From Distress to De-Stress!
While stress in small doses is a good thing, chronic stress can cause extreme health issues. Stress is believed to trigger 70% of visits to doctors and 85% of serious illnesses. In the United States, nearly 2 in 3 adults say they have experienced increase stress of the course of the pandemic. April is Stress Awareness Month and the Work Well wellness spotlight details a helpful guide to coping with stress! Additionally, we share information about the fear of negative evaluation, which causes stress in many workplaces!
Guide to Coping with Stress
Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is essential for the body to function properly. If you skimp on sleep, you probably won’t remember how it feels to wake up fully rested. A routine can help you get to sleep:
- Have a relaxing bath
- Avoid anything stimulating, such as an exciting TV programs or games
- When you are lying in bed, inhale for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 7 seconds, and exhale for 8 seconds
- Whether you’re thinking of tasks, worries or silly thoughts, write them down. This will help you set them aside and you can rest assured that you’ll deal with them in the morning
Listen to Music
Music can be used in many situations to help reduce stress and create a calming atmosphere:
- Use classical music to concentrate as it is peaceful, harmonious and doesn’t have lyrics. Keep the volume relatively low so it doesn’t distract you.
- Music can also be a reminder to take breaks. Make a playlist that lasts for approximately 1 hour, once the music stops, take a moment away from what you're doing. Making a playlist also stops you from searching for songs, helping you to focus on the task without distraction
- When using music to help you relax before sleep, choose soothing music with monotonous repetition, such as sounds of nature or ambient music
Learn to Say 'No'
Simple, but effective. Where a ‘no’ is the appropriate response, say it without guilt. ‘No’ also doesn’t have to be a decline, it can also be a ‘negotiation opportunity’, e.g. “I can’t do that now, but I can fit it in next week”.
If You are Ill, Rest
When you’re ill, working will tire your body and prolong the illness. Recognize you have limits and don’t carry on as if you were firing on all cylinders. Not resting while you are ill prevents the body from recovering and can cause your illness to last longer.
Manage Your Time Optimally
Stress often results from difficulty in coping with day-to-day problems and conflicting responsibilities. A useful strategy for dealing with a sense of being overwhelmed by all the things that need attention is prioritizing and diarizing:
- Make a list of all the things that you need to do; list them in order of genuine importance; note what you need to do yourself and what can be delegated to others; note what needs to be done immediately, in the next week or next month, etc.
- Create time barriers to deal with unexpected emergencies – this is a great way to prepare and avoid excess stress
- Arrange your workload to match your energy levels, e.g. if you know that you have an energy boost in the mornings, use that time for high energy or creative tasks
Work Off Stress with Physical Activity
Pressure or anger releases adrenaline in the body. Exercise helps to reduce it and produces ‘good mood’ substances in the brain. This doesn’t mean we recommend running a marathon; just going for a brisk walk around the block when you feel tense can help.
Taking breaks away from a stressful task can help you stay calm. Working in 90-minute cycles with breaks in-between can help optimize productivity and can help you shorten the time it takes to complete a task.
Fear of Negative Evalution
A fear of negative evaluation, is defined as apprehension about how other people think about you, distress over what they think, and the expectation that others will think poorly of you. Perfectionism has been found to be associated with a fear of negative evaluation. Building resiliency is key to reducing stress and the need for perfection:
- It’s important to remind yourself that everyone will not like you, and that’s okay. You don’t like everyone either.
- Tackle what you can. Plan and practice your stress strategies ahead of time so that they are like second nature.
- Ask for help. Professionals can support you during those stressful times and they may be able to find strategies to lessen the stress that you feel.
- Avoid using must statements... I must do well, they must like me, I must not make a mistake.
REMEMBER: Sometimes the best thing that you can do, is to not think. Don’t obsess. Just breathe and have faith that everything will work out for the best.
Personalize your Plate!
It’s time to take charge of your health and Personalize Your Plate! March is National Nutrition Month® and a great time to revitalize meal habits and begin a push toward a healthful lifestyle. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to nutrition and health. We are all unique with different bodies, goals, backgrounds and tastes! In March’s Wellness Spotlight, learn about new skills to create tasty meals, enjoying healthful eating at work & home and eating a variety of nutritious foods every day.
Cook & Prep - Learn Skills to Create Tasty Meals to Share and Enjoy
Knowing culinary techniques can help you bring out the flavor of foods without needing to add a lot of extra ingredients or calories! Learn the basics of common cooking techniques to navigate recipes and get healthy meals on the table:
- Keep healthful ingredients on hand
- Practice proper home food safety
- Share meals together as a family when possible
- Reduce food waste
- Try new flavors and foods
Meal Planning: Enjoy Healthful Eating at School, Work & Home
Planning ahead may help relieve mealtime stress. Follow these steps to plan for and prepare nutritious and delicious meals that fit your preferences and lifestyle:
- Use a grocery list to shop for healthful foods
- Be menu-savvy when dining out
- Choose healthful recipes to make during the week
- Enjoy healthful eating at school and at work
- Plan healthful eating while traveling
Vary Your Diet: Eat a Variety of Nutritious Foods Every Day
During #NationalNutritionMonth and beyond, choose nutrient-rich foods that represent the five basic food groups. Use these tips to get started:
- Include healthful foods from all food groups
- Hydrate healthfully
- Learn how to read Nutrition Facts Panels
- Avoid distractions while eating
- Take time to enjoy your food
Personalize Your Plate to Include Foods from Other Cultures
Visit an RDN: Consult a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
Whether you want to lower your cholesterol or simply eat better, consult the experts — registered dietitian nutritionists — who can provide easy-to-follow personalized nutrition advice to achieve a healthier lifestyle.
- Ask your doctor for a referral to an RDN
- Receive personalized nutrition advice to meet your goals
- Meet RDNs in a variety of settings throughout the community
- Find an RDN who is specialized to serve your unique needs
- Thrive through the transformative power of food and nutrition
- 20 Ways to Enjoy More Fruits & Vegetables
- Eat Right with Less Added Sugars
- Eating Right with Less Salt
Heart Health Awareness
It’s time to GO RED!! February is American Heart Health month. Heart disease is the #1 killer in America for both men and women. Heart disease can happen at any age to ANYONE.
- 1 in 3 women die from heart disease each year.
- 1 in 4 men die from heart disease each year.
- Heart disease is more deadly than all forms of cancer combined.
Knowing the Symptoms
- Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.
- Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
- Shortness of breath, with or without chest discomfort.
- Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
Knowing the Symptoms
The most common symptom in men and women is chest pain or discomfort. It is important to note that WOMEN are more likely to experience other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting, and back or jaw pain.
Risk factors that can be managed:
- High Blood Pressure
- High Blood Cholesterol
- Lack of Regular Activity
- Obesity or Overweight
New Year, New You: Resolutions that Work
The year 2020 was one that none of us expected. We made it through and that is something to celebrate! Are there changes you want to make in 2021? Read on for some tips to make your New Years’ resolutions stick and to help you see them through. Can’t come up with any resolutions for 2021?! Don’t worry! Work Well has also included some ideas that will improve your own health and well-being.
Tips to Tackle Your New Year's Resolutions
Dream big. Think about your overall goal and what you hope to achieve in 2021. Do you want to quit smoking or lose 20 pounds? Whatever it is, think about what you want to come out of 2021 having accomplished.
Break those big dreams into small steps. Make a “To-Do” list or a running checklist of the steps it is going to take you to get to completing your resolution.
Understand why you should or shouldn’t make a change. Making a list of “Pros” and “Cons” can help your mind weigh the benefits and the drawbacks of this New Year’s resolution. It will also help you to think about all of the benefits this change can have on your life.
Commit yourself. Make yourself accountable through a written or oral promise to yourself. You can also ask family members or friends to cheer you on or seek out folks with like-minded goals online.
Learn from the past. Any time you failed in the past to make a change, consider it a step toward your goal. It is also important to think about what steps previously did not work and how you can try a different route this time around.
Give thanks for what you do. Forget perfection. Set your sights on finish the marathon, not on running it.
Ideas of New Year's Resolutions
- Meditation and Yoga
- Quit smoking
- Prioritize family
- Read more
- Find time for yourself
- Cook one new thing each week
- Create a cleaning schedule you can stick to
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator
- Become a plant owner
- Drink more water
- Wear clothing that makes you feel good
- Take back your lunch break
- Do one thing at a time
- Take more walks
- Give yourself more compliments
Read HERE for more great ideas of resolutions.
Happy, Healthy Holidays!
The winter months can bring wonderful holiday music, delicious food, and time to catch up with family, friends, and other loved ones. However, freezing temperatures, blustery winter days and COVID can have a significant impact on one’s health. Here are a few tips for maintaining health and wellness during the winter months:
- Calm your carb cravings
- Eating low-fat, healthy snacks curves hunger throughout the day and diverts appetites from consuming carb-loaded sweets and desserts.
- Add Omega 3 Fatty Acids
- Studies have shown Omega 3 Fatty Acids lower levels of depression, which many feel during the shorter days of winter.
- Cook with mushrooms
- Mushrooms have naturally occurring antibiotics giving them immune-boosting benefits, which is critical to maintain good health from COVID-19 and from catching a cold or the flu.
- Workout at home
- The COVID-19 pandemic has created unique challenges for exercising in gyms or outside. However, developing an at-home workout routine is a great way to maintain your health and keep you safe.
- Try following a yoga routine or other at-home workout video.
- Plan your exercises a week in advance
- Every Sunday night create your exercise schedule for the next five days and detail how long each exercise will take to complete.
- The smart phone app, JEFIT, is a great FREE option to create workout plans on your phone!
- Outdoor activities to keep you socially distant
Mental Health Tips
- Practice meditation and relaxation
- When you start to feel winter blues, anxiety and stress, it is important to find a positive way to reduce tension and help you relax.
- Practicing deep breathing exercises, yoga, or meditation are great ways to relieve stress and can be done at home.
- 7-minute yoga video for stress relief.
- Stay social distantly
- Whether you are working from home or in the office, we all need some social interaction. Call or video chat an old friend or family member and catch up!
- Drink herbal teas
- Herbal teas, like lemon and chamomile, can ease depression and anxiety by calming nerves and relaxing your body. They can also help you sleep better!
Reduce the Spread of COVID-19 during the Holidays
- Wash your hands, frequently:
- Cold weather unfortunately brings cold and flu season. With the COVID-19 global pandemic continuing to spread rapidly, it is crucial to practice good hygiene like washing your hands and take precautions to maintain good immune support.
- Hosting a holiday gathering:
- Host activities with only people from your local area
- Limit number of attendees
- Encourage attendees to bring supplies to help you and others stay healthy (e.g. masks and hand sanitizer)
- Consider asking all guests to strictly avoid contact with people outside of their household 14 days before the gathering.
- Attending a holiday gathering:
- Bring supplies to help you and others stay healthy (e.g. masks and hand sanitizer)
- Consider strictly avoiding contact with people outside of your household 14 days before the gathering
- Traveling for the holidays:
- Wear a mask in public settings to protect yourself and others
- Avoid close contact by staying at least 6 feet apart from anyone who is not from your household
- Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
- After the celebration:
- Stay home as much as possible
- Avoid being around people at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19
- Consider getting tested for COVID-19
- For more information read more from the CDC.