Practice Lightning Safety

National Lightening SafetyTampa Bay has long been considered , by some, to be the lightning capital of the nation.  As the summer storms ensure, we thought it worthwhile to post some lightning safety facts.  We couldn’t find any national observance activities, but truly, this PDF is a valuable tool that should be shared with your family and co-workers.

Remember: When thunder roars, go indoors!

National Safety Month 2015

National Safety CouncilThis website is chalk full of free resources for organizations to support National Safety Month in June, even if you’re a tiny company:

“I absolutely love the materials provided for National Safety Month. I’m a department of one and my time is very limited. Using your free resources is like having a personal assistant during the month of June when it comes to celebrating NSM. Thanks for all that you do!”  

Marcy Gonzalez, Human Resources Manager, CCL Tube, Los Angeles, CA

The Best Gift a Mom Can Give

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I often prescribe self-care to Mom’s. I post Facebook statuses ad nauseam instructing women to nurture and love themselves. I have even, jokingly, gone so far as to make someone confirm their commitment with a ‘yes ma’am’. Yet, I still get the glazed over ‘yeah, sure…okay’ response from most women. Then recently, my husband was looking at my Valentine’s Day posts urging women to remember to love themselves for the holiday. He said to me so simply and brilliantly “explain why”. Hand-to-forehead moment, of course.
So, I get it. I’m a mom and in the course of the day you have to meet a lot of people’s needs; children, spouse, boss, co-workers, teachers, and on and on. You are like a well-oiled machine; you have to get everything done and to fit it all in 24 hours. Not to mention, the world around you tends to be a little more expecting of moms to get it all done for their family and a little less forgiving if they miss a beat. Usually, there is very little time left over to indulge in luxuries for yourself, and if there is, you are so high-wired the best you can do is a glass of wine at the end of the day. Does this sound at all familiar?
I’m going to explain to you why it is not only essential for you to put yourself at the top of your priority list, but why it’s selfish not to.

1. You teach the world how to treat you
Translation, if you are constantly putting yourself last, what are you teaching those around you? If you get frustrated that your family isn’t treating you as you’d expect them to, it could be what you taught them. Part of our job as parents is teaching our children how to get along in this world. We should be teaching them to honor their mothers, as is done in many other cultures, not expecting them to appreciate martyrdom. No one does. By teaching our daughters to honor their mothers, we teach them to love and respect themselves as well, and we teach our sons to take care of themselves and one day love and respect their future partners. Children model our behavior, showing them to nurture themselves sets them up for a lifetime of good mental and physical health. It’s actually selfish not to give your children this gift.

2. A good habit does not just happen after 20 years of pushing it aside
I’ll take care of myself when the kids get older, or when the kids move out, or when the kids have kids. The start date continues to get pushed back until it’s just you. The kids have their own families taking up their time now. What now? Why do you think empty nest syndrome hits so hard? Everyone thinks it’s easy to just start taking care of themselves when they need to, that it will naturally kick in. When you have told your mind and body for 20 or more years to ignore doing something, it doesn’t just start doing it with the flip of a switch.

This is actually a scenario that has become really personal. A family member unexpectedly lost her husband a few years ago. All of her children were long gone with families of their own. They all wanted to support her in any way they could. She resisted all of their efforts not wanting to be a burden. At the time, this woman was beautiful, healthy, and vibrant. She did yoga and ate well. However, not being prepared for the scenario of suddenly being alone, and not knowing what to do, she chose to give up. This same woman, just three short years later, lays bed-ridden barely speaking, with a tube in her nose to provide sustenance despite having no medical problems. I can’t even think about this without tearing up. Many will dismiss this as an extreme case that can’t happen to them, but the truth is she was no different than most of us and you have no idea how you will respond until you are in the situation. We have no guarantees in life, but by practicing to take care of ourselves even just a little each day, we prepare ourselves to take care of ourselves when we really need to. Imagine how difficult it would be for your family to see you deteriorate when it’s totally preventable. Preventing this is an amazing gift to give your family.

3. You are freakin’ worth it
Sorry I didn’t mean to get vulgar there, but think about you and your life, and the person you are, and the kindness and love that you give. Don’t you deserve to feel as amazing as you make everyone else feel? Besides that, how can you keep giving love if you aren’t replenishing it from within? Depending on others to provide you with the love and nurturing you need can be a dangerous game, and lead you to co-dependent, unhealthy relationships. Start showing yourself the kindness and love you deserve.

Great, I’m convinced. How do I do it? For everyone it will be a little different. If you are still working on feeling worthy, I want you to spend a couple of minutes every day in front of the mirror making eye contact with yourself. Tell yourself out loud: ‘I love you, you are amazing, you deserve everything you desire from this life’, or whatever else comes to mind, but you get the idea. It may feel awkward at first. Have you ever heard the saying “fake it ‘til you make it”? That’s what you are going to do here. Just do it until it feels authentic, and you can really look yourself in the eyes, say these beautiful things and mean it.

Also, find moments in your day to capture for yourself. Sit and relax with a cup of tea, stop at a favorite store, read a chapter or article, get a massage, whatever gives you enjoyment. Even if it’s only a few minutes each day, eventually, you will get so good at this that you will start pursuing hobbies and activities that fulfill you without feeling the least bit guilty about it. As we have already covered, you should not feel guilty, you should feel proud of the lesson you are teaching.

If you have trouble with this, don’t feel bad, its hard work to break a bad habit, and its hard work to start a good habit. Get an accountability partner, someone who will check in on your progress without judgment, or work with a holistic wellness coach (make sure they use a holistic approach). A well-trained wellness coach or adviser is trained to support you without judgment, give you individualized progressive goals, and give you the tough love you need to hold you accountable so you are successful. No more excuses, no more saying ‘I don’t have enough time’. There is always enough time for what’s important. Make this important. Let me get a “yes ma’am”! Good.

Gotta go. If you need me, I’ll be in the mirror.

KalusionKaluwa  is “the Dancing Health Coach”.  She has graduated from SUNY Oneonta with a BA in Human Biology, and the Institute for Integrative Nutrition  as a Certified Holistic Health Coach recognized by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners.  She is also a  Certified Group Fitness Instructor, and a Dance Instructor. Kaluwa enjoys healthy living, and “walks the talk”. Her family shares the passion and enjoys activities together such as growing herbs and vegetables, cooking, walking, rollerblading, dance, martial arts, meditation, yoga, and learning and playing at every opportunity.

Random Acts Of Kindness Week is Feb 9-15, 2015

Random Acts of Kindness

If you remember singing along to  “…I’d like to teach the world to sing, in per-fect har-mo-ney….”, then you’ll enjoy celebrating this week with us.  Better than Christmas because it’s ‘random’!  No expectations, no rushing around, no demands, no budget.  Just RANDOM.  Don’tworry, we’re not going to start singing Kumbaya.  But hey, those were good times, after all.  And who doesn’t like a good song – or a kind act – to make their day?  #RAKweek2015

How to Use the Hunger and Fullness Scale

Hunger & Fullness Scale

The Hunger and Fullness Scale* is a useful tool for assessing your hunger and fullness levels before, during, and after you eat. It will help you identify your hunger cues, observe how different types and amounts of food affect you, and recognize when the urge to eat has been triggered by something other than hunger. This scale is not intended to set strict guidelines about when you should eat; rather, it helps you develop a greater awareness of your body’s subtle signals.

The Hunger and Fullness Scale ranges from 1 to 10. A level 1 represents ravenous—you’re so hungry you could eat this page. A level 10 means you’re so full that you’re in pain and feel sick. Remember, smaller numbers, smaller stomach; larger numbers, larger stomach.

In the middle of the scale is level 5: neutral, comfortable, or satisfied. At a 5, you cannot feel your stomach at all. It’s neither empty nor full; it isn’t growling or feeling stretched.

It helps to develop a good mental picture of what’s happening to your stomach at these different levels of hunger and fullness. Make a fist with your right hand; your empty stomach is about that size.

This is a level 1. One or two handfuls of food will take you from a level 1 to a 5.

Another way to picture your stomach is to think of a balloon. When it’s empty you’re at a 1. When you blow that first puff of air into the balloon, it fills out gently and takes its shape. That’s a 5.

As you take a deep breath and force more air into a balloon, its elastic walls begin to stretch and expand. These are levels 6 through 10. Your stomach is able to stretch to a 10 in order to hold excess food; therefore, the numbers over 5 indicate how stretched or uncomfortable your stomach feels.

If you blow too much air in, a balloon would continue to stretch and eventually pop. Fortunately, stomachs rarely rupture, but most of us have eaten so much at one time or another that we’ve said, “If I eat one more bite, I will explode!” When you feel this way, you’re at a 10.

Of course, changes in blood sugar levels, energy levels, moods, and substances in the bloodstream resulting from the digestive process also signal hunger and fullness. These other clues help tell you how hungry or full you are.

It may be challenging at first to label your hunger and fullness levels with numbers, but as you practice, it becomes second nature. You can learn to use this awareness to decide when, what, and how much to eat.

Hunger and Fullness Descriptions*
1 – Ravenous: Too hungry to care what you eat. This is a high-risk time for overeating.
2 – Starving: You feel you must eat NOW!
3 – Hungry: Eating would be pleasurable, but you can wait longer.
4 – Hunger pangs: You’re slightly hungry; you notice your first thoughts of food.
5 – Satisfied: You’re content and comfortable. You’re neither hungry nor full; you can’t feel your stomach at all.
6 – Full: You can feel the food in your stomach.
7 – Very full: Your stomach feels stretched, and you feel sleepy and sluggish.
8 – Uncomfortable: Your stomach is too full, and you wish you hadn’t eaten so much.
9 – Stuffed: Your clothes feel very tight, and you’re very uncomfortable.
10 – Sick: You feel sick and/or you’re in pain.

* From the book series: Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat.

Michelle May, M.D. is a recovered yoyo dieter and the award-winning author of Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat: How to Break Your Eat-Repent-Repeat Cycle. Download chapter one at http://amihungry.com/chapter1.

Copyright Michelle May MD. Reprinted with permission.

Creating Mindful Moments

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I recently walked into a friends house after not seeing her for 2 months.  You know how it is; time goes so fast as we are busy filling our days with things “to do”.  Sometimes these things need to be done and other times, well, they don’t really need to be done but we do them anyway.  We leave very little time for the things that truly matter, like friends, family, loved ones.  I don’t mean that we don’t have conversations with them or even a dinner or two, but we tend to be so busy thinking about our “to do” list or what is happening tomorrow that we are never truly in the moment.

When I walked in, the very first thing she said to me was “You look great!” as she looked at me from head to toe, scanning my features.  In a split moment, so many things ran through my mind.  “Is she checking to see if I have put on a few pounds over the summer?”  “Does she not like my outfit of choice?”  “Does she dislike my haircut or color?”  “Do these shoes look weird on me?”  So many things in a split second.  None of which was positive from my perspective.

Why did I take a comment like “You look great!” and turn in into a rolling ball of brain games with myself, trying to analyze the meaning?  Then, in the next split second, I knew why. This was going to turn into a mindless conversation of us each stroking each others egos over what we thought the other person wanted to hear. We hadn’t seen each other for while and thats what people tend to do.  But that wasn’t what I wanted.  In that instant I knew I had an opportunity to take this from a meaningless conversation to something meaningful.

I said to her, “It’s great to see you!  How are you doing?”.  As we sat, she told me about her past 2 months of traveling and attempting to keep up with the children, and I truly listened.We laughed so hard at times our stomachs hurt.  Not once again did we talk about outward appearance or the like. We are friends, our bond goes deeper than the shallow things on the surface.

Take time to stop and notice the people around you for who they truly are. To those you love, ask how they are doing – and then stop to listen.  Look them in the eyes and be present with them. You will find these mindful moments make memories that are priceless and last forever.

 

TracieTracie Hammond has a B.S. degree from the University of Southern Maine. She is a certified nutritional consultant from the Global College of Natural Medicine, a certified personal trainer, and she holds many other fitness and nutrition certifications. Tracie uses the integrated approach to wellness, combining nutrition, exercise, and stress reduction techniques.  Tracie empowers her clients by coaching them to set realistic goals, identifying their strengths and obstacles, and setting weekly strategies to overcome these obstacles.

December 7 – 13 2014 is National Handwashing Awareness Week

National Hand Washing Awareness Week

Although the attached materials are created to engage children, handwashing is not just for kids.  This article, among many others too-easily-found when you Google ‘adult handwashing habits’, is a sad dose of reality for those of us who DO wash our hands.  Interestingly, 95% of people claim they wash their hands before leaving the bathroom, but take a look at the REAL numbers as people are being secretly watched.  Hmmmm.

So, it seems extremely relevant that we support National Handwashing Awareness Week to remind people about how handwashing can reduce the the spread of colds, diarrhea and many other infectious diseases.  And while you’re downloading and printing these flyers for the kiddos, maybe you’d like to print another one or two & take them to the office.  Be part of the solution! 

The 4 Principles of Hand Awareness:
1. WASH your hands when they are dirty and BEFORE eating.
2. DO NOT cough into your hands.
3. DO NOT sneeze into your hands.
4. Above all, DO NOT put your fingers into your eyes, nose, or mouth.

The 4 Principles of Hand Awareness have been endorsed by the AMA and AAFP