The Joy Of Running, by Amateur & Pro Runners Alike

(freelance writer and editor) shared that running is one of the best things you can get into. She has been running on and off for years, and while she still struggles to discipline herself to put her shoes on and head out the door, she can 100% say that every single time she has come back from a run, she feels great and am glad she went.
Running for her really helps her clear her head and feel good about herself. But at least in Australia, it surprises her how few fellow runners she sees at the oval, even on weekends with perfect running weather.

In this piece, Katie has collected stories & comments from fellow runners and hope that it can inspire at least 1 more person to consider getting into running. Earlier, I had put out this query:

To summarize, these are the main reasons people enjoy running in the stories:

  • For mental health (running releases feel-good hormones like norepinephrine, serotonin, etc) and meditation
  • Unplug from work ordinary life
  • Let your mind wander
  • Get away from negative emotions like worry, stress, and anxiety
  • A sense of accomplishment, progress, and purpose
  • Feeling more positive
  • Runners high (yes, it’s a real thing)
  • Take in the fresh air, smells, and sights

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How to Create a Space and Lifestyle for Better Sleep”

Rocio from Porch.com shared that social distancing is stressful and some of us are experiencing some hard time falling asleep or enjoying a good night’s sleep.   He suggests that if you tend to toss and turn at night, your sleeping troubles could be due to stress, your health, or it may be the way your bedroom is currently structured. Whether you suffer from insomnia or experience occasional trouble getting a good night’s rest, there are some things you can do to enjoy a deeper, more restful sleep. One of the best things you can do for your health and well-being is to get adequate sleep each night. Read on to learn more about the importance of getting a good night’s sleep and how you can take proactive steps at home for a restful slumber.

The Importance and Benefits of Getting a Good Night’s Sleep

Lack of deep sleep can have a major negative impact on your health. When you don’t get a good night’s sleep, you’ll feel sluggish and moody the next day. Some side effects of missing out on sleep include fatigue, an inability to focus, and overeating. Some studies have shown that lack of sleep can actually contribute to obesity since it increases your levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that makes you feel hungry during the day. If you get enough hours of sleep each night, you’ll be more focused and alert. Lack of sleep can cause serious safety issues, such as car accidents or injuries at work. REM sleep provides plenty of benefits that can improve your health, including:

  •    1. Improved learning and better brain function
  •    2. Steady mood (no mood swings)
  •    3. More energy – both physical and mental
  •    4. Healthy heart and lung function
  •    5. A stronger immune system

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Why You Should Consider Forest Bathing

College of DuPage Nursing Student Victoria Wilk feel that you probably don’t think about going into the forest when you think about bathing, but there are some reasons why you should start thinking about trees when you think about bathing. The Japanese began a practice called forest bathing. The best way to think about it is like sunbathing but in a forest instead of on a beach.

In an article by Karin Evans (2018), she reports that spending time in a forest, or at least in an area that has several trees such as a park if you live in an urban area, has a number of benefits. Forest bathing can strengthen your immune system, improve cardiovascular and metabolic health. It can also reduce stress, depression, anxiety, and anger. Spending time forest bathing may also help with sleep problems because of the reduction in anxious feelings.

How does forest bathing help? The oxygen levels in forests are higher than in urban areas since trees produce oxygen. Phytoncides, oils that are part of flora’s defense mechanisms against insects, fungi, and bacteria, are also present and benefit people’s health. Evergreens produce the most phytoncides, so they are the best forests to bathe in. Read more

Coronavirus Care

Dr. Sylvia, from Natural Paths for Lymphatic Wellness, in Aurora, IL  shared in their newsletter that they know things haven’t been same lately. With the change and disruptions to our normal lives and daily routines, it is important to focus on self-care and love ourselves.

Here are some top healthy daily habits that can keep you staying sane, fit, and healthy in these times:
Are you partaking in daily health habits to keep you illness-free? Diet and exercise are part of that, but habits extend beyond this that can result in feeling great inside and out. Here are a few of our suggestions to help you apply to your own life.
Meditation – You might think this is an odd habit to reduce illness. However, it can be connected to your emotional and overall health, as it assists in slowing your body down. You can focus on root issues and garner yourself more emotional control. You can calm down from life’s daily issues or problems with work, children, or anything upsetting.
When you don’t deal with issues, your body can become tensed and stressed. This, in turn, increases blood pressure, causes headaches, and leads to a lowered immune system. Simple daily meditation habits can help keep you illness-free.

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How to Overcome Your Confinement Blues

College of DuPage Nursing Student Sydney Black researched that the onset of COVID-19 has wreaked havoc worldwide and put a halt on nearly all normal activities of daily living. Within weeks, our country has faced many physical, emotional and financial conflicts. There are very few of us who have experienced a pandemic of this severity. Outside of the history found in a textbook, we are all having to endure the chaos created from this virus. According to the most current recommendations provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC, 2020), the practice of social distancing is one of the more favorable ways to stay healthy during this challenging time. Although this proposal may seem simple, an optimal outcome requires both an individualized and collective effort. There is no step-by-step guide on how to survive the confinement blues, but there are plenty of ways to pass time that is beneficial to both you and those around you.

Formulate a New Routine

The journey downhill is much quicker than the journey going up. The change accompanying this outbreak was quick and disruptive, leaving us with little time to adjust to a new routine. Considering there is an immense amount of suggestions on what we should and should not do during this time, the one thing you have total control over is yourself and your routine. A simple way to go about adopting a new routine is by finding a way to mimic your old routine. Distinguish the things you would like to complete throughout your week, making a plan, then maintaining consistency and tracking your progress will help with successfully formulating a new routine.

Enjoy the Fresh Air

The practice of social distancing does not mean you have to stay inside. Rather than spending all of your free time propped in front of a screen, getting outside and staying active in the fresh air is recommended for health. It is still possible to enjoy your time outdoors while keeping an appropriate distance between yourself and others. Go for a walk, grab a coffee at a local business, or simply relax and enjoy the sun. Regardless of what you may choose to do, these essential steps will help you stay away from the screens and center yourself within the slower pace of the nature surrounding you.

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Stop Cyberbullying Guide

Rob Mitchell is a Communications Specialist for The Beacon on Fios.Verizon.com, a Verizon authorized retailer. He shared with Healthy Lombard that the Beacon wants to spread awareness of the harmful effects of cyberbullying and to put an end to cyberbullying once and for all.

That’s why they created the Stop Cyberbullying Guide.  It provides users with cyberbullying stats, a quiz and a printable certificate of completion. and can be found at       https://fios.verizon.com/beacon/stop-cyberbullying/

This resource begins by describing Cyberbullying to be a type of emotional or verbal abuse carried out over technological platforms and writes that cyberbullying comes in many forms. If you have a device that can get online, you can encounter it as:

Hurtful text messages: Texts are private so the only the people in the conversation know about them which can make it hard for outside parties to intervene.

Harassing social media posts: Everyone can see public posts and repost them and continue to circulate them – there’s a wider audience viewing the ridicule.

Threatening emails: Cyberbullies can send impersonal emails and feel detached from the outcome without the face to face interaction.

Anonymous apps: A wide audience and anonymity is a recipe for cyberbullying disaster.

Compromising pictures: Ever had a picture taken of you that you didn’t like? Imagine what happens when that picture is posted and circulated around social media – not fun.
These are just a few ways cyberbullies can hurt their victims. Read more

SUPPORTING YOUR TEEN DURING COVID-19

Lee Beers, MD,  an Associate Professor of Pediatrics and the Medical Director for Community Health and Advocacy within the Goldberg Center for Community Pediatric Health and Child Health Advocacy Institute at Children’s National Hospital, and Danielle Dooley, MD, a pediatrician and Medical Director of Community Affairs and Population Health at Children’s National Hospital shared in a Rise and Shine post that the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has upended everyone’s lives, including teenagers who must now navigate school and socializing online. Drs. Lee Beers and Danielle Dooley have some suggestions for supporting your teen during COVID-19.

As mothers of teenagers, they have witnessed firsthand the dramatic change in our teenagers’ lives over the past few weeks because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Schedules that were once packed with school, sports and other events now loom a lot emptier in the coming weeks. The independence and autonomy that their teenagers once enjoyed have been limited by social distancing and school closures.

The good news is that there are lots of aspects of this new way of living that teenagers will readily adapt to, and are probably better suited to than adults. For example, they are already pros at digital engagement with friends and family, and many teenagers already had to manage school assignments online.

5 strategies to support your teen during COVID-19

Use the following five strategies to help your teen through this time: Read more

Today is … World Art Day – April 15

Today is World Art Day and Neve Spicer,  the founder of WeTheParents  just published an infographic titled “51 Benefits of Art Education for Kids.”

Neve feels that Arts Education in schools is currently teetering on a precipice. Overwhelmingly, parents feel that the Arts play a vital role in their children’s education. And yet, at the very same time, schools are under pressure to funnel their dwindling educational resources into a purely “academic” curriculum, focusing on math, literacy, and science.

It’s time to take a stand.

For one thing, learning arts improve academic achievement, and there are plenty of studies that show this. (Yes, some of these lack scientific rigor but this only highlights the need to invest more in robust research.)

More importantly, though, kids immersed in arts get the opportunity to experience the world, and themselves, in a different way; one that cultivates cognitive abilities, nurtures positive character traits, and fosters critical thinking.

Here are some of the benefits Neve shared:

1. BUILDS CONFIDENCE

Schoolage children can often grapple with their confidence. As they study art, the chance to present their work or to perform for their peers and community often presents itself. With this opportunity to shine, they are improving their self-image.

Performance arts are especially good at pulling kids out of their comfort zone and giving them a chance to become comfortable in front of larger crowds. (Source)

2. RAISES SELF-ESTEEM

Kids often base their self-worth on external factors. How do their peers regard them? How do they compare to the models on the covers of magazines?

Participation in the arts is something that comes from the inside; no one but the child can dictate the final product, and independence is encouraged. (Source)

3. TEACHES PERSEVERANCE

It can be easy for kids to get bogged down in the notion that lessons are over after the big test, a class is completed upon a final grade, and they only need to understand a topic well enough to do that last paper. Read more

HELPING KIDS DEAL WITH DISAPPOINTMENT

Eleanor Mackey, Ph.D.,  a child psychologist who works primarily with the Obesity Institute and Children’s Research Institute, shared in Rise and Shine that as schools close, and birthday parties, graduations, sporting events, and all other activities grind to a halt for the foreseeable future, millions of children, tweens, teens and young adults are faced with intense disappointment. Many of these events are occasions that have been long dreamt of or anticipated and the seemingly overnight cancellations are more than many kids can handle. It is equally devastating for parents to see their children experience such disappointment, and I have been asked (as well as asked myself), the best ways of helping kids deal with disappointment.

It sounds trite, but this is a unique teaching experience where we have the opportunity to help our children – and ourselves – learn resilience and how to deal with the disappointments in life. There are some good approaches to take, and some to avoid, that can help us emerge from this with more skills to deal with life’s disappointments as they come.

Thing to do when helping kids deal with disappointment

  1. The most important thing you can do at this moment is to validate your child’s disappointment. Let them know it is normal, healthy and reasonable to feel disappointed. Let them know you feel disappointed on their behalf. Let them talk about it, cry about it or process it in the way that works for them. Some kids cry others withdraw, others become angry. There is no right or wrong way to experience or express disappointment.
  2. Help your child label this emotion using words like, “I know just how deeply disappointed you are and that is making you feel and act very angry/sad. I understand, and it is okay to feel that way. I am so sorry and I hurt you.”
  3. Help your child find ways of coping with the disappointment so that they don’t get stuck in the emotion and can continue functioning. Say things like, “the disappointment isn’t going to away and it will always be sad that you didn’t get to do that planned activity. However, we need to make sure we keep going and lifting ourselves up. Let’s find something that helps us right now.” This acknowledges the feeling and doesn’t dismiss it, but also helps encourage them to move forward.
  4. Brainstorm ways to help cope. Journal or draw about it, connect with a friend who is also disappointed, plan a distracting activity, do an online meditation or mindfulness exercise together. Distraction and focusing on other things can help ease the pain. Talk about other things you are looking forward to in the future.

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How to combat loneliness and protect your health

Edward-Elmhurst Health Shared that the outbreak of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has completely altered our lives. Schools and businesses are closing. People are being asked to stay home and practice social distancing.

Even before COVID-19 made headlines, we didn’t need to leave home for much — not to shop, not even to socialize.

Despite the online conveniences and connectedness, there are a lot of lonely people. One in five Americans says they feel lonely or socially isolated. And it hurts.

Loneliness poses a greater threat to health than obesity. It can be as damaging to health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. How?

Research suggests loneliness impairs health by raising levels of stress hormones and triggering an inflammatory response, which in turn can increase the risk of heart disease, arthritis, type 2 diabetes, and dementia, among other issues. Feeling lonely can also lead to anxiety and depression.

The prevalence of loneliness typically peaks in adolescents and young adults and then again in older adults, with seniors being most affected. An estimated 43 percent of seniors feel lonely on a regular basis. Read more