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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.

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Wellness in 10 - Ten Tips for Remaining Healthy This Winter

Posted By NWI, Monday, December 18, 2017

December is upon us which means we have hit one of the busiest times of the year. Although this month is filled with exciting events, most of us can’t deny that sometimes our wellness falls to the bottom of our priority list. To help you combat some of the urges to stay inside or indulge in savory foods, use the tips below to help you remain healthy during this time of year.  


Nutrition

  1. Don’t skip meals: We’ve all been here before. Skipping meals seems like a good way to save on calories, however when you do this, you are more likely to eat faster and in larger amounts. If you do want to save yourself some calories, stick to eating small, healthy snacks throughout the day.   
  2. Eat mindfully: Instead of diving into your meals, focus on how delicious the food tastes and take conscious bites. This will ensure you don’t overeat and as a bonus, you really get to enjoy your food! 
  3. Eat until you are full: If you want to save space for a dessert or just avoid the uncomfortable feeling that comes with eating too much, pay attention to how much you are eating and don’t go back for second helpings.  
  4. Eat food from a smaller plate: This old trick is a great way to ensure you don’t overeat while feeling like you’re getting your plate (and stomach!) full.  
  5. Know general portion sizes: Believe it or not, you can eyeball most portions and know whether you’re meeting the recommendations- no food scale required, we promise! Below are some common portion size comparisons you can use. 
  1. Meat: A 4 oz. portion of meat, fish, or poultry is about the size of the average smartphone
  2. Cheese: Your thumb can serve as a measurement for about a 1 oz. portion of cheese
  3. Chocolate: Chocolate portions should be about 1 oz., which is about the size of a dental floss container 
  4. Nuts: Picture an egg to estimate about a ¼ cup of nuts.  

Physical Activity

  1. Stay active by scheduling time in advance: By scheduling workouts in your planner, you are more likely to stick to your workout routine.  
  2. Incorporate ways to be active in your daily routine: Plan times to walk outside, or make chores more physically active around the house.  
  3. Use web-based exercise videos: For the times that you don’t want to leave home, turn to the internet to help you find workouts you can do from the convenience of your living room.  As a bonus, you usually can find workout videos that will perfectly match the amount of time you have to spend and the type of workout you want to achieve. 
  4. Make it a family event: Find a 5k run/walk in your neighborhood that you can do with family or friends. Events such as these are fun ways to incorporate physical activity in your day while having fun with the people you love! 
  5. Walk laps in a shopping center: Pair any holiday shopping with physical activity by taking a few laps around the shopping center.  

Tags:  Health  Holidays  Nutrition  Physical Activity 

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Wellness in 10: 10 Ways to Give (Besides Money)

Posted By NWI, Monday, December 5, 2016

With the December holiday season in full-swing, many of us are stretching our budgets for all the gift-giving that takes place, which may leave a little less than we had hoped for charitable contributions.  Fortunately there are lots of organizations that need more than money, so here are 10 ways you can give of yourself this holiday season without the pinch on your pocketbook. (Always contact organizations directly to verify what items they accept before donating.)

 

1.    Give Paws a Chance

 

Your local animal shelter probably could uses some help with their furry friends, including dog walking and grooming, cat grooming, and cage cleaning. Cuddle with your favorite animals and do good at the same time!

 

2.    Knit One For a Kid

 

Children's group homes are often hard-up for warm winter gear, so knit a hat or a pair of mittens for some kids, and feel good that you’re keeping somebody’s head and hands warm. If you’re craft-challenged, you can always donate your gently-used hats, scarves, mittens, gloves, jackets and boots to help kinds enjoy the season.

 

3.    Visit (Someone Else’s) Grandma and Grandpa

 

There are many elderly and infirm people in nursing homes throughout the country who spend most of their days isolated from the outside world. Consider spending some time with these people discussing current events, doing puzzles together, or reading to those who have lost the ability.

 

4.    Share Your Samples

 

Women’s shelters are often in need of toiletry items like soap, shampoo and conditioner. For those of you who travel for a living, consider keeping the toiletry items from your hotel stays to donate. The travel-size items are perfect for many women and families with shorter stays.

 

5.    Happiness Through Hair

 

The gift of your hair can be a huge sacrifice, but for those how are up for it, the wigs that can be created from your hair may make a world of difference to a cancer sufferer.  If you’ve got more than 10 inches of hair you’re willing to part with, consider making a donation to Locks of Love.

 

6.    Happiness Through Non-Hair

 

Not every cancer sufferer needs a wig, but many would still appreciate keeping his or her head warm. Break out your knitting needles again and donate hats and caps to your local hospital for those who may need them.

 

7.    Gift Wrap a House

 

Can you think of a better holiday present than a house!? You can get involved with Habitat for Humanity, and do just that!  You don’t have to have construction experience, and can donate as little as an hour or two.

 

8.    Souper Experience

 

Are you adept in the kitchen? Look to your local house of worship or homeless shelter to volunteer your time making food.  Often short-handed, these places make a world of difference for those that are finding themselves in need of a meal and a  bed, and you can’t beat the look on someone’s face when you hand them a hot bowl of soup on a cold day.

 

9.    Literal Lifesaver

 

If you’ve got the time, the inclination, and the willingness to put up with a needle poke, you may be a perfect candidate to donate blood, plasma, or bone marrow, and the gift you give may very well go on to save someone else’s life.

 

10. Look Around the Neighborhood

 

There’s nothing saying you have to travel great distances to donate your time or skills. Often you can find people in need in your own neighborhood. A sick parent may need help watching the kids. Someone in your building may need help moving. An elderly neighbor may need help shoveling the walk. In any case, you’re doing good right where you live, and you’ll probably make a new friend in the process.

 

 

We hope that was a helpful holiday gift guide!

 

Wishing you  the very best holiday season, however you celebrate, from your friends at the National Wellness Institute. 

Tags:  Charity  Giving  Holidays  Social Wellness  Wellness in 10 

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Wellness in 10: 10 ways to destress during the Holidays

Posted By NWI, Monday, November 30, 2015

As much as we all love the holidays, they can be very overwhelming. Between the travel, the crowds, the shopping, the budgets, and the family members we’re glad to only see once per year, there’s a lot going on even for the most well balanced among us. That’s why this month Wellness in 10 is dedicated to ways to destress during the holidays.

 

1.    Start Monotasking

Some of us are built for multitasking, and can handle whatever life throws at us (most of the time).  With the added tasks that go along with the holidays, however, it can build up to too much. For the month of December, decide to become a “monotasker,” making a list of everything that must be accomplished, and following each thing through to completion before starting the next thing. The focus this allows will let you be more effective at each task, and will make you feel more accomplished at the end of the day.

 

2.     Practice Gratitude

Setting some time aside during the holidays to appreciate what we have is one of the special reasons we love this time of year, but many of us get too bogged down to remember to enjoy them.  Plan time into your day to appreciate the time we’re able to spend with loved ones, and feel the holiday stress melt off.

 

3.     Don’t give away every minute

Just because we’ll be spending time with people this holiday season doesn’t mean we have to spend ALL our time with people this holiday season. It’s ok to take a break from all the hustle and bustle to let yourself recenter and calm down.  A short walk or some time with a book may be all it takes.

 

4.     Take a break from caffeine

Caffeine has a tendency to make us jittery and can prevent us from getting enough sleep. It’s also hiding in a lot of the holiday treats that we forget about (it’s in chocolate, remember).  Find a nice herbal tea and make that your drink of choice for the month of December to keep yourself from being on-edge.

 

5.     Sneak in some exercise

Exercise doesn’t always seem possible when the days are packed, but it’s been proven time and again to relieve stress. Schedule in some short exercise sessions, like walks on your work breaks, to let off some steam.

 

6.     Take in some sun

Giving you a boost of serotonin, a little sunshine will do you a lot of good during this time of year. We’re often stuck inside with work and family commitments, but get outside a little bit to feel better. If you can’t go outside, at least position yourself near a window in the sunlight for a few quick rays.

 

7.    Just say “No”

There are a million things you could do during this time of year, but it turns out that there isn’t always a lot you have to do.  Take some time once in a while to do a self-assessment, and if you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s ok to take some things off your agenda. “I don’t feel up to it” is a completely legitimate reason to bow out.

 

8.     Get hot (and spicy)

Spicy foods trigger endorphins, so take a break from the holiday treats in favor of some fajitas, salsa, or a steaming bowl of chili. You’ll avoid the onslaught of goodies, and your body will still get the positive feelings.

 

9.     Take a hands-on approach to stress relief

One study has shown that the health benefits of giving a massage outweigh the benefits of receiving a massage. For the short time you’re giving a massage to your partner, the holiday worries will be on the back-burner. Trade off with your partner, and you’ll get the best of both worlds.

 

10. ‘Tis better to give than to receive

Being generous has been proven to lower stress, so lend a hand in whichever way seems most appropriate. Your own worries will take a back seat to the task at hand, and someone else will be grateful for the help. You might offer to watch the neighbor’s kids while he or she goes shopping, shovel the sidewalk on your block, or make a donation to your favorite charity or nonprofit organization ( like NWI).

 

These are just a few suggestions to help you make it through the holiday season in one piece. If you have suggestions you’d like to share, find us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter!

Most of all, have a fun, safe, and relaxing holiday season – from your friends at the National Wellness Institute.

Tags:  Destress  Exercise  Health  Holidays  Nutrition  Stress  Wellness 

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Wellness in 10: 10 Ways To Be Well in December

Posted By NWI, Tuesday, December 2, 2014
Updated: Tuesday, November 25, 2014

 1.       Pick a designated driver. The holiday season is full of parties and get-togethers, many of which involve alcohol. Make sure the good times stay good by picking a designated driver to stay sober before you go out.

2.       Wash your hands often. Sure, it is always important to practice good hygiene, but this is a great time of year to be extra vigilant about hand washing. We travel more during the holidays which means coming in contact with more people from more places (possibly more germs!). Plus, it is influenza season and no one wants the flu to get in the way of the festivities.

3.       Get a flu shot. With all we know about the flu shot, this writer is still amazed that individuals can justify not getting one. I have heard everything from, “Can’t they make you sick?” to, “I’ve never gotten one.” Well, I’m not a disease specialist, but the CDC has some of those on its staff. Here’s what they say: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/

4.       For your financial wellness, make a budget before the holiday season. Individuals' pocket books can be stretched pretty thin with all of the new and flashy things to buy. Help your long-term financial goals by making a budget for gift-giving, entertaining, host gifts, etc. before the holiday season so your December bank statement won’t be such a shock.

5.       Practice balance. Eat a piece of pie. Have some sweet potatoes. Have a glass of wine if that’s your taste…just remember, the 10th bite and the 10th sip taste just like the first one. Practice moderation in your consumption. You won’t regret it.

6.       Exercise. In many regions, holiday get-togethers are inside events. Many times we get stagnant as we spend time visiting with friends and family. A little exercise before, during, and/or after get-togethers (family walk after a big meal?) can benefit both your waistline and your mental state. Exercise allows us to refresh our minds as well as our muscles.

7.       For social wellness, practice listening. Many of us get the chance to be around family and friends during the holidays that we are not normally around. This is a great time to learn from others and catch up on the lives of those we care about. If you have a senior relative, write down or record their stories. Those gems are priceless.

8.       Give. With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season and endless to-do lists, it might be easy to forget how many people go without. Some families do charity exchanges instead of gift exchanges. Some volunteer in soup kitchens for a day. There are many ways you can brighten the life of a stranger during the holiday season. You might find that in doing so, you've given a gift to your own spirit.

9.       Forgive and forget. The holidays are a great time to let go of grudges. While my family has always gotten along fairly well, I have friends who have holiday horror stories about this aunt or that cousin. If you can muster up a little forgiveness, the cheer of the holiday season is willing to do its part.

10.   Rest. Many people take vacation around the holidays, but don’t actually rest. Let’s face it, we all need to re-charge. Try to sleep in, or go to bed early at least a few days. Turn off electronic devices (and not just while flying). Give yourself permission to not think, not attend to, not react…if even for just an hour.

 

Tags:  December 2014  Emotional  Holidays  Intellectual  Occupational  Physical  Social  Spiritual  Wellness in 10 

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Well Ways to Celebrate the Holidays

Posted By NWI, Wednesday, January 1, 2014
Updated: Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Moderation this HolidayThere is a Christmas list circulating and the writer (a little girl) has asked for a string of very expensive items. This early installment of the January 2014 Wellness News You Can Use proposes some alternative ways to celebrate the holiday season that focus on spiritual, social, intellectual, physical, and emotional wellness.

Remember those less fortunate. From coat drives to giving trees, from soup kitchens to elderly neighbors…is there someone who could use your help this season?

Create, don’t buy. Ever watched children open gifts to the point of exhaustion? These instances make us question the point and spirit of the holiday season. Instead of buying this year, what if everyone had to make gifts or donate services/chores? From cookies to hats, memory albums to poems, and from cleaning bathrooms to shoveling…there is something we can all create that has value.

Donate. With all of the money you and your friends and family saved creating and giving personal services…there might be a little money left over. Is there a charity that might benefit during this season?

Focus on activities together, not gifts. Caroling, baking and cooking, sledding, board games and puzzles, ice-skating (surfing for those in warm climates); Make the holidays about enjoying friends and family. You may just start a new beloved tradition.

Moderation. Often times during the holidays we forget about moderation. It is a celebration after all, right?! But between less sleep, more food, more drink, and lots of presents, it is easy to lose ourselves, our goals, and our sanity. Have fun…but remember your roots. Your body and psyche will thank you.

Make time for the spirit. No matter your spiritual bent or religion, the end of a year and beginning of a new year is a good time to reflect, pray, give thanks, and center yourself.

Remember how things have changed. This letter was from 1938. The Adirondack Almanac published it in December of 2010 to remind us how simple things once were:

Dear Santa,
I would like a new pair of shoes for Christmas. -
Ruth

Tags:  Emotional  Holidays  Intellectual  January 2014  Physical  Social  Spiritual  Wellness 

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