The focus of health and wellness in today’s society has become so centered around diet, weight-loss, and fitness, its crazy! As a future health communication/promotion specialist, this is frustrating to me. It totally misleads people into thinking, “Hey as long as I’m physically fit and eat well, I’m as healthy as can be!” But, that’s so far from the truth! Wellness is a broad concept. Being healthy all around means being healthy in all of the different aspects of your life, and nutrition and physical activity are just a small part of that. Achieving well-rounded wellness will make you much more happy, healthy, and feel better! SO what are these other dimensions of health that lead to better overall health anyways? Well, let me tell you.Continue reading “Well-Rounded Wellness”
Check In On Your Mental Health
Through all the chaos of everyday life, we sometimes forget to stop and take a breather. It’s common for us to go into the doctor for a checkup when we are feeing sick, so why isn’t it common for us to in check with our mental wellness? With today’s fast paced environment, it’s not always easy to take a step away from things like your job, kids, family or friends when your mental health comes calling. Your mental health can not only affect you mentally, but it can take a toll on your body physically as well. Taking time daily to check in with your mental health daily and making yourself a priority makes a big difference in your overall wellness.Continue reading “Check In On Your Mental Health”
Fall Fitness Fun
Now that summer is over and the cold weather is quickly approaching, its a little more difficult to do some of the activities we typically enjoy doing in the warm months. But don’t you worry! Fall is a fantastic time to still get outside (and even inside!) and get active while enjoying the outdoors as much as you can before winter hits! Here are some tips and tricks to stay active and feel good during the fall:
Enjoy the Fall Colors
Nature in the fall is full of tons of colors and beauty! So why not get outside while you can to enjoy it? Fall is not too hot, not too cold, but just right! Exercising outside feels like a lot less work, especially if you’re doing something you like to do. Look into trails nearby to enjoy a hike, bike ride, or a run. Even apple picking or pumpkin harvesting is a great way to enjoy everything fall has to offer, get moving, and have some fall fun.
With the changes in seasons comes a change in climate. Going from summer to fall is sometimes quite the temperature difference, so its important to remember to dress for the weather when you’re going outside. Wearing at least a couple layers is important to keep your body from losing heat. Keep this in mind as you plan outdoor activities, and make sure to invest in breathable, moisture-wicking clothes. Although you might feel a bit chilly at first, your body will quickly warm up once your blood starts pumping so you don’t want to wear to many layers either. For those cold morning or evening runs, a hat will help keep your head warm where you lose the most heat.
If the great outdoors aren’t really your thing or for days you just want a quick, effective workout, home workouts are something you should really consider. There are tons of great ways to get active in your own home for little to nothing and they’re super effective too! Using your resources online is a easy, great way to get some exercise in. There are a wide variety of exercise videos available for free online. The best places to find some good, free video resources are YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest or even streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, or Sling. Here you can find thousands of different types of exercise videos to follow along with whether it be yoga, strength training, HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), Zumba, core workouts, cardio, etc. Whatever you have in mind or would like the target, it can most likely be found online. The great advantage to using online exercise videos is they are short, sweet and to the point, not to mention free. Exercise videos are an easy way to get a good workout in without it consuming your time.
Another great way to make it convenient and easy to get some exercise in, is to make your own gym at home. Although it is a bit more expensive, buying some exercise equipment such as dumbbells, resistance bands, yoga mats, medicine balls or anything else you like to exercise with, can make a little fitness center in your own home. Having these resources available to you makes for an easily accessible way to exercise and a more versatile workout selection, not to mention working out at home is a lot easier to fit into your schedule because you can do it whenever!
And last but not least, go and workout at the gym! Since the weather is getting colder, and the days shorter, its nice to be able to just go to your local fitness center and have anything and everything fitness related available to you at the tip of your fingers. To make the most out of your time at the gym, don’t just do the same machines each time you go, but take advantage of all the things your gym may have to offer:
- Swimming: Swimming is one of the best activities for your body. It’s such a great no impact activity and perfect for a complete, whole body workout.
- Fitness classes: Getting active with a whole group of people who have the same goal as you do can give you a whole new kind of energy that you may not get when you’re exercising by yourself.
- Workout buddy: If you feel intimidated or don’t like working out by yourself, maybe ask a friend to work out with you. You’ll both benefit because you’re exercising and having someone else there motivates you to to show up.
- Keep it interesting: If you tend to gravitate to certain cardio machines, you can always change things up with HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), which is a great way to burn calories and get in shape fast. Or maybe even try lifting if you usually just do cardio or try cardio if you usually just lift!
The fall months are a great time to get moving because there are so many different options that aren’t always as available other times in the year. SO use these tips and tricks to have a happy, healthy fall and feel good!
Grab & Go! Healthy Snacking For Busy People:
Let’s be real, we all snack. Whether it be between classes, at work, laying on the couch at home, or a late night snack, we’re all guilty of it. Snacking has often been seen as the enemy of a healthy diet, but actually, snacking isn’t bad for you if you do it in moderation and make healthy choices. Try these tips to do both!
Fuel up between meals with a combination of food groups. One fruit or veggie serving combined with a serving of whole grains, protein or a dairy makes for a delicious snack to keep you going throughout the day!
Some ideas to choose from for fruits or veggies: Pear, apple, mixed berries, bell pepper, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, celery sticks, pineapple, peaches, salsa, spinach, or banana
Some ideas to choose from for whole grains, protein, or dairy: sharp cheddar, corn tortilla chips, yogurt, guacamole, hummus, fresh mozzarella cheese + balsamic vinegar, cottage cheese, tortilla + cheese, pita bread + turkey + swiss cheese, or pita bread + hummus
As a college student, I know it can be hard to go all day in classes or working without having a little snack in between. Even staying up late studying in the library can make you hungry! So, here are a few ideas for snacks that is a little bit better for you than things like chips, sweets, or ramen noodles (not to mention these healthy snacks give you a ton more energy and make you feel better!).
Easy Snacks to Take to Class:
- Sliced Veggies
- Fresh Fruit
- Rice Cakes w/ Peanut Butter
- Nuts & Seeds
- Dried Fruit
- String Cheese
Late Night Hunger? Try This:
- Yogurt w/ Fruit
- Pretzels & Hummus
- Corn Tortilla Chips & Fresh Salsa or Guacamole
- Cottage Cheese
- Whole Grain Crackers
- Pitas or Tortillas
Of course these are just some examples of some of the MANY combos of snacks you could make! But hopefully this helps you build some delicious, nutritious snacks that’ll keep you going and satisfy your hungry all day long! Happy snacking everyone!
5 Ways to Kick Off the Fall Season Stress-Free!
As the fall seasons starts to arrive and temperatures drop, many of us are facing busy schedules, whether it be work or school, and then soon to be holiday-related tasks. As the stressors build up, the harder it is to deal with it all. The best way to handle stress is to settle into daily habits that manage your stress and wellness without worrying about it too much. So, here are 5 Ways to Kick Off the Fall Season Stress-Free:
1. Cut Out Things That Add To Your Stress
Sometimes the best way to get rid of your stress is to cut what is causing the stress out of your life. Take steps to get rid of the things that are adding to your stress so you can stress less.
Stress over homework or work, always being on social media or technology, drinking, or even just eating unhealthily are just a few of the things that may add more stress to your life. Making changes to your daily habits or schedule could make a big difference in helping you feel better and reduce stress.
2. Eat a Balanced Diet & Drink Water!
Doesn’t everyone want to just sit on the couch, do nothing, and eat junk food when they’re stressed? No? Just me? You may not even think of food and water when it comes to stress, but actually, having an unhealthy diet can add to stress.
Emotional eating and reaching for high-fat, high-sugar foods only provides a temporary sense of stress relief that just adds to long-term stress. Refined carbs, such as pastries or potato chips, can cause a spike in blood sugar. So then, when your blood sugar crashes, you might experience more stress and anxiety. Having a healthy diet can help you defeat stress over the long term. Foods such as eggs, avocado, and almonds support mood regulation and provide energy balance! Not to mention making sure you drink enough water! To find the amount you need, divide your body weight in half, there’s the amount of water you should be drinking a day. Crazy right?? When your body alerts your body you need water, it’s already dehydrated, and when your body becomes even slightly dehydrated, your stress response begins. So, just make things easier on your body and to reduce stress, drink more water!
Not that we all don’t need a bit of junk food every now and then, cuz I love me some chips, ice cream, and cookies, but think about how it could affect your stress levels or why you are consuming it. Eat better, feel better!
3. Get Active Regularly
Exercise is a FANTASTIC stress reliever that can work instantly. Your body was made to move, and when it doesn’t get that opportunity, it’s hard to stay healthy. If you think about it, physical activity itself is kind of a form of stress (a physical challenge to your body) but it also aids in releasing emotional stress from your body. A number of studies have even shown that regular exercise is associated with a decrease in anxiety and depression, as well as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. But don’t overdo it!
Even just taking a walk allows you to enjoy a change of scenery, take in nature, and clear your mind. Or trying yoga. Yoga combines tons of stress relievers such as, physical movement, meditation, and controlled breathing – all of which provide great stress relief!
4. Invest In What Makes You Happy
Studies have shown that your mindset can have a huge impact on the way your body handles stress or difficult decisions. So, think about what makes you happy, and find ways to implement it more into your daily life. After all, if you’re doing more things you enjoy more often, you’re going to be a lot more happy. Should be common sense right?
Learn to get the “necessary” stuff done quicker and don’t focus too much on the list of “to dos”. Prioritize what really matters to you and schedule out time during your weekends or evenings to do things you love instead. Maybe it is spending time with your family and friends, painting, writing, taking photos or reading. Whatever it is that you love to do, make sure you set off some time for it regularly. Because few things will reduce stress and energize you like doing the things that you love most!
5. Take Time To Relax
With everything we have going on in our lives whether it be work, family, friends, school, etc., it’s sometimes hard to set it all aside to take time for ourselves and just RELAX. Some things I like to do to help with stress and just slow down are:
- Disconnect every once and awhile – Sometimes you just have to remove yourself from the world for a while to relax and not stress about the little things. Slow down and stop for a while every now and then.
- Eliminate – Do you even have to do everything that’s on your schedule? Maybe your heart isn’t into something as much as it used to be. Could you say no to one or more of those things to have more time and energy for what matters most in your life?
- Zoom out – When you’re the most stressed or when life is really getting to you, stop and think, “Is there anyone on the planet having it worse than me right now?” When you think about that, sometimes life isn’t so rough and it’s easier to calm down.
- Just breathe – Sometimes you just have to take the time to stop and just take a breath. Release the stress, calm your mind and body down and reconnect with the moment again by focusing on your breathing.
- And be here – Live in the moment! Sometimes we just get so caught up in life we forget to live in the present. Choose to spend more of your day and time in the present moment.
I really hope these tips and tricks help you to remove (or at least reduce) all of the stressors in your life to minimize stress and improve your overall wellness! Thanks for readying!!
5 Healthy Reasons to Get Excited for Fall!
Happy Fall Y’all! Because it is October 1st, I think it’s definitely necessary to talk about fall and all of the great things about this fabulous season! The fall colors, pumpkin patches, scary movies, Halloween, apples, flannels, sweaters, fall candles, apple cider donuts… I could go on and on! But, the transition to shorter and busier days of fall can be a challenge on not just your schedule, but your health. To help ease the change of seasons, I’m here to give you some tips to get you ready for the colder months to come and keep your mental and physical health in check. Here are 5 Healthy Reasons to Get Excited for Fall!
1. An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away!
That old saying “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” has a lot of truth to it. Apples are truly one of nature’s best diet foods and they have a ton of nutritional benefits to them as well. They fill you up for only around 100 calories, and they’re packed with cholesterol-lowering soluble fiber, antioxidants, and vitamin C. There are TONS of different types to choose from to find the perfect flavor for your taste, not to mention they’re absolutely delicious! A food that tastes great and is great for you? Can’t pass that up!
Visit an apple orchard this fall and spend an afternoon picking your own supply. You’ll have fun while seeing where your food comes from and supporting a local orchard.
2. Early to Bed Early to Rise…
You know what they say..”early to bed early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise!” This is kind of, in a way, true! Sleep is one of the most important things for our body. With the changes in when the sun rises and sets, it can sometimes mess with our schedules. But, when you get the recommended 8-9 hours of sleep, your body functions so much better and you can get a ton more done with your day when you’re fully rested, not to mention you’ll feel so much better!
Getting enough sleep is one best things you can do for your health, so take this opportunity to stick with a bedtime schedule that’s right for your body’s needs. For a good night’s rest, try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day (even on weekends) and skipping snacks and exercise at least one hour before bedtime. With a full nights rest you’ll feel great and have a ton more energy to enjoy everything the fall season has to offer!
3. Cooler (But Not Too Cold) Temps!
Cooler fall temperatures means it’s time to break out the sweaters, boots, and jackets! But, it’s also a great time to enjoy the outdoors without getting really hot. Researchers suggest doing physical activity outdoors like hiking some trails, biking, going for a run, or even just raking some leaves, relieves more stress and boosts energy levels better than sweating inside the gym. Fall is the perfect time to attempt activities that may have been too taxing in the hot conditions of summer. It’s a lot more pretty outside than inside a gym anyways, so you might as well enjoy the fall colors while they last!
4. Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice
The fall season is prime time for some amazing fruits and veggies. Foods like broccoli, apples, cabbage, eggplant, kale, pumpkin, squash, and dark leafy greens are all in season during the fall and are packed full of tons of nutritional benefits. Incorporating these foods into your meals and trying new recipes during this season is a great way to eat healthy all while giving your body the nutrients it needs.
Not only fruits and veggies, but spices too! Fall is the season for some great spices, such as cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, cloves and of course pumpkin spice! These spices and scents are all staple scents of fall, and they offer plenty of health benefits to add to your diet this fall. So, sprinkle some cinnamon or nutmeg on your coffee or bake some into your next meal to make the most of these seasonal spices.
5. Take Care of Yourself
The short days, sicknesses everywhere, and colder weather of fall can sometimes make it hard to keep your health in check. SO here’s a short list of things to keep in mind to make your health a top priority this season:
- Take some time for yourself – Shorter days in the fall and winter is Earth’s way of telling us to slow down and take a breather.
- Get your flu shot and yearly check-up – Self explanatory! No one likes getting sick.
- Stay active – It can be easy to just sit around all the time when the weather gets colder, but it’s important to get in some physical activity in throughout the day. Even raking some leaves counts!
- Boost your immune system – ‘Tis the season for getting sick! Boosting your immune system can help with this by drinking plenty of water, washing your hands a lot, and eating mostly nutritious foods.
- As I mentioned before – Gets lots of sleep!
- Stay warm! – Dress for the weather and always make sure to wear (or at least always bring along) layers to protect your body from the changing temperatures.
- (And last) Take care of yourself!!! – The holiday season is full of eating too much yummy food, shorter days that sometimes cause low motivation, and the flu season. Listen to your body and give it what it needs.
Thanks for reading and hopefully some of these tips and tricks help you make the most of the season! Happy fall!