Wellness at Work: How to Improve Mental Health in the Office

by Head Health Nutter on July 22, 2016

Is going to work a super stressful event for you? Today’s guest article by Brooke Chaplan shares some management tips to improve the workplace, and if you’re an employee, you might like to send this article to a manager that is open to boosting the bottom-line by taking care of the company’s best asset: their employees!

Businesses the world over are beginning to see that while physical health has always been a big concern in the workplace, mental health is just as important. When employees are under stress and begin to experience overload, it can negatively impact the entire company. What can your company do to ensure employees are mentally in shape?

Here are a few suggestions to help you assess and mitigate mental health concerns:

Wellness at Work How to Help Workers' Mental Health in the Office

Have Mental Health Days
Some companies are seeing the value in de-stressing their employees with a mental health day. These days are geared at being fun and relaxing and work to help employees identify stressors and how they affect their work. To help employees get rid of stress, create fun activities that are geared at working out frustrations and resolving conflicts. Many studies show that this technique works out well and companies that are using these tactics find their employers are better mentally the next day.

Open Door Policies
If an employee has an issue, they need to be able to freely talk to their superiors about it. Making sure every employee knows they have someone to talk to is important. While you do not want someone in the office complaining non-stop, you do want the employees to know that they have someone they can talk to. An open door policy creates a positive work environment. Consider having specific days during the month or week dedicated to having employees ask managers question or addressing concerns.

Bring in a Behavioral Analyst
A behavioral analyst can help you to match people in specific groups and find others that work better together. By simply monitoring different behaviors, you can help create a dynamic workflow where people work more peacefully together. Not everyone is going to get along of course, but using these techniques managers can match those who work well together and those who do not. In fact, studies are finding that having a behavioral analyst on board is so valuable that your company may want to invest in the future of someone willing to step up and take on this position. Schooling like getting an applied behavior analysis masters can help provide training that is beneficial to the company.

Use Positive Reinforcement
It can be easy to punish when an employee is not doing their part, but it is also equally as important to reward for good deeds and good work. Rather than always looking at the negative side, learn to focus on the positive, and you can do wonders to boost employee morale. Have contests for employee of the month, offer gift cards and prizes for work well-done, and do things to get moral up and make work more enjoyable.

Having a great work environment starts with just a few basic steps. The environment around you will dictate how employees respond and their overall mental health. By implementing just a few positive changes, your employees will enjoy coming to work and the overall mood and health of your establishment will improve.

About the Author

Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. For more information contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.

Do you have anything to suggest that might improve mental health in the workplace?

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3 Healthy Routines to Work into Your Schedule

by Head Health Nutter on July 20, 2016

Living a healthy, balanced lifestyle is a challenge – that’s why Live Lighter was created! So all the tips and tricks we can gather are needed to help us figure out what works for us as individuals. In today’s article by Jennifer McGregor, she shares with us 3 routines we can try working into our schedule to create a healthier lifestyle.

Most of us lead crazy lives and often maintain habits that are less than beneficial. Getting back on a healthy track can seem complicated and exhausting, leaving many of us unwilling to try. Fortunately, a few little changes in your weekly routine can improve your life and make the bigger changes less intimidating.

Here are a few beneficial activities to add to your schedule:

chopping1. Pick a Cooking Day

Between work, family, friends, school, and whatever else you have on your plate, enjoying a home cooked meal seems out of reach. It can be much easier to order takeout or invest in a freezer full of pre-made meals. However, regardless of your schedule, you probably have a day that is less busy than others. On that day, try setting aside a few hours to plan and prepare freezer meals to reach for instead of ordering takeout (again!).

This day can be devoted to ensuring there are fresh, healthy meals ready to thaw and eat every day of the week. This allows you to plan a more nutritionally complete diet which will, in turn, greatly benefit your mental wellbeing. A good diet can work against common mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.

2. Create and Stick to a Nightly Routine

About 30% of American adults struggle with sleeplessness. It’s a fairly common problem to experience at least once in your life, particularly if you are very busy during the day. It can be difficult to shut your brain off with so many things to think about. Establishing a nighttime routine will work to signal the brain when to shut down; this is critical for your mental and physical health. As you repeat the routine (making sure to adhere to a certain bedtime), your brain will learn that it needs to begin unwinding.

An effective nightly routine should include going screen-free at least thirty minutes before your bed. Wind down with a book, draw or sketch, or find an activity that doesn’t involve a screen or backlight. You might also consider drinking some chamomile tea or cherry juice to move the process along.

With 15 minutes to go before bed, put on sleepwear. The change of clothing is a very apparent signal for the brain. You might fill the next 15 minutes with the book or activity you were doing before. This gives the brain a full half hour to realize it is time to shut down.

3. Find Time to Both Relax and Exercise

You have probably heard about the importance of exercise your entire life and of course, keeping active is the best way to improve your physical health along with your mental wellbeing. However, relaxation is also a very critical aspect of wellness. One of the best ways to relax and shed the stress of the day is to meditate.

Meditation has been proven to have a positive effect on mental health regardless of religion. The act of clearing the mind and sitting still without worrying about what comes next is possibly the best thing you can do for yourself.

Learning effective meditation takes time and practice but is easily incorporated into the day. Start with just five minutes of trying to clear your mind. This can be done in the car, at work, or as part of your nightly routine. As you start to feel comfortable, increase the amount of time. Ideally, you want to shoot for a half hour, but whenever works best for your schedule will still have a positive effect.

Making a few small alterations to your daily or weekly schedule can set you up to make even bigger life changes. The clear-headedness provided by meditation, good nutrition, and quality sleep will make these changes feel more manageable and more beneficial as you see how the smaller ones have helped you. Start with one or two and slowly, you will notice improvements in your overall wellbeing and quality of life.

Image via Pixabay by ayeletphotography

About the Author

Jennifer McGregor has wanted to be a doctor since she was little. Now, as a pre-med student, she’s well on her way to achieving that dream. She helped create PublicHealthLibrary.org with a friend as part of a class project. With it, she hopes to provide access to trustworthy health and medical resources. When Jennifer isn’t working on the site, you can usually find her hitting the books in the campus library or spending some downtime with her dog at the local park.

Have you tried any of these routines that changed your life for the better? Tell us about them in the comments below.

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Fit and Fab Forever: 5 Steps to Lifelong Health

by Head Health Nutter on July 18, 2016

Who doesn’t want to be fit and fab forever? Check out today’s article by Emma Sturgis for ways in how to achieve this lofty, but very achievable, goal!

Like it or not, none of us will live forever—no matter what we do. Sooner or later, your internal clock runs out and there’s a good chance that DNA has a big say in how long you’ll last. Regardless, there are a number of simple things that anyone can do at any age to boost their personal longevity.

Senior man lifting a dumbbell an showing us his muscleEat Well and Eat Appropriately

While there’s no single cause for the recent increase in cancer and obesity rates, mass-produced food is definitely part of the problem. The average person consumes far too much refined sugar, high-fructose corn syrup and factory-farmed meat. Eat sensible portions of organic foods as often as possible and minimize processed meat consumption.

Find the Perfect Exercise Regimen

Unless you won the genetic lottery, a lack of exercise will shorten your lifespan by a wide margin. A mix of cardio and a little weight training or calisthenics to selectively build lean muscle mass is highly recommended. Whether you prefer biking, running, kayaking, yoga or recreational basketball, regular exercise is imperative.

Prioritize Education & Prevention

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Recognizing & Treating Dehydration

by Head Health Nutter on July 16, 2016

Dehydration is one of the most serious things that can happen during summer weather. If we don’t do what it takes to avoid this condition, it can lead to very serious health problems and even death. Keep reading today’s article by guest blogger, Sara, to understand the signs and symptoms of dehydration, and how to treat it.

The body requires a large amount of water to function normally. Every process, from circulation to digestion, utilizes water extensively. When the levels of water begin to drop in the body, all kinds of functions begin to fail. If action is not taken quickly enough, the condition can become urgent enough to cause death.

There are a number of ways that we can reach this critically low level of water in the body. Many stomach viruses and diarrheal ailments can cause the body to cast off excessive amounts of water, creating a hydration deficit that can become very serious. This is especially true in young children, who do not have the water reserves that adults typically have, and in the elderly, whose body systems may already be fragile.

hydrate

In hot summer weather, it is very easy to become dehydrated. Increased activity levels along with hot, humid conditions can move water out of the body faster than it can be replenished. It’s during this phase that the urgent care San Francisco residents can get will steer them toward some simple treatment steps.

Before we progress too far into treatment, though, let’s back up and look at the big picture of dehydration, beginning with the most important step in any medical situation: Prevention.

Prevention Is Key

Most people who are in a situation where dehydration is likely are well aware of the risk. They are expecting to do strenuous activity of some kind, and the weather conditions are likely to exacerbate the dehydration process.

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How to Quit Smoking without Packing on the Pounds

by Head Health Nutter on July 13, 2016

One of the biggest mental roadblocks to stopping smoking is the fear of gaining weight. In today’s article, guest blogger, Helen Farthing, shares with us a few hacks in avoiding weight gain on our stop smoking journey.

If you’ve just decided to quit smoking, congratulations are in order. Smoking is one of the hardest habits to let quit, prompting Mark Twain himself to remark, “Quitting smoking is easy. I’ve done it a thousand times.”

The American Cancer Society states that the culprit is nicotine, which studies have shown to be as addictive as heroin or cocaine. Smokers quickly become physically (but also emotionally) addicted to nicotine, and quitting leads to an array of withdrawal symptoms, which can include depression, anger, dizziness, and, sadly, increased anxiety, appetite and weight gain.

stopping-smokingRecent studies have shown that the average weight gain when kicking the habit is around 4.5 kg (or 10 pounds). It is important to note that this is just an average; researchers noted that there was great variability in the amount of weight gained, with some people even losing weight. One quarter of participants to the study only put on less than two pounds, while an equal number of persons gained over 17 pounds!

There are two main reasons why smoking cessation can result in weight gain. Firstly, nicotine slightly raises the metabolic rate, so that more calories are burned than normally. Secondly, quitting can lead to irritability and anxiety, since levels of serotonin (a feel-good hormone) can decrease, leading to strong cravings. When we cannot rely on cigarettes to quell these cravings, we logically turn to food. [click to continue…]

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3 Great Workouts For Lean Mass

by Head Health Nutter on July 11, 2016

The new definition of health is being “lean.” In today’s article, guest blogger, Daisy Croft, explains exactly what lean muscle mass is and why we need to increase it. She also provides us with three workouts to help us achieve this goal!

Your body is made of muscles, tissues and ligaments and bones. It also has:

  • A certain amount of fat – regardless of how fit you are.
  • Lean mass.
  • Water and so on.

There is also a huge difference between body mass and body weight. This is an interesting ‘technical’ aspect to consider because it will help you calculate your lean body mass.

pushupsWhat is lean body mass?

Lean body mass is an important aspect of the composition of your body. Simply put, it is calculated by subtracting your body fat from your body weight. Your body has lean mass and fat in it and you can get your lean mass when you deduct body fat from your body weight.

Many experts believe that going with the lean body mass is a better way to judge fitness levels than body weight per se. In fact, when it comes to checking out metabolic disorders and even designing fitness routines and dietary patterns, it is better to go with lean mass.

For an individual such as you, it does benefit to increase lean mass.

Why increase lean mass?

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If you have kids and you’ve never been into sports yourself, you may be wondering why many parents choose to complicate their lives by signing their children up for activities they may not even like. Today’s article by guest blogger, Anica, helps us see that starting to play sports from a young age can have a huge impact over a lifetime.

Spending your free time doing something you love is the goal of nearly everyone. If the things you love boost your heart rate and respiration, you are doing more than enjoying your idle time, you are also improving your health. An active lifestyle can increase your life expectancy, improve your quality of life, and add more enjoyment to your days.

Track athlete exploding out of the starting blocks ** Note: Slight blurriness, best at smaller sizes

Sports Make You More Active

Regardless of the sport or sports you play, regular participation is sure to boost your activity level. The benefits of an active lifestyle are numerous, both physically and mentally. Individuals with a high level of physical activity in their life can actually change the composition of their brain, increasing their ability to learn, think and memorize.

Being physically active also reduces the risk of many diseases, including cardiovascular disease, dementia, and diabetes. In fact, the health benefits of an active lifestyle are well documented and numerous.

Playing Sports Gives You a Network

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Air Conditioning: Friend or Foe?

by Head Health Nutter on July 7, 2016

I’ve never liked air conditioning – it’s always made me congested. Although it can be a huge relief when it’s 40 degrees Celsius (plus the humidex, like it is today!). Whether you hate air conditioning or love it, check out today’s article which features an infographic on the health factors surrounding air conditioning.

Did you know that there is an illness that is known as ‘sick building syndrome’ which many people suspect is as a result of air conditioning issues? While it may not be the most glamorous of topics, air conditioning can be a divisive topic when it comes to the potential impact it can have on a person’s health.

Take people with Asthma as an example. In built up areas with high levels of pollution outside, being indoors in an air conditioned building can assist to prevent airborne polluted particles from getting into a person’s lungs and impairing their breathing. On the opposite spectrum, if a person spends too much time in an air conditioned building there have been reports of higher rates of respiratory infections.

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How to Stay Fit & Healthy on the Road

by Head Health Nutter on July 5, 2016

Summer is in full-swing and vacations are being planned as you read this. The downside to a vacation, however, is more often than not, our healthy routines get thrown off track and we slip into our old unhealthy ways. If you want to avoid that this summer, keep reading today’s article by guest blogger, Will Norquay.

It’s hard to remain healthy while you are on the road. Months and months of hard work and steady dieting can go down the drain in one road trip. Your time will be limited and you will be unfamiliar with your surroundings which will throw you off your routine; it helps to know a few tips and tricks.

healthy-on-roadPlan and organize

So, you are on the road and after a long meeting or fun-filled excursion, the only available options are greasy burger joints and hot dog stands. If you’re starving, what choice do you have, right? Well if you packed a healthy salad in your bag along with some fruit, you have an option that will actually benefit you.

Before you go on the road, take the time to plan and organize your daily routine. Make note of good restaurants that serve healthy food and when they close, find time to fit a trip to the supermarket into your schedule. Its little things like this that allow you to avoid the food that will only make you feel bad.

Snack smart

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5 Tips to Stay Hydrated During the Summer

by Head Health Nutter on July 3, 2016

It’s heating up in the Northern Hemisphere and we’re losing water at a rapid rate – sometimes just by sitting in hot, humid weather! Hydration is one of the top recommendations by all health professionals so I’m happy to share today’s article by guest blogger, Sarah Landrum, for ways to stay healthy and hydrated this summer.

It’s hard to believe there’s a downside to summer weather, but, unfortunately, there’s one — dehydration. Dehydration occurs when your body loses more fluid than it’s taking in. And, because summer weather causes you to sweat more, you’re probably losing a lot more fluid than you did during winter.

cleansing-hot-lemon-waterThe symptoms of dehydration range from a swollen tongue to confusion to fainting. You don’t need to worry about those signs, though, if you make an effort to keep your body hydrated throughout these warm months. It’s more than just drinking water — although that’s a solid place to start.

Here are five ways to keep yourself quenched.

1. Drink Water

It’s mentioned above, but it’s worth noting again, since water is such a vital player in the fight against dehydration. Water does so much for your body. It not only brings nutrients to different parts of your body, but it also keeps circulation strong and removes waste as necessary. Water is also an aid in keeping body temperature steady, as it pulls heat away from your vital organs and, instead, pushes it out as sweat.

This function is obviously very important during the summer, and a cool body temperature will certainly help lessen the chances of becoming dehydrated. Be sure to drink the amount that your body needs, based on your size and weight, adding more for activity or outdoor time. You can also factor in the amount of coffee, tea, milk and juice, as they contain enough water to help you remain hydrated.

2. Avoid Drinks That Dehydrate You

Not every beverage is going to aid in your hydration. Drinks packed with sugar or caffeine over-stimulate the body, throwing off its balance and causing you to lose more hydration than you gain from drinking them. You can probably guess that energy drinks are a no-go in the quest for hydration, but so is alcohol. As much fun as it is to imbibe on the beach or by the pool, dehydration is expedited by drinking alcohol.

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