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Posts Tagged ‘relaxation’

Christmas Tree

My Christmas Tree

I love the holiday season. The hustle, the bustle, the decorations and most importantly spending time with my family, friends and loved ones. I enjoy making home decor and gifts for others. But….. sometimes I take on a little more than I should and find myself stressed out. I bet I am not the only one who is over-committed.

It can also be common for our health goals to take a backseat to the celebrations and obligations of the season. Do you want some tips and ideas to relax and enjoy the holidays in a healthier way this year? Join the CALM Down for the Holidays email wellness challenge for healthy living tips and encouragement to help you make the most of this holiday season.

The “CALM Down for the Holidays Challenge is an on-line challenge designed to help you explore ways to simplify the upcoming holiday season. Messages will include tips to help you:

  • Find your Quiet Place
  • Reduce Stress
  • Move More
  • Practice Mindfulness
  • Explore Gratitude
  • Feather Your Nest
  • Eat Healthy Meals
  • Reflect on Wellness/Self Care
  • Simplify Holiday Routine
  • Improve Sleep Habits

Do you need a little extra motivation to help you get started? Are you stressed for time and need ideas to help you fit activity into your day? If so, join me for this Challenge!

Each week you will receive two free e-communications, containing wellness and reflection tips. In addition, a checklist will be available for download to help participants track their progress. Pre- and post- online surveys collect comments to improve future challenges and track participant progress. You will also have access to additional information on Blogs, Facebook and Wellness Text Messages.

Interested in participating in this on-line challenge? 

Sign up by following this link to enroll: http://go.osu.edu/calmpick18You will be enrolled and begin receiving e-communications starting the week of November 19th. While Facebook™ will be utilized; participants only need to have an email address.

Sample of Challenge Check Off

Challenge Check Off

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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Branson Treber Jr. Life is short, sometimes shorter than we think. Forty one years ago this New Year’s Eve, my father died at age 52 of a heart attack. This was especially traumatic for me; I was a 17-year-old senior in high school. As you can imagine, it was a difficult time for my mom, sisters and grandmother.

Every New Year’s Eve, I remember my father’s passing and take time to reflect on the past year. It is a good time to let old grudges go and reflect on the positives in your life. This tough life lesson helped me realize that life is short, and we should do our best to be optimistic and positive even during tough times.

As we begin 2015, perhaps you will decide to “forgive” an experience that is holding you captive. According to WebMD, http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/features/forgive-forget you may receive health benefits by forgiving the person such as lowered blood pressure, a stronger immune system and reduction in stress hormones.

Charlotte vanOyen Witvliet, PhD, associate professor of psychology at Hope College states that “Forgiveness does not involve a literal forgetting. Forgiveness involves remembering graciously. The forgiver remembers the true though painful parts, but without the embellishment of angry adjectives and adverbs that stir up contempt.”

Here are some tips to help you let go of past hurts. These tips are from Frederic Luskin, PhD, of the Stanford Forgiveness Project.
• Start a “gratitude journal” or write down one thing each day that you are grateful for. It is fine to start with small things that you are grateful for – you may find this practice helps you focus on all the positives in your life.
• Practice stress reduction techniques such as deep breathing, relaxation, yoga, or meditation. These practices may help you reduce your stress levels and develop a calmer attitude.
• Can you “rewrite” the story so that it is framed in a more positive light? This practice sometimes helps us move forward on our forgiveness journey.

Other things that may help you in the New Year include reconnecting with old friends or family members. Write that letter or thank you note to someone you have been meaning to contact. Write in a journal the positives from the past year. Reflect on the highlights and milestones. Each year, write down these milestones for your child, parent, family or friend. Your family will appreciate that you took the time to write about these precious memories.

Want more ideas for 2015? Check out this website for timely tips and suggestions: http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/

Sources:
Valeo, T., Reviewer Cynthia Dennison Haines, MD retrieved from: http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/features/forgive-forget
Greater Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life, University of California at Berkeley http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/

Writer: Michelle Treber, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Pickaway County, Heart of Ohio EERA, treber.1@osu.edu

Reviewer: Patricia Brinkman, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Fayette County, brinkman.93@osu.edu

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Autumn

Stress often gets a bad rap. In small doses, stress serves as a motivator to get things done.  It also gives us the ability to run faster and think more quickly when facing an emergency. Yet, if you’re constantly running in emergency mode, your mind and body pay the price.

Protect yourself by recognizing the signs and symptoms of stress and taking steps to reduce its harmful effects. Long-term exposure to stress can lead to serious health problems. Chronic stress disrupts nearly every system in your body. It can raise blood pressure, suppress the immune system, increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, and speed up the aging process.

Many health problems are caused or exacerbated by stress, including:

  • Pain of any kind
  • Heart disease
  • Digestive problems
  • Sleep problems
  • Depression
  • Weight issues
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Skin conditions, such as eczema

Managing stress is about taking control and taking charge. Take charge of your emotions, thoughts, schedule, and your environment.  Strengthening your physical health will help you cope with the symptoms of stress.

There are a number of techniques that are useful to reduce stress. Here are a few of these ideas:

  • Set aside relaxation time
  • Exercise regularly
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Get plenty of sleep

Find something that calms you and get in the right mindset to face these challenges. Managing your stress will bring balance to your life.  While we may not be able to control all the stressors in our lives, we can change how we react to them!

Writer: Beth Stefura, MEd., RD, LD, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Mahoning County.

Reviewer: Liz Smith, M.S. RDN,LD, NE Regional Program Specialist, SNAP-Ed

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parent-autumnWhen sitting on an airplane, waiting for take-off, have you ever put much thought into why flight attendants instruct parents travelling with young children to put their oxygen mask first before putting it on their small children?

Quite simply, in order to effectively care for a child in this situation, the adult must take the steps to care for themselves first. Without taking care of yourself, it is difficult to be able to be helpful to your child travelling with you. It’s easy to see this connection related to travelling on a plane, but truth is, parents need to take time to care for themselves on a regular basis. In fact in order to have the energy to take care of all our child’s needs and desires, we need to make sure that we are also taking care of ourselves.

With the many demands on our time, parents often find it difficult to take care of ourselves. We may sacrifice our needs for the sake of time, energy and money. However, practicing self-care is actually very important to becoming an effective parent. Not only does our body need the care to be healthier, but we have to be thoughtful about the unhealthy behaviors being demonstrated to our children. Self-care includes the simple things like getting enough sleep and eating healthy meals, as well as meeting our emotional, social, psychological, creative and spiritual needs.

 

Some examples of self-care include:

  • Eating regularly in healthy ways
  • Getting enough exercise
  • Sleeping enough
  • Getting away from the phone, email, TV
  • Spending time with friends
  • Expressing emotions
  • Cuddling and kissing someone you care about
  • Saying no to extra responsibilities
  • Giving yourself quiet time for self-reflection
  • Writing in a journal
  • Enjoying a hobby

As parents we, at times feel pressured to give so much to our children. It is not easy to reorganize the way things are prioritized in our hectic lives. It is important to remember that taking care of yourself is not neglecting your child’s needs. So just like on the airplane, don’t forget to grab our oxygen masks first.

 

Written by: Kathy Green, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University, Butler County, Miami Valley EERA

Reviewed by: Michelle Treber, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University, Pickaway County, Heart of Ohio EERA

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Why do you listen to music? Take a moment to think about where you are at, what you are doing or how you are feeling when you choose to play music.
People listen to music:
• for a boost and to relieve stress
• to keep them awake during a long car journey
• to help them relax or fall asleep
• to soothe their baby
• to dance with their children or family
• to break up the work day
• to run faster
• to deal with a break up
• to influence their creativity

While we know music helps us daily to accomplish tasks, change our moods, deal with problems, relax, exercise and even celebrate – it can also be a therapy.

Music and rhythmic sounds have been used as healing powers for centuries throughout the world. It is only recently that modern physicians have rediscovered how music can help emotional and physical health and wellness through music therapy. Through music’s rhythm, order and predictability, it can help people express themselves and improve speech, walk, and move better, and improve memory. Music therapy can also help relieve pain, anxiety and long term illnesses (cancer, stroke, heart disease, respiratory conditions) or help with a progressive disease such as Parkinson’s.

Research has also shown that:

  • Music helps the brain produce a calming substance and slow down your body when it’s overactive.
  • Listening to music can have a real effect on various parts of the brain such as memory and vision.
  • Music really can change our mood and even help us concentrate.
  • While listening to music, patients’ blood pressures and heart rates became more stable.
  • Listening to pleasurable music is good for your heart because it can produce ‘musical chills’ which trigger the release of the feel-good chemical dopamine.

Even though the science of music therapy is still in the early stages it has shown to have a significant positive impact on our health and well being.

Ah, the healing power of music – that’s music to my health – and your health too!

Graceland gate

Writer: Candace J. Heer, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Morrow County, Heart of Ohio EERA, heer.7@osu.edu

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

Sources:

http://www.webmd.com/balance/rm-quiz-health-benefits-music

http://www.webmd.com/balance/music-therapy

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cancer/expert-blog/cancer-and-music/bgp-20056417

http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/healthy-living/wellbeing/health-benefits-of-music.htm

Photo credits:

Stocking around – http:///www.freeimages.com/photo/522119

graceland memphis tennessee gates musical notes –

http://pixabay.com/en/graceland-memphis-tennessee-gates-395039

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