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This site is an archive of our Well Written Blog posts until April 2020. For the most up-to-date content visit NWIJournal.com.

The opinions and thoughts expressed here those of the authors and do not necessarily correlate with those of the National Wellness Institute. Read more.


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Shorter Days, Body Clocks, and How it Relates to your Wellness

Posted By NWI, Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Updated: Monday, November 20, 2017

The days are getting shorter, and although many of us welcome the cooler weather, there is no denying that we may feel a little off during this time of year. 

Our bodies work on a circadian rhythm, and things such as a change in the amount of daylight have a way of effecting this rhythm and our wellness. Use these tools to help you stay on track as we head into the colder winter months. 


active lifestyleBe active

Continue with whatever workout routine works best for you and adjust to the changing seasons by trying new exercises. If you live in a snowy climate, try new workouts such as cross-country skiing or snow shoeing.  If you don’t want to leave the house, YouTube has a plethora of workout videos that are ready to use and can be tailored to what you are looking for.


circadian rhythmStick to daily routines

We get it. When it gets dark at 5 p.m., the urge to crawl under the covers and sip on hot chocolate is overwhelming. However, we can take a guess and assume that you wouldn’t normally do this at any other time during the year. Sticking to your normal daily routine as much as possible will help reinforce your circadian rhythm.


boost your moodEnjoy the sun, or something like it

Although you won’t be exposed to as much sunlight as you would during the summer months, finding ways to enjoy the sun will be crucial to help naturally boost your mood. This is especially important on the weekends, when you may have more time during the peak sunlight hours of the day. If you’re still having difficulty taking advantage of these peak hours, artificial light therapy may be something to consider. For more information, visit this page from Mayo Clinic


treatment optionsSeek additional help if needed

If you feel like your mood or energy level has affected you more than normal, it may be a good idea to talk with your doctor about different treatment options. 

No matter where you live, the change in seasons can affect all of us in different ways. We hope you will find these tips helpful as you continue to lead your best life. 

Tags:  active  routine  sunlight 

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Wellness in 10—Ten Ways to Nurture Your Skin

Posted By NWI, Friday, November 10, 2017
  1. Wash your face everyday and after exercising.  Use a mild cleanser and lukewarm water.
  2. Use an antiperspirant rather than deodorant to reduce sweating.
  3. Determine your skin type — oily, dry, combination, normal or sensitive — and choose skin care products tailored to that type.
  4. Examine your skin regularly for new or unusual spots, as well as anything changing, itching, or bleeding.
  5. Protect your skin from the sun by seeking shade, wearing protective clothing, and using a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
  6. Consider using petroleum jelly to treat minor injuries and moisturize dry skin and nails.
  7. Prevent blisters and corns on your feet by making sure your shoes fit properly.  Wear nylon or moisture-wicking socks, and keep your toenails trimmed.
  8. Moisturize daily. Apply lotion or cream while your skin is still damp from bathing to lock in moisture and get the best results.
  9. If you notice anything suspicious on your skin or if you have a question about skin care, see a board-certified dermatologist.
  10. Visit aad.org to get more skin care tips and find a board-certified dermatologist near you. 

Tags:  dermatology  moisturizing  Skin care  sunscreen 

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Live Your BREAST Life Beyond October with Bright Pink 

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, October 10, 2017

1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in their lifetime. As you think about all of the women in your life, these odds may not reassure you. But the bright news is that when women have the knowledge to be proactive about their breast health, they can truly make an impact.


80% of breast cancers are detected first by young women themselves and then confirmed by a medical professional.  This matters because when detected early, the 5-year survival rate for breast cancer is greater than 93%.


Bright Pink, a national non-profit focused on the prevention and early detection of breast and ovarian cancer, wants you to give your breasts the attention they deserve. It is crucial that women across the country take action to live their breast life—not just during October, but all year long.

 Breast Self-awareness is vital.

Practicing Breast Self-Awareness

Early detection starts with knowing your body—or “knowing your normal”—and understanding what signs and symptoms to look out for.


One of the key ways to “know your normal” is to be breast self-aware. We all have different breasts – different sizes and shapes with varying densities. So, what does “normal” mean? The key is to define what is normal for YOUR breasts. We have some helpful tips to practice breast self-awareness: 

  • Touch your breast tissue from multiple angles with varying pressure. You want to feel both the deep and surface layers, from the interior by your ribs to just below the skin. 
  • Make sure to cover your entire breast. Remember, your breast tissue extends all the way up to your collarbone, all the way around your side underneath your armpits, and into your breastbone. 
  • What you’re looking for are any changes in size, shape, contour, dimpling, pulling, redness or scaly skin on the nipple or breast. 


Establishing what’s normal for your breasts doesn’t happen with one check-in. It’s important to practice breast self-awareness routinely so that you can pick up on any changes that may happen over time. 


If you notice a change, that doesn’t necessarily mean that something is wrong. What’s important is persistence. It can be helpful to make a note in your phone of the change you noticed, or even draw it out on a piece of paper with two circles.  Set a reminder to check yourself again in 2-3 weeks.  If the change has persisted, it’s time to visit a healthcare provider.


Live Your Breast Life

Monitoring your breasts can be hard to remember to do. For many of us, it’s the 99th item on our to-do list. That’s why Bright Pink has created Breast Health Reminders. Breast Health Reminders will help you manage your breast health proactively by reminding you to check in with your breasts regularly via text-based reminders. These text messages will give you simple tips on how to take control of your breast health.  


Visit BrightPink.org/BreastHealthReminderSignUp to start living your breast life all year long!


Get information on Bright Pink's Assess Your Risk site here.


Get information on Bright Pink's Explore Your Genetics site here.



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How Nature Walks Make Your Brain Healthier

Posted By NWI, Wednesday, September 6, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, September 5, 2017


Infographic and article contributed by Rebecca Hill, Physiomed


There are many ways to improve your health, but if you’re looking for a simple strategy that provides real results, then walking may be the best option for your needs. It provides physical and mental health benefits while preventing the onset of disease.

Research shows that walking in natural settings can be even more beneficial to improving one’s health and performance.

This infographic from Physiomed can give you a better understanding of the benefits that walking in nature provides. You can implement this simple step in your own exercise program to enhance your well-being and increase your level of vitality. 

Walking in Nature for Better Health

Walking has physiological effects on the brain and body. It can change the nature of blood flow in positive ways while supporting the health of the immune, digestive, and reproductive systems. 

Natural settings are ideal for walking. Regular walks in the park or woods can produce about a 50% decrease in some mental health problems, such as those related to depression and anxiety. People who live close to natural green spaces are less likely to suffer from these conditions. 

How Walking Benefits Your Health 

Regular walks help you manage your weight and reduce food cravings, can relieve joint pain, and may lower the risk of osteoarthritis. Walking is a good way to reduce sick days by improving the strength of the immune system. It is a simple and powerful way to improve health and daily performance. 

Overcoming Today’s Health Risks 

People who live in cities are more likely to experience high levels of stress, depression, and anxiety. Left unaddressed, these issues can lead to secondary health problems that have lasting impacts. More than half of the people alive today live in urban areas. This number is expected to increase, along with the prevalence of heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, arthritis, asthma, and other common health issues. Walking in nature is the easiest way to help protect yourself from these and other diseases. Make walking a part of your daily routine to enhance your long-term well-being and establish a foundation of health for your future.  

Tags:  exercise  nature walks  stress reduction  walking  walking in nature 

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Wellness in 10: 10 Ways to Get Involved in Your Community

Posted By NWI, Wednesday, September 6, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, September 5, 2017
A community garden is a great way to give and get back from your community.

When we think about wellness, it is easy to only think about the different ways that we can improve our personal wellness; however, wellness is something that should be shared with everyone. What better place to promote health and wellness than right in our very own communities?  Getting involved with wellness in our communities isn’t just a way to promote something we love, but also a way to give back and help people reach their full potential. Getting involved in your community and volunteering have been proven to increase happiness and elevate personal wellness in addition to improving the happiness and wellness of others. Here are 10 ways to get involved in your community.

1. Shop Locally
We’ve all heard the saying “shop local,” but it can be so easy to just make a one stop shop at superstore chains, especially when we're busy or tired. While it’s not bad to shop at these stores, try giving local grocers, farmers markets, and restaurants that feature seasonal fruits and vegetables a try. Not only will you be helping the local food producers in your community, but also fresh fruits and vegetables are high in vitamins and less likely to contain artificial color and preservatives.

2. Volunteer Your Time
There are many different ways you can volunteer your time. It could be anything from picking up trash on the side of the road to helping the local park build a new jungle gym. It doesn’t necessarily have to be an entire day, either. Doing a little bit here and there makes a big difference.

3. Donate
Donations are an amazing way to help not only your community, but also the environment. Gifting money isn't your only option; you could donate clothes to your local charity thrift store or donate blood at your local clinic. The thought of helping others in need may give you the motivation you need to let go of unwanted and unused belongings.

Donating is also great for the environment. Every item that gets reused is one less piece of garbage that is getting added to a landfill.

4. Support Local Schools
Local schools put on a variety of different events and opportunities throughout the school year which help them to create revenue. Common examples are sporting events, concerts, and plays. These are all great opportunities to show your support. Many of these events have very affordable entry fees, providing you a chance to relax and socialize while raising money to buy new textbooks and computers. The next time you’re bored after work or on the weekend, check your local paper or school website and see if they have anything going on.

5. Attend Local Events
Whether it’s the county fair or just a brat fry outside the grocery store, attending events put on by your community is a great way to give back. These local events serve as a way for communities to bond, while bringing in a little revenue to your local town. This revenue can then be used to build more parks and bring in new business for your future enjoyment.

6. Take Classes at Local Facilities
Joining a class or club at one of your local businesses or facilities not only gets you involved in the community, but also gives you opportunities to meet people with similar interests. Check your city's recreation department, theater, or community center and see what they have to offer. There is often a variety of different types of classes or clubs that may interest you or give you a new hobby.

7. Perform Random Acts of Kindness
Performing random acts of kindness is often overlooked as a way to spread cheer and create a feeling of connection.  Something as little as returning someone’s cart at the store, holding the door open for someone, or even smiling and asking how your neighbor is doing can brighten someone's mood. Spreading positivity and kindness throughout your community will also make you happier as well!

8. Become a Mentor
Good mentors are becoming harder and harder to come by, and are extremely important for the growth of today’s youth.  A good mentor can not only give adolescents someone to look up to, but can also be a healthy role model to help steer mentees away from bad habits. Investing time at places like your local Boys and Girls Club is a great way to get involved with the youth of your community and can mean much more than you think.

9. Join Your Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)
When someone says to me “Community Emergency Response Team,” we may think of the neighborhood watch. CERT goes much further than that, however. The CERT program is a government program that teaches community members how to react and help in a variety of emergency situations. These courses teach skills such as first aid, fire safety, light search and rescue, and organizational leadership. Becoming part of CERT is often overlooked, yet is a wonderful way to help ensure the safety of your family and friends.

10. Start a Community Garden
If you’re looking to save some money or just enjoy fresh produce and gardening, check and see if your town or city has a community garden. Community gardens serve several purposes and give you a healthy hobby. They help you to eat healthier, get you out of the house, save you money, and allow you to meet new people. In addition to a great health and education tool for youth, starting a community garden also helps connect people and bring them together.

Tags:  community gardens  community involvement  donating  volunteering 

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Easy, Healthy Bag Lunches for Work

Posted By NWI, Wednesday, September 6, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Healthy Bag LunchesAs our lives to become increasingly busy, it can be harder and harder to find time to sit down and have a meal, let alone make sure it’s a healthy one. It can be so easy to take our lunch break and go through the drive-thru rather than spend a little time to bring a lunch from home. Statistics show that as Americans we spend about 10 percent of our disposable income on fast food, and over 40 percent of Americans frequently eat lunch at their desks.


Bringing a box lunch from home doesn’t need to be bland or time consuming, however. Check out the resources below, which provide ideas for meals that are quick, easy, and affordable. With a little planning, you can soon be in a routine that tastes good and has you, and your wallet, feeling much better. Bring your grab-and-go meal to a park or quiet bench and take your "take-out" to a whole new level!


From the BBC news channel, these lunch box recipes are quick and easy for you to prepare the night before, or even in the morning before work.


EatingWell’s website has several healthy recipe ideas that are not only cost efficient, but can also be made in a pinch.


This article provides a few healthy yet simple dishes that can be made with limited ingredients. Forkly also has several other articles about food that can give you a new take on what and how you’re eating.

Tags:  bag lunches  healthy eating  healthy meals  nutritious meals 

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Wellness in 10: 10 Things Wellness is Not

Posted By NWI, Wednesday, August 2, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, August 2, 2017

10 Things Wellness Is NotThere are many misconceptions about what wellness is, and often times we focus the majority our attention on the physical attributes of wellness. We are making sure to hit the gym, eat wholesome foods and practice meditation, but often we are lacking in other areas of wellness. If this sounds familiar, you are not alone. Many people are confused about what being well truly means. In this month's ‘Wellness in 10’, we'll look at 10 things wellness isn’t.

Wellness is not...

1.     …just working out.

Don’t get us wrong, working out is still very important, (so keep those tennis shoes on!) but being well doesn’t mean you have six-pack abs or can complete a marathon. So often we look at wellness as just working out. If our physical body is healthy then that means we are healthy, right? Not necessarily. Although we know that being physically active is an important part of being well, if we stop here, we are missing 5 other dimensions (according to the National Wellness Institute's Six Dimensions of Wellness).

2.     …only what you eat. 

Wellness is not a fad diet or cutting out certain food groups to maintain a lean body. Good nutrition is essential for a healthy body, but that doesn’t mean you need to lose your love for food to be well. Eating a salad and getting in your greens for the day will benefit your health, but eating healthy alone isn’t going to make you a well person. It's all about balance To be well in the physical dimension of wellness, even healthy eaters need to strike a balance between eating exclusively healthy foods all the time and indulging when they feel the need for a treat. The physical aspects of wellness such as healthy eating and working out are only one piece of the puzzle. While physical wellness is needed to become a wholesome person, we shouldn’t focus all of our energy solely in that area.

3.     …just for hippies and tree huggers.

You don’t need to be an expert yogi or meditate for hours every day to be well. Although these things can increase our well-being, you don’t need to be a master to reap the benefits. You can enjoy the amenities of an "everyday" modern life and benefit from regular yoga or meditation. These practices can help us attain a greater spiritual connection and increase balance in our lives, without requiring us to change who we are.

4.     …being stress-free.

If someone says they are well, don’t believe that they don’t experience stress. Everyone experiences stress, even those who meditate or practice stress management. Just because you experience stress throughout the day doesn’t mean you aren’t well. Stress is a normal part of human life. Learning how to deal with that stress in a healthy way is what makes the difference to the emotional dimension of wellness.

5.     …time consuming.

The most effective way to become and stay well is to find the things that you enjoy doing in your everyday life! You don’t necessarily have to set aside an hour and a half to work out after work. You can be well just by enjoying your daily activities such as walking your dog, playing with the kids, or even volunteering. If you like basketball, go shoot some hoops; if you enjoy being outdoors, go on a hike. Don’t feel the need to take extra time out of your day for an activity you don't normally enjoy but feel you "should" do. Doing the activities you enjoy not only gives you a physical boost, but recharges the emotional, and even spiritual dimensions.

6.     …a quick fix.

While activities that improve your wellness don’t have to be time-consuming, becoming well is a process. Engage in the activities you love with consistency to continually improve your wellness. It doesn’t have to be back-breaking by any means, but becoming well takes time. Putting in the time is the only way to get lasting results. While there are many advertisements for shortcuts to health, in the long run you aren't likely to reap lasting benefits or form lifelong habits for the change you want by turning to a quick fix.

7.     …a magic pill.

Speaking of a quick fix, there is no magic pill or supplement that will make you well. We see so many advertisements claiming that you can “lose 30 pounds in 30 days.” While these may help to some extent, many people often go right back to where they started, because they are skipping the habit-forming, progressive behavior building that forms lasting change. Even when trying to solve a health issue that may seem physical, like weight gain, we are so focused on the physical aspect of wellness that often times we forget to address the emotional or spiritual issues we are facing that may be contributing to the problem.

8.     …cutting things out.

Being well doesn’t mean you need to cut out that chocolate cake or stop binge-watching your favorite Netflix series. You don’t need to lose the things you love to improve your wellness. Wellness is about enjoying things in life so don’t feel like you need to dramatically change your lifestyle just to prove you are disciplined. Improving your wellness has more to do with healthy balance in all Six Dimensions of Wellness than it does with drastic restriction.

9.     …an end destination.

Wellness is a “self-directed and evolving process of achieving full potential” (National Wellness Institute). There is no end destination for wellness. It is ever-evolving and we shouldn’t look to an end destination to be happy. Every day is a new journey and wellness should be looked at as an ongoing process.

10.   …exclusionary.

Wellness isn’t an exclusive group. Wellness isn’t a gym membership, belonging to a church, or even being part of an organization. It’s about wanting to improve yourself and becoming the best that you can be. Anyone can be a part of it. You can be well by sitting on the beach enjoying nature, making delicious food for your family, or simply just taking your kids to the park. You don’t need to pay for a membership or exclusive club to be well. Wellness is for everyone and can be found in almost anything if you want to find it.

This article was written from the viewpoint of college students majoring in Health Promotion and Wellness at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. There are many misconceptions about what wellness is and they are often faced with a lot of questions as to what wellness really means.

It is not uncommon for people to think that wellness is only focusing on the physical dimension, and to assume that students in this major are only going to school to be personal trainers, or, conversely, that they are all “hippies” that meditate all day in all their classes (Which sometimes they do!).

When someone says they are “well” they aren’t saying they spend hours at the gym or eat the perfect diet. Each person is on his or her own wellness journey. It is important to realize that in order to grow in wellness, people need to look at other aspects of life besides the physical dimension.


About the authors:

Baihly is a senior Health Promotion and Wellness student from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. She grew up in Rochester, Minnesota, which played a major role in her pursuing a degree in the wellness field. From a young age, Baihly was a ballet dancer, which greatly influenced her own wellness journey. She believes that wellness is an ever-evolving process, and that each of us must really be in tune with our own body to know what is most needed to improve our wellness.

David graduated from University of Wisconsin-Manitowoc with his associates degree in general education and is now a senior at University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point as a Health Promotion and Wellness Major. David wants to guide people toward reaching their maximum potential and living long, prosperous, and healthy lives. With a particular focus on the environmental and emotional aspects of health, David seeks to help educate people on how to live happier and more sustainably.

Tags:  Stress  Wellness  working out  yoga 

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An Interview with Wellness Blogger Kacy Maska

Posted By NWI, Wednesday, August 2, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Kacy MaskaKacy Maska is a student member of NWI and currently attends Rowan University. She started her wellness journey through a series of unfortunate struggles with weight, bipolar disorder, autoimmune disease, and a knee injury. Through it all, though, she found herself more whole and healthy than ever. She documents her struggles and victories through a blog she created about a year ago called Triumph Holystic Living.


We were recently spoke with Kacy about some of her struggles, as well as the reasons behind starting her blog. She told us about what lead her on the path to wellness, and how getting in touch with her physical, spiritual, mental, and emotional health helped her in all the other areas of her life.

NWI: What lead you to start your blog Triumph Holystic Living?

KM: I went through a huge transformation in my diet and lifestyle. After experiencing the amazing benefits and improvements in my quality of life, I was compelled to share it with others.

I wanted to provide something that others could look at to be inspired to make changes in their own lives, so that they too could experience the amazing benefits of improving their habits and consequently, their wellness. So ultimately, to help others, share the knowledge given to me, and to provide some tools to assist others so that they too can live healthier and happier lives.

NWI: Why did you choose the name Triumph Holystic Living?

KM: This was something I prayed through often for some time, and it seemed to spark something that everything else that came to me never really expressed. I wanted to have something in the name that was simple and strong enough to be remembered, yet would make an impact. It also needed to speak to what my blog, page, story, and mission are all about—a holistic, natural, and healthy lifestyle, focused and centered on God. This is why I used a ‘y’ in ‘holystic’, because this journey for me has not only been about a physical transformation and becoming healthy, but also a spiritual transformation and becoming holy, both processes that are intimately interconnected and beautifully display restoration and redemption.

I want people to get an idea from the name of what it is like to be pain free after years of chronic suffering, to come off of multiple medications after being chained to them for years, to feel more healthy and confident in the body being dwelled in, to receive the peace and joy found in Scripture. My transformation story is one from tragedy to triumph, and it is found in the process of day-to-day living, a process that I will always accredit to the amazing transforming truths I have learned and applied both from Scripture and from the science of the human body and nutrition/fitness. Therefore, Triumph Holystic Living seemed to describe truly what my story and mission are all about.

NWI: What are your future plans regarding you and your blog?

KM: Once I complete my internship and officially attain my bachelor’s degree, my goal is to become a Certified Wellness Practitioner through NWI. Then my mission for Triumph will be to establish it as a platform which can serve others in multiple ways, helping them reach their wellness goals. I plan on facilitating online health and wellness group challenges, individual coaching, group workouts, personal training, and selling our homemade essential oils products. The goal for my blog is to provide an example of what a healthy lifestyle looks like, the benefits that can come from making changes, and dispel myths which can become barriers that inhibit us from reaching our wellness goals. I want people to know that being healthy isn’t always expensive or rigorous amounts of work, but something we can all achieve.

NWI: What are some of your biggest struggles?

KM: Definitely doubt. Doubt is one of the worst things I face, I think one that we all face. Before I tore my ACL and meniscus, I was one semester and student teaching away from getting my degree for health and physical education, a job that would provide good benefits: a stable salary, health insurance, a pension plan, tenure, etc. But at the time I had neglected many aspects of my wellness and I wasn’t holistically healthy, which I really got a chance to examine. As a mom of a 4-year-old, a full-time college student and coach, I was so used to being on the go that I never recognized the toll my lifestyle was taking on me holistically.


When I had to drop out of school for the semester for my surgery and recovery, experience a taste of what it was like to have my child taking care of me and being unable to take care of myself, and then to be diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis at 25, I realized it was time for a change. The changes I’ve made have greatly improved my quality of life, and I am so passionate about the impact they can make on the lives of others. I felt God tugging at my heart to make a big shift in my plans, to change majors to Health Promotion and Wellness Management, to utilize my gifts, knowledge, and experience to speak to others about how to take charge of their health, and about the ultimate reason why it is important that we do so. However, I struggle with doubt that I will be successful in this career switch, that I have what it takes, that I can help other people, that people will want what I have to offer.


I regularly refer myself back to Matthew 6:25-34, and keep moving forward in this mission with all I have, until I either fail or succeed!


NWI: What does wellness mean to you?

KM: I think wellness is finding balance and peace; doing your best to holistically stay healthy in all facets of your health. Not only focusing on diet but your physical fitness, intellectual health, relationships, emotions, and spirituality, as NWI's Six Dimensions of Wellness recommends. Wellness is realizing that wellness isn’t a feeling or an emotion, but a state of being able to hold on to what is good and true, even when things don’t feel good or seem like they're worth it.

NWI: What is one piece of advice for someone who may have a similar story to you or that may be struggling in his or her daily life?

KM: Take small steps and keep moving. That’s really it! Don’t give up when you mess up; failure is built into our DNA. You either win or you learn; you never lose…unless you’ve given up. Praying and studying Scripture is huge for me. When I don’t have the strength to keep going—or when I don’t perceive that I do, God gives me the strength and restores my state of mind. Some people may not want anything to do with God, and prayer/theology may not be for them, but for anyone who does, that’s always the first place to start.


Remember that wellness is not something that you can finish, it’s the small ongoing steps you take every day!


If you would like to read more on Kacy’s story, or need some inspiration throughout your day, check out her blog Triumph Holystic Living at triumpholystic.wordpress.com. She posts articles on everything from having and dealing with an autoimmune disease to strength training and nutrition. She shows how changing your view on food and exercise, and working on other areas in your life can lead to a more wholesome and fulfilling life. For daily ideas, tips, recipes, and inspiration, follow her social media accounts on Instagram @triumph_holysticliving and Facebook at /triumpholystic

Tags:  faith  inspiration  optimism  overcoming chronic illness  wellness 

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9 Wellness Apps to Check Out

Posted By NWI, Wednesday, August 2, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Wellness Apps You NeedHealth and Wellness is a vast topic that encompasses so many aspects of our lives. When it comes to improving our wellness, sometimes it’s hard to know where to start. Whether you are a wellness professional or someone who’s just getting started on your wellness journey, these apps can help you along. They can give you ideas on how to improve nearly every dimension of wellness using just your fingertips! While there are paid versions to some of these apps, most offer services for free. Here are nine wellness apps to consider today!*

1. Aaptiv
Whether you’re at the gym or traveling across the country, there is something for everyone in the Aaptiv app. Ever wanted to run a 5k or half marathon? They have a program for that! Need some yoga inspiration early in the morning? You can do that too. Not sure how to lift weights at the gym? Aaptiv has step by step instructions and programs on how to start a weightlifting program. Really this app does it all! You'll find real trainers motivating you to finish strong and playlists specifically set up to push you through the toughest workouts. It's like have a personal trainer in the palm of your hand. There is a free version of this app, or you can get full access for $9.99 a month.

Interested in gaining more knowledge about weightlifting and cardio workouts? Consider JEFIT. It’s for those just starting their workouts who want to get ideas on what to do, to people trying to find some new lifts to bolster their current routine. JEFIT’s user-friendly design allows you to set goals, record workouts, and find exercises to target specific areas. Each exercise has a small video on how to properly perform the exercise, and some tips on proper form, making it user-friendly, even for newbies. If you are looking for ideas to start a new workout routine or want to beef up your existing routine, take a look at JEFIT. It’s 100% free!

3. MyFitnessPal
  With access to the world’s largest nutrition and calorie database, MyFitness Pal is one of the biggest calorie tracking apps. It’s easy to use and allows you to scan the barcode of your food for easy tracking of pre-packaged foods. You can log your exercise and water intake as well as connect to your other wellness apps such as MapMyRun and PolarFlow, allowing you to automatically add in your daily workouts. This app can help with fitness goals, whether you are trying to lose, maintain, or gain weight. MyFitness Pal makes it easy to record your nutrition intake, exercise, and weight in one place. MyFitness Pal offers a free version of their app, as well as a premium version for $9.99 a month.

4. Sleep Cycle
Ever wake up feeling groggy and push the snooze button five times before rolling out of bed? Waking up rested is not just about how much sleep you get, it's also about timing. Sleep Cycle's goal is to help you wake up feeling refreshed and energized.


During sleep, we go through three different phases of sleep: light, deep, and REM-sleep (the “dream state”). This entire cycle takes about 90 minutes, and is repeated many times throughout the night. Sleep Cycle analyzes your sleep and wakes you up in the lightest sleep phase so you wake up feeling rested. It "knows" when your alarm should go off to wake you up in the lightest sleep cycle, allowing you to wake up more easily.

5. Aura
Ever thought about meditation but were not sure where to start? Aura can help to get you in the habit. It has a simple premise: every day you get a new, personalized, three-minute meditation. The daily meditation that appears is based on your mood. The app will ask you if you’re feeling “stressed,” “okay,” “great," etc., to find the perfect meditation for your day. Aura claims to target stress, anxiety and depression. If a short meditation isn't enough for the day, Aura also has relaxing sounds or a Mindful Breather feature, with which you synchronize your breathing to an animated circle that expands and contracts on your phone screen. Aura is a user-friendly way to start your meditation practice.

6. Happier
If you’ve been down in the dumps lately, or just been having a really rough day, you may want to consider Happier. Happier is a self-affirmation app and gratitude journal that allows you to keep track of all the little things in life that make you happy. You can keep your affirmations private or choose to make them public for the other people on the app to enjoy. Happier allows you to look back on the positives. Their supportive community is always there to help you feel better. Try this free app to boost your optimism!

7. HealthyOut
HealthyOut may be just the thing to eat out without sacrificing your diet. You can choose from options such as “paleo," “gluten-sensitive,” and “vegan” to find restaurants that serve dishes with those criteria. You can also use the filters to pick what kind of cuisine you’re looking for, making it easy to narrow down your search and find a restaurant near you. This is the app to try when you’re exploring a new city, or simply want to explore the restaurants in your home town.

8. Lumosity
It’s easy to workout physically, but have you ever worked out mentally? Well Lumosity's mission is just that. This well-known app uses research-based “brain training”science to create fun mini games. These games challenge your memory, attention, and cognition abilities and can then give you an analysis of your cognitive patterns. Lumosity’s games are designed by scientists who are constantly coming up with new challenges to keep you guessing. It is free to download, and the free version comes with three challenges per day for you. When you are ready for more, the paid version has over 50 cognitive games. The monthly price for the paid version varies from $12/month to $5/month depending on subscription length.

9. Mealime
Mealtime is a good app to try if you’re always on the lookout for new healthy meal suggestions. There are hundreds of recipes focused on a healthy, balanced diet. You can even customize it to pick foods that align with a diet you may be on or want to try, allowing you to create your own meal plans. Mealime also takes each ingredient from the recipes you’ve chosen and creates a helpful grocery list for you to check off at the store. Adding to this convenience, the app also provides nutrition information about each recipe. The grocery list feature and most recipes are free, but there are some pro recipes that require a $5 monthly subscription.


*This article is meant for informative purposes only. NWI does not endorse or support any of these applications and is not responsible for the content of third-party websites or applications.

Tags:  fitness apps  healthy meals  meditation  phone apps  wellness  wellness apps 

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Cape Cod Doctor Prescribes Shopping at a Farmers’ Market

Posted By NWI, Monday, April 3, 2017

What if getting a prescription meant a trip to the local farmers’ market instead of the pharmacy? Fruit and vegetable prescription programs are growing in popularity as more and more doctors and community programs work together to support patients who want to make changes in their diet. While nutrition advice usually just confirms things we already know we should do, fruit and vegetable prescriptions often provide vouchers that can be redeemed at local farmers’ markets and help off-set the cost of trying new foods or increasing the number of servings consumed. An article and podcast this month describes how physicians and a local community group teamed up to offer $30 a week in fruit and vegetable prescriptions to patients in the Cape Cod area to nudge patients into taking action. If small partnerships such as FlavoRx and the Peach Tree Farmers’ Market continue show positive results in patient health, satisfaction, and community connections, it may not be long until a trip to the farmers’ market after your doctor appointment becomes part of the routine. 

Tags:  April 2017  Nutrition 

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