Posts Tagged ‘workplace’

In Recognition of National Sewing Month –

Your workspace can be a place for a vacation from the cares and worries of your life.  It may be a place to be comforted, warmed and soothed; a place to dream your own dreams; a place to create that gives you tangible form to those dreams.  It can be a place for healing your body, your mind, and your soul.  A well-designed workspace will provide you:

~ A comfortable and pain-free back

~ A lessened chance of developing carpal tunnel syndrome

~ Increased enjoyment of sewing

~ Decreased errors

~ A productivity increase of 25% every year

In order to be sure the health of your body, mind, and soul improves while you work:

~ Make sure you have adequate lighting

~ Place all of your equipment in your sewing room at the correct height for your body


Your work surface should be four inches below the height of your bent elbow.  One way to obtain a worktable that is right for you is to buy a folding “cafeteria” table at an office supply store.  These cost about $30.00.  Boost the table to the proper height with lengths of white PVC pipe or coffee cans.

Sewing Machine

Most sewing machine tables are several inches too high for good forearm and wrist health.  When you are sitting with your feet flat on the floor and your knees and elbows are bent at 90 degree angles, your fingertips should rest lightly on the throat plate of your machine.

Ironing Board

A simple calculation will help you find the correct height for your ironing board.  Measure the height that will allow your elbow to be bent at a 90 degree angle while you iron.  Subtract 4″ from that.  This will be the correct height for your ironing board.  Keep a footstool, six to nine inches high, near your ironing board.  Put your left foot on it when you stand to iron.  Flexing your hip in this way prevents swayback and forestalls back strain.


If you spend more than one hour a week on sewing, you must invest in seating that fits you perfectly.  Your sewing chair should allow your feet to rest flat on the floor and have an adjustable backrest to support your lumbar spine.

Long-Arm Quilting Machines

Adjust the height of your machine so you can keep your elbows bent at 90 degree angles when you grasp the handles.  Keep your back and neck straight while you work.


Good lighting is always a better solution than a stronger eyeglass prescription.  Provide bright, glare-free light at each of your workstations.


Keep heavy equipment such as your sewing machine or serger stored close at hand so you do not have to lift them while they are at an arm’s length.  Lightweight tools, such as your rotary cutter, ruler, etc. can be stored farther away.

Author:  Cynthia R. Shuster, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Perry County, Ohio State University Extension.  shuster.24@osu.edu

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


RX for Quilters Stitcher-Friendly Advice for Every Body, by Susan Delaney Mech, M.D., C & T Publishing, Lafayette, California, 2000.

Setting Up Your Sewing Space, Myrna Giesbrecht, Sterling Publishing Co., Inc., New York, 1994.  ISBN – 0-8069-0495-X

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Are you interested in making a health change this fall?

If so this challenge is for you!

For six weeks this fall we will focus on increasing your physical activity levels as well as focusing your awareness on one health habit per week.  Examples of behaviors we will be encouraging include drinking more water, watching portion size, eating more vegetables and fruits and consuming low fat dairy products.  We will share tips, recipes and researched based information through emails and blog posts.  We also have a facebook page to encourage participants on their journey.

The on-line email challenge will run from September 17th to October 29th.

There is no charge to participate and any adult with an email account can register to participate.

Participants will sign up for the email challenge and complete a consent form to participate in the challenge.  During the challenge, participants will track their daily progress on a 6 week log.   We will have an anonymous pre and post on-line survey for you to complete. 

What is included: Twice weekly educational messages, tracking log for progress, Facebook account for group interaction, weekly drawings from participants for wellness and fitness prizes.

Why: To improve your overall health and well-being while providing valuable research as to the effectiveness of social media as a means of disseminating educational information.

How do I sign up? – Contact Dana Brown at Ohio State University Extension, by email at brown.4643@osu.edu or phone 419-947-1070 by September 10, 2012.

Sponsored by: Ohio State University Extension and County Commissioners

OSU Extension embraces human diversity and is committed to ensuring that all educational programs conducted by Ohio State University Extension are available to clientele on a nondiscriminatory basis without regard to race, color, age, gender identity or expression, disability, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, or veteran status. Keith L. Smith, Associate Vice President for Agriculture Administration and Director, OSU Extension. TDD No. 800-589-8292 (Ohio Only) or 614-292-1868.

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A 2005 study released by Families and Work Institute, Overwork in America: When the Way We Work Becomes Too Much, reports that one in three American employees are chronically overworked, while 54 percent have felt overwhelmed at some time in the past month by how much work they had to complete.  The study of more than 1,000 wage and salaried employees identifies for the first time why being overworked and feeling overwhelmed have become so pervasive in the American workplace.

Here are 10 steps to take control over your life for a renewed YOU.

1)  Rekindle your passion.  Think about what ignites your passion.  Reflect on those times that you’ve burned the brightest – busy and excited, yet peaceful and harmonious.

2)  Learn how to orchestrate life’s many demands.  Learn how to spot when you have reached your limit and need to slow down; learn to prioritize, delegate and set boundaries.  Learn and practice strategies that help you to “work smarter, not harder,” for example, use the O.H.I.O. technique – only handle it once in reference to mail, e-mails, bills, etc.

3)  Focus on what you do best and stick with it.  Too often, people waste years trying to get good at what they’re bad at instead of trying to do what they’re good at.  Don’t try to do too much, or you will do nothing well.

4)  Get ahead by letting go . . . letting go is a good goal too. Families tend to add activities, but rarely subtract.  When you bring in something new, throw out something old.  Get rid of people and projects that drain you, while cultivating those that are replenishing.

5)  Take time to get organized . . . prioritize.  Plan how you use your time.  Create structures and systems in your life that help you get organized.

6)  Break out of solitary confinement.  “Partnerships are the intentional co-mingling of talents and energies, the giving of all each partner has to offer, for the reaching of a common goal and the mutual benefit of all concerned” quoted in (Richardson, 2000).

7)  Embrace change.  Change is a process, not an event.  Technology is one of the biggest changes we’ve seen in the last two decades.  Technology is both a blessing and a curse.  Learn how to use technology, rather than allowing it to use you, so that it improves your human connections, and does not replace them.

8)  Practice patience.  Patience is merely impatience stretched to its limits.

9)  Consciously and deliberately preserve time to connect with what matters most to you.  Preserve important connections.  Unless you consciously and deliberately preserve time for, family dinner, lunch with a friend, Sunday dinner at Grandma’s, or free time with your spouse, your connection with whatever it is will erode.  One way to put this into perspective is to calculate the number of Saturdays you have left in life.  Based on the life expectancy for your gender (74 for men and 79 for women), take that number, subtract your current age, and multiply by 52.  The end result is the number of Saturdays you have left in life (assuming you live to projected life expectancies)).  How do you want to spend your remaining Saturdays? The more time you give away, the less you have for what matters most to you.

10)  Seize the Day . . . Embrace the here and now.  The greatest damage from being too busy is that it prevents people from setting their own temperature, controlling their own lives.  It’s like the story of frogs in water.  If you put a frog in a pot of boiling water, he will try to jump out.  But if you put a frog in a pot of cold water and heat it up slowly, you will end up with a boiled frog.  Too often we don’t realize that the temperature is rising until it’s too late.  Enjoy each day as if it were your last.

You have a choice about your life.  You can either continue the ways things are and hope it gets better, or you can do something about it.  This will only happen if you take charge.  Taking charge can mobilize you with enthusiasm and visions for a renewed YOU.  It may involve risks, but don’t let the fear of risk keep you from exploring new horizons … turning dreams into realities … build a dream and the dream builds you.

Writer: Cindy Shuster, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension.


Boryesenko, J. (2001).  Inner peace for busy people: 52 strategies for transforming your life.  Carlsbad, California: Hay House, Inc.

Hallowell, M.D., E. (2006).  Crazy busy – overstretched, overbooked, and about to snap! Strategies for coping in a world gone ADD.  New York, New York: Ballantine Books.

LaRoche, L. (2000).  Life is short – wear your party pants: Ten simple truths that lead to an amazing life.  Carlsbad, California: Hay House, Inc.

Richardson, C. (2002).  Stand up for your life. New York, New York: The Free Press.

Richardson, C. (2000).  Life makeovers.  New York, New York:  Broadway Books.

Richardson, C. (1998).  Take time for your life.  New York, New York:  Broadway Books.

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“What is Labor Day for anyway?” Just a day off work and school? An official end to summer? A patriotic holiday for Americans? A chance to eat great food with my friends and family? The signal to put your white pants and shoes away until next Memorial Day? According to the United States Department of Labor, “Labor Day is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers”. It is a “tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our  country”  (http://www.dol.gov/opa/aboutdol/laborday.htm).

Labor or Labour Day is celebrated in a number of countries including: Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Syria, Germany and others. In the United States it is the first Monday of September, but other countries vary as to their day of celebration. In several of these countries Labour Day Parades have been around as far back as the mid 1800’s. In the USA  we have celebrated it since 1882, with a Central Labor Union celebration in New York City. The celebration of labor spread to other States quickly and in 1894 Congress passed an act making it officially the first Monday of September each year.

In most countries labor unions and their workers were heavily involved in the creation of Labor or Labour Day with some using the holiday to celebrate the 8 hour, 5 day a week work week. Most of us today are used to a work week similar to that – but many of our ancestors used to work 6 days a week for 10 to 12 hours per day. While the National Sleep Foundation states that the average American worker currently works 46 hours a week – it is much better than that 60 hour or more work week. A review of hours worked and illness conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found  that overtime work is associated with an increase in injuries and mortality, and more illnesses. So take advantage of your Labor Day and do something you enjoy – picnic, hike, enjoy some end of summer produce – and spend it with the people you care about. When you have the opportunity – encourage others to get their work done during regular work hours and avoid large amounts of overtime – which may be hazardous to our health.


United States  Department of Labor – http://www.dol.gov/opa/aboutdol/laborday.htm

Centers for  Disease Control and Prevention – http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2004-143/pdfs/2004-143.pdf

Author: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and  Consumer Science, Ohio State University Extension.

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If I Had My Life to Live Over Again

“If I had my life to live over again, I’d try to make more mistakes next time.  I would relax.  I would limber up.  I would be sillier than I have been this trip.  I know of a very few things I would take seriously.  I would take more trips.  I would climb more mountains, swim more rivers and watch more sunsets.  I would do more walking and looking.  I would eat more ice cream and fewer beans.  I would have more actual troubles and fewer imaginary ones… Oh I’ve had my moments; and if I had it to do over again, I’d have more moments, one after another, instead of living so many years ahead each day…”

Brother Jeremiah

How many of you are like Brother Jeremiah?  Nearly half of American feel they don’t have enough time to do what they really want.  They feel as though they’ll never catch up, that life is passing them over.  If you’re like most American, your days are probably scheduled down to the last minute:  rush to the grocery store, pick up the children or grandchildren, take care of an elderly parent or neighbor, make dinner, and then begin plotting the next day’s agenda.  No time left for appreciating a beautiful sunrise, browsing a card/book store, appreciating the first bite of gourmet ice cream, or pampering yourself with an aroma therapy bath.

According to Jenkins, Repetti, and Crouter (2000), work stress has probably received more attention from work-family researchers than any other job condition.  Job stresses have an impact on families when they cause some experience of stress within the individual, such as emotional distress, fatigue, a sense of conflict between work and family roles, or role overload.  According to Jenkins and colleagues’ recent review of the research done during the last ten year, demands of multiple roles have the potential to increase stress levels and undermine well-being as well as compromise health.  In fact, mothers and fathers who described more pressure at work also reported greater role overload and a feeling of being overwhelmed by multiple commitments.  People who report more conflict and overload due to the combination of work and families roles tend to also describe more emotional stress.

We’ve all been there from time to time.  But making an effort to enjoy life’s little moments simply means taking the time to stop and smell the roses.  The secret is in slowing down long enough to enjoy the things that are the essence of life.  After all, quality time is what makes life worth living.  How sad that most of us think we can’t spare it.

Ten Easy Steps

Yet there are those who have discovered that the gift of life is realized one brief moment at a time.  It’s time to slow down and start savoring life- it’s not as hard as you think.  It’s time to simplify.  That means being aware of how we spend money, time and energy.  Here are 10 easy steps to get you started in simplifying your life and finding precious “me time.”

1. Start the day right. Save all that frantic wasted time used in the morning to prepare for the day.  Spend the night before preparing for the next day.

2. Declutter your space. It takes energy to keep possessions in working order or dusted.  Get rid of the stuff that’s broken or missing a part.

3. Learn to say “no”. Don’t overload your schedule with more tasks , more jobs, more volunteer time.  It’s OK to say no.

4. Turn off the TV. We waste too much time sitting in front of the TV.  Curb how many hours the TV is on.  And before you pick up the remote control, ask yourself if there are activities to share with the family, or entertainment, like a museum visit or play, that you’ve been putting off.

5. Commit to number one. When the demands of work, parenthood, or household chores get you down, it’s time to schedule a date with yourself.  Whether it’s every Sunday night or 20 minutes each morning, the important thing is to make a plan and stick to it.

6. Find a Sanctuary. Escape to a place to enjoy peaceful solitude.

7. Be Spontaneous. Spontaneity is key to feeling like you’re in control of your own destiny.  Every once in a while, a change in routine can spark your spirits and your energy.

8. Live beneath your means. Did you know that 80% of America’s self made millionaires are frugal?  If you want to achieve economic independence, try buying only what you can afford, not what you think you need.  See how long you can go without cashing a check, charging on credit or buying anything.  You’ll be amazed how ingenious and inventive you can be.

9. Rewrite the course of your day. When the newspaper’s horoscope doesn’t tell you what you want to hear, write your own, using words that make you feel great.  Or start jotting down phrases you like on slips of paper, put them in a box, and pick as many as you need to start the day.

10. Listen to your body. You know what your biological clock prefers.  Indulge it and watch your productivity grow. 

The trouble with most people is that they work so hard making a living that they don’t have any time to live.  Slow down and start savoring life- it’s not as hard as you think.


Hobfoll, S.E., & Hobfoll I.H. (1994).  Work Won’t Love You back. New York: Freeman.

Jenkins, M.P., Repetti, R.L. & Crouter, A.C. (2000). Work and Family in the 1990s.  Journal of Marriage

and Family, 62, 981-998.

Johnson, B. (1986). Fresh Elastic for Stretched Out Moms. Fleming H. Revell Publishing.

Lara A. (1994) Slowing Down in A Speeded-Up World. Conair Press


The trouble with most people is that they work so hard making a living that they don’t have any time to live.”

Cynthia R. Shuster, M.S., Family and Consumer Sciences Agent, Perry County, Associate Professor, Ohio State University Extension, The Ohio State University



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Ok – raise your hand if you get 7.5 hours of sleep every night? I know you can’t raise your hand – but I’m sure most of you are like me and rarely get anything close to that. And the holidays make that even worse – I’m going to wrap one more gift, do one more load of wash, finish decorating the cookies, or get this one last gift ordered on-line. Research does show that if you aren’t getting enough sleep you are more likely to gain weight, and by getting adequate sleep you will likely start to drop extra pounds. Web MD and many other sources tell us that those of us who are sleep deprived likely have a slower metabolism – so our body is burning fewer calories than others. Sleep deprivation may affect the way our body stores and burns carbohydrates – resulting in weight gain.

So how can we either get more sleep or a better night of sleep? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Avoid caffeine 6 hours before you go to bed – caffeine is a stimulant that can impact sleep for up to 6 hours. So most of us should avoid soft drinks and another cup of coffee after about 5:00 pm.
  • Avoid spicy or overly rich foods close to bed time that may cause heart burn.
  • Don’t watch TV or use your lap top in your bedroom they stimulate your brain.
  • Gradually move your bed-time up to get more sleep. Try going to bed 10 or 15 minutes earlier for a couple days, if you are still tired, move it up again.
  • Exercise – it will make you more tired, but try to do it earlier in the day. Some people find exercise close to bed time keeps them awake.
  • Try kicking your pets out of your bed for a couple nights – there is evidence to support that for some people pets in their bed make disturb sleep.
  • Make sure your room is the right temperature, not too hot or cold, and outside lights or bright night-lights aren’t bothering you.

Another sleep tip – sleep loss may result in moodiness, impatience, and irritability. Who needs more of that during the busy holiday season?

Author: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension.

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We owe it to ourselves to plan healthy meals so that we feel better and are more productive in our work environment.  Do you ever get that sluggish feeling midway through the morning?  Think about what you had for breakfast.  Was it nutritious?  Did you even have breakfast?  What about mid-afternoon?  What did your lunch consist of?

The advantages of incorporating healthy meal choices and physical activity during work include:

  • better and longer attention spans
  •  more energy
  •  a more positive attitude

Healthy employees:

  • keep health care costs down
  • are more productive and take fewer sick days
  • feel better and live longer

The healthy eating program is about making healthy choices available as an option. Don’t you owe it to yourself to commit to choosing healthy meals?

If you are in charge of purchasing food as part of the work day or for a special event, promote healthy choice purchasing by working with local caterers to make healthy food choices. 
  • Offer water and 100% juice instead of soda
  • Ask for whole grain breads
  • Provide whole fruits and cut up raw vegetables
  • Provide healthy portion sizes

Do you have any physical activity during your day?  Do you get a chance to get up and move around?  How could you incorporate some physical activity into your day?

Think about where you work.  Are there places where people can get up and move around, take the stairs or walk outside?  Consider letting employees have some extra time for walking or have exercise equipment or videos available for employees to use. If  a meeting is longer than 1 hour, plan time for a 10 minute stretch break or incorporate physical activity.

Create and maintain a healthy workforce by promoting healthy behaviors.

Author:  Linnete Mizer Goard, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension.

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