Monday, January 28, 2019

Four Ways to Protect Your Heart



There are many factors that can increase your risk for heart disease. Some factors, like age or family history, cannot be controlled. But changing the things you can control allows you to lower your risk! Use these four tips to take control of your heart health.
  1. Don’t smoke. Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. If you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you do smoke, learn how to quit.
  2. Manage conditions. Work with your health care team to manage conditions such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. This includes taking any medicines you have been prescribed. Learn more about preventing and managing high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
  3. Make heart-healthy eating changes.  Eat food low in trans-fat, saturated fat, added sugar and sodium. Try to fill at least half your plate with vegetables and fruits, and aim for low sodium options. Learn more about how to reduce sodium.
  4. Stay active. Get moving for at least 150 minutes per week. You can even break up the 30 minutes into 10-minute blocks. Learn more about how to get enough physical activity.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Focus on Your Breathing!



Unsure of your ability to do something? Don’t try to go at it alone. If the problem is work, talk to a co-worker or supportive supervisor. Ask a knowledgeable friend, check reliable online sources or call the local library or an organization that can supply the information you need for support. If you need a extra help, try to write down other ways that you might get the answers or skills you need, like CDs, books or classes.

In any case, focus on breathing and center yourself.
  1. Place your hand just beneath your navel so you can feel the gentle rise and fall of your belly as you breathe.
  2. Breathe in slowly. Pause for a count of three. Breathe out. Pause for a count of three.
  3. Continue to take a few slow, deep breaths. Or alternatively, while sitting comfortably, take a few slow deep breaths and silently repeat to yourself “I am” as you breathe in and “at peace” as you breathe out. Repeat slowly two or three times. Then feel your entire body relax into the support of the chair.

Source: Harvard Health

Friday, January 18, 2019

Put Off Procrastination



How well do you manage your time? Poor planning can cause unwanted stress that can lead to feelings of depression, anxiety and agitation, moodiness, irritability or anger. These five tips can help you stay one step ahead!
  1. Consider your priorities for the day (be sure to include time for yourself), then delegate or discard unnecessary tasks.
  2. Plan your day by setting aside time for different tasks, such as answering emails, writing memos or returning phone calls.
  3. Put your plan to action. Planning is one thing; action is another. Focus on your target goals.
  4. Put away distractions—no texts, tweets, emails or games—while you dive into tasks. If you are overly optimistic about travel time, consistently give yourself an extra 15 minutes or more to get to your destinations.
  5. Be sure to get plenty of sleep and exercise. An alert mind is a high-functioning mind and one that’s less tolerant of time-wasting activities.
Source: Harvard Health

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Stay Active During Winter Months


The chill in the air can make it hard to keep moving toward your exercise goals. Don’t let old man winter slow you down! Here are five ideas for staying active during winter months.
  • Bring the fun inside! You can enjoy a brisk walk at a local shopping center or play some indoor sports. Find places in your community that offer indoor activities such as rock climbing, aerobics, volleyball or basketball.
  • Exercise at home. Set up a workout area in your home with some inexpensive equipment like light weights and stretch bands. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends strengthening activities 2 or more days per week. This can include lifting light weights, doing full or modified push-ups or working with resistance bands.
  • Take the stairs. Stair climbing is a great fat-burning workout that will keep your heart rate up.
  • Keep an activity log. Hold yourself accountable by keeping an activity log. It will also help track your progress as your work toward your wellbeing goal.
  • Spread the love. If your time is limited, do 10 minutes of exercise at a time. Spread these bursts of activity out throughout the day. 





Thursday, January 3, 2019

Set a SMART Goal


Kick off the new year with setting a SMART goal! Experts say efforts to change are more successful if they are SMART— that is, specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-based. So, as you’re deciding on a change, make sure it can pass the SMART test:

S Set a very specific goal. I will add one fruit serving—that’s half a cup, chopped—to my current daily diet.

M Find a way to measure progress. I will log my efforts each day on my calendar.

A Make sure it’s achievable. Be sure you’re physically capable of safely accomplishing your goal. If not, aim for a smaller goal.

R Be sure it’s realistic. It may seem counterintuitive but choosing the change you most need to make—let’s say, quitting smoking or losing weight—isn’t as successful as choosing the change you’re most confident you’ll be able to make. Focus on sure bets, such as eating an additional serving of fruit every day rather than overhauling your diet at once: if you picture a 10-point scale of confidence in achieving your goal, where 1 equals no confidence and 10 equals 100% certainty, you should land in the 7-to‑10 zone.

Set time commitments. Pick a date and time to start—Wednesday at breakfast, I’ll add frozen blueberries to cereal—and regular check-in dates: I’ll check my log every week and decide if I should make any changes in my routines to succeed. When setting commitments, outside deadlines can be really helpful. Signing up for a charity run or spring triathlon on a certain date prods you to get a training program under way.

~Harvard Medical School

Managing Medications

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