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Posts Tagged ‘family’

Just about everyone I’ve talked to lately says how tired they are of our cold weather and that they are ready for spring.  We all look forward to the days of sunshine, warm breezes and fresh air.

We need to remember, though, that the spring season also brings the possibilities of severe weather and take some time to plan ahead to keep ourselves and our families safe.  This is Ohio’s Severe Weather Awareness Week – March 18-24, 2018 and a perfect time to remind ourselves how to keep safe.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration reminds us that severe thunder storms and tornadoes are much more prevalent at this time of the year and it is important to have a safety plan in place.  Some of their suggestions include:

  • If you are inside your house or other building:
    • Identify shelter locations well before the storm hits.
    • Seek a small interior room or hallway on the lowest floor possible.
    • Stay away from doors, windows, and outside walls.
    • Stay in the center of the room, and avoid corners because they attract debris.
    • Avoid auditoriums, cafeterias and gymnasiums that have flat, wide-span roofs.
  • If you are outside:
    • Try to seek shelter in a nearby building if you can.
    • Never try to outrun a tornado in your car.
    • If there is a low lying area such as a ditch nearby, you can lie down in that area and cover your head with your arms.
  • If you are in your workplace
    • It is a good idea to have a plan that everyone in the building has practiced.
    • Know who is in the office so that everyone can be accounted for before and after the storm.
  • Have an emergency contact plan for your family or coworkers. Designate one number that everyone should call to connect.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has created documents that can help us all better prepare for these severe weather occurrences.  They provide definitions to explain the difference between watches and warnings and appropriate measures to take with each level of warning.

Take the time to make a plan for your family and co-workers as we enter this time of the year when severe weather can strike at a moment’s notice.

Written by:  Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, rabe.9@osu.edu

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

Sources:

Center for Disease Control and Prevention.  Natural Disasters and Severe Weather. https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/tornadoes/prepared.HTML

Federal Emergency Management Agency. How to Prepare for a Tornado. (https://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/1409003506195-52740fd2983079a211d041f7aea6b85d/how_to_prepare_tornado_033014_508.PDF

The American Red Cross . Be Red Cross Ready.

http://www.redcross.org/images/MEDIA_CustomProductCatalog/m4240190_Be_Red_Cross_Ready.pdf

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How did you start your day? I started mine with a visit to the dermatologist. Several months ago (you must plan at least 2-4 months in advance to see a specialist), I decided since it had been 10+ years since my first and only one, I should get an overall skin check. I called the doctor’s office. Since my insurance had changed, I had to verify the doctor was an approved provider. Sure enough he was, so long as the office bills the visit a certain way. As if trying to find a day and time that worked for the visit wasn’t hard enough, I also had to figure out how the office bills! I persisted and was able to confirm that they bill the way the insurance requires. At last, my visit was set! calendar-1763587_1280

You may be wondering why I decided I should go to the dermatologist. I admit, I have a few spots that were of slight concern, but I mainly wanted to get a complete skin check to make sure there were no suspicious areas. My grandpa and my dad both had pre-cancerous and cancerous lesions removed from the ears and the nose. I have always enjoyed being outside and I have not always been diligent about wearing sunscreen or protective clothing. I also have lots of small moles. These all put me at an increased risk for skin cancer.

Well, after meeting the new-to-me doctor, and getting my skin check, I am happy to report that I have no areas of concern. He did point out a few areas for me to be aware and to note if they start to change in color, size or shape. Overall, he confirmed what I already know. I have some spots that are most likely a combination of sun exposure and time. I need to wear sunscreen and protective clothing whenever I go outside. When I am near water, which I am as much as possible in the summer, reflective rays from the sun hit the water and bounce back up, increasing my sun exposure. I had not given much thought to this in the past, but I will definitely pay attention to it now. Overall, the visit was pleasant, informative and reassuring.sun

If you are someone who dreads going to the doctor for any reason, you may want to reconsider. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), regular health exams and tests can help find problems before they start. They can also catch issues earlier when they are easier to treat. The National Institute for Health (NIH) provides a list of screenings based on your age and gender. The list tells you what kinds of tests or exams you should have and how often. You should work with your physician(s) to decide how often you need to schedule a visit.

I know that after my experience, I will not wait 10+ years before I schedule my next appointment. I am relieved that I have no areas of concern right now. I feel empowered to take steps to care for my skin and to try to prevent further damage. I know which areas that I especially need to watch. So, if you have been putting off making an appointment for a routine visit, call your doctor’s office today. It may take several months before you can be seen.

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

Reviewed by: Shannon Carter, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Fairfield County.

Sources:

cdc.gov/cancer/skin/

 

medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002125.htm

References:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (November 13, 2017). Skin Cancer, cdc.gov

 

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health. (February 6, 2018). Physical exam frequency. . U.S. National Library of Medicine, medline.gov

Photo Credit:

https://pixabay.com/en/calendar-date-month-day-week-1763587/

https://pixabay.com/en/sun-sunbeam-sky-clouds-light-1651316/

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The holiday season is one of the most giving and positive times of the year. Many people have the ‘Spirit of Giving’ during this festive time. The students of Somerset Elementary School are no exception. A few of weeks ago the principal, and some of the students stopped by our office to deliver poinsettias. They were going to businesses and residences in the community to spread some positivity with the flowers and a little note. The students of Somerset Elementary; however, have been practicing positivity for a couple years. They piloted the Positivity Project for Northern Local School District last year. The district implemented the project in the other two grade schools this year due to the great results from Somerset Elementary.

The visit from the students inspired me to encourage others to be more positive. Overall, I tend to be a positive person, but positivity does not come naturally for everyone. Some people have to work harder at it, but we all can become more positive with some small changes. To become more positive, try some of these tips from the Mayo Clinic:

Identify areas to change.Positivity Project

Check yourself.

Be open to humor.

Follow a healthy lifestyle.

Surround yourself with positive people.

Practice positive self-talk.

With practice, you may be able to develop a more positive attitude and become less critical of things around you.

There are many health benefits  to having a positive outlook/attitude for you. These may include:

  • lower blood pressure
  • reduced risk for heart disease
  • healthier weight
  • better blood sugar levels
  • lower rates of depression
  • lower levels of distress
  • greater resistance to the common cold
  • better psychological and physical well-being
  • better coping skills during stressful times
  • longer life span.

One study showed that the most optimistic group of women had a nearly 30% overall reduced mortality compared to the least optimistic group.

Gratitude can also help with developing a more positive outlook/attitude. People who are more grateful tend to have a more positive demeanor. If we can continue the practice of gratitude that many people seem to have during the holiday season all year long, it may help us to become more positive overall. The week after our office received the visit and the flowers from the students, I walked over to the school to deliver a Thank You note to the principal to share with the students. I wanted to make sure that the students understand that their gesture was appreciated and acknowledged. I will be sharing this blog with the principal as well so that he can show the students how they were my inspiration for writing it. The simple gesture of positivity by them, has already spread beyond their little school and town.

When you find yourself struggling to be or to remain positive (as we all do at times), remember Winston Churchill’s famous quote that “a pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” Sometimes just re-framing the situation can help us to see things in a more positive light.

Comment on your favorite tips to stay positive.

 

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

Reviewed by: Michelle Treber, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County.

Photo Credit:  Debbie Goodrich, Office Associate, Perry County OSU Extension.

Sources:

https://posproject.org/

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/positive-thinking/art-20043950?pg=2

https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2015/08/positive-emotions-your-health

https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2016/12/optistic-women-live-longer-are-healthier/

http://www.pursuit-of-happiness.org/science-of-happiness/positive-thinking/

References:

Bryan, Jeff & Erwin, Mike (2017). #OtherPeopleMatter, The Positivity Project.

Mayo Clinic Staff (February 18, 2017). Positive thinking: Stop negative self-talk to reduce stress.

National Institutes of Health (NIH) News in Health (August 2015). Positive Emotions and Your Health Developing a Brighter Outlook.

Feldscher, Karen (December 7, 2016). How power of positive thinking works, Harvard Gazette.

Mindfulness and Positive Thinking (2016). Pursuit of Happiness, Inc.

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During the upcoming holiday season, I encourage you to make time to enjoy an extra family meal together. Family meals can nourish your mind, body and soul. They provide a great opportunity to enjoy better conversations and strengthen your family ties by spending quality, focused mealtimes together.

You can also use family mealtime to encourage good manners and conversations. Not sure how to start a conversation with your children? Download these conversation starter cards provided from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. You will find a  variety of topics which are available for teens, families, and children.


Did you know that regular family meals create a routine that helps children feel more secure? According to Ruth Litchfield, Ph.D., R.D., Extension Nutritionist, Iowa State University, children who often eat dinner with their families do better in school and have lower levels of stress.

Still sound too hard to do? Check out these simple tips to make it easier to have a family mealtime available from USDA’s MyPlate MyWins.

Have you tried fixing a crock-pot or skillet meal? Using a crock-pot can help you have that meal ready when you get home. If you do not have a crock-pot, you can try one of these easy and tasty skillet recipes. Add a small salad, fresh fruit and low-fat milk for a quick meal that your family can enjoy together.

What tips can you share to make family mealtimes work? Send those tips via the comment section on this blog.

As we enter this special week of Thanksgiving, I encourage you to take time to plan and enjoy an extra family meal with your family.

 

Sources:

Litchfield, R. (2015). Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. Say “YES” to family meals. Retrieved from https://store.extension.iastate.edu/product/5414

Mealtime Conversation cards. Retrieved from https://store.extension.iastate.edu/ProductList?Keyword=conversation

MyPlate MyWins: Tips Making family meals. Retrieved from https://www.choosemyplate.gov/myplate-mywins-tips-making-family-meals

USDA What’s Cooking? Retrieved from https://whatscooking.fns.usda.gov/

 

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

Reviewer: Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, rabe.9@osu.edu.

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Shop your way to health!

Most of us are aware of the benefits of healthy eating – plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grain products and low fat dairy and lean protein. However it is easy to forget the “rules” as we hurry through the grocery store to purchase food for our family.

The Food Marketing Institute estimates that a large grocery store may carry over 79,000 different items.  That is a lot of choice! Fortunately there are some guidelines that we can follow to help us navigate through the bountiful offerings in today’s grocery stores.

Let’s start in the produce section. The US Dietary Guidelines recommend that ½ of our plate should be fruits and vegetables.  Look for a variety of colors and textures as you make your choices. Bright yellow peppers, red tomatoes and dark leafy greens provide valuable nutrients.  A dessert of ripe red strawberries and bright blueberries with just a dollop of whipping cream should satisfy anyone’s sweet tooth.  Purchasing fruits and vegetables that are canned or frozen can also provide healthy meals for your family – just remember to watch for added salt or sugar.

Now, let’s move on to the grain aisle.  Remember to aim for at least 50% of your grains being whole grain.  When making your choices, don’t be fooled by items that are brown in color but do not have a whole grain as the first item on the ingredient list.  This can apply also to bread, rice, pasta and other grain products. Examples of whole grains include whole-wheat flour, oatmeal, whole cornmeal, and brown rice. Since cereal is a staple in many households, look for those that are higher in fiber and lower in added sugars.

As you shop in the dairy aisle, think about the guidance of choosing low fat dairy. Fat free or 1% milk should be the staple for most adults and children over the age of 2.  Don’t forget that fat free milk provides the same amount of calcium and other important nutrients for our bodies as whole milk but without the fat! The same rules apply to cheeses and yogurt – the lower in fat the better.

As you make that final stop for protein foods, many think only of meat as the source of protein.  While lean cuts of meat can provide the protein that our bodies need, there are other sources that eliminate the fat that is associated with meats. ChooseMyPlate.gov recommends that we vary our choices for protein. Some good sources are eggs, dried beans and peas, fish, nuts, cheese, tofu, peanut butter, milk, and yogurt.

If you have noticed, we have shopped the perimeter of the grocery store, avoiding many of the processed products that we encounter up and down some of the center aisles.  By choosing mostly fresh, whole foods, we are providing our bodies with the healthy foods we need for a healthy lifestyle.

 

Writer: Marilyn Rabe, OSU Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Franklin County, Heart of Ohio EERA, rabe.9@osu.edu

Reviewer: Jenny Lobb, OSU Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Franklin County, Heart of Ohio EERA, lobb.3@osu.edu

Sources:

Food Marketing Institute (2017). Supermarket Facts. https://www.fmi.org/our-research/supermarket-facts

US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (2017). Dietary Guidelines. https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/

USDA ChooseMyPlate.gov (2016). All About the Grains Group. https://www.choosemyplate.gov/grains?source=Patrick.net

USDA ChooseMyPlate.gov (2017). 10 Tips: Vary Your Protein Routine.  https://www.choosemyplate.gov/ten-tips-with-protein-foods-variety-is-key

 

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all-is-wellWhat comes to mind when you hear the terms well or wellness? For most people, these words bring thoughts of physical health. Some of you will think about mental health. Most people, when given time, realize that there is more to being well than just physical and mental health. Some may even be able to name several areas of wellness. Many people may not realize that there are actually eight dimensions of wellness, though.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the eight dimensions of wellness are:

  1. Emotional—Coping effectively with life and creating satisfying relationships
  2. Environmental—Good health by occupying pleasant, stimulating environments that support well-being
  3. Financial—Satisfaction with current and future financial situations
  4. Intellectual—Recognizing creative abilities and finding ways to expand knowledge and skills
  5. Occupational—Personal satisfaction and enrichment from one’s work
  6. Physical—Recognizing the need for physical activity, healthy foods, and sleep
  7. Social—Developing a sense of connection, belonging, and a well-developed support system
  8. Spiritual—Expanding a sense of purpose and meaning in life

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For about a month, I have been participating in a program offered through my employer/health insurance to help increase my emotional well-being. There are up to five areas that anyone who participates can choose to complete. Each area has suggestions for things you can do. For example, one challenge is to find. Some things listed include: going to the library to check out a book or DVD, attending a live event or stopping by a new coffee shop. It is fun trying to complete each challenge. It also helps remind me that even on those hectic days, I need to take some time to take care of myself.

There are small and simple things you can do to help become more well in each area. Here are some examples:

  • Emotional—unplug from phone, social media and your computer for 10 minutes each day, light your favorite candle and make time for friends and family
  • Environmental—keep your office and home clean and organized, find a favorite place or spot to visit and get involved in cleaning up your community or neighborhood
  • Financial—shop at thrift stores, limit unnecessary spending and develop a budget
  • Intellectual—read for pleasure, choose creative hobbies and participate in local/community events
  • Occupational—attend conferences to stay current in your profession and explore opportunities for growth and advancement
  • Physical—participate in regular exercise/physical activity that you enjoy, eat balanced, nutritious meals and snacks and get adequate sleep
  • Social—be genuine with others, join a club or organization and use good communication skills
  • Spiritual—volunteer, pray, meditate or find a quiet place for self-reflection

You may be wondering how well you really are. Take this assessment to get a better idea. After completing it, you can figure out which areas you need to work on and in which ones you are already strong. Click here for additional information and resources on how to strengthen your dimensions of wellness.

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

Reviewer:  Michelle Treber, Ohio State University Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences, Pickaway County

References:

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (2016). The Eight Dimensions of Wellness. Available at https://www.samhsa.gov/wellness-initiative/eight-dimensions-wellness

http://umatter.princeton.edu/sites/umatter/files/media/wellness-self-assessment.pdf

Roddick, M. (2016). The 8 Dimensions of Wellness:  Where Do You Fit In? Available at https://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/8-dimensions-of-wellness-where-do-you-fit-in-0527164

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It’s hard to believe that summer is coming to an end.  The family day trips to the amusement park or zoo, and our time lazing around the pool will soon be over until next year. Do you find the transition from summer into the routines of the school year school-1549880_1920difficult? I find that I sometimes struggle with the back-to-school schedule more than my two children (who are now a freshman and a sophomore in high school). Because of my struggles, I want to share some tips from Kids.gov  and USA.gov. Both sites create and organize timely, needed government information and services that is accessible anytime, anywhere, via your channel of choice.

  • Ease into the School Routine
    • Start going to bed and waking up on a schedule similar to the school year. Remember that teens need 9-10 hours of sleep per night, school age children need 10 hours and preschoolers need 11-12 hours.
    • Make a family docking station in the living room or kitchen for mobile phones and electronics.  By not allowing these in the bedrooms, teens and pre-teens will get a better night’s sleep.  You can also set a house rule that phones may not be checked until the morning routine is complete. Purchase a cheap alarm clock if you hear,  “I need to have my phone/tablet/etc. in my room because it has my alarm on it.”
  • Teach Time Management
    • Routine is very important. Talk to your children and set a daily schedule together and follow it.  Don’t forget to include wake-up, showering, teeth brushing, homework, (outdoor) play time/physical activity, screen-time, reading together, family meals, and bed time. If something unscheduled comes up, see if other things can be adjusted to accommodate it.
    • Use pictures for your preschoolers and early readers and a checklist for the pre-teens and teens. Don’t forget to agree upon the outcomes if the schedule is followed (a special privilege) or if it is not (a consequence). Your weekend schedule will most likely be different so map that out too.
  • Pack a Nutritious Lunch
    • A well-balanced meal will help provide the nutrients to get through the long days.
    • It helps to allow your children choices when packing their lunch.  Allow them to pack their lunch (and even yours), so that together your family is making the choice to eat healthier.
  • Listen
    • Talk to your children about what’s coming up in the next few weeks.  Talk through the schedule and the changes that will be happening as school starts. Listen to their excitement and their fears. Make a plan together for having the best school year yet.
    • Don’t forget to check in with them each day and listen for what they say (and what they don’t say, especially with the pre-teens and teens).
  • Shop Smart
    • Pick up the school supply list now and take advantage of the many sales and coupons that are available.  Use your mobile device to download coupons and always ask if a store has any coupons available.  Check the closets before you head out shopping and only purchase what you need.  
    • Take advantage of  Ohio’s tax free weekend for more savings: August 4-6.

Good luck getting back into the swing of the school year. May your school year be blessed with many wonderful memories! Enjoy every teachable moment and find something fabulous in each day!

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

Reviewed By: Misty Harmon, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Perry County

Sources:

https://kids.usa.gov/parents/health-and-safety/back-to-school/index.shtml

https://www.usa.gov/features/get-ready-for-school-8-tips-for-parents-from-kid

s-gov

https://www.freetaxweekend.com/ohio-tax-free-weekend/

http://health.uncc.edu/news/electronic-devices-may-hamper-teens%E2%80%99-sleep

https://www.cps-k12.org/families-students/health-wellness/healthy-lunches/teens/lunches

Photo:

https://pixabay.com/en/school-holidays-recovery-leisure-1549880/

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