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Beach

It is hard to believe that we are entering the second half of 2016. Where did the time go? Were you like most of us who set a New Year’s goal or resolution?

How are you doing with that goal? Did you achieve it and move forward with your new healthy lifestyle behaviors? Did you get sidelined by events in your life?

If this new habit is part of your routine, great! If not, is it still relevant? Do you need to revise your goal? Recently I encouraged program participants to set a SMART Goal. What is a SMART goal?

One of the best things you can do to start on your road to health is to set goals using the SMART method.  Let’s start by setting a SMART Wellness Goal. Make sure your goal contains all of these components:

S                  Specific – Walk 30 minutes

M               Measurable – 6 days each week

A                Attainable and Action-Oriented – I will walk (I have no limitations)

R                 Realistic – I already walk 15 minutes 6 days of the week

T                Time Specific – By August 15, 2016

SMART Goal: By August 15, 2016, I will walk for 30 minutes at least 6 days each week.

Another Example of a SMART Goal: By August 15, 2016, I will stretch for 10 minutes at least 5 days a week.

Take a few minutes to write down Your SMART Goal: __________________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________

Goal cropped 2

A great website tool to help you set nutrition and physical activity goals is SuperTracker which is available from the United States Department of Agriculture. Visit their website to get started with five simple goals. You will determine your goals and periodically receive encouragement thru your email.

Why should you consider your goals during vacation time? For many of us, vacation offers extra time to reflect on our lives and evaluate our progress. I consider my July vacation as a mid-point check-up. Are there things that I want to change to improve my health? Are there activities/projects that I want to accomplish before the year end? If so, taking a few minutes to pause and identify action steps & setting a SMART goal will help me achieve my goals.

Want a little more motivation? Check out Move it Monday for their Tip of the Week and suggestions for being more active.

Remember that even if you were derailed on your New Year’s Resolutions, it isn’t too late to start again! Write that goal and get started this vacation season!

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

Reviewed by: Susan Zies, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Wood County, zies.1@osu.edu

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Do you believe you are the only one that can do your job? Do you fear taking time off to avoid returning to a mountain of work? Are you afraid of being seen as replaceable if you take time off? Do you sacrifice your health and well-being to get the job done? If so, you might be a work martyr.

According to the U.S. Travel Association, about 40% of Americans don’t take the vacation they’ve earned, leaving about 430 million days of unused vacation. And that’s not saying much since Americans only get an average of 12 vacation days each year, compared with 20 days a year provided in Europe. Other sources also conclude we aren’t taking our allotted time off. A recent study by the Family and Work Institute reported that 36 percent of workers did not plan to use all their vacation days. Moreover, 37% said they have never taken more than a week off at a time.

In order to understand the attitudes and beliefs driving America’s work culture, the U.S. Travel Association enlisted GfK Public Affairs and Corporate Communications (GfK). GfK asked more than 1,300 business leaders across the country their top reasons for not taking time off. The most common survey responses included:

  • not wanting to return to a pile of work
  • feeling like no one else can do their job
  • one-third reported they cannot financially afford to use their time off
  • one in five were afraid they could be more easily replaced if they took time off
  • only 32% say their employers encourage them to take time off

The trend to put our ‘nose to the grindstone’ and power through even though we’re stressed out is concerning, and often based on unfounded fears. Face time at work doesn’t always equal dedication. Seventy-five percent of HR professionals report that employees who take most or all of their vacation days tend to “perform better” compared with employees who take less vacation.

Bench at lake shore

If Americans used more of their vacation, they could see improvements in their own physical and mental health and well-being, as well as the health of the economy. American’s unused vacation days could mean an additional $67 billion in travel spending as well as more jobs and earned income, according to estimates in a report by Oxford Economics.

A study published in the Journal of Occupational Health looked at how people feel before, during and after a vacation.

  • During vacation, people felt healthier and had better moods. They also experienced less tension and higher levels of energy and life satisfaction.
  • Interestingly, the positive effects of vacation were found to dissipate within a few days of returning to work. But “that doesn’t mean that one should discount the health benefits of a vacation,” says the article’s author, Jessica de Bloom . “It would be a bit like asking, ‘Why do we sleep despite the fact that we get tired again?’ “

To fend off the depression that can hit when you return from a vacation, author Robert Kriegel suggests you think about what motivates you and plan to have a few things that you love doing on your agenda when you return.

Perhaps we just need some encouragement to take some time off. If you have the sense that your boss doesn’t want you to take too much vacation time, ask what his or her concerns are. Finish your necessary tasks before leaving. Plan ahead for your duties to be covered and coordinate with co-workers. Then let your manager know how you can be reached if necessary. You may find the time off not only benefits you personally, but allows for new perspective and the chance for innovation to flow upon returning to work.

Research concludes that our health declines over time if we don’t take a break from work. Don’t be a work martyr, be a better worker.

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

Reviewed by: Kristen Corry, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Noble & Monroe Counties

Sources:

NPR: Relax! Vacations are Good for Health

Take A Vacation: It’s Good For Productivity And The Economy, According To A New Study

Project Time Off

Many don’t take all their vacation days. But they might be considered nutritional supplements to your professional well-being

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Bench at lake shore

 

Where did the summer go? It seems like it was just the beginning of June and now the stores are filled with back-to-school supplies and fall clothing. If you have a vacation planned for the next few weeks, consider these suggestions from the Environmental Protection Agency for these easy ways to reduce your environmental impact.

Conserve energy while on vacation. Before you leave home, adjust the air conditioning – you will be surprised at how quickly your house can cool down. Reduce the thermostat on your water heater to conserve additional energy. If you leave a light on for home security, use a timer and use an energy saving light bulb.

• At the beach, use old buckets and other items from your house to build sand castles instead of buying new products at the store.
• Be an energy saver at your hotel room or condo. Turn off the lights and television when leaving the room. Enjoy moderate temperatures by keeping the room cool but not cold.

• If visiting a beach or park, be sure to take everything that you brought with you when you leave. Be a steward of the earth and pick up any stray pieces of trash that you find. Encourage children (& adults!) to throw their trash in the proper place.
Rainy vacation? Long drive in the car? Let your kids use your scrap paper to draw and play games.

Traveling outside the US?Sand Dune

If you are traveling outside of the United States, visit the CDC Travelers’ Health website at http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/ for information and health recommendations for US residents traveling internationally. You will find information about vaccines, medicine and other advice for travelers.

You can easily select the country or area of your travel location and see suggestions for your health and safety.

Another interesting link on this website includes Travel Notices. The travel notice section is updated with information about disease outbreaks, natural disasters, mass gatherings and other things that may affect a travelers’ health. Go to http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices to see if there are any notices for the area where you will be traveling. These are color coded with these warning levels:

RED               Warning Level 3, Avoid Nonessential Travel
YELLOW     Alert Level 2, Practice Enhanced Precautions
GREEN         Watch Level 1, Practice Usual Precautions

There are many things to consider while traveling or taking a vacation.

Be prepared, be safe, be resourceful and have a great time!

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

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

Sources: http://www.epa.gov/osw/wycd/summer.htm
http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/
http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices
Photo credits: Bench at lake shore by arinas74 retrieved from http://www.rgbstock.com/images/vacation/1
Sand Dune by RWLinder retrieved from http://www.rgbstock.com/images/vacation/2

 

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Summer has arrived and brings with it the time of year that families set off on summer vacation. It’s the time to step away from work 008deadlines, school and sporting events and the bustle of normal life. Vacation allows families the opportunity to spend quality time together. Traveling to exciting new places and seeing new things is something to look forward to. It sounds ideal, but anyone who has travelled with children knows just how quickly the experience can turn from an opportunity to reconnect with your family to a fight with your own sanity as you try to manage children that are tired, out of their routine, and bored. Quite simply, parents can find themselves coming home from vacation in need of a vacation to themselves regroup.

There are some simple steps that you can take to help lessen the stress of family vacations and make the trip more enjoyable for all involved.

  1. Plan your vacation destination and activities as if you were the child. – Thinking about not only what your child likes to do, but what they are capable of doing. For example, planning on a long day at a busy amusement park with a toddler could be a recipe for disaster. It is most likely that they will not want to be confined to a stroller all day, and walking long distances is too difficult for a little one just mastering the skill. This frustration can result in a tantrum.
  2. Involve the family in the planning.-This is especially true if you are travelling with teens. Allowing them to research activities and plan an entire day or days will keep them invested in the vacation and doing things they like to do.
  3. Prepare your children with what they can expect at your destination. -Sharing photos with them, looking up your destination on the internet, and allowing the children to take a virtual tour will help them get an idea of where you are going and what to expect. This will allow you to enjoy their anticipation and will help alleviate any anxiety or fear of the unknown.
  4. Schedule breaks, play time, nap time, and flex time. -Vacation is a time to take a break from our hectic schedules, but young children still need the security of familiar events. They can get stressed by unfamiliar events and places. When you are in a strange place, do what you can to keep them on schedule.-It is also important to not overbook your vacation full with activities. Hectic travel plans can also stress children and lead to irritability. Allow for some down time to enjoy the scenery, spend some quite time and reflect on your experiences or just snuggling as a family. If you do less, you will enjoy it more.
  5. Watch what your kids eat. -Many feel that vacation is a time to indulge, but too many sugary treats can lead to a child bouncing off the walls and then crashing into tears. In addition, many temper tantrums are a result of hunger and a child’s inability to communicate their feelings to you.

Family vacations are a chance to reconnect with your family and build lasting positive memories, and should not have to result in stress and frustration. Taking small steps to help children regulate themselves while on vacation will offer positive results.

Sources:

Parent Further; A Search Institutes Resource for Families.  Better Family Vacations.  Retrieved from http://www.parentfurther.com/resources/enewsletter/archive/better-vacations, June 2014

Walsh, D. (2013). Stress and Your Child’s Brain: Too Much, Too Little and the Resilience Sweet Spot, Retrieved from http://drdavewalsh.com/posts/165.

 

Written by: Kathy Green, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University, Butler County, Miami Valley EERA, green.1405@osu.edu

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

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Whether it’s a 3-day weekend, a week-long or a multi-week vacation, the time away from the daily grind can be beneficial to your health.  You’ll be amazed in the benefits of a little away time to recharge and retool. Even when you’re doing what you love, you can’t do it 24/7. Everyone needs a break.  Time awaycreates a healthier, more productive, recharged individual.

According to Karen Matthews of Mind Body Center at the University of Pittsburgh, taking time away from work and routine allows the body to replenish and repair itself, as quoted on npr.com. The center surveyed 1,399 participants recruited for studies on cardiovascular disease, breast cancer and other conditions, and found that leisure activities, including taking vacations, contributed to higher positive emotional levels and less depression among the participants. Other benefits include lower blood pressure and smaller waistlines, reports npr.com. Women especially seem to benefit from taking vacations, according to a 2005 study conducted by Marshfield Clinic in Wisconsin, published in the Wisconsin Medical Journal and reported on medicalnewstoday.com. Women who vacationed less often than once every two years were more likely to suffer from depression and increased stress than women who took vacations at least twice a year.

A vacation is a great time to relax, stop and reflect (clear your mind), gaze at scenery, read a good book and recharge.  A vacation gives you the freedom to have fun doing what you want.  You don’t have to wake up at a certain time or follow a strict schedule.

To maximize the value of your vacation, your time away should have a mental and physical effect to create an afterglow, it should inspire you to form healthful new habits or it should enable you to bolster ties with family or friends.  According to Expedia.com, 53 percent of people say they came back from a vacation feeling more reconnected with their family and friends.

Keep in mind that you don’t have to travel far for your vacation. Many people take a vacation in their own town. Check out some of the tourist attractions in your own city that you might have forgotten about.  If you pick the right vacation for you, you will be able to fully enjoy and look forward to a great time ahead.

Vacation days are a precious commodity on many levels.  They allow you to spend quality time with your family, give you a mental and physical break from the daily grind, and help you get back in touch with some of the basic tenets of a life well lived.

References:

http://newsalescoach.com/2011/07/value-of-vacation-rest-read-recharge-retool/  http://finance.yahoo.com/news/true-value-staycation-214658652.html http://traveltips.usatoday.com/benefits-taking-vacation-1755.npr.com: Brenda Wilson, Relax! Vacations Are Good For Your Health http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/33386.php

Writer:  Cindy Shuster, CFLE, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension, Perry County or http://perry.osu.edu

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Eating  Well  While  Vacationing  Saves  the  Guilt  and  Waistline  too!

Should vacation be a time to indulge without guilt?  Will all those high calorie/high fat meals cause you to regret booking the trip when you return? How can you keep from ruining your vacation memories by having to purchase bigger clothes or compromising your health upon return?

Let’s explore some tips that could help you enjoy your vacation without blowing the healthy lifestyle.

Start out by choosing how many times you indulge. A great way to plan this is the 80/20 rule. This involves eating well 80% of the time so when you do indulge the other 20% can be without guilt. This involves a little planning. A part of vacation is being able to enjoy and sample local cuisine. When you focus on moderation a greater appreciation of those special meals and tastes occurs.

Don’t allow hunger to turn into an indulgence. Pack easy to carry along snacks for the long sightseeing or beach going days. Then, when it is getting close to time for a meal you can choose wisely rather than finding the first place to eat out of desperation as your body screams in hunger.

Realize that going overboard is normal, and vacation is a departure from the normal routine.  Going overboard does not break your healthy lifestyle forever. Treat the next day as a new opportunity to make healthy choices once again.

Enjoy your vacation with some active activities. This will allow you to experience the cuisine while helping your waistline, and guilt feelings too!

Vacation should be a time to relax and recharge. Don’t allow your eating and unhealthy lifestyle choices to put a damper on your fun.

Source: www.rd411.com

Author: Liz Smith, Family and Consumer Science Educator, Ohio State University Extension.chicken burrito

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