Can this just be over?

Election

Voting stress. Enough said. Most of us would probably agree that the last year has been fraught with “political stress“. As we get closer to election day, stress heightens, blood pressures rise, and nerves are on edge. Election talk seems to permeate every corner from the home and office to social media to neighborhood talk. In some cases, election talk creates rifts between family members and friends. It can become one hot mess.

Here are some tips to keep you sane…

  • Educate yourself on the candidates
  • Accept that we all have a right to our opinion
  • Accept that you probably will not change another person’s opinion
  • Realize that your opinion may be just as “objectionable” to others as theirs is to you!
  • Remember –  political parties and politics are labels; at the bottom of it all is a person
  • Choose how much media you let into your life from polling info, to the evening news, to social media banter
  • Take care of yourself; that means step away from a discussion when you need to; don’t engage
  • Keep perspective in all things
  • Manage your stress and practice good health habits
  • Be kind
  • Vote!
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Thank You!

Gratitiude

Guess what? Thanksgiving can actually increase your wellness, health, and happiness. Giving thanks and having gratitude are very healthy habits and they reduce stress. This Thanksgiving, before things get crazy, take time to tune in to what matters in your life. Consider these questions…

  • Name 5 people you are grateful for
  • Name 5 physical abilities you are grateful for
  • Name 5 material possessions you are grateful for
  • Name 5 things that happened today for which you are grateful
  • Name 5 things you are grateful for in nature
  • Name 5 things you are grateful for about you!

Try a little gratitude this Holiday Season. It may help lower your blood pressure, sooth jagged nerves, and put a smile on your face. Watch the video 20 Things We Should Say More Often from SoulPancake – and have a laugh!

Share what you are thankful for…

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Got stress?

I know what you’re thinking – who doesn’t have stress? It’s a fact of life. True, but there are lots of things you can do to manage chronic daily stress. And, there are many reasons beyond headaches and ragged relationships to pay attention to your stress level. The biggest reason – it affects your health. Stress can cause your immune system to falter, it can play havoc with your blood pressure and heart rate, your digestive system can go crazy and your appetite can go whacky. When stress levels are high, creativity goes out the door and options don’t seem to exist. One of the biggest downsides to stress – it ages you! Who needs that? So get on it! Visit the Stress Center for coping resources. Try some natural relaxation techniques to chill out. Only have 5 minutes? That’s okay – try these ideas.

Quick tips to keep your stress in check:

  • Meditate – it’s a mini vacation!
  • Practice deep breathing
  • Practice yoga
  • Spend time with positive people
  • Connect – get (or give) a hug!
  • Get up and move – stretch it out
  • Get some sunlight
  • Take a nap
  • Change your environment – take a 5 minute walk
  • Read a book
  • Take a day trip

Make a comment to this blog post and you are automatically entered into a drawing for one of four sets of two FREE tickets to Roaring Springs Water Park in Meridian, IDYou must be a State of Idaho employee to win; drawing is 8/14/14 @ 10 a.m. MST.

How to play? Make sure you are registered and logged in to ChooseHealthMatters.com If you are not already registered, go to the column on the right. Click on “register” to get started. Make a coment on this blog post by answering the question, “What have you found most helpful to manage your stress?”. Winners will be posted on the Health Matters Stress Center webpage on 8/14/14. Join the conversation – this is a great way to share ideas!

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F.A.S.T.

Electronic Blood Pressure Cuff

In the course of our conversation at a meeting, I was stunned to learn that my tablemate had suffered a stroke. She was all of 34. She looked “normal” – she was bright, conversive, and appeared to be in reasonably good physical condition. Imagine my shock. You see, I know about strokes. Old people have them. In fact, my Dad died from one. Way back in my memory, I knew younger people could have one but somehow I had chosen to ignore that fact. This conversation brought it back, front and center. No matter what your age, you should know the warning signs of a stroke. This woman did and that’s what saved her from a lifetime of disability, or worse – death.

How about you? Do you know the warning signs? Take a minute to get in touch with your blood pressure. Know your numbers and understand what they mean. Record your numbers on a tracking sheet that you can give your doctor. If your blood pressure tends to be high, buy a home blood pressure monitor. If you are uncertain how to use it, check out the online instructional video. You’ll be a pro in no time.

Remember how to spot the signs…

F: Face Drooping
A: Arm Weakness
S: Speech Difficulty
T: Time to Call 911

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Put a little heart in your day.

Heart Health

There are many day-to-day things I take for granted. My heart is one of them. I met my heart last summer during an echocardiogram. I was amazed. I could see it and hear it. I watched the blood flow in and out. It was a bit like meeting a best friend, but a friend I had ignored for some time. That afternoon I took my heart to the gym. We “talked” in the car on the way over about stress and nutrition – and mostly about the “e” word – exercise. I vowed to pay more attention, and I have. So, how’s your relationship with your heart? It’s American Heart Month and a perfect time to renew that friendship. You can start by using some of the great tips on Heart Health.  Attend one of the heart health workshops this month. Get your cholesterol checked. Don’t just sit there; put a little heart in your day. February is a good month to re-kindle your friendsship with your heart.

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Taking Your Blood Pressure

It’s heart month! Is monitoring your blood pressure giving you stress? There are many tools available to help you learn to use an at-home monitor. Choose the right monitor for your needs. Watch the instructional video so you feel comfortable using your machine. Take your blood pressure regularly and track it. Give your doctor a history of your blood pressure numbers at your next appointment. It might eliminate the stress of those high spikes in the doctor’s office. Most importantly, take your blood pressure medication. Talk with your doctor if your medication is not working for you. (Estimate your health risks from high blood pressure. Take the quiz.)

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