SLCo Healthy Lifestyles Blog
Earth Day Health Hub
Written by Health Educator: Christina McWhinnie
In 1970, Earth Day was founded
to raise awareness about environmental issues.
On April 22nd we will celebrate this day again and we invite
you to reflect on your environmental health.
Environmental health is one of our dimensions of wellness (see diagram)
that is interconnected and influences our health and well being. Our connection
to our spaces of living, work, and play create a foundation for our
Connecting to Your
Our homes should be a place that we can
retreat to and feel peace and calmness. The warmer weather of the approaching
spring season affords us the time to freshen our indoor air, clean out the dust
of winter, and open our curtains to bask in natural light. Here are some tips
to make your home a healthier place:
- Check for Radon in basements
- Install Carbon
- Switch to safe,
non-toxic household cleaners or make your own to eliminate
hazardous chemical residue and improve indoor air quality.
Connecting to Your
Most of us invest
8-10 hours a day at work, and while this is a common cause of stress, we can
find new ways to connect to our work space to increase creativity, motivation,
and environmental health. Here are some tips to make your work space a
- Declutter your
physical work space. Find ways to organize items you use most to be more
- With so much of
our work involving technology, find ways to declutter your digital work space. Clearing unnecessary emails and organizing
your web browser and hard drives are great starting places to focus on your
digital work environment
- Your breaks are
valuable opportunities to connect with the physical environment of your work
space. Whether in your building or spaces close by, these areas can refresh,
refocus, and prepare you for the rest of your work day
Connecting to Your
As the seasons change, take advantage of better weather to connect with
your spaces of play. Your spaces of play
often involve interacting with different plans, wildlife, and natural habitats.
Whether you are alone or with family and friends, here are some tips to make
your play space healthier:
- Try non-chemical
methods to manage your yard using this EPA guide
- Participate in
simple acts of service like trash pick-up or recycling
- Reduce your air
emissions by enjoying walking or cycling
Mindful Mondays - feb health hub
Written by Emma Thompson, Health Educator
“Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present,
aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or
overwhelmed by what’s going on around us” – Mindful.org
has been in the stress management spotlight for a while now and it's a pretty straighforward concept: focusing on the present and living in the
suggests practicing mindfulness can help us regain balance and well-being,
improve our focus and self-control, and help us better manage stress. Unfortunately,
stress-related health problems make up about 80% of doctor visits, and are the
3rd highest health care expenditure. Just the thought of that is
STRESSFUL! This is where mindfulness may be able to have an impact that might
help keep the doctor away AND it’s cost-effective. A new study shows that
people in a relaxation program (such as mindfulness, meditation, yoga, etc.) used
43% fewer medical services than they did the year before, saving the
average patient anywhere from $650 to as much as $25,000 each year. That can really add up!
So, how can we apply mindfulness to our lives? If you are new the idea of mindfulness, join Healthy Lifestyles every week for Mindful Mondays. This is YOUR opportunity to take a
meaningful break during the workday. If you are located off-campus, no problem! Send us an email and subscribe to our Mindful Mondays email
list. Healthy Lifestyles will send you
a different mindful activity with step-by-step instructions every week so you can be mindful at work, at home or with your colleagues. Most of the
activities have been recorded and can be found on our YouTube
page so you and your colleagues can follow along to the activity. If you
work at or near the Government Center, join us every Monday at 3pm in the Group
Fitness Center for a 15-minute mindful activity lead by a Healthy Lifestyles
staff member. Contact us at email@example.com
to join the email list!
Not quite ready to commit to a relaxation program? No
problem – start small. The next time you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed,
try one of these mindful techniques below to bring yourself back to the
- Sit or lie down somewhere comfortable, close
your eyes, and take a few moments to breathe regularly, allowing your body to
- Place one hand on your chest and the other on
- Inhale deeply through your nose for a count of
four, making sure your belly is expanding and not your chest. Imagine breathing
in energy and confidence.
- Exhale for a count of four, breathing out stale
air, stress, and anything you want to leave behind.
- Continue this breathing cycle for 2-5 minutes,
keeping your breath even and smooth.
- Having a tough time focusing? Check out these GIFs to help
- When brushing your teeth, focus on the act of
brushing. Instead of letting your mind wander, experience the activity with all
- Notice the way the bristles move over your
teeth, the sound of brushing, the taste of the toothpaste.
- Some other instances you can practice this
include when you’re washing your hands, showering, doing the dishes, or even
sweeping the floor.
Take a deep breath – in and out.
- What are 5 things you see. Name them in your head. Breathe – in
- What are 4 things you feel. Name them in your head. Breathe – in
- What are 3 things you hear. Name them in your head. Breathe – in
- What are 2 things you smell. Name them in your head. Breathe – in
- What is 1 thing you taste. Name it in your head.
Walk with Ease Class
By Health Educator, Jayme Haight
The Active Aging Program would like to invite you to attend
our Walk With Ease Program at the Government Center. Class starts Monday,
February 12th through Monday, March 26th, 2018. The class
will meet in room S3-010 on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 11:30 –
12:30pm. If you are unable to attend the class at the Government Center another
class will be starting February 12th from 1:00 – 2:00 pm at
Millcreek Community Center (2266 E. Evergreen Avenue).
The Arthritis Foundation Walk With Ease Program is an
evidence based exercise program designed for people with arthritis. The definition of arthritis is inflammation or
swelling in one or more joints and usually consists of joint pain and
stiffness.2 There are many types of arthritis and staying
physically active can help delay the onset of symptoms. This program was
developed to help people with arthritis by giving them the information and
tools to understand their symptoms and learn the importance of low-impact aerobic
exercise. The participants of the
program will see the benefits of staying physically active by beginning a
regular walking routine.
Heart Association recommends that you receive at least 150 minutes of moderate
exercise per week.4 Thirty
minutes a day, five days a week of moderate physical activity (like walking)
can help maintain current weight, lower high blood pressure, lessen risk for
type 2 diabetes, lower the risk for osteoarthritis and falls, and decrease the
symptoms of depression and anxiety.3
that walking is good for your joints and helps to improve the health of your
heart, lungs and bones.1 Walking is also great because you can do it almost anywhere and
it doesn’t require a gym membership or any special equipment. Studies by the
Thurston Arthritis Research Center and the Institute on Aging of the University
of North Carolina show that Walk With Ease is proven to reduce the pain and
discomfort of arthritis, increase balance, strength and walking pace, build
confidence in your ability to be physically active and improve overall health.
is designed for all walking abilities and gives the participants tools to walk
safely and become more physically active. This class meets for six weeks, three
times a week, for one hour. Each session starts with a pre-walk discussion on
special topics relating to the class including goal setting, motivational
strategies, safe walking, chronic conditions and group sharing. This program is
led by a certified instructor, offers information and tools to help you make
walking a regular part of your life.