are not getting outside much, good sources of  Vitamin D include  salmon, tuna, and mushrooms.  Fortified foods that contain Vitamin D are cow’s milk, orange juice cereal and oatmeal. Vitamin D  can boost your mood and immune system!
  • Prepare your home for possible extreme weather conditions.  Is your snow shovel accessible?  Is your furnace and snow blower serviced and set to go.  Check the batteries in your flashlights and smoke detectors. 

With so many fun activities to do in the fall — apple picking, corn mazes, fall festivals, tail gating, football —  you’ll want to stay healthy to enjoy it all!

Have a happy and healthy fall!

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

Reviewed by: Shari Gallup, Assistant Professor, Ohio State University Extension, Licking County, gallup.1@osu.edu

References:

https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/resources/infographic/healthy-fall.htm

https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/tips_for_staying_healthy_in_the_fall

https://www.webmd.com/women/features/8-fall-steps-for-healthy-living

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Intentional Connections

Connecting with friends and family is essential for good health. We were made to connect with one another. In fact, we thrive on it, both mentally and physically. Researchers are exploring how social support and good relationships are converted into neurochemical signals that can boost one’s immune system. The quality of our social support and interpersonal connections can affect things like mood, motivation, coping skills, self-esteem and general well-being.

many hands together, friendship
hands, frienship

Recently I participated in a program where we learned to make a Vision Board and set goals for our own personal vision. The area I focused on was ‘heart.’ I wanted to be more intentional about connecting with family and friends. I do not want to look back later and have regrets about missed opportunities to connect with others, especially my kids who will soon both be grown and flown, leaving an empty nest. Having just sent one child to college this fall, and the other child to follow in two years, I’m keenly aware of how quickly the years roll by.

For each person on my goal list, I tried to think of specific ways we could connect. For my husband I made a goal to plan a monthly date. This could be something as simple as a walk in the woods, or a breakfast out. For my teenage son, I simply need to be available whenever he wants to talk or share about his day and take an interest in his thoughts. For my daughter who is now in college, I try to support her when she calls or needs help and send an occasional text of a cute picture or positive affirmation.

So how do we become more intentional about connecting? September 26, 2022 just happens to be National Family Day to remind us to reconnect and cherish family and loved ones. Here are a few tips to consider:

Go on an outing

Whether it is a day in the park, a picnic, or a movie, an outing with your family can provide an opportunity to reconnect and enjoy some quality time.

Eat together

Family meals are a wonderful way to learn about one another’s day and reconnect daily. There are so many benefits to eating together as a family.

Plan a game night

Games bring families together for fun. When families have fun together, lasting memories are created. Be intentional about spending time together and make family game night a regular part of the schedule.

Use technology to connect

Modern technology makes it easy to connect. This article on unexpected connections provides helpful tips on how to creatively connect with loved ones both near and far.

When we are intentional in connecting with loved ones, beautiful and meaningful moments await. Be intentional. Connect often.

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

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

Sources:

Create Your Own Vision Board: Bring your goals to life with a vision board! National 4-H Council, All State Foundation and Ohio State University Extension. https://4-h.org/about/4-h-at-home/emotional-wellness/digital-vision-board/

Perissinotto CM, Stijacic Cenzer I, Covinsky KE. Loneliness in Older Persons: A Predictor of Functional Decline and Death. Arch Intern Med. 2012;172(14):1078–1084. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2012.1993

Uchino, B. N., & Way, B. M. (2017). Integrative pathways linking close family ties to health: A neurochemical perspective. American Psychologist, 72(6), 590–600. https://doi.org/10.1037/amp0000049

Live Healthy Live Well Blog from Ohio State University Extension, various posts:

  • College Send-Off: Are You Ready? By Shannon Carter
  • Empty Nest: Now What? by Misty Harmon
  • Take a Dine-In Day with Your Family by Lisa Barlage
  • The Case for Family Game Night by Shannon Carter
  • Unexpected Connections by Beth Stefura
  • Why We Need Connection by Jami Dellifield

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