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 Men’s Health Week

National Men's Health WeekJune 15 – 21 is National Men’s Health Week.  To quote Congressman Bill Richardson (Congressional Record, H3905-H3906, May 24, 1994):

“Recognizing and preventing men’s health problems is not just a man’s issue. Because of its impact on wives, mothers, daughters, and sisters, men’s health is truly a family issue.”

You can find a ton of resources and things to do on this website, and be sure to pass it on!

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.

December is Safe Toys and Gifts Awareness Month

Prevent BlindnessPrevent Blindness America has declared December as Safe Toys and Gifts Awareness Month.  The group encourages everyone to consider if the toys they wish to give suits the age and individual skills and abilities of the individual child who will receive it, especially for infants and children under age three.

It’s so easy to get carried away buying gifts for the kiddos that we sometimes neglect to consider the safety of such items.  Over 70% of emergency room visits for toy-related accidents were for children 15 years or younger.  This holiday season (and beyond), please consider the following guidelines for choosing safe toys for all ages:

  • Inspect all toys before purchasing. Avoid those that shoot or include parts that fly off. The toy should have no sharp edges or points and should be sturdy enough to withstand impact without breaking, being crushed, or being pulled apart easily.
  • When purchasing toys for children with special needs try to: Choose toys that may appeal to different senses such as sound, movement, and texture; consider interactive toys to allow the child to play with others; and think about the size of the toy and the position a child would need to be in to play with it. Consult the “AblePlay” website at http://www.ableplay.org/ for more information.
  • Be diligent about inspecting toys your child has received. Check them for age, skill level, and developmental appropriateness before allowing them to be played with.
  • Look for labels that assure you the toys have passed a safety inspection – “ATSM” means the toy has met the American Society for Testing and Materials standards.
  • Gifts of sports equipment should always be accompanied by protective gear (give a helmet with the skateboard)
  • Keep kids safe from lead in toys by: Educating yourself about lead exposure from toys, symptoms of lead poisoning, and what kinds of toys have been recalled; being aware that old toys may be more likely to contain lead in the paint; having your children wash their hands frequently and calling your doctor if you suspect your child has been exposed to lead.  Consult these two websites for more information:  www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/faq/toys.html,  www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002473.htm
  • Do NOT give toys with small parts (including magnets and “button” batteries which can cause serious injury or death if ingested) to young children as they tend to put things in their mouths, increasing the risk of choking. If the piece can fit inside a toilet paper roll, it is not appropriate for kids under age three.
  • Do NOT give toys with ropes and cords or heating elements
  • Do NOT give crayons and markers unless they are labeled “nontoxic”.

For more information:
Call Prevent Blindness America at (800)331-2020 or go to their website: www.preventblindness.org/children/safetoys.html

‘Mindless to Mindful Eating’ Success Story

Kelli and her family

Kelli and her family

Recently, Enliven Wellness Works sat down with Kelli Marchman Rivera to discuss her recent successes after completing the Mindless to Mindful Eating Corporate Wellness Program. Here’s what she had to say…

EWW: What positive health/mind/behavior changes have you experienced since the start of the program?
KMR: I am in control!!! Eating was taking over my life. I ate for every reason in the world except for being hungry. Since starting this program, I now am paying attention to what my body is telling me, and giving it what it asks for. Putting down my fork was the first step. Now, as a family, we eat more unprocessed foods (my husband is so excited about our new crock pot!), and we take the time to sit down with no distractions and enjoy each other’s company. And I’ve had my son tell others about how big your stomach actually is (a fist) and how much food it can hold. I LOVE hearing this thinking taking hold in my family.

EWW: How would you describe your health before you started Mindful Eating?
KMR: As an older teacher, I was eating to control stress. My weight was creeping up the scale, cholesterol was an issue, and I was always tired. I had also noticed the shape of my body changing, and while a little extra around the middle is common in 40-somethings, I was unhappy. I felt out of control, and it was time to do something. The Mindful Eating program came at exactly the right time for me. I used to eat everything on my plate without really enjoying it. Portion control was my biggest issue. Even now I still find myself eating everything on my plate. I just use smaller plates, or put half away before putting the food in front of me.

EWW: What motivated you to make these changes? 
KMR: As a teacher, there are many things that are beyond our control. Teacher evaluations, unruly kids, long hours, and new curriculum every year take its toll emotionally and physically. Eating was one thing within my power to control. And now I can.

EWW: What keeps you motivated?
KMR: My body is changing. While I do not own a scale, and never will, I feel that my clothes are fitting a little bit better. My mood is happier. Control does that. And in the back of my mind, the idea that being healthy will keep me around longer to take care of my family will always motivate me. I’ve also been talking to others about being mindful. While some have been resistant, I’ve had a couple come back and say, “You know, I tried putting down my fork, and I really did begin to feel satisfied before I’d finished the food.” Success!!! Friends in the program have also helped me. It’s nice to see a fellow mindful eater in the hallway, and celebrate successes together.

EWW: What are your future goals?
KMR: I will continue to eat mindfully, one day at a time. With the holidays coming up, this will be interesting. But no more diets! I am in control of me! I choose what I will eat, and this has freed me up from the guilt involved in what I used to think of as “cheating”.  I have also begun a weight training program in the mornings (Body Electric on PBS) that makes my body feel stronger. And I will continue to wear my pedometer. It’s a great motivator to get moving.

EWW: Do you have any advice for others who would like to improve their health but realize now that diets are not the answer?
KMR: Pay attention to your body. Slow down and listen. Food is not for comfort. Food is just for staying alive. Put your fork down between bites for just one meal. And see what happens. 

 

Enliven_Logo_sprout_1Enliven Wellness Works provides a full menu of workplace wellness solutions.  To learn more, contact Jennifer@Enlivenwellnessworks.com or click here.

November is National Diabetes Awareness Month

National Diabetes Awareness Month

National Diabetes Awareness Month, observed annually in November, is a time for individuals, organizations, and communities across the country to shine a spotlight on diabetes. Diabetes is a disease in which blood glucose levels are above normal. Most of the food we eat is turned into glucose, – or sugar – for our bodies to use for energy. The pancreas, an organ that lies near the stomach, makes a hormone called insulin to help glucose get into the cells of our bodies. When you have diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use its own insulin as well as it should. This causes sugar to build up in your blood.

Diabetes is one of the most serious health problems we face today. Over 8% (26 million) of the U.S. population are dealing with this battle.  Compared to the general population, African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, American Indians, and people with a family history are disproportionately affected by diabetes. Diabetes can be prevented or delayed  by maintaining a healthy weight, eating well and being active. With these steps, you can stay healthier longer and lower your risk of diabetes.

For more information on diabetes, visit http://www.diabetes.org. Or, to see what’s happening around the world on World Diabetes Day (November 14th), click here.