Posts Tagged ‘positive body image’

Anyone else love saying good-bye to winter?  Warm spring days with the sunshine on my face, birds chirping, the smell of the flowers blooming, and a walk outside are some of my favorite times.  I also love the rainy spring days, the rainbows, and curling up with a good book listening to the rain on the roof.  Spring cleaning is also an important part of these longer days.  Whether it is planting flowers, organizing closets, or purging, there is always a sense of accomplishment as I re-order my corner of the world.

In November 2019, I began a “spring cleaning” journey for my physical and mental health.  I wanted to share with you some research and tips that have helped me as I have worked to bring the new-ness of spring into my daily life no matter the actual season.

THROW OUT THE TRASH. Be kind to yourself.  This may sound like a no-brainer, but it is not.  Over the last few years, I noticed myself becoming more and more critical and more and more judgmental, and not just to those around me.  I had become my own worst critic and was very unkind to those around me.  I am learning to be kind to myself and I am stepping back when the actions of others don’t make sense to me. Learning to be kind includes practicing positive self-talk, forgiveness, and taking it slow on a personal level.  Positive self-talk helps reduce stress, boosts confidence, and helps with relationships. I am trying to stop trash-talking myself. And for those around me, I am learning to ease off on the pressure I am creating for them to also fit in to a perfect mold. I am remembering to tell myself daily something I learned in middle school, “I am a very special and worthwhile person, and I deserve the very best”.

OUT THE JUNK AND IN WITH THE NEW. Let your breath help you to breathe in the good and breathe out the old. Our bodies are so amazing– we breathe even when we are not intentional about it. Yet, when I take moments each day to stop and slow my breathing and to let myself just be, my world reorders itself in to chunks I can handle. My self-care spring-cleaning has opened my eyes to the clutter I carry in my mind. I am learning that the past should stay in the past, I cannot change it.  The future has not happened, I cannot change it.  So now I am trying to live each moment of today being fully present and enjoying each moment.  My presence in a moment is my gift to me and those I am with.  When I feel my thoughts drifting to places that are cluttered, I stop and I breathe slowly in and out for 20-30 seconds. Controlled breathing can lower blood pressure, improve immune systems, increase physical energy, and increase feelings of calm and wellbeing.

FRESHENING UP THE SPACE. Add something that you need to your day—something that makes your heart sing.  As I began this reset of myself, I realized that I had stopped really listening to my body and to what I needed to be healthy. I am eating healthier and listening to how my body responds when I eat too many foods with carbs or sugars. For me, I become sluggish and angry.  I am exercising more regularly—yoga, walking, ZUMBA, stretching, and not sitting at my desk all day long. I am wearing more sparkles and colors and finding ways to look at myself with new eyes. I am listening to the music I enjoy. I am talking with my friends. I am opening up to the joy of the world around me. I am finding more gratitude.

I hope you are able to let the showers and sunshine of spring help you to find a space for rejuvenation and rest.  You are worth every second you spend in spring cleaning your personal and internal spaces.

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

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


Mead, E. (2021, February 18). What is Positive Self-Talk? (Incl. Examples). PositivePsychology.com. https://positivepsychology.com/positive-self-talk/

Publishing, H. H. (202AD, July 6). Relaxation techniques: Breath control helps quell errant stress response. Harvard Health. https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/relaxation-techniques-breath-control-helps-quell-errant-stress-response

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If you are like most of us, we know how important physical activity is to our health and well being. Sometimes we get so busy with our lives that it becomes the first thing we eliminate. Fall is here and now is a great time to increase your physical activity level.  Aim for being active at least 5 days per week at a minimum of 30 minutes.

Lifting Weights

 How much physical activity is needed?

Physical activity is important for everyone, but how much you need depends on your age.

ADULTS (18 to 64 years)
Adults should do at least 2 hours and 30 minutes each week of aerobic physical activity at a moderate level OR 1 hour and 15 minutes each week of aerobic physical activity at a vigorous level. Being active 5 or more hours each week can provide even more health benefits. Spreading aerobic activity out over at least 3 days a week is best. Also, each activity should be done for at least 10 minutes at a time. Adults should also do strengthening activities, like push-ups, sit-ups and lifting weights, at least 2 days a week.
Physical activity is generally safe for everyone. The health benefits you gain from being active are far greater than the chances of getting hurt. Here are some things you can do to stay safe while you are active:
• If you haven’t been active in a while, start slowly and build up.
• Learn about the types and amounts of activity that are right for you.
• Choose activities that are appropriate for your fitness level.
• Build up the time you spend before switching to activities that take more effort.
• Use the right safety gear and sports equipment.
• Choose a safe place to do your activity.
• See a health care provider if you have a health problem.

Why is Physical Activity Important?                                                                                                                                                                

Take a Bike RideRegular physical activity can produce long term health benefits. People of all ages, shapes, sizes, and abilities can benefit from being physically active. The more physical activity you do, the greater the health benefits. Being physically active can help you: • Increase your chances of living longer • Feel better about yourself • Decrease your chances of becoming depressed • Sleep well at night • Move around more easily • Have stronger muscles and bones • Stay at or get to a healthy weight • Be with friends or meet new people • Enjoy yourself and have funTry Yoga

Did you know?   When you are not physically active, you are more likely to:
• Get heart disease
• Get type 2 diabetes
• Have high blood pressure
• Have high blood cholesterol
• Have a stroke
Physical activity and nutrition work together for better health. Being active increases the amount of calories burned. As people age their metabolism slows, so maintaining energy balance requires moving more and eating less.  Get outside and enjoy the fall weather by taking a walk or riding your bike.

Move more today!

Walk with others

Author: Michelle Treber, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator

Source: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/

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Sure, we all want toned abs, a firm stomach and muscular legs. But what about our brain? Does it benefit from exercise like the rest of our body? Should we keep in shape physically as a way to keep strong mentally as well?

The answer is an emphatic “YES”! Researchers at Harvard Medical School found that even ten minutes of activity can change our brain in several ways, including our mood, memory, and ability to learn. If you’re the type of person that needs the extra incentive to grab the tee-shirt, water bottle and hit the gym, here’s a short list of the improvements that exercise can have on your brain health:

  • Improves Mood 

Research has show that exercising three times a week and burning 350 calories each time can be as effective for reducing depression about as effectively as antidepressant medication.  The science behind the effect is exercise has been found to stimulate growth of neurons in parts of the brain that have been damaged during depression.  Animal studies have shown that brain molecules which  improve neuron connections are boosted by exercise as well.

  • Helps Develop Learning

Chemicals in the brain that help make new brain cells and create connections are called “growth factors”.  Physical activity helps increase the level of these chemicals in the brain to enhance learning.  The more complicated the physical activity, the higher the brain-boost.  When you’re taking a dance class and learning new moves, your brain cells are challenged which causes them to grow, just like our muscles.  Complex activities increase our learning capacity by enhancing our attention and concentration skills.

  • Relieves Effects of Stress

You may be familiar with the stress-relieving chemicals in the brain, such as dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine.  However, exercise has been shown to work in our cells to reverse stress of the aging process.  In a study conducted at the University of California – San Francisco, women who identified themselves as being under extreme stress showed fewer signs of aging in their body cells after exercising an average of forty-five minutes a day over a three-day period compared to women who were stressed but were not physically active.  Blood flow in areas of the brain during exercise helps  trigger chemcials that can relieve stressful thoughts.

  • Build Body Image

A little bit of fitness goes a long way towards helping your body get in shape and building self-esteem.  You don’t have to run a marathon to feel good about yourself and your physical achievements!


Source:  U.S. News & World Report, August, 2010.

Author:  Jennifer Even, Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Hamilton County.

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