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Picture of a cell phone.
Cell phone

Is your cell phone at risk of someone accessing it? Our phones have contacts, pictures, videos, directions, social media links, banking, and all kinds of other information. I recently went to The Ohio State University’s Cybersecurity day. I learned it is not hard for hackers to get information off our phones, but the following steps will make your phone less of a target:

  • Be sure your phone camera is not Geo Tagging your pictures with the location and date, especially if you post to social media. 
  • Use fingerprint reader on phone.
  • Use two factor authentications (Google Authenticator).
  • Use a program that makes up passwords for you as it best to have a crazy random password.
  • Don’t reuse passwords.
  • Enable a passcode or PIN to access your phone (at least six digits).
  • Enable auto lock (when you are not actively using your phone it will lock in 5 minutes or whatever you set the time for it to lock).
  • Enable auto-wipe.
  • Enable the “Find your phone” or “Find your device” feature.
  • Delete apps you don’t use.
  • Delete accounts you don’t need.
  • Verify apps before downloading. Use App Store or Google Play to get apps.  

Be careful if you access public WIFI. This can put you at risk if it is not a secure WIFI, leaving you to vulnerable to hackers monitoring your activities. It is best to put a “vpn” app on your phone to use in those circumstances. However, be careful about free “vpn” apps. 

The Ohio Attorney General has some additional tips: 

  • Shut off Bluetooth and WIFI when not in use or you are out in public. Other electronic devices can connect wirelessly with your phone through Bluetooth. If you have your Bluetooth or WIFI turned on some stores and other places have tracked people’s movements when people are in range. 
  • Be sure to update your phone and apps when updates are available.
  • Use an antivirus app.
  • If you are not sure about a text message, a call or email don’t answer or click. 

To be secure anywhere putting your phone on “Airplane mode” is the safest according to some cybersecurity people. “Big Brother” may be listening and/or watching. Protect your privacy.

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

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

References:

Dave Yost, Ohio Attorney General, (2019). Protect Your Apps:  How to Make Your Smartphone More Secure, available at https://www.ohioattorneygeneral.gov/Files/Publications-Files/Publications-for-Consumers/CHIPP-Stay-Safe-in-Cyberspace

Federal Commerce Commission, (2015).  Ten Steps to Smartphone Security, Available at https://www.fcc.gov/sites/default/files/smartphone_master_document.pdf

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Have you been celebrating the 50 years of Mr. Rogers? If you follow the stories, you know there are many ways to watch, learn and celebrate. For example, check out the Won’t You Be My Neighbor? film, the new movie (coming soon) A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, and a United States Postal Service Forever Stamp.  To celebrate World Kindness Day last week, not only did adults wear their cardigans but the newborn babies at Pittsburgh’s West Penn Hospital were also dressed in miniature red cardigans to recognize the kindness messages of Mr. Rogers.

residential-2729103_1920

The highlights and celebrations remind us of the intentional work and messages by Fred Rogers that encourage all of us, young and old, to:

  • feel good about ourselves
  • understand our feelings
  • build relationships with others
  • wonder and learn
  • be ready for new experiences
  • learn how to talk about difficult subjects

The work of Mr. Rogers is as relevant today as it was 50 years ago. How do you define your neighbors? Another organization that is using the theme of neighbors is the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (AAFCS). Since 2014, nearly half a million people have committed to “Dining In” on December 3rd, Family & Consumer Sciences (FCS) Day. Each year AAFCS promotes a theme, shares information and tallies the number of people who commit to eating a meal together. With the 2019 theme, Neighbors as Family, AAFCS notes that neighbors come in many different forms. We can be neighbors with others from where we live (urban, suburban, city, rural/farms) to types of housing (Single dwelling homes, Homeowners group, Subdivision, Condo/high rise, Apartment building) to types of communities (Retirement community, College dorm, College sorority/fraternity house, Campus neighbors) and to places where we spend time with others (Office building, Office staff, Office neighbors, Gym). In addition to their list, other definitions of neighbors as family can be sports teams, those we worship with, cultural clubs, 4-H clubs, extended family, and friends as family.

achievement-3953952__480Pixabay

I have a child in elementary school, so some of our neighbors as family include families in scouts and dance club. This year our scout meeting happens to land during the week of December 3rd so we’re meeting, learning and eating together as neighbors and family that evening at school. Are you interested in being part of an online neighbors as family this year? Please join me and others in signing up at the AAFCS webpage, hosting a simple meal, and posting your photos for Dine In Day 2019. Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be a formal, elaborate meal! The important thing is to take some time, sit down together, enjoy some food and camaraderie.

FCS_Day_Sign-Up_Graphic_

I not sure that the AAFCS 2019 theme for Dine In Day, December 3rd was planned to coincide with celebrations of Mr. Roger’s 50 years but I’d like to think that Mr. Rogers would approve of the theme Neighbors as Family.

Sources:

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, movie trailer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-VLEPhfEN2M

Cheers to 50 Years, PBS https://www.pbs.org/parents/rogers

Dine In With Us, FCS Day, American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences,  https://www.aafcs.org/fcsday/home

For World Kindness Day, a hospital dressed newborns in red cardigans like Mister Rogers, Joshua Bote, USA Today

https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/parenting/2019/11/13/world-kindness-day-newborns-red-cardigans-honor-mister-rogers/4181101002/

Mister Rogers Forever Stamp, USPS https://about.usps.com/news/national-releases/2018/pr18_022.htm

Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood, https://www.misterrogers.org/the-messages/

Won’t You Be My Neighbor? PBS http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/films/wont-you-be-my-neighbor/

Author: Patrice Powers-Barker, CFLE, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension, Lucas County

Reviewer: Jenny Lobb, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension, Franklin County.

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Couple talking to doctor about diabetes

November is American Diabetes Month. Diabetes is a serious and costly chronic disease that affects about 10% of all US adults. What’s often lost in this statistic though, is that they have loved ones who often share the burden of managing diabetes. When a person is diagnosed with diabetes they often have multiple behaviors that they are asked to adopt, including changing eating and physical activity patterns, monitoring blood sugar and taking medication. Loved ones can either help or hurt someone manage diabetes depending on how they communicate and interact.  Poor relationships between family members can lead to poor diabetes self-care, high blood sugars, stress, and many other negative health outcomes.

Family members and loved ones can help a loved one by adopting these strategies:

  • Be aware that behavior change is difficult and can take months to develop a habit. People go through different stages and can even relapse.
  • Nagging doesn’t help people change. They have to be motivated to change themselves. Others in the family can help the person with diabetes discover their own internal motivations. Asking questions that start with “what, why, how” can get loved ones thinking about what they are looking forward to in life and why it might be important to manage diabetes.
    • “What are you looking forward to within the next six months?”
    • “How will diabetes affect your plans?”
  • When it comes to discussing the potential consequences of inaction, use “I” statements and observations versus “you” statements, which can come across as shaming or nagging. For example:
    • “I care about you and I’m worried about the complications that diabetes can cause if we don’t make some changes.”
  • Listen to your loved one’s frustrations, concerns, emotions. Repeat what they say so they know you are listening.
  • Change your own habits and behaviors to support your spouse or family member. If you don’t eat healthy, it won’t be easy for your loved one!
  • Family members need to be on the same page in terms of understanding diabetes management. Visit the doctor together and ask questions or take classes together. Consider taking Dining with Diabetes: Beyond the Kitchen together. The course focuses on carbohydrates, fats, sodium, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. This easy to follow three-module course includes interactive presentations, videos, activities, and access to trusted resources and apps.
  • Encourage your family member to set their own goals, and to find someone to hold them accountable.

Sources

American Diabetes Month. American Diabetes Association. (2019). Accessed at http://www.diabetes.org

Dellifield, J., Remley, D., Baker, S., Bates, J. Communication Strategies to Support a Family Member with Diabetes. (2018). Ohioline. Accessed at https://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/hyg-5322

Treber, M. Set a Wellness Goal for the New Year. Live Healthy Live Well Blog. (2019). Accessed at https://livehealthyosu.com/2013/01/07/set-a-wellness-goal-for-2013-4/

Author: Dan Remley, MSPH, PhD Field Specialist, Food, Nutrition, Wellness. OSU Extension.

Reviewer: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension, Ross County.

 

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I turned forty this year. That is a big milestone to celebrate and yet I did nothing except manage to stay alive 14,600 days in a row. Nevertheless, the fact that forty came for me and I am somewhat excited means that this milestone deserves a celebration. I grew up with a dad in the Air Force, and we moved every four years or less. My spouse is an Air Force civilian and we’ve spent his career calling different places in the US and around the world home. This means that my friends are scattered all over the world. Gathering them together for a celebration would have been impossible.

 Last year I took on the “Kindness Boomerang” book as my resolution. It may be the only resolution I have kept my entire life. The book supplies an idea for a kind act and a quote for every day of the year. Even if I was unable to complete the suggested act, I still found inspiration in the daily quotes such as:

“A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions.” Amelia Earhart

“I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can so something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.” Edward Everett Hale

I combined social media and the book and found a way to celebrate with my friends all over for forty days! I asked all my Facebook friends to sign up for a day to share a small act of kindness for 40 days leading up to my birthday. The response was overwhelming. Many friends responded, and for those 40 days shared their kind act on our Facebook group. We covered some distance. We had participants in all corners of Ohio, 19 other states and covering the globe in Germany, Japan, Italy, Finland, and Spain. We had a lot of fun, strengthened connections and learned a few things along the way.

Health benefits from being kind?

Do you want more energy or to feel happier? Raise your hand if you want to live longer! Are you looking to decrease feelings of depression or anxiety? Be kind!!

Research proves kindness is good for health. About half of the participants in a research study reported that they felt stronger and more energetic after helping others; many also reported feeling calmer and less depressed, with increased feelings of self-worth.

People who practice kindness regularly have 23% less cortisol, (the stress hormone) than the average population. A 2010 Harvard Business School survey of happiness in 136 countries found that generous people are happiest overall. There are many other health benefits of being kind; lower blood pressure, reduced pain and increased positivity.

Next post we cover lessons learned about opportunities for kindness, the impact of small acts and my final thoughts on the project.

Sources:

Wahba, O. (2017). Kindness boomerang: how to save the world (and yourself) through 365 daily acts. New York: Flatiron Books.

Harvard Health Publishing. (2019). Giving thanks can make you happier. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/giving-thanks-can-make-you-happier.

Make Kindness The Norm. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.randomactsofkindness.org/the-science-of-kindness.

Why Random Acts of Kindness Matter to Your Well-being. (2017, November 16). Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/emotional-nourishment/201711/why-random-acts-kindness-matter-your-well-being.

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

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

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small child staring at a smartphone

As a mom with three little children, I find it easy at times to use my smartphone or tablet to help entertain my children while I am trying to accomplish specific tasks. It is very convenient when we are standing in line somewhere or I need to distract them for a few minutes.  However, I know that I should have screen time limits for my kids. How much is too much?

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends preschoolers use screens no more than 1 to 2 hours a day. In today’s tech world that includes watching TV, working on a computer, playing video games, or streaming videos, games, apps or websites on smartphones or tablets.

Screen Time Effect

  • Harder to fall asleep at night
  • Raise risk for attention problems, anxiety and depression
  • Raise risk for gaining too much weight

Not all screen time is bad. Good screen time would be playing an interactive educational game together or watching educational programming where you are talking and reflecting with your child on what you are watching.

General Tips

  • Sit with your child during screen time and interact with them
  • Do your research before you allow them to play a game or download an app
  • Have plenty of non-screen time scheduled throughout the day
  • Keep screens out of your child’s bedroom especially at bedtime

Screen time rules will be similar to other parenting rules you might have – set a good example, establish limits, and talk with your child about it.

As your child grows and technology changes you will need to change your approach and rules in regards to screen time, as a one-size-fits-all approach will not work well.

Sources:

Kids Health. (2019). Screen Time Guidelines for Preschoolers. Retrieved from https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/screentime-preschool.html

MedlinePlus. (2019, May 17). Screen time and children. Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000355.htm

Thompson, D. (2019, January 28). Can Too Much Screen Time Hinder Child Development? Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/parenting/raising-fit-kids/recharge/features/limiting-tv-preschoolers#1

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

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

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Woman holding head
Do you ever feel like a hamster in the wheel just spinning around and around? Or like the world around you is always demanding something more from you? Life has a way of swallowing us up if we don’t manage our schedules. As I look at my monthly calendar, I feel overwhelmed by doctor’s appointments, volleyball games, meetings and more meetings, evening work programs, my daughter’s high school homecoming, house repairs, conference presentations, deadlines, webinars, family obligations, and traveling out of town for work 15 out of 26 days. 

As part of my job, I encourage people to practice healthy time management and stress management. Clearly, I have fallen victim to NOT practicing what I preach. I would like to say without hesitation, that I have not experienced first-hand how life responsibilities and demands can quickly create feelings of stress. That would be a lie. I am keenly aware of the warning signs and symptoms related to increased stress in my life. Like many people, I sometimes choose not to listen to my body’s cues.

Headaches and muscle tension are symptoms I experience when I am overwhelmed. The Cleveland Clinic identifies these other physical symptoms related to stress:

  • Dizziness or a general feeling of “being out of it.”
  • General aches and pains
  • Grinding teeth, clenched jaw
  • Headaches
  • Indigestion or acid reflux symptoms
  • Increase in or loss of appetite
  • Muscle tension in neck, face, or shoulders
  • Problems sleeping
  • Racing heart
  • Cold and sweaty palms
  • Tiredness or exhaustion
  • Trembling/shaking
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Upset stomach and/or diarrhea
  • Sexual difficulties

Do you know how stress affects you? I encourage you to take some time to identify the signs and symptoms you experience related to stress. Once you know your own warning signs, it will be easier to manage stress. There are a variety of ways to cope with stress.  The key is choosing what works for you and what fits your lifestyle. The Mayo Clinic offers these stress management tips:

  • Get regular physical activity
  • Practice relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation, yoga, tai chi, or massage
  • Keep a sense of humor
  • Spend time with family and friends
  • Set aside time for hobbies, such as reading a book or listening to music

If you practice healthy stress management techniques but your symptoms continue or worsen, please seek assistance from a healthcare professional. If you or a loved one is having thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). It is available to anyone. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and all calls are confidential.

Written by: Lorrissa Dunfee, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Belmont County, dunfee.54@osu.edu

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

References:

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/11874-stress

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

Photo Source: https://pixabay.com/photos/clause-law-flood-stress-burnout-3213670/

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It wasn’t until recently that I came to realize that I most likely experience the winter blues, which is more mild than Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). I have never been a fan of fall (I know all of you fall-lovers just took a collective gasp) or winter. In fact, it is more accurate to say I despise them. Up until a few years ago, I never really connected the dots of my dislike of fall and winter to the possibility that I have the winter blues, or perhaps SAD.

In 2017 I became a Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) Instructor. MHFA is designed to help regular people be able to recognize and better understand if someone they know is developing a mental health issue and how to help them. MHFA also teaches how to respond to someone having a mental health crisis. It wasn’t until I started teaching MHFA that I realized that the symptoms of SAD are similar to things I experience as fall approaches.

While I experience many of the symptoms of SAD, I am still able to enjoy my life and carry out my daily activities. The milder form of SAD is often called the winter blues. According to the Mayo Clinic, some of the symptoms someone with seasonal affective disorder (SAD) may experience include:

  • Feeling depressed most of the day, nearly every day
  • Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Having low energy
  • Having problems with sleeping
  • Experiencing changes in your appetite or weight
  • Feeling sluggish or agitated
  • Having difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling hopeless, worthless or guilty
  • Having frequent thoughts of death or suicide

While fall and winter SAD are the most common, some people have symptoms during spring and summer. According to the Mayo Clinic the symptoms related specifically to fall and winter SAD , also known as winter depression, are:

  • Oversleeping
  • Appetite changes, especially a craving for foods high in carbohydrates
  • Weight gain
  • Tiredness or low energy

The symptoms most often associated with spring and summer SAD, also known as summer depression, are:

  • Trouble sleeping (insomnia)
  • Poor appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Agitation or anxiety

While the exact cause of SAD is not known, there are some factors that may come in to play. According to an article by Rush University Medical Center, these are some of the possible mechanisms:

  • Dips in serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood.
  • Disruptions in circadian rhythms (your body’s internal clock), which help control sleep-wake cycles.
  • Alterations in melatonin, a hormone associated with both mood and sleep.

Some risk factors for SAD include:

  • Family history.
  • Having major depression or bipolar disorder.
  • Living far from the equator.

Some treatments for SAD include:

  • Exposure to sunlight.
  • Light therapy.
  • Psychotherapy.
  • Antidepressants.

In addition to these treatments, a University of Rochester Medical Center article gives these steps you can take to help ease symptoms:

  • Get help.
  • Set realistic goals in light of the depression.
  • Try to be with other people and confide in someone.
  • Do things that make you feel better.
  • Get regular exercise.
  • Expect your mood to get better slowly, not right away.
  • Eat healthy, well-balanced meals.
  • Stay away from alcohol and drugs.
  • Delay big decisions until the depression has lifted.
  • Realize that people don’t often snap out of a depression.
  • Try to be patient and focus on the positives.
  • Let your family and friends help you.

So, if you or someone you know experiences either the winter blues or SAD, there is hope beyond the longer, sunny days of spring and summer. Anyone who has severe symptoms should seek professional help, especially if there are ever any thoughts of suicide or harm. I have not sought professional help, as I do not have any severe symptoms. My symptoms mainly involve lack of energy, sluggishness, mild agitation, and cravings. I have made it a point to get more exposure to light, especially earlier in the day, and I try to eat as healthy as possible and be as active as possible. Being proactive in these ways is enough to help ease my symptoms.

Written by:

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

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

Photo Sources:

https://pixabay.com/photos/man-face-confused-head-depression-416473/

https://pixabay.com/photos/desperate-sad-depressed-hopeless-2100307/

References:

More Than Just the Winter Blues? Rush University Medical Center. Retrieved on 10/20/19 from: https://www.rush.edu/health-wellness/discover-health/more-just-winter-blues

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD). (2017). Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). Found on 10/20/19 at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20364651

Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD. University of Rochester Medical Center. Retrieved 10/20/19 from: https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?contenttypeid=85&contentid=P00755

National Council for Behavioral Health. (2019). Retrieved on 10/20/19 from: https://www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org/

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