Mindful Tuesday Health vs Wellness

Often these terms are intertwined but although they influence one another, their focus is different. In a nutshell, wellness” refers to your overall well-being, a lifestyle that you actively seek and one that is continually evolving — whereas, “health” refers to your actual mental and physical state.

One person can be physically fit, able to run 6 miles a day and eat the healthiest diet ever, but still not enjoy wellness if other aspects of their life affect their ability to function.   Another person could be living with high blood pressure and disease and considered in poor health, yet practicing wellness that is enhancing his or her overall health. Wellness is more than being free from illness; it is a dynamic process of change and growth.”  The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” They define wellness as, the optimal state of health of individuals and groups.

 “Wellness incorporates wholism — This doesn’t mean that each element will be in perfect balance always but supporting a client to create harmony out of that helps them get to the root cause of a challenge and understand where triggers are showing up. Health tends to look at just one piece and not the whole person. We can’t look at weight and food and not also look at relationships and careers, for example.” 
–Kim Goeltom, Superwoman Wellness Coach & Certified Master Wellness Coach at Creating Legacy Wellness


This 7 element wheel incorporates the major areas of our lives that matter when it comes to following a wellness pattern. *

Physical Wellness -This dimension of wellbeing focuses on practicing healthy daily habits. It includes exercise and activites that buildi strength, flexibility, and endurance and eating nutritious foods. This dimension is most associated with health and wellness.

Emotional Wellness– Self-esteem and optimism are powerful healers. Similarly, expressing love and other emotions help achieve balance in the face of challenges. Note that emotional wellness differs from mental health which is the absence of mental illness. You might engage in emotional health and wellness by nurturing close relationships, establishing healthy boundaries, and learning to say no when you’re feeling overloaded. Tune-in to your thoughts and feelings

  • Cultivate an optimistic attitude
  • Seek and provide support
  • Learn time management skills
  • Practice stress management techniques
  • Accept and forgive yourself

Intellectual Wellness The intellectual dimension encourages creative, stimulating mental activities. Our minds need to be continually inspired and exercised just as our bodies do. People who possess a high level of intellectual wellness have an active mind and continue to learn. An intellectually well person uses the resources available to expand one’s knowledge and improve skills. Keeping up-to-date on current events and participating in activities that arouse our minds are also important.

  • Take a course or workshop
  • Learn (or perfect) a foreign language
  • Seek out people who challenge you intellectually
  • Read
  • Learn to appreciate art

Spiritual Wellness Is your mind at peace? A set of core beliefs or values that shape you and how you live your life often creates harmony. It encompasses a high level of faith, hope and commitment to your individual beliefs that provide a sense of meaning and purpose.

Social Wellness Your social wellness is vital to being a healthy human being. This means that you practice healthy boundaries, nurture friendships, and take time for social events regularly. Social wellness includes showing respect for others and yourself. Contributing to your community and to the world builds a sense of belonging. Learning when to push yourself to get out with others and when to stay home is key to balancing your social wellness.

  • Get involved
  • Contribute to your community
  • Share your talents and skills
  • Communicate your thoughts, feelings and ideas

Environmental Wellness This is an awareness of the unstable state of the earth and the effects of your daily habits on the physical environment. It consists of maintaining a way of life that maximizes harmony with the earth and minimizes harm to the environment. It includes being involved in socially responsible activities to protect the environment. This might include adding an air filtration system to your home and workplace, buying plants, and installing a water filter so you can drink and bathe in truly clean water. Environmental wellness is also about how your spaces feel.

  • Rearranging your furniture, repainting, and bringing in more natural light can all be ways to improve your environment. Choosing toxin-free paints, organic fabrics, and low-toxin furnishings can also increase your wellness. Stop your junk mail
  • Conserve water and other resources
  • Minimize chemical use
  • Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
  • Renew your relationship with the earth

Vocational or Occupational Wellness involves preparing and making use of your gifts, skills, and talents in order to gain purpose, happiness, and enrichment in your life. The development of occupational satisfaction and wellness is related to your attitude about your work.

Many of us will spend most of our lifetime at work, which means it’s crucial that we give it consideration when building a wellness lifestyle. If you hate your job, are experiencing unresolved tension at work, or are in a toxic work environment, it will profoundly affect your health and well-being. You might need to change jobs, choose a new career, or simply establish healthy boundaries at work. You don’t need to make drastic changes in order to increase your occupational wellness. But it’s also important to know when it’s time to take care of yourself and do what you need to do in order to feel more joy in your life. Achieving optimal occupational wellness allows you to maintain a positive attitude and experience satisfaction/pleasure in your employment.

Tips and suggestions for optimal occupational wellness include:

  • Explore a variety of career options
  • Create a vision for your future
  • Choose a career that suits your personality, interests and talents
  • Be open to change and learn new skills

Here we’ve focused on elements that are more likely in our control in pursuing wellness. Other elements I have not mentioned are the financial dimension and the state of racial inequality here in the US and elsewhere in the world. Both are extremely important elements to consider in the well being quotient.

Having a roof over your head and food in the refrigerator is basic life sustenance which reflects our financial condition. This is the element many of us may not have control over, considering job losses related to COVID 19 and other factors. The social issues that have birthed organizations like Black Lives Matter, are also factors that may not be controllable in pursuing well being.

As you reflect on your status with these elements, are you healthy or do you need to make tweaks to achieve the best wellness for you? Chances are there will never be true equilibrium but we can live our lives shooting for that goal.

*https://iawpwellnesscoach.com/difference-between-health-and-wellness/

https://www.grcc.edu/humanresources/wellness/sevendimensionsofwellness

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18 Ways to Stay Active During Covid

Wednesday August 4, 11:00am -11:30am  Register here https://tinyurl.com/yyv5gf66

They say that the 19 in COVID 19 relates to the average amount of weight people have gained because of closed gyms, pools and other outlets that kept us moving. Here are 18 at home activities to fight that gain.

If you missed here, click here for the archive link.

The Importance of “Nutrient Dense”

The other day I came across the term “nutrient dense” which refers to foods with a high nutrition to calorie ratio.  These foods give a healthy bang for your eating buck. 

This term provides a different way of assessing what we are constantly told regarding good lifestyle eating habits  i.e. eat lots of vegetables, fruits, fish and beans because they are healthy sources of nutrition.  Nutrient dense is the term behind healthy.  A good example of a nutrient-dense food is strawberries. One cup of strawberries contains only 150 calories, but 3.5g fiber, 86mg of vitamin c and 26.9mcg of foliate.

Foods should fulfill three basic needs including providing energy, supporting new tissue growth and regulating metabolism (and yes enjoyment).  These needs are met through the food components most of us are familiar with; carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and water.  Carbohydrates like whole-grain breads,cereals, rice, beans, pasta, vegetables and fruits are considered to be nutrient dense because they also contain a high level of nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, protein, and fiber per calorie. By comparison carbohydrates like candy bars, donuts and cookies are not considered nutrient dense because they contain insignificant amounts of vitamins and minerals per calorie and have a high fat component. That is why these food choices are often referred to as supplying “empty” calories.

Nutrient-dense foods also tend to have lower calories per serving compared with high fat or sugar content foods, making them a good choice for losing weight.   And ounce for ounce because they are dense, you may get satisfied with a smaller amount and stay fuller longer. For instance, if we compare one cup of carrots to four saltine crackers, both have 50 calories. However, because the carrots have more fiber for the same calories, they will be more filling, a feeling that will last longer than eating the crackers. One slice of white bread has about 70 calories, but very few vitamins and minerals. One slice of whole-wheat bread, however, has about the same amount of calories as mango vs m&mwhite bread, but four times the amount of potassium and magnesium and three times the zinc again making it the healthier choice and more filling.(1) And let’s look at a satisfying snack. One cup of sweet mangos has 99 calories versus 140 calories for 32 pieces of M&Ms, while providing essential vitamins and carbs which come from natural sugar. M&M’s have 18% of unhealthy saturated fat, 34% of processed sugar  and almost 0 nutritional value for a serving size.

Many experts promote shopping the permimeter of the supermarket because most of the fresh, nutrient dense products including meats, fruits, vegetables and dairy tend to be located in the perimeter of these stores. (2)

So get out in this beautiful weather and be active, and on the way home do some nutrient dense food shopping! Below are two websites for additional information.


https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/nutrition-basics/how-can-i-eat-more-nutrient-dense-foods

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/add-more-nutrient-dense-foods-to-your-diet

Exercising, How to Increase Its Effectiveness

Webinar Wellness Wednesday Exercising – How to Increase Its Effectiveness, July 1, 2020 11:00am-11:30am  https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5261609948469856780

It’s frustrating to exercise and not see results in a timely manner. This webinar discusses how to get more bang out of your exercise time to get better results and keep you motivated!  If you missed here click here.

The Physical and the Mental

As a healthy lifestyle advocate, I could write forever about the physical benefits of exercising.  Appearance and energy levels improve substantially while the body’s defense mechanism against illness (and yes better sex), is much improved.  What is harder for me to express, but what I know in my heart is true, is how exercise improves one’s state of mind.

There is scientific evidence that exercising releases endorphins in the brain that operate as powerful chemicals to energize your spirits and make you feel good.   If you’ve had an exercise class that has adequately increased your heart rate, then you know about that spring in your step afterwards, and how issues that bothered you before your workout somehow seem more manageable afterwards.

There have been many occasions when I walked into a class with problems and stress whirling in my head, feeling overwhelmed and ineffective. By the end of most of those classes I had to remember what was bothering me. The same can be said for times I walked into class not feeling well and at the end of class had to remember what my ailment was. Was my body reacting physically, or was there a mental high working that allowed me to overcome my discomfort?  For my money it’s the mental effect.  It’s the fact that the body and mind are focusing on a positive goal that overcomes the discomfort.. uu

A working parent may find that the 30 minute gym time he or she squeezed in after work, gives them the mental energy and positive mindset to focus on hearing about their child’s day when they get home.  It may give someone else the mental energy to tackle an unpleasant problem or provide a positive impact in someone else’s life. And research shows that even modest amounts of exercise can make a difference. These are benefits that cannot be quantified or displayed in black and white, but they are valid reasons for exercising.

If we delve deeper into the impact exercise has on our mental well-being, we can look at studies for mild to moderate depression that show that exercise is as effective as antidepressant medication—but without the side-effects. (1) A study performed by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that running for 15 minutes a day or walking for an hour reduced the risk of major depression by 26%.

Finally, exercise can also serve as a distraction, allowing you to find some quiet time to break out of the cycle of negative thoughts that feed depression

Our bodies and our minds are intertwined and one cannot live without the other.  It would stand to reason then, that taking care of one enhances the other. Just a random thought and motivation for getting you to exercise today.   

How Stress Begets Weight Gain

stress, fast food, bulimia, compulsive overeating

 

How are you feeling today, stressed out beyond belief? Many of us are walking around with stress levels we’ve never felt before. Covid 19 fears, illnesses, loss of jobs, the state of our government and oh yea, your job is giving you strife, your air conditioner stopped working, the babysitter can’t make it today and shall I go on?  Stress means the demands on your mind and body have exceeded your resources. (1) You may not notice it at first, but stress can have a noticeable effect on your body. From tight muscles and headaches to feeling irritated, overwhelmed, and out of control, stress takes a toll on your physical, mental, and emotional health.

So how does all of this affect your weight?

Studies point to the steroid hormone cortisol, as the culprit. The body releases this stress hormone in response to a threat. When you no longer perceive a threat, cortisol levels return to normal. This is good for short term stresses like a car accident or running from a life threat or hearing an intruder in your home. It preps you for fight or flight, boosting all the necessary body chemicals to preserve you. At normal levels cortisol:

  • Controls your blood pressure and your heart rate
  • Controls how your immune system deals with viruses, bacteria, and other threats
  • Puts more sugar in your bloodstream to give you more energy
  • Adjusts how your body breaks down carbohydrates, proteins, and fats
  • Assists with memory formation

All of this is great until it has to stay active for long periods of time which is the case with long term stress. Long-term stress is an ongoing battle against your stressor(s). It can be repetitive, continuous situations or conditions that feel insurmountable like worrying about paying bills, or the health of loved ones. Then the hormone becomes a health risk.

 High levels of cortisol stimulate the appetite and raise insulin levels which lowers blood sugar.  Consequently the body tends to desire sugary, fatty foods to raise blood sugar levels.  The craving for high calorie, comfort foods provides energy for the fight or flight that doesn’t happen, and calms the brain. This cycle continues as long as stress factors are there, leading to weight gain. In addition studies have shown a strong correlation between high cortisol levels and fat deposit around the mid-section as the hormone activates enzymes that deposit and store fat for survival. And if that’s not enough, another study showed that women who reported one or more stressors during the previous 24 hours burned 104 fewer calories than non-stressed women.(2)

Health risks associated with weight gain include:

  1. higher blood pressure
  2. diabetes
  3. heart disease
  4. stroke
  5. reproductive problems
  6. a decrease in lung and respiratory function
  7. an increase in joint pain
  8. depression
  9. certain types of cancer

Stress cannot be wished away so it has to be dealt with in healthy, positive ways.

  • Create a support system of family and friends you can lean on.
  • Block out alone time or meditate
  • Make time for self-care through exercise and healthy eating or food choices. Be mindful of resisting the cortisol induced comfort food craving pull. And research has shown that regular exercise can lower cortisol levels and boost endorphins.
  • Listen to music
  • Read a book
  • Go to bed one hour earlier
  • Be kind to yourself
  • Say “no” to one thing that may add stress
  • Spend time with a pet
  • Practice a few minutes of mindfulness

Check out Durham County Public Health’s webinar Stress Managing Techniques for additional tips.

Digital Wellness Week of June 22

Between the continued increase in Covid 19 cases and social upheaval in the United States, we all have alot on our minds. In support of YOUR health BGHLBE and Durham County Public Health offer three days of wellness information and activities accessible from your computer or phone.  We hope you take advantage of the information and share it with others who are looking for their “new” normal.

  • Mindful Monday for Self Care, Stress and Self Management
  • Webinar Wellness Wednesday
  • Fitness  Friday

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Mindful Monday – How Stress Begets Weight Gain

How are you feeling today?  Stressed out beyond belief? Many of us are walking around with stress levels we’ve never felt before. Covid 19 fears, illnesses, loss of jobs, the state of our government and oh yea, your job is giving you strife, your air conditioner stopped working, the babysitter can’t make it today and shall I go on?  Stress means the demands on your mind and body have exceeded your resources. Click to see how it affects your weight.

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Webinar Wellness Wednesday June 24

Stress Techniques: Part II-Mindfulness Wednesday, June 24, 2020  2:00pm-2:30pm  https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8535999555959829772

dog with cucumbers

Millions of people deal with stress and don’t use tools available to manage it appropriately. Not all tools work for everyone. In Part II of the Stress Tech series we explore mindfulness techniques and how you can engage and incorporate them into your stress management tool box.

 

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Fitness Friday June 26

Fitness Friday 40-Minute Boxing & Kickboxing Workout– Get ready for 40 minutes that combines nonstop boxing, kickboxing, and toning during this full-body workout. If you’re just getting started follow the low intensity guide. Let’s get ready to rumble!

Delicious Stretching

Stretching has several viewpoints. In particular, there’s stretching to improve athletic performance and then there’s the gentle feel good stretching to promote self-care. Both of these viewpoints intersect meaning stretching in any capacity is a great thing.

As a dancer in my teens, I was introduced to the power of stretching as a mandatory function of my ability to do everything else my body needed to do in class and on stage. So it has been ingrained in me and almost everyone else who’s had to use their body for a living, the importance of this simple routine in order to get the best performance out of our bodies.

This same logic applies to all exercise activities, especially as our bodies get older. Stretching provides two undisputable benefits; it improves your body’s athletic performance and decreases the risk of activity based injuries.

6 Tips on How to Stretch Hamstrings | Openfit

For instance consistently stretching the hamstring muscles in the back of your thighs increases your range of motion or joint flexibility. In my exercise classes I often do front kicks which both strengthen the muscles and get the heart rate up. The higher the kicks the more effective the exercise will be. Participants who practice stretching are going to be able to kick higher.

In my Pilates classes leg circle isolations provide more benefit when they are bigger, forcing intensity of the core to maintain the body’s position. Bigger leg circles require more flexibility than little ones so stretching both the inner thigh and hamstring muscles are important prerequisites.

Stretching becomes more important as we age because it offsets our joint tissues’ tendency to thicken, which limits flexibility and consequently puts us at higher risk for activity related injuries. For example, as flexibility in the hips and hamstrings decreases with age, we may take smaller steps. Regular stretching can help prevent this.

Two Types of Stretches

  • Dynamic stretching involves gently performing movements that will get blood flowing to your muscles and warm them up. Marching in place and side to side toe taps adding upper body twist, warm up the big muscles groups so they can start running or jumping or lifting weights, in general increasing your workout intensity. All cardio classes should begin with these stretches.
  • Static stretching involves slowly stretching a muscle to its end position and holding it for a short period of time usually 10-30 seconds, and should be done at the end of a cardio workout while the muscles are still warm and conducive to stretching. This type of stretching sets your body up over the longer term for bigger range of motion exercise movements and consequently better exercise results.

Mind Body Connection

Static stretching is most associated with mind body feel good benefits as an opportunity to pay attention to ourselves and how our body works. Stretching;

  • Releases hormones for mood and emotions.
  • Increases blood flow and circulation to your muscles and your brain. 
  • Encourages a relaxed awareness of your body and mind(1)

Fitness Blender has put together a nice long, enjoyable stretch to love yourself. Be kind and stretch to your limit. If you feel sharp pain, fall back to the point where it feels good. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7h_Pn7NyJ0k&t=1733s

Digital Wellness Week of June 15

Between the continued increase in Covid 19 cases and social upheaval in the United States, we all have alot on our minds. In support of YOUR health BGHLBE and Durham County Public Health offer three days of wellness information and activities accessible from your computer or phone.  We hope you take advantage of the information and share it with others who are looking for their “new” normal.

  • Mindful Monday for Self Care, Stress and Self Management
  • Webinar Wellness Wednesday
  • Fitness  Friday

Mindful Monday – Delicious Stretching   – June 15 

Stretching has several viewpoints. In particular there’s stretching to improve athletic performance and then there’s the gentle feel good stretching to promote self-care. Here we discuss its’ importance in maintaining life balance, especially as we get older.   Both of these viewpoints intersect meaning stretching in any capacity is a great thing.

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Webinar Wellness Wednesday –June 17

Stress Tech: Part I Wednesday, June 17, 2020 2:00pm-2:30pm https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/9026350955622265612
Millions of people deal with stress and don’t use tools available to manage it appropriately. Not all tools work for everyone. This series will take you through several techniques (some with challenge opportunities) for you to add to your personal toolbox to manage stress. Stay with us for the entire series if you can. We want to know what worked for you. Register and get ready….. for the first technique

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Fitness Friday – Kukuwa African 15 Minute Dance Workout – June 19
Here’s a quick workout to get your weekend started! Get ready to go to Africa without a passport and learn to move muscles you didn’t know you had. Today we’re going to the country of Malawi!   

Great Mindfulness Apps to Keep You Grounded

As much as many of us want to engage in mindfulness in these extraordinary times, timing, space and opportunity can make it difficult. These mindfulness apps have been developed to assist us in taking a minute to reflect on our wellbeing. This list includes top reviews. All of them have free audio guided meditation sessions to get you started, and upgrades for more in depth experiences. You’ll find these apps on Google’s Play store for Androids and the Apple store for iPhones.

The Mindfulness App on the App Store

 The Mindfulness App

Meditation beginners and gurus alike will find lots of options with The Mindfulness App. It has a wide variety to suit all levels and types of meditators and is a tool for improving mental health and overall wellbeing.It offers free timed and themed sessions including eight sessions devoted to Corona Resilience.  It also offers reminders to keep you mindful throughout the day, and statistics to track in your meditation journal. You can upgrade to guided multi day programs.

Serenity: Guided Meditation & Mindfulness - Apps on Google Play

Serenity: Guided Meditation & Mindfulness  

This app gets right to it with no intro. It provides free mini sessions lasting between 2 and 3 minutes.  The summary says it allows you to learn a variety of meditation and mindfulness techniques that aim to bring a sense of peace, calm and happiness to your life. You can upgrade to longer practices which range up to 10 minutes.  The upgrade also includes practices specific to sleep and stress, and yes a section for kids to practice meditation.  It also reminds you when it’s time to get your Zen in.

What are the Best Meditations on Insight Timer? - Losing Stress

Insight Timer – Free Meditation App

How about an award winning app from Time Magazine and Women’s Health Magazine, that experts have deemed it the happiest app in the world. It takes you through guided meditations and talks led by the world’s top meditation and mindfulness experts and it boasts music tracks from world-renowned artists. Free features include over 40,000 guided meditations, meditation timer, discussion groups and ways to track your progress.

Let's Meditate: Sleep & Guided Meditation - Apps on Google Play

Let’s Meditate: Sleep and Guided Meditation

This free app has a curated list of guided meditation tracks catering to a wide variety of topics to suit your situation; including anxiety, body scan, healing, sleep and many more. Meditations go from 5 minutes to 40 minutes or longer to work with your schedule. As with the others, the app includes guided audio meditations in which a person’s voice guides you to meditate and relax. I noted a 14 minute COVID 19 meditation session which probably many of us can use about now.

These guided meditation programs take the fear out of stepping out to mindfulness on your own. Just relax and listen while the guides take you on a meditative journey. Namaste

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