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 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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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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How’s your pump pressure?

Blood Pressure

Seriously. Think about your heart as your body’s main pump. You have pieces, parts, and PRESSURE. Don’t make your heart work overtime. If you have high blood pressure and are currently ‘off your meds’ – wake up!!! A stroke will not wait for you to make that long overdue call to your doctor, or get that extra $30 in your wallet for a prescription, or my personal favorite – change your lifestyle. If you are having difficulties with your blood pressure medication, there may be options. Talk to your doctor or talk to your pharmacist…don’t just sit there. Something could blow… Get your blood pressure under control. Learn more about high blood pressure and stroke from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Amp Up Your Fall Activity Level

Fall Activity

I’m not sure – I don’t think I’ve ever gained weight during the summer. I was thinking about that last evening. The reasons are obvious – mowing, gardening, bike riding, walking, camping…the days are longer and I seem to fit as much as possible into the daylight. Fall is a different story… I see the words “Thanksgiving” and “Holidays” and I start gaining weight. My plan this fall is to find ways to keep my activity level high in the evenings in spite of the cold, darkness, and less daylight. I just purchased a Walk at Home DVD that takes me through a 1, 2, or 3 mile walk…in my living room. It sounds lame, but after using it my heart rate went up and I could feel my quads and hamstrings burning. That’s my first plan of attack for the fall. With hunting and ski seasons right around the corner, we can’t afford to slow down. What’s your plan to keep your activity level up during the fall? Share your ideas and you could win one of three FREE tickets to Roaring Springs WaterPark in Meridian, ID!

How to Play:

  • Make sure you are registered and logged in to If you are not already a registered user,  please do so in the right hand column by clicking on the “register” button.
  • Make a comment on this blog post, answering the question: “What’s your plan to keep your activity level up during the fall?”

Winners will be drawn from all comments on Wednesday, 8/22/12 @ 11:30 a.m. MT.

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