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Posts Tagged ‘Well-being’

Last month I returned to work after the birth of my son. Since then, many people have commented – often with a hint of jealousy in their tone – on how quickly I “bounced back” after having a baby. The message they mean to convey with these words is that I was successful in returning to my pre-pregnancy weight. I do count this achievement as a success, as I was very intentional about staying active throughout my pregnancy to help with my labor, delivery and postpartum recovery. Physically, one might look at me and think that I am well, and in some respects that is true. I eat fairly healthfully and am maintaining a healthy weight. But, as my colleague Amanda explained in her recent blog What Does Wellness Mean to You?, there is much more to wellness than what meets the eye.

In her blog, Amanda introduced the nine dimensions of wellness and the wellness wheel (shown below) promoted by The Ohio State University Office of Student Life. She encouraged readers to reflect on where they stand within each dimension of wellness, perhaps by using the self-assessment questions suggested by the University of Lincoln-Nebraska.

wellness wheel

When I reflect on my own wellness at this point in my life, eating healthfully is a high point. However, within the physical dimension of wellness, I actually fall short in other regards. My activity levels now are much lower than they were prior to and even during my pregnancy. Additionally, I am not sleeping well; not because I lack opportunities to sleep, but because I struggle to quiet my mind enough to achieve a true state of rest. These struggles both contribute to and stem from a lack of emotional wellbeing. I recognize that at this point in my life, I have yet to establish effective ways to cope with stress, and that needs to be my priority right now. I used to exercise daily as a means to cope with stress and decompress after my work day. Now, there are new demands on my time that make this difficult to do. Consequently, I have trouble quieting my mind at the end of the day. This can easily turn into a vicious cycle, as sleep deprivation can contribute to further stress as well as reduced wellbeing in the social, intellectual, creative and career dimensions.

If you haven’t done so recently, take a few moments this week to evaluate where you stand within each dimension of wellness. What are your strengths, and where do you have room to improve? Perhaps a clear priority will emerge, as was the case for me. You can use your priority area to find small and simple things you might do to become more well in that area.

Wherever you stand, remember that we all have strengths and weakness. Be kind to yourself and others, and don’t be too quick to judge a book by its cover.

 

Written by: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Franklin County, lobb.3@osu.edu

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

 

Sources:

Bohlen, A. (2019). What Does Wellness Mean to You?  Live Healthy, Live Well. https://livehealthyosu.com/2019/04/04/what-does-wellness-me-to-you/

Harmon, M. (2017). How Well are You? Live Healthy, Live Well. https://livehealthyosu.com/2017/08/18/how-well-are-you/

The Ohio State University, Student Wellness Center (2019). Nine Dimensions of Wellness. https://swc.osu.edu/about-us/nine-dimensions-of-wellness/

University of Lincoln Nebraska, Student Affairs (2019). 9 Dimensions of Wellbeing. https://resilience.unl.edu/9-dimensions-well-being

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Does that question cause you some anxiety? Even thinking about it may feel impossible!
Our phones are used for so much these days; banking, shopping, entertainment, keeping in touch, navigating and more. Even my kids share ways their teachers incorporate their phones into their school day with quizzes and classroom research. 

cell phone

As our use of our phones has grown, so has the research suggesting that our phones can impact our health: physically, mentally and emotionally. With this in mind, taking a break from your phone can be a powerful way to improve your health and well-being. The benefits of taking a break from screens are vast and impact many areas of our daily life. Improved mood, better sleep, a healthier work/life balance, being more present in everyday moments and even a more focused driver are all positive benefits from a break. 

Putting down your phone can be easier said than done.  It doesn’t have to be permanently. Just a few small changes in the way phones are used in your daily life can have a big impact. Here are a few to consider:

Remove phones for transitional moments in your day: walking, getting ready in the morning, driving etc.  Instead of allowing your phone to distract you focus on walking from your car into the grocery store.  Be present in the moment. Pay attention to your breathing, what you see, what you smell.

Consider other ways to fill down time: We haven’t always had our phones. What did you do with your downtime before?  Our phones often control or take over our downtime with checking on social media or playing a game.  Think about what you used that downtime for before you started crushing all that candy and try to implement some of those activities or hobbies.  

Put your phone away before bed: The blue light emitted from our phones can impact sleep, making it harder to fall asleep or stay asleep. Our mind needs time to unwind after technology use throughout the day.   Shutting off your phone 30 minutes before bed can help you achieve more restful sleep and help your brain produce the melatonin it needs to fall asleep and stay asleep. 

Find opportunities to explore the real world: Get outside, spend some time in nature.  Focus on building real relationships.  Walk over and have a conversation with a neighbor face to face instead of texting.  Call a friend or make plans that don’t include screens or your phone. 

Put your phone away during conversations:  Studies show that people feel less connected to conversation partners, and found their partners less empathically attuned, when a cell phone was present during the conversation. Having a phone present can be a barrier to a deeper or meaningful conversation. These conversations require trust and undivided attention.   Putting your phone away shows your loved ones that you are listening and focused on them. 

Whether as a temporary breather or an opportunity to create enduring change, there is much to be gained from taking a break from your phone. Screen-Free Week is April 29- May 5. Take the online pledge and you’ll receive support and tips for going screen free.
There is no need to go it alone- consider getting close friends, family, and household members to join you in this effort.

 

Resources:

Commercial-Free Childhood. (2019). Rediscover the joys of life away from screens. Retrieved from https://www.screenfree.org/

Gomes, M. (2018, April). Five Reasons to Take a Break from Screens. Greater Good Magazine. Retrieved from https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/five_reasons_to_take_a_break_from_screens

The National Sleep Foundation. (2019). Three ways gadgets are keeping you awake. Retrieved from https://www.sleep.org/articles/ways-technology-affects-sleep/

Written by: Alisha Barton, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Miami County

Reviewed by: Amanda Bohlen, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Washington County

 

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One of the biggest joys of being an Extension Educator is hearing the stories of others and sharing the highs and lows of daily life. I love living in the community, and have come to realize that if I want it to be a better place, it begins with conversations with others.

Every day, each one of us lives in joy, in sorrow, in anger, in sadness, in the known and in the unknown. And yet, we don’t always share with another the truth of how we are feeling. When asked, “How are you?” A standard response is “Good”. When in reality, we are happy, excited, frustrated, sad, exhausted, silly, or many other emotions. It is so important that we begin to share our emotions with one another, that we share one another’s joys and sorrows.

When talking with a group of young adults about finding balance and setting boundaries in relationships, one of them asked me, “How do you do that without hurting someone else?”

While helping dairy farmers learn more about sharing one another’s joys and burdens with family and friends, one of them asked me, “How do you start that when it’s not what I was taught?”

During a class for parents going through a divorce, one of them asked me, “How do you help your child when they are isolating themselves?”

Each of these questions, asked with honesty and openness, led to a shared discussion for everyone present. The beauty in those moments was the community that was built for each person present.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) shares that “emotional wellness is the ability to successfully handle life’s stresses and adapt to change and difficult times.” For optimal emotional well-being they suggest 6 strategies for improving your emotional health:

  • Find the positive
  • Reduce Stress
  • Get a good night’s sleep
  • Allow yourself to grieveteam-386673_1920
  • Spend more time with others
  • Practice mindfulness

The NIH also reminds us that “positive social habits can help you build support systems and stay healthier mentally and physically.” Through our relationships with others, we learn how the world around us works. Being in relationship with others is an important part of our well-being. What are the ways that you are involved with others each day? Some places you might be involved within your community are: service groups, exercise, social groups, family, athletics, work, school events, the grocery, driving from here to there, and many more.

Building a community is the responsibility of each of us. Be vulnerable. Try something new. Reach out to someone you have not talked to recently. Through our sharing of our life experiences, each of us will learn that we are not alone and we are loved. Take time today to reach out to the community you currently have created and don’t be afraid to look for community wherever you are.

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

Reviewed by: Lisa Barlage, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County

Sources:

US Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, Emotional Wellness Toolkit, https://www.nih.gov/health-information/emotional-wellness-toolkit

US Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, Social Wellness Toolkit, https://www.nih.gov/health-information/social-wellness-toolkit

Queensland Government,Social and Emotional Wellness,  https://workplaces.healthier.qld.gov.au/public-resources/health-topics-ideas-for-action/social-and-emotional-wellness/

Photo: https://pixabay.com/photos/team-motivation-teamwork-together-386673/

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friends

There are many different facets of health. We think of health as eating well and exercising, yet health also includes our social interactions and connections.

We all tend to get busy in our lives and lose contact with our friends and family. July is a perfect time to build stronger social ties with family and friends and reach out to others.  Social Wellness encourages us to develop better communications with our friends and family and to spend time nurturing our relationships and ourselves.  Respect yourself and others and develop a solid social support system.  Check in with your family and friends.

On-line social networking has grown because of our need to be connected. It allows us to read status updates and get a glimpse of what is going on with our friends and family.  Yet, it is important to have a full conversation to maintain social wellness.

Grow your social network. Consider your interests and hobbies and you are bound to meet new people that share the same interest.

Social Wellness is important including:

  • People who have strong social networks live longer
  • People with healthy relationships respond better to stress and have healthier cardiovascular systems
  • Healthy social networks improve the immunes system’s ability to fight off infectious disease

Reconnect this month with your friends and family to strengthen your bonds and improve your social wellness. Be Well!

References: https://www.butler.edu/health-wellness/social                                                    http://www.fsap.emory.edu › Workplace Resources › Wellness

 

Author: Beth Stefura, Ohio State University Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Mahoning County

Reviewer: Donna Green, Ohio State University Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Erie County

 

 

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March 17 - Spring Blog Photo

Signs of spring are around us everywhere . . . . daylight savings time, daffodils and crocuses popping through the ground, and skunks along the roadside – yes, skunks are a sign that spring is in the air.

Much like New Year’s resolutions, spring is a time of renewal and new beginnings.  In our hurried, fast-paced world, it is easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle of everyday life; we forget to stop and smell the roses.  This hectic, fast-paced lifestyle can take a toll on our energy and time.  With the onset of spring approaching later this week, here are ten suggestions for new beginnings and renewal.

  • Get eight hours of sleep.
  • Get 30 minutes of physical exercise daily.
  • Take 10 deep breaths when something overwhelms you.
  • Drink water instead of sweetened beverages or soda.
  • Eat more vegetables and fruits.
  • Say affirmations in the morning and at night.
  • Surround yourself with positive people; negative attitudes can drain your enthusiasm.
  • Do something nice for yourself.
  • Take time to reflect upon each day.
  • Treasure every moment.

As you embrace the changing of the season from winter to spring, consider how you can make small changes to your personal life for renewed health and well-being.

Written by:  Cynthia R. Shuster, CFLE, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Perry County, Buckeye Hills EERA.

Reviewed by:  Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County, Ohio Valley Hills EERA.

Reviewed by:  Jenny Lindimore, Office Associate, OSU Extension, Morgan County, Buckeye Hills EERA & Kim Barnhart, Office Associate, OSU Extension, Perry County, Buckeye Hills EERA.

CFAES provides research and related educational programs to clients on a nondiscriminatory basis. For more information: go.osu.edu/cfaesdiversity

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