Thursday, September 27, 2018

Finding Balance When Working Shifts

Are you working nights or shifts that have your internal clock off its schedule? Follow these tips to get the rest you need to maintain focus and stay healthy:

1. Keep your sleep environment quiet and dark. Use black out drapes or wear a sleep mask.
2. Wear dark glasses on your drive home to reduce the effects of daylight so your body will be ready to sleep when you get home.
3. Block noise and sounds with ear plugs or use a white noise machine to reduce distracting sounds.
4. Keep your room cool at around 65° F.
5. If you drink coffee, soda or other caffeinated beverages, try to do so early in your shift to prevent the caffeine from keeping you up when you’re ready to sleep.
6. Avoid eating high-calorie or high-fat meals and get plenty of exercise.

If you still find yourself having trouble getting your body adjusted or experience excessive sleepiness, talk to your primary care provider. Some shift workers develop a sleep disorder that can be treated.     

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Jazz Up Your Water!

Want a refreshing drink, but still crave something sweet? Cut up fresh fruit or veggies and add to chilled water. Make sure you squeeze the fruit to release the juice. Try these combinations for healthy alternatives to soda and other sugary drinks:
  • Strawberries and blueberries
  • Lemon slices and strawberries
  • Orange slices, lemon slices and lime slices
  • Cucumbers with mint

Get creative and make your own combination. Try adding vanilla, mint or basil to mix it up. Watermelon mint is quite refreshing. The possibilities are endless!

Tip: Freeze fresh fruit with water in ice trays and add to your water for a refreshing treat that’s good for your body.

Black Bean Burrito Bowl

This easy Black Bean Burrito Bowl will hit the spot! It’s packed with protein and fiber. This vegetarian meal can also be the perfect addition to your weekly meal plan. Makes 4 servings.

2 cups cooked rice
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Juice of half a lime
1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 15-ounce can whole kernel corn, drained
2 cups shredded lettuce
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 avocado, diced
4 tablespoons non-fat sour cream
1 cup salsa

Stir the cilantro and lime juice into the warm, cooked rice. Heat the beans and corn separately
in the microwave until warm. Place 1/2 cup of the rice mixture into a bowl. Top with 1/4 of all
remaining ingredients.

Nutritional Information
Per Serving
Calories 377
Total Fat 6 g
Sodium 444 mg
Carbohydrates 58 g

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Soothing Banana Smoothie

Need a soothing snack to help you slip away to dreamland? Reach for foods that contain tryptophan, a sleep-promoting substance found in dairy foods, nuts, seeds, honey, eggs and bananas.

·        1 whole ripe banana, cut in chunks
·        1 1/2 cups ice
·        1/2 cup skim milk or nonfat plain yogurt

1. Put milk or yogurt and banana into the blender.  Add the ice.  
2. Blend on high for 30 seconds or until the smoothie thickens.

Nutritional Information
Calories 90
Total Fat 0g
Sodium  30mg
Carbohydrate 16g
Fiber 1.5g

Feeling Sluggish? Skip the Energy Drink.

Do you reach for energy drinks when you feel tired thinking they can keep you focused and provide caffeine with vitamins and supplements that are good for your body? You might want to reconsider.

According to the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the term energy drink was created by beverage companies and is not recognized by the United States Food and Drug Administration or the United States Department of Agriculture. These high energy drinks are loaded with caffeine and sugar and show limited evidence of improving concentration, performance or any other health benefit. 

A single serving of an energy drink may not lead to excessive caffeine consumption, but individuals should pay close attention to ingredients such as guarana and ginseng that can increase amounts of caffeine. Consuming more than 400 mg of caffeine leads to many negative side effects, including nervousness, irritability, sleeplessness, abnormal heart rhythms and upset stomach.

Ease Tension with Neck Stretches

Standing for long periods of time or sitting at a desk all day can take a toll on your neck. To prevent or reduce stiffness and pain, try simple neck stretches throughout the day. Neck pain is one of the most common types of pain among Americans, but as with any other part of your body, exercises and stretches can make the muscles in your neck stronger and more limber. 

This can be done while you're seated or on your feet. Keep your moves slow and smooth.

·        Start with your head squarely over your shoulders and your back straight.
·        Lower your chin toward your chest and hold for 15-30 seconds. Relax, and slowly lift your head back up.
·        Tilt your chin up toward the ceiling and bring the base of your skull toward your back. Hold for 10 seconds, then return to the start position.
·        Repeat the set several times. Do it every day.

If you already have pain in your neck or elsewhere, talk to your doctor before you start. You will feel some tension in your neck muscles when you stretch. But you shouldn’t have pain. If you do, stop right away.

Source: WebMD

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Managing a Digital Diet

Does your smartphone or mobile device have all of your attention? It might be time to give yourself some breathing room and limit your use. You don’t have to quit cold turkey, but there are ways to reduce your use. Here are some tips to help you set limits to maintain a healthy relationship with your devices.
  • Track how much time you spend connected. There are different apps available to help you track usage and set daily limits to maintain a healthy balance.
  • Start setting reasonable limits each week to cut back on your usage.
  • Give yourself a break from social media. Spend a day without posting or checking your feed. If a day is too much time, start smaller and gradually increase your time to unplug.
  • Turn off notifications to avoid distractions throughout the day.
  • Set limits on answering emails after hours. Give yourself time to recharge. You’ll avoid burnout and be more productive.

Blueberry Pineapple Smoothie

This antioxidant rich smoothie is a great way to add some protein and fiber to your day. It also helps you reach your daily goal to eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables. This delicious recipe makes two 16-ounce servings.
• 1 medium banana
• 1 cup plain, non-fat Greek yogurt
• 1 cup frozen blueberries
• 1 cup frozen pineapple
• 1 cup water
Put all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. If using fresh fruit, replace the water with one cup of ice to maintain the temperature and texture.
TIP: Pour into popsicle molds and freeze for a healthy after-school snack.
Nutritional Information
Per serving (16 ounces)
Calories 212
Total Fat 0.4g
Sodium 47mg
Carbohydrates 41.8g

Managing Medications

Prescribed medications come in several forms and are taken in different ways. Even though they are meant to improve health, taking medicat...