Exercise for Stress Relief

Our days can be full of stressful situations and feelings. No matter how much we’d like to get rid of stress altogether, we find that is virtually impossible. Instead, a more realistic approach is to manage how we react and respond to stress. Exercise has numerous benefits for the body, including stress relief. It increases the body’s production of endorphins, which are hormones that act as natural pain relievers and encourage feelings of pleasure (Mayo Clinic). Physical activity is a good way to give your mind a rest by focusing on the present moment. It’s known to help improve your mood by lowering feelings of depression and anxiety. When we’re feeling stressed, it’s easy to turn to unhealthy coping habits like extra snacking or drinking. Exercise provides a healthier choice for coping. Let’s look at several examples of exercises that [...]

Stress… More than Just Frustrating?

Stress. We all face some form of it almost every single day. It can feel like a frustrating or annoying part of life, but did you know that it can affect us mentally and physically? Stress impacts all systems of the body, including our musculoskeletal, respiratory, nervous, reproductive, digestive, immune, and cardiovascular systems. Learning how stress can affect our entire body can help us choose better ways to manage it. How Stress Affects the Body Musculoskeletal System. Stress causes muscles to tighten. Over time this can lead to muscle pain and body aches. Chronic tension can be a trigger for headaches and migraines. Respiratory System. Stressful situations can cause rapid breathing. These quick breaths can leave you feeling short of breath and may trigger panic attacks. Nervous System. The nervous system triggers the release of stress hormones like adrenaline and [...]

Sleep Awareness Month

  Had to finish the book, lost down the social media rabbit hole, or “I just can’t sleep”. Any of these sound familiar? People have so many things that occupy their time now, that sleep might be an afterthought for many.  But activity at the cost of sleep is a mistake.  Many people fail to realize that the 25-35% of each day we spend sleeping is productive, and crucial to living an energetic and successful life. Like our diet and exercise habits, it can be difficult to make sleep a priority. Sleep gives our body and mind the chance to repair, rebuild and recover from the events of our daily life. While you sleep, your body repairs itself from the stress of the day. A productive night’s sleep helps our body in several ways: Renews energy. Boosts the immune system [...]

Exercise before Bedtime

  A consistent exercise routine is great for getting better quality sleep. However, can the time of day you exercise negatively impact it? We’re going to take a closer look at the research around sleep and exercise, the best time for activity, and tips for creating healthy routines. How Does Exercise Affect Sleep? For years many have believed that evening and late-night exercise would disrupt sleep. Recently, more studies have explored this notion to figure out how physical activity affects sleep quality. Exercise raises heart rate, body temperature, and adrenaline levels which can impact the body’s ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. However, the Sleep Foundation’s findings from a compilation of studies indicate that those who exercise after 8 pm fall asleep quickly and have similar amounts of deep sleep as those who exercise between the hours of 4 [...]

Social Media and Sleep

Is Social Media Keeping You Awake? Social media started to gain popularity in the early 2000s with platforms like MySpace. Over the last 20 years, it has expanded immensely to become part of everyday households. The ease and accessibility of modern social media has made it more common than ever to communicate at any time of day with the press of a button. It’s no wonder endless scrolling can keep us awake at night. Benefits & Drawbacks of Social Media Social media has opened so many doors for communication and networking. It can strengthen our connections with others beyond the confines of demographics, distance, and time. It can be a great outlet for those searching for support and interaction. Social media can even help us stay connected to loved ones through messages, pictures, and videos. While these benefits are numerous, [...]

Sleep and Tea

It is ironic that Caffeine Awareness Month is the same as Sleep Awareness Month. Before we plan to hit the pillow, eliminating caffeine within six hours of bedtime is a good idea. Thankfully caffeine-free teas come in several satisfying varieties.  Use these teas to add an herbal benefit toward healthier sleep. Tea and Caffeine Generally, tea has less caffeine than coffee does. But the amount of caffeine varies depending on the way the tea is processed. There are 2 main varieties of tea, Camellia sinensis and Herbal. Camellia sinensis tea, depending on the processing of the leaf, is used to make black, green, and white teas. Camellia sinensis teas vary in caffeine content and can be processed to produce a decaffeinated version. Herbal tea is a combination of any plant life other than the camellia sinensis. Herbal teas do not [...]

Easy Weeknight Meals

Make Time for Dinner Back to school brings the return of homework, weeknight sports practices, and very little time for much else. Although preparing dinner may feel like a chore, there are various strategies for making dinner both healthy and easy during a busy school week. If preparing a healthy meal comes at the expense of spending quality time with family, household chores, or squeezing in time to exercise, then these easy weeknight meal tips may be for you. Tip #1: Plan Creating a plan for weeknight dinners will prevent the dread from setting in when hearing “what are we having for dinner tonight?” Taking a small amount of time during the weekend to plan out each dinner will make sure you are ready for the week. Planning out meals also helps pull together your grocery list effortlessly. Fun meal [...]

Shake Up Your Exercise with a HIIT Workout

    High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a type of workout that alternates brief periods of vigorous exercise with periods of moderate activity, or rest (recovery). For example, a person could run for 30 seconds and then walk for three minutes. The periods of vigorous exercise and periods of rest/recovery can vary, as can the intensity levels of both. This allows HIIT workouts to be very adaptable to each individual and their fitness levels. The popularity of HIIT has remained on the rise thanks to continued research supporting it as an efficient and effective way to get and stay fit. HIIT is an excellent way for you to improve your fitness level and health, but it does require pushing your body to a higher intensity, so take your level of fitness into account before starting. Consulting a doctor before beginning [...]

Wellness for the HR Professional: Emotional Health

This has been a tough year for HR professionals. You may have had to give bad news about wages or loss, or you may be struggling to hire reliable workers. You have certainly been dealing with a lot of stress! Stress takes energy, and when we are out of energy, we suffer. Stress is the reaction to a threat (real or imagined) to your well-being, which results in a series of physical and emotional responses. Everyone experiences different symptoms of stress. Some of us get depressed, others get angry, anxious, or feel hopeless or lonely. Try implementing some of the strategies below to help you manage your stress and take care of your mental and emotional health. Have an action plan. When we are faced with stress, our human instinct is to react by either fighting or running away (The [...]

Wellness for the HR Professional: Nutrition

  Most of us feel like we are in survival mode as we return to the workplace. We have also gained the “COVID-19 pounds”. Take the following steps to healthfully go back to work. Be kind to yourself and slowly integrate health behaviors (back) into your life. These 2 major steps are meant to help you thrive during this time and not add more stress. Eat mindfully. This means to increase your awareness of what influences your food choices. Consider the following: Why am I eating? Am I hungry or am I stressed? Is this physical hunger or an emotional response? Enjoy your food. Use all your senses to enjoy your food. This means you eat slowly, take small bites and chew thoroughly. No distractions. Take time to enjoy your food. Stop working for a period, turn off the screen [...]