Category: Wellness

  • Family Caregivers: 5 Tools to Avoid Burnout

    August 10, 2020

    Tags: ,

     

    According to the National Center on Caregiving, a family caregiver (or informal caregiver) is “an unpaid individual (for example, a spouse, partner, family member, friend, or neighbor) involved in assisting others with activities of daily living and/or medical tasks.”  In the US, 85% of caregivers care for a relative or loved one with 42% of those caregivers supporting an aging parent. Since early 2020, we have seen this vulnerable aging population fall prey to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, those providing care for this group have also begun to fall prey to this virus’s demise in the form of care-fatigue. We’ve compiled a toolkit of some simple resources to help the caregivers that are on the frontline of care for their loved ones avoid burnout.

    5 Tools to Avoid Burnout

    1. Plan Your Communication

    When taking your loved one to any sort of appointment, plan out what you hope to accomplish while you are there. Make a checklist of what items you want to discuss with the provider. Ask your loved one what they would like to talk about as well.  In addition, keep your other family members informed about the care you are providing by establishing a weekly check-in whether through email or Facetime or phone call.

    1. Don’t Go It Alone

    Providing daily care can be immensely rewarding but can also be a physically and emotionally exhausting job. When the job seems bigger than you can handle alone, do some research into community resources for assistance. There are networks of caregiving agencies that can help with everything from personal care to behavioral issues. Determine what you can afford to pay for services and prioritize those that are most needed for you to maintain your own health.

    1. Self-Care is a Necessity, Not a Luxury

    Have you heard the saying “you cannot fill someone else’s cup if your own cup is empty”? In order for you to continue providing care for your loved ones, you must tend to your own care. This involves taking regular breaks throughout the day—maybe for a quick walk or some exercise—to clear your head and refocus your energy. This can also include seeking out respite care so that your immediate family can go out for dinner or even away for a few days. Self-care is a chance to recharge your batteries so you are fully able to care for others.

    1. Teach Them Tech

    This may seem like a daunting task, but teaching your aging loved one some easy technology tips can free up some time in your daily schedule for other pressing tasks. Help them use Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home to check the weather or call a friend or even to set alarms and reminders. Another handy tech tool is introducing them to the convenience and safety of telemedicine. Many elderly folks are unsure of transitioning to this kind of care, but with your support, this can be a great resource for their physical health appointments.

    1. Practice Positivity

    Frustration and fatigue are easy traps to find yourself in when providing care for others. The way to best combat this is through finding ways to reframe your thoughts. The author of the Blue Zone series, Dan Buettner, traveled the world to study the happiness of people in different parts of the world and found that if you find a balance of pleasure, purpose, and pride in life, you can achieve happiness even in tough, challenging times. You can change the way you approach the caregiving tasks in your day by seeking this balance of the 3 P’s.

    As the “new normal” begins in our world, you can also begin a new approach to your role as a family caregiver. Commit to using these trusty tools for avoiding burnout. They are time-tested and will help you achieve the correct, and happiness-inspiring balance that best serves both you and your loved ones.

    Resources:

    American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) “Caregiver Burnout: Steps for Coping with Stress”

    U.S. Administration on Aging—Eldercare Locator

    Family Caregiver Alliance

    Caring.com—Family Caregiver Basics

    Caregiver Action Network—10 Tips for Family Caregivers

  • CBD: Fact or Fiction?

    April 27, 2020

    Tags: , , ,

    The cannabidiol (CBD) market in the United States has taken off like a rocket. Some projections have this market reaching $16 billion by 2025. After years of singing its praises for treating, albeit illegally, a myriad of health issues, supporters of cannabis have seen an uptick of mainstream support in the last 2 years with the legalization of this herb in many states. The exact truth about its benefits is still under review. Let’s dive a little deeper into this trending topic.

    HISTORY & STATISTICS

    The first use of cannabis can be traced back as far as 500 BC as a Chinese pharmacopeia. Made from the hemp plant, CBD does not produce the hallucinogenic aftereffects of its popular cousin, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) derived from the same plant. In fact, CBD must contain less than 0.3% THC. In 2018, President Trump signed the Farm Bill which allowed farmers to legally grow hemp. Since this victory, the CBD market has definitely been amped up and its use has become so commonplace in our society that you can find a CBD store (or two or ten) in every city.

    • More than 60% of users claim CBD is being used to treat their anxiety.
    • Other widespread uses for CBD are for depression, sleep disorders, and PTSD.
    • In 2018, the FDA approved the first CBD product, called Epidiolex, to treat those with rare seizure disorders Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome.

    FACTS

    Users of CBD speak to its benefits in treating anxiety issues. With its widespread availability, consumers can find it in lotions, baked goods, and even makeup.  Because of this prevalence in the marketplace, the FDA and FTC are quick to squash claims that are unfounded in trials. Here are the facts:

    • CBD can come in varying methods of delivery.
      • Tinctures: concentrated herbal extracts suspended in alcohol or vinegar
      • Ointments
      • Vaping oils
      • Oil: extracts from seeds or flowers or stems of hemp put in a base oil to aid absorption
    • The exact amount that can safely be used in a day is unknown.
    • Side-effects include: drowsiness, digestive issues such as diarrhea, and irritability

    FICTION

    There is only one FDA approved use of CBD and that is for rare cases of epilepsy. So, when you see health claims for other than that use, they can be false.

    • NOT proven to be a treatment for cancer
    • NOT without consequences. Serious side-effects can cause serious damage to your health.
    • NOT proven to battle COVID-19.

    The use of CBD definitely has its supporters and detractors. When making a decision about its use, it is helpful to weigh the pros and cons and seek the truth. One thing is for sure—CBD is a swiftly growing market with high demand.

  • 8 Creative Ways to Move More When You’re Stuck at Home

    March 30, 2020

    Tags: ,

    The latest coronavirus, COVID-19, continues to be a major source of concern. Sports teams have cancelled seasons, companies are urging employees to work from home and social distancing is in full swing — all of which has anxiety at an all-time high. One way to help calm your nerves: exercise.

    “It can help reduce tension and elevate mood by releasing endorphins, as well as norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine,” says Alexandra Kreps, MD, a board certified primary care physician and internist at Tru Whole Care in New York City. “It can also work to stabilize mood and regulate sleep.”

    Plus, it’s “a proven strategy to help improve, strengthen and maintain a good immune system,” says Percell Dugger, a certified strength coach and founder of GOODWRK. Something we can all benefit from right now.

    But with gyms and studios clearing out and more folks finding themselves quarantined — either as a precautionary measure or by doctor’s orders — you may feel it’s inevitable that your workouts will fall by the wayside. To make things more complicated, you may now be working from home full-time while also taking care of your kids.

    Fortunately, staying active at home doesn’t have to be complicated or take a long time. We tapped fit pros for a couple of creative ways to get moving without risking your health — or the health of those around you.

    1. Dance It Out

    Put together a playlist of your favorite songs — “ones that get your heart pumping by just listening and that zap you into your own mental music video,” says Ivy Ledon, an instructor at 305 Fitness — and dance like no one’s watching.

    Not only has cutting a rug been shown to improve cardiovascular health, fight the effects of aging in the brain and improve your balance and stability (which can lower the risk of falling and getting injured), it’s also just plain fun!

    “Music is a universal language,” says Ledon, noting that 305 Fitness currently offers free online dance workout videos. And if your little ones are home from school, an impromptu dance party keeps them active and entertained, while helping them expend pent-up energy.

    2. Take a Squat Break

    Who says you need to be at the gym to drop it like a squat? You can do them pretty much anywhere. Plus a March 2020 study from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that squatting, which is a natural and functional movement pattern, not only offers higher levels of muscle activity than sitting but may also help reduce some of the associated health risks (think cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, etc.)

    In other words, a squat break may be just what the doctor ordered. Try while brushing your teeth, says Victoria Brown, a senior instructor at SoulCycle. Considering the American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth for two minutes twice a day, that’s a nice chunk of time to target every muscle in your lower body, including your quads, hamstrings and glutes, while you practice good oral hygiene.

    3. Strike a Pose

    Whether you’re a yogi or not, when anxiety is high, yoga should be a go-to. Here’s why: It’s a proven stress and anxiety buster. All you need is a mat or towel.

    Faheem Mujahid, a certified yoga teacher, personal trainer and mindset coach, suggests trying the following two poses while you’re on lockdown. They get your whole body involved and engaged your entire kinetic chain from head to toes, which if you’ve spent multiple hours horizontal, is likely needed.

    Move 1: Warrior I

    Why? Strengthens the legs, opens the hips and chest, and stretches the arms and legs

    Start with your feet about four feet apart, right in front of left, turning the toes of your back foot out to a 45-degree angle.
    Keeping the back leg straight, bend your front knee, making sure it’s stacked over the right ankle. Keep your hips and shoulders square to the front.
    Reach your arms straight up alongside your ears and bring your palms together to touch. Gaze up.
    Hold for three breaths, then switch sides.

    Move 2: Crow Pose

    Why? Strengthens the core, arms, back, wrists and inner thighs.

    Stand with feet wider than hip-width apart. Bend your knees and lower your torso between legs.
    Place your hands on the floor, scoop in your lower abs and lift your hips high, placing your knees into your upper arms.
    Transfer your weight into hands, tip forward and slowly lift one foot off the floor, followed by the other, tucking them in towards your butt.
    Hold for three breaths.

    4. Combine Cooking and Calisthenics

    Since you’ll likely be spending more time in the kitchen, use that time to do some leg lifts while you’re whipping up a healthy meal for yourself and your family.

    “By lifting your leg either to the side or behind you in an arabesque while you’re cooking, you can tone your glutes and outer thighs in a fun way,” says Robbie Ann Darby, a certified personal trainer and creator of RAD Experience.

    Looking for more of a challenge? Darby suggests adding a mini resistance band around your thighs or ankles to intensify the exercise so you really feel the burn.

    5. Walk This Way

    Whether you’re taking conference calls while working from home or FaceTime-ing with your friends, make the decision to simultaneously move your feet. Walk the length of your home, around the kitchen table or even up and down the stairs if you have them.

    Research shows it can boost your mood, energy and immune system. And all you need is at least 20 minutes. That’s two 10-minute calls or four five-minute calls, which is totally doable, and much better for you than sitting on your behind.

    6. Get Creative With Furniture

    Your house is full of non-traditional workout equipment just waiting to be used. Darby likes to head to her couch for killer core work. Her move of choice: V-sits. “When you do this exercise on the couch, which is cushy and therefore unstable, you get an extra burn.” It’s a great way to make your Instagram scrolling sessions more productive.

    Move 1: V-Sits

    Lie on your back on the couch with legs and arms extended.
    Simultaneously lift your torso and legs, bringing your hands and feet to touch. Hold.
    Slowly lower back down to the start and repeat.
    Aim for 3 sets of 10 to 15.

    Another go-to for Darby: barstool (or chair) push-ups and dips. “Upper-body work using a place where you usually rest your lower body never felt so good,” Darby says.

    Move 2: Incline Push-Ups

    Get into a high plank with your hands resting on a barstool or chair. Hands should be slightly wider than your shoulders.
    Engage your abs and lower down until your chest nearly touches the stool. Hold.
    Push back to the start.
    Try to knock out as many as you can in 45 seconds.

    Move 3: Dips

    Position yourself between two barstools — a hand on each one — or at the edge of a chair, hands positioned behind you.
    Lower your hips between the stools, so that legs are bent and thighs are parallel to the floor; arms should be straight.
    Bend your elbows and lower your body toward the floor until your arms form 90-degree angles.
    Push back up to start and continue for 45 seconds.

    7. Crush Calories With Chores

    Being confined to your home gives you the opportunity to turn mundane tasks into exercise opportunities. “Try mountain climbers, driving your knees up, while holding a plank position with dust rags under the balls of your feet or split lunges while you vacuum,” Brown says.

    Move 1: Mountain Climbers

    Press up into a high plank position like you’re about to do a push-up, with hands beneath the shoulders and your body in a straight line from head to heels.
    Bring your right knee into your chest, engaging your abs at the same time.
    Return your right knee to starting position.
    Bring your left knee into your chest, then shoot it back, switching legs at your desired pace.

    Or if you’re tired of watching those dirty clothes pile up and need to do a load of laundry or two, consider a round of biceps curls with the laundry detergent. “Try different angles,” Brown says. “Down the center, hinge at your hips and curl toward your opposite shoulder, then stand tall and curl out to the side.” You arms will thank you.

    Move 2: Biceps Curls

    Stand and hold weights in each hand, palms facing up and about shoulder-width apart.
    Keeping your elbows glued to your sides and your chest upright, raise the weights up toward your shoulders. At the top of the motion, focus on flexing your biceps.
    Slowly lower the weights until your elbows extend fully at the bottom without locking.

    If you’re feeling extra ambitious and have decided to not only wipe down your shelves but also finally color coordinate your books, use this as a moment to work your core. “Fill up a weekender bag with books and do Russian twists on your carpet or yoga mat,” Brown says.

    Move 3: Russian Twists

    Sit down on the floor with your knees bent.
    Keep your abs contracted and twist your torso to the right, bringing your arms out to the right as well.
    Rotate back through center, then twist to the left.

    8. Take a TV Break

    There’s likely to be a lot of television watching over the next few weeks. Each time a commercial comes on, Dugger suggests picking a few exercises — sit-ups, planks, push-ups, lunges, etc. — and doing 20 seconds on and 20 seconds off until your show starts up again.

    More of a Netflix-and-chill type? Either work out during the show or tell yourself you’ll do a dumbbell complex in between episodes. That involves performing a series of movements that complement each other back-to-back in a circuit without putting the weight down, Dugger says. Try this one:

    5 bent-over rows
    5 Romanian deadlifts
    5 cleans
    5 standing presses
    Do 5 rounds total

    Move 1: Bent-Over Rows

    Stand with your feet hip-width apart, a slight bend in knees, and a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing in.
    Hinge at hips and lower your torso slightly, allowing your arms to hang down.
    Keeping back flat, squeeze your shoulder blades and bend your elbows, pulling weights up to the sides of your ribs.
    Slowly lower arms back to the start.

    Move 2: Romanian Deadlifts

    Stand with your feet hip-width apart with a slight bend in your knees, holding a dumbbell in each hand out in front of you.
    Hinge at your hips, pushing your butt back as you lower the dumbbells down.
    Squeeze your glutes, hamstrings and core, driving your feet into the ground to rise back to standing.

    Move 3: Cleans

    Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart in a slight squat, holding a dumbbell in each hand at sides, palms facing in.
    Driving through your heels, explode up and flip your wrists so they face forward, bringing the weights to your shoulders.
    Straighten your legs to stand tall.
    Pause, then lower weights to your sides to return to the start.

    Move 4: Standing Presses

    Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, a dumbbell in each hand, arms bent slightly, hands slightly wider than shoulders, palms facing your body.
    Press the weights straight up, twisting them so your palms face forward at the top.
    Reverse motion to return to start.

    No weights? No worries. Dugger says you can use filled gallon water jugs, soup cans, heavy books or bags filled with things from your cabinet or even fruit (think apples or oranges).

    By Rozalynn S. Frazier, CPT

    Originally posted on livestrong.com

  • Employee Burnout in 2020

    March 10, 2020

    Tags: , ,

    For a long time, employee burnout has been dismissed. In some instances, it’s been written off as employee laziness or simply an employee being contrary. That, however, is no longer the case.

    In 2020, HR professionals are going to have to deal with it as a realized syndrome and one that is becoming more prevalent in the workplace. By going unmanaged, it has become an issue for companies all over the world. And if the trends are to be believed, it’s going to continue to go as a problem in the years to come. The impact is overwhelming. According to one article, in 2019 there was an increase in stress and burnout incidents reported. The result had an impact on workplace cultures actually causing them to decline.

     

    Employee Burnout
    Impact on Workplaces

    Employee burnout cases have increased to the point where the World Health Organization has officially recognized it as an occupational phenomenon. In fact, the WHO has included it in the 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases. The handbook describes burnout as “a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.”

    “As work becomes more intertwined with technology and work becomes more portable, the boundaries of personal time and work time are getting blurred,” Vishal Bhalla said. He’s the Chief Experience Officer for Parkland Health and Hospital System. “It’s important HR doesn’t puff its chest up and pretend it doesn’t exist and actually address it.”

    Why? Bhalla says it can impact so many things in the workplace and outside of it.

    “Burnout impacts safety issues. It impacts turnover. And there are many social effects because individuals who experience burnout tend to numb themselves by indulging in things one should not indulge in and they eventually end up hurting themselves or others,” Bhalla explained.

    Gallup recently surveyed more than 7,500 full-time employees about burnout. 23 percent of those workers said they felt burned out more often than not. An additional 44 percent reported feeling burned out sometimes. To put that into context, nearly two-thirds of full-time workers are dealing with burnout at some point while at work.

    As a result, those employees were nearly three times as likely to start looking for another job. Additionally, Ginger, an on-demand behavioral health provider, says 50 percent have missed at least one day.

     

    Causes of Burnout
    Bhalla said any number of things can lead to an employee experiencing burnout. Sometimes, it has to do with the relationship between the employee and his or her manager. It can also be tracked back to instances of bullying or discrimination. Another big component to employee burnout is the employee doing more than his or her fair share of work. Bhalla says this relates to, for example, the time it takes for the company to replace a member of the team that was promoted, left the organization or was terminated. In most situations, the team is expected to pick up the slack. That can lead to stress which can ultimately translate into burnout.

     

    Conclusion
    So how does HR solve for the problem?

    “We can leverage technology. We can leverage culture work. We can leverage engagement because the other end of the spectrum is an engaged team member,” Bhalla said. He also pointed to design thinking as an option.

    “It’s more incumbent on HR to take care of their people well. There are a lot of resources that are available for us to be able to impact burnout.”

    Creating a workplace where an employee is excited to come to work can help curb the possibility of an employee developing burnout. In reality, no one is immune, but creating an environment where employees feel happy, engaged and motivated along with having the tools they need to succeed goes a long way.

    By Mason Stevenson

    Originally posted on hrexchangenetwork.com

  • The Importance of Sleep

    January 29, 2020

    Tags: , , , ,

    Everyone knows that eating healthy, getting exercise, limiting alcohol intake, and not smoking leads to a healthy lifestyle. Did you know that sleep is also an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle? With 1/3 of our lifetime being spent sleeping, this part of our life must take importance. Let’s delve into why sleep is important and what you can do to improve this area of your life.

     

    No Snooze, You Lose

    At different stages in our life, we require different amounts of sleep. From birth to 4-years old, toddlers need about 11-14 hours of sleep. They are growing and learning both cognitively and emotionally and this takes lots of energy. To restore that energy that is expended during these active toddler years, they require lots of sleep! School-age children are some of the most active humans on the planet. Being at school from 8-3 everyday really wears their little bodies out. Because of their activity, these children need between 9 and 11 hours of sleep each night. As they grow into their teen years, kids need 8-10 hours. And, as adults, we need 7-9 solid hours of sleep a night.

     

    Why?

    During our restful time of sleep, our bodies are hard at work restoring, rejuvenating, growing muscle, repairing tissue, and synthesizing hormones. To say the least, our bodies are never at rest. When we are awake and moving, we are busy processing stimuli, converting calories to energy, and growing, to name a few basic functions.  When we sleep, these processes continue but our body also does the intricate work of strengthening our immune system, fighting disease and infection, and processing the day’s emotions through dreams. Scientists say the benefits of good sleep include:

    • Sharper brain
    • Healthier heart
    • Lower blood pressure
    • Weight control
    • Mood boosters
    • Steadier blood sugar

     

    Rhythm Section

    To get the optimized benefits of sleep you have to get your body in the correct circadian rhythm.  According to the National Institutes of Health, “Circadian rhythms direct a wide variety of functions from daily fluctuations in wakefulness to body temperature, metabolism, and the release of hormones.  They control your timing of sleep and cause you to be sleepy at night and your tendency to wake in the morning without an alarm.  Your body’s biological clock, which is based on a roughly 24-hour day, controls most circadian rhythms.  Circadian rhythms synchronize with environmental cues (light, temperature) about the actual time of day, but they continue even in the absence of cues.” Stimulants like coffee and energy drinks, alarm clocks, and even external lights can interfere with this rhythm and therefore have a negative impact on your overall health.

     

    How?

    To get the best sleep and the right amount of sleep, you need to optimize that circadian rhythm. Here are some tips:

    1. Stick to a consistent schedule of both bedtime AND waketime
    2. Go for a morning walk—getting your body up and moving when it wakes up from overnight sleep helps reset your rhythm.
    3. Limit evening technology
      1. bright lights confuse the brain into believing it’s still daytime
      2. blue lights—specifically in laptops and cellphones—should be turned off within 2 hours of bedtime

     

    Understanding the importance of and the benefits from a good night’s sleep will help you prioritize this task each day. Start doing the basic work of setting a consistent bedtime and build up to turning off that cellphone game early.  You can’t afford to skimp on sleep—your body depends on it!

  • Family Caregivers: 5 Tools to Avoid Burnout

    August 10, 2020

    Tags: ,

     

    According to the National Center on Caregiving, a family caregiver (or informal caregiver) is “an unpaid individual (for example, a spouse, partner, family member, friend, or neighbor) involved in assisting others with activities of daily living and/or medical tasks.”  In the US, 85% of caregivers care for a relative or loved one with 42% of those caregivers supporting an aging parent. Since early 2020, we have seen this vulnerable aging population fall prey to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, those providing care for this group have also begun to fall prey to this virus’s demise in the form of care-fatigue. We’ve compiled a toolkit of some simple resources to help the caregivers that are on the frontline of care for their loved ones avoid burnout.

    5 Tools to Avoid Burnout

    1. Plan Your Communication

    When taking your loved one to any sort of appointment, plan out what you hope to accomplish while you are there. Make a checklist of what items you want to discuss with the provider. Ask your loved one what they would like to talk about as well.  In addition, keep your other family members informed about the care you are providing by establishing a weekly check-in whether through email or Facetime or phone call.

    1. Don’t Go It Alone

    Providing daily care can be immensely rewarding but can also be a physically and emotionally exhausting job. When the job seems bigger than you can handle alone, do some research into community resources for assistance. There are networks of caregiving agencies that can help with everything from personal care to behavioral issues. Determine what you can afford to pay for services and prioritize those that are most needed for you to maintain your own health.

    1. Self-Care is a Necessity, Not a Luxury

    Have you heard the saying “you cannot fill someone else’s cup if your own cup is empty”? In order for you to continue providing care for your loved ones, you must tend to your own care. This involves taking regular breaks throughout the day—maybe for a quick walk or some exercise—to clear your head and refocus your energy. This can also include seeking out respite care so that your immediate family can go out for dinner or even away for a few days. Self-care is a chance to recharge your batteries so you are fully able to care for others.

    1. Teach Them Tech

    This may seem like a daunting task, but teaching your aging loved one some easy technology tips can free up some time in your daily schedule for other pressing tasks. Help them use Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home to check the weather or call a friend or even to set alarms and reminders. Another handy tech tool is introducing them to the convenience and safety of telemedicine. Many elderly folks are unsure of transitioning to this kind of care, but with your support, this can be a great resource for their physical health appointments.

    1. Practice Positivity

    Frustration and fatigue are easy traps to find yourself in when providing care for others. The way to best combat this is through finding ways to reframe your thoughts. The author of the Blue Zone series, Dan Buettner, traveled the world to study the happiness of people in different parts of the world and found that if you find a balance of pleasure, purpose, and pride in life, you can achieve happiness even in tough, challenging times. You can change the way you approach the caregiving tasks in your day by seeking this balance of the 3 P’s.

    As the “new normal” begins in our world, you can also begin a new approach to your role as a family caregiver. Commit to using these trusty tools for avoiding burnout. They are time-tested and will help you achieve the correct, and happiness-inspiring balance that best serves both you and your loved ones.

    Resources:

    American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) “Caregiver Burnout: Steps for Coping with Stress”

    U.S. Administration on Aging—Eldercare Locator

    Family Caregiver Alliance

    Caring.com—Family Caregiver Basics

    Caregiver Action Network—10 Tips for Family Caregivers

  • CBD: Fact or Fiction?

    April 27, 2020

    Tags: , , ,

    The cannabidiol (CBD) market in the United States has taken off like a rocket. Some projections have this market reaching $16 billion by 2025. After years of singing its praises for treating, albeit illegally, a myriad of health issues, supporters of cannabis have seen an uptick of mainstream support in the last 2 years with the legalization of this herb in many states. The exact truth about its benefits is still under review. Let’s dive a little deeper into this trending topic.

    HISTORY & STATISTICS

    The first use of cannabis can be traced back as far as 500 BC as a Chinese pharmacopeia. Made from the hemp plant, CBD does not produce the hallucinogenic aftereffects of its popular cousin, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) derived from the same plant. In fact, CBD must contain less than 0.3% THC. In 2018, President Trump signed the Farm Bill which allowed farmers to legally grow hemp. Since this victory, the CBD market has definitely been amped up and its use has become so commonplace in our society that you can find a CBD store (or two or ten) in every city.

    • More than 60% of users claim CBD is being used to treat their anxiety.
    • Other widespread uses for CBD are for depression, sleep disorders, and PTSD.
    • In 2018, the FDA approved the first CBD product, called Epidiolex, to treat those with rare seizure disorders Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome.

    FACTS

    Users of CBD speak to its benefits in treating anxiety issues. With its widespread availability, consumers can find it in lotions, baked goods, and even makeup.  Because of this prevalence in the marketplace, the FDA and FTC are quick to squash claims that are unfounded in trials. Here are the facts:

    • CBD can come in varying methods of delivery.
      • Tinctures: concentrated herbal extracts suspended in alcohol or vinegar
      • Ointments
      • Vaping oils
      • Oil: extracts from seeds or flowers or stems of hemp put in a base oil to aid absorption
    • The exact amount that can safely be used in a day is unknown.
    • Side-effects include: drowsiness, digestive issues such as diarrhea, and irritability

    FICTION

    There is only one FDA approved use of CBD and that is for rare cases of epilepsy. So, when you see health claims for other than that use, they can be false.

    • NOT proven to be a treatment for cancer
    • NOT without consequences. Serious side-effects can cause serious damage to your health.
    • NOT proven to battle COVID-19.

    The use of CBD definitely has its supporters and detractors. When making a decision about its use, it is helpful to weigh the pros and cons and seek the truth. One thing is for sure—CBD is a swiftly growing market with high demand.

  • 8 Creative Ways to Move More When You’re Stuck at Home

    March 30, 2020

    Tags: ,

    The latest coronavirus, COVID-19, continues to be a major source of concern. Sports teams have cancelled seasons, companies are urging employees to work from home and social distancing is in full swing — all of which has anxiety at an all-time high. One way to help calm your nerves: exercise.

    “It can help reduce tension and elevate mood by releasing endorphins, as well as norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine,” says Alexandra Kreps, MD, a board certified primary care physician and internist at Tru Whole Care in New York City. “It can also work to stabilize mood and regulate sleep.”

    Plus, it’s “a proven strategy to help improve, strengthen and maintain a good immune system,” says Percell Dugger, a certified strength coach and founder of GOODWRK. Something we can all benefit from right now.

    But with gyms and studios clearing out and more folks finding themselves quarantined — either as a precautionary measure or by doctor’s orders — you may feel it’s inevitable that your workouts will fall by the wayside. To make things more complicated, you may now be working from home full-time while also taking care of your kids.

    Fortunately, staying active at home doesn’t have to be complicated or take a long time. We tapped fit pros for a couple of creative ways to get moving without risking your health — or the health of those around you.

    1. Dance It Out

    Put together a playlist of your favorite songs — “ones that get your heart pumping by just listening and that zap you into your own mental music video,” says Ivy Ledon, an instructor at 305 Fitness — and dance like no one’s watching.

    Not only has cutting a rug been shown to improve cardiovascular health, fight the effects of aging in the brain and improve your balance and stability (which can lower the risk of falling and getting injured), it’s also just plain fun!

    “Music is a universal language,” says Ledon, noting that 305 Fitness currently offers free online dance workout videos. And if your little ones are home from school, an impromptu dance party keeps them active and entertained, while helping them expend pent-up energy.

    2. Take a Squat Break

    Who says you need to be at the gym to drop it like a squat? You can do them pretty much anywhere. Plus a March 2020 study from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that squatting, which is a natural and functional movement pattern, not only offers higher levels of muscle activity than sitting but may also help reduce some of the associated health risks (think cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, etc.)

    In other words, a squat break may be just what the doctor ordered. Try while brushing your teeth, says Victoria Brown, a senior instructor at SoulCycle. Considering the American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth for two minutes twice a day, that’s a nice chunk of time to target every muscle in your lower body, including your quads, hamstrings and glutes, while you practice good oral hygiene.

    3. Strike a Pose

    Whether you’re a yogi or not, when anxiety is high, yoga should be a go-to. Here’s why: It’s a proven stress and anxiety buster. All you need is a mat or towel.

    Faheem Mujahid, a certified yoga teacher, personal trainer and mindset coach, suggests trying the following two poses while you’re on lockdown. They get your whole body involved and engaged your entire kinetic chain from head to toes, which if you’ve spent multiple hours horizontal, is likely needed.

    Move 1: Warrior I

    Why? Strengthens the legs, opens the hips and chest, and stretches the arms and legs

    Start with your feet about four feet apart, right in front of left, turning the toes of your back foot out to a 45-degree angle.
    Keeping the back leg straight, bend your front knee, making sure it’s stacked over the right ankle. Keep your hips and shoulders square to the front.
    Reach your arms straight up alongside your ears and bring your palms together to touch. Gaze up.
    Hold for three breaths, then switch sides.

    Move 2: Crow Pose

    Why? Strengthens the core, arms, back, wrists and inner thighs.

    Stand with feet wider than hip-width apart. Bend your knees and lower your torso between legs.
    Place your hands on the floor, scoop in your lower abs and lift your hips high, placing your knees into your upper arms.
    Transfer your weight into hands, tip forward and slowly lift one foot off the floor, followed by the other, tucking them in towards your butt.
    Hold for three breaths.

    4. Combine Cooking and Calisthenics

    Since you’ll likely be spending more time in the kitchen, use that time to do some leg lifts while you’re whipping up a healthy meal for yourself and your family.

    “By lifting your leg either to the side or behind you in an arabesque while you’re cooking, you can tone your glutes and outer thighs in a fun way,” says Robbie Ann Darby, a certified personal trainer and creator of RAD Experience.

    Looking for more of a challenge? Darby suggests adding a mini resistance band around your thighs or ankles to intensify the exercise so you really feel the burn.

    5. Walk This Way

    Whether you’re taking conference calls while working from home or FaceTime-ing with your friends, make the decision to simultaneously move your feet. Walk the length of your home, around the kitchen table or even up and down the stairs if you have them.

    Research shows it can boost your mood, energy and immune system. And all you need is at least 20 minutes. That’s two 10-minute calls or four five-minute calls, which is totally doable, and much better for you than sitting on your behind.

    6. Get Creative With Furniture

    Your house is full of non-traditional workout equipment just waiting to be used. Darby likes to head to her couch for killer core work. Her move of choice: V-sits. “When you do this exercise on the couch, which is cushy and therefore unstable, you get an extra burn.” It’s a great way to make your Instagram scrolling sessions more productive.

    Move 1: V-Sits

    Lie on your back on the couch with legs and arms extended.
    Simultaneously lift your torso and legs, bringing your hands and feet to touch. Hold.
    Slowly lower back down to the start and repeat.
    Aim for 3 sets of 10 to 15.

    Another go-to for Darby: barstool (or chair) push-ups and dips. “Upper-body work using a place where you usually rest your lower body never felt so good,” Darby says.

    Move 2: Incline Push-Ups

    Get into a high plank with your hands resting on a barstool or chair. Hands should be slightly wider than your shoulders.
    Engage your abs and lower down until your chest nearly touches the stool. Hold.
    Push back to the start.
    Try to knock out as many as you can in 45 seconds.

    Move 3: Dips

    Position yourself between two barstools — a hand on each one — or at the edge of a chair, hands positioned behind you.
    Lower your hips between the stools, so that legs are bent and thighs are parallel to the floor; arms should be straight.
    Bend your elbows and lower your body toward the floor until your arms form 90-degree angles.
    Push back up to start and continue for 45 seconds.

    7. Crush Calories With Chores

    Being confined to your home gives you the opportunity to turn mundane tasks into exercise opportunities. “Try mountain climbers, driving your knees up, while holding a plank position with dust rags under the balls of your feet or split lunges while you vacuum,” Brown says.

    Move 1: Mountain Climbers

    Press up into a high plank position like you’re about to do a push-up, with hands beneath the shoulders and your body in a straight line from head to heels.
    Bring your right knee into your chest, engaging your abs at the same time.
    Return your right knee to starting position.
    Bring your left knee into your chest, then shoot it back, switching legs at your desired pace.

    Or if you’re tired of watching those dirty clothes pile up and need to do a load of laundry or two, consider a round of biceps curls with the laundry detergent. “Try different angles,” Brown says. “Down the center, hinge at your hips and curl toward your opposite shoulder, then stand tall and curl out to the side.” You arms will thank you.

    Move 2: Biceps Curls

    Stand and hold weights in each hand, palms facing up and about shoulder-width apart.
    Keeping your elbows glued to your sides and your chest upright, raise the weights up toward your shoulders. At the top of the motion, focus on flexing your biceps.
    Slowly lower the weights until your elbows extend fully at the bottom without locking.

    If you’re feeling extra ambitious and have decided to not only wipe down your shelves but also finally color coordinate your books, use this as a moment to work your core. “Fill up a weekender bag with books and do Russian twists on your carpet or yoga mat,” Brown says.

    Move 3: Russian Twists

    Sit down on the floor with your knees bent.
    Keep your abs contracted and twist your torso to the right, bringing your arms out to the right as well.
    Rotate back through center, then twist to the left.

    8. Take a TV Break

    There’s likely to be a lot of television watching over the next few weeks. Each time a commercial comes on, Dugger suggests picking a few exercises — sit-ups, planks, push-ups, lunges, etc. — and doing 20 seconds on and 20 seconds off until your show starts up again.

    More of a Netflix-and-chill type? Either work out during the show or tell yourself you’ll do a dumbbell complex in between episodes. That involves performing a series of movements that complement each other back-to-back in a circuit without putting the weight down, Dugger says. Try this one:

    5 bent-over rows
    5 Romanian deadlifts
    5 cleans
    5 standing presses
    Do 5 rounds total

    Move 1: Bent-Over Rows

    Stand with your feet hip-width apart, a slight bend in knees, and a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing in.
    Hinge at hips and lower your torso slightly, allowing your arms to hang down.
    Keeping back flat, squeeze your shoulder blades and bend your elbows, pulling weights up to the sides of your ribs.
    Slowly lower arms back to the start.

    Move 2: Romanian Deadlifts

    Stand with your feet hip-width apart with a slight bend in your knees, holding a dumbbell in each hand out in front of you.
    Hinge at your hips, pushing your butt back as you lower the dumbbells down.
    Squeeze your glutes, hamstrings and core, driving your feet into the ground to rise back to standing.

    Move 3: Cleans

    Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart in a slight squat, holding a dumbbell in each hand at sides, palms facing in.
    Driving through your heels, explode up and flip your wrists so they face forward, bringing the weights to your shoulders.
    Straighten your legs to stand tall.
    Pause, then lower weights to your sides to return to the start.

    Move 4: Standing Presses

    Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, a dumbbell in each hand, arms bent slightly, hands slightly wider than shoulders, palms facing your body.
    Press the weights straight up, twisting them so your palms face forward at the top.
    Reverse motion to return to start.

    No weights? No worries. Dugger says you can use filled gallon water jugs, soup cans, heavy books or bags filled with things from your cabinet or even fruit (think apples or oranges).

    By Rozalynn S. Frazier, CPT

    Originally posted on livestrong.com

  • Employee Burnout in 2020

    March 10, 2020

    Tags: , ,

    For a long time, employee burnout has been dismissed. In some instances, it’s been written off as employee laziness or simply an employee being contrary. That, however, is no longer the case.

    In 2020, HR professionals are going to have to deal with it as a realized syndrome and one that is becoming more prevalent in the workplace. By going unmanaged, it has become an issue for companies all over the world. And if the trends are to be believed, it’s going to continue to go as a problem in the years to come. The impact is overwhelming. According to one article, in 2019 there was an increase in stress and burnout incidents reported. The result had an impact on workplace cultures actually causing them to decline.

     

    Employee Burnout
    Impact on Workplaces

    Employee burnout cases have increased to the point where the World Health Organization has officially recognized it as an occupational phenomenon. In fact, the WHO has included it in the 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases. The handbook describes burnout as “a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.”

    “As work becomes more intertwined with technology and work becomes more portable, the boundaries of personal time and work time are getting blurred,” Vishal Bhalla said. He’s the Chief Experience Officer for Parkland Health and Hospital System. “It’s important HR doesn’t puff its chest up and pretend it doesn’t exist and actually address it.”

    Why? Bhalla says it can impact so many things in the workplace and outside of it.

    “Burnout impacts safety issues. It impacts turnover. And there are many social effects because individuals who experience burnout tend to numb themselves by indulging in things one should not indulge in and they eventually end up hurting themselves or others,” Bhalla explained.

    Gallup recently surveyed more than 7,500 full-time employees about burnout. 23 percent of those workers said they felt burned out more often than not. An additional 44 percent reported feeling burned out sometimes. To put that into context, nearly two-thirds of full-time workers are dealing with burnout at some point while at work.

    As a result, those employees were nearly three times as likely to start looking for another job. Additionally, Ginger, an on-demand behavioral health provider, says 50 percent have missed at least one day.

     

    Causes of Burnout
    Bhalla said any number of things can lead to an employee experiencing burnout. Sometimes, it has to do with the relationship between the employee and his or her manager. It can also be tracked back to instances of bullying or discrimination. Another big component to employee burnout is the employee doing more than his or her fair share of work. Bhalla says this relates to, for example, the time it takes for the company to replace a member of the team that was promoted, left the organization or was terminated. In most situations, the team is expected to pick up the slack. That can lead to stress which can ultimately translate into burnout.

     

    Conclusion
    So how does HR solve for the problem?

    “We can leverage technology. We can leverage culture work. We can leverage engagement because the other end of the spectrum is an engaged team member,” Bhalla said. He also pointed to design thinking as an option.

    “It’s more incumbent on HR to take care of their people well. There are a lot of resources that are available for us to be able to impact burnout.”

    Creating a workplace where an employee is excited to come to work can help curb the possibility of an employee developing burnout. In reality, no one is immune, but creating an environment where employees feel happy, engaged and motivated along with having the tools they need to succeed goes a long way.

    By Mason Stevenson

    Originally posted on hrexchangenetwork.com

  • The Importance of Sleep

    January 29, 2020

    Tags: , , , ,

    Everyone knows that eating healthy, getting exercise, limiting alcohol intake, and not smoking leads to a healthy lifestyle. Did you know that sleep is also an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle? With 1/3 of our lifetime being spent sleeping, this part of our life must take importance. Let’s delve into why sleep is important and what you can do to improve this area of your life.

     

    No Snooze, You Lose

    At different stages in our life, we require different amounts of sleep. From birth to 4-years old, toddlers need about 11-14 hours of sleep. They are growing and learning both cognitively and emotionally and this takes lots of energy. To restore that energy that is expended during these active toddler years, they require lots of sleep! School-age children are some of the most active humans on the planet. Being at school from 8-3 everyday really wears their little bodies out. Because of their activity, these children need between 9 and 11 hours of sleep each night. As they grow into their teen years, kids need 8-10 hours. And, as adults, we need 7-9 solid hours of sleep a night.

     

    Why?

    During our restful time of sleep, our bodies are hard at work restoring, rejuvenating, growing muscle, repairing tissue, and synthesizing hormones. To say the least, our bodies are never at rest. When we are awake and moving, we are busy processing stimuli, converting calories to energy, and growing, to name a few basic functions.  When we sleep, these processes continue but our body also does the intricate work of strengthening our immune system, fighting disease and infection, and processing the day’s emotions through dreams. Scientists say the benefits of good sleep include:

    • Sharper brain
    • Healthier heart
    • Lower blood pressure
    • Weight control
    • Mood boosters
    • Steadier blood sugar

     

    Rhythm Section

    To get the optimized benefits of sleep you have to get your body in the correct circadian rhythm.  According to the National Institutes of Health, “Circadian rhythms direct a wide variety of functions from daily fluctuations in wakefulness to body temperature, metabolism, and the release of hormones.  They control your timing of sleep and cause you to be sleepy at night and your tendency to wake in the morning without an alarm.  Your body’s biological clock, which is based on a roughly 24-hour day, controls most circadian rhythms.  Circadian rhythms synchronize with environmental cues (light, temperature) about the actual time of day, but they continue even in the absence of cues.” Stimulants like coffee and energy drinks, alarm clocks, and even external lights can interfere with this rhythm and therefore have a negative impact on your overall health.

     

    How?

    To get the best sleep and the right amount of sleep, you need to optimize that circadian rhythm. Here are some tips:

    1. Stick to a consistent schedule of both bedtime AND waketime
    2. Go for a morning walk—getting your body up and moving when it wakes up from overnight sleep helps reset your rhythm.
    3. Limit evening technology
      1. bright lights confuse the brain into believing it’s still daytime
      2. blue lights—specifically in laptops and cellphones—should be turned off within 2 hours of bedtime

     

    Understanding the importance of and the benefits from a good night’s sleep will help you prioritize this task each day. Start doing the basic work of setting a consistent bedtime and build up to turning off that cellphone game early.  You can’t afford to skimp on sleep—your body depends on it!

Español »