We’ve all heard the old adage that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” (Benjamin Franklin). When it comes to our health, and specifically heart health, this quote could not be more applicable. While genetics certainly play a role in the health of our hearts, our lifestyle and preventive care behaviors also play a significant role. Since February is American Heart Month let’s talk about some things we may be able to do to keep our hearts healthy.Continue reading Celebrate Heart Month by Investing in Yourself
Summer in Vermont…. bluebird skies, vibrant greens of the trees and meadows, flowers blooming in their bright, stunning hues, the beautiful sound of birds singing, the shimmering crystal blue waters of our lakes and streams…Vermont has it all. Not only is the environment stunningly beautiful and awe inspiring but it’s also good for us.Continue reading Celebrate National Parks and Recreation Month!
We’ve all heard the old saying that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” The phrase was coined back in 1736 by Benjamin Franklin to remind the people of Philadelphia to be vigilant about fire awareness and prevention. Regardless of the issue we are referring to, prevention is always easier that managing challenges after they have occurred. When it comes to our health and well-being, this adage most definitely rings true.Continue reading An ounce of prevention….
March is National Nutrition Monday and there is no better way to celebrate and have some fun than with a nutrition challenge. The Fuel Your Life Challenge is a self-administered 4-week nutrition challenge designed to support participants to improve their eating habits. It will run from Monday, March 7th through Friday, April 1st. Each week of the challenge is focused on a different goal:
- Week 1 – Making a small change to improve an eating habit
- Week 2 – Upgrading lunch to be healthier
- Week 3 – Cutting down consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages
- Week 4 – Planning and preparing meals
Rarely do we think about our heart and the incredible job that it does to keep us alive. Since February is American Heart Month there is no better time to think about our heart and consider what we might do to keep it strong and healthy. The heart is the hardest working muscle in our body and is responsible for delivering oxygen to every cell in our body (except the cornea). Our heart works tirelessly every second of every day of our lives and it never gets a break. Consuming a healthy diet, engaging in regular physical activity, avoiding tobacco and reducing stress are essential to keeping our heart in top shape and essential to helping our heart keep up with its tremendous demands.Continue reading When it comes to heart health, keep it simple
Turn on the radio or television or log in to your social media accounts and you’ll likely see messages about the holidays being “the most wonderful time of the year”. While that may be the case for many of us, we may also find this time of year to be one of the most stressful. We’re feeling the pinch of having to wrap up year-end projects at work. We’re overwhelmed with our finances and the supply chain crisis and how this will impact our holiday shopping. We’ve been indulging in holiday goodies and our waistbands are feeling a too tight for comfort. On top of all of that we’ve got Covid and the worry about new variants and how this will impact us and our loved ones. Despite these challenges, it is possible to enjoy the holidays and do it safely. Here are five strategies to help you stay safe and well this holiday season.Continue reading Six Ways to Stay Safe and Enjoy Yourself This Holiday Season
When it comes to infant feeding, many of us may have heard that “breast is best”. The health benefits of breastfeeding to moms and babies include reducing the risk of maternal postpartum depression, supporting a faster return to pre-pregnancy weight, reducing infant mortality and reducing the risk of the infant developing chronic health conditions as adults. While these benefits are certainly noteworthy, the benefits of breastfeeding extend beyond mom and baby.
The 2020 GMHEC Well-being Annual Report highlights the great work we’ve done to enhance the culture of well-being at our member colleges over the last year. These successes are a result of strong partnerships and the collaboration between the Consortium and the faculty and staff of our schools. Take a look.
5:30 am on a hot, hazy summer July morning. I sit down on my favorite spot on the couch with a cup of coffee and look out the window. I take a deep breath. I love this time of day. It always feels so peaceful…like the whole world is still asleep and I have it all to myself. The clouds are low and I can almost see the humidity in the air. It looks like the house in the clouds…like what you’d see if you were looking out the window on an airplane when you’re flying through the clouds. I can see the clouds rolling over the roof of the breezeway. I’ve never seen the clouds move like that before, move over the roof like that. In that instant I’m thinking how beautiful it looks and at same time, how odd. And then for some reason I get the sense that something isn’t right. I put my coffee down on the coffee table and step outside….and I see it…and I smell it…smoke billowing out of the attic above our garage. It wasn’t the clouds I was seeing rolling over the roof. It was smoke. I’m strangely calm as I step back into the house and yell to my husband, “The attic is on fire!”Continue reading Fire and the power of gratitude
Have you ever felt distracted or found it difficult to stay focused on the task at hand? Do you start a task and then find yourself starting something else halfway through? Have you told yourself you’re going to do this or that and then forget what it was you were going to do? I definitely have and this week those sort of behaviors and that mindlessness seem to be happening more often. My brain has been hijacked by the monkey mind. In Buddhism, the monkey mind describes a scattered state, a mind that jumps from one thing to the next just like a monkey jumping from tree to tree. It’s a feeling of being unsettled and ill at ease and if you’ve been there, you know it’s not a pleasant place to be.
While this has been happening I’ve also been getting messages from the universe about needing to slow down, to pause and to be present. It’s funny how that happens. The universe has a way of sending you the exact messages you need to hear. Taming our monkey mind, like any other skill, is something we can get better at through regular practice. In her book, “No Time to Lose”, author Pema Chodron says that “mindfulness tethers the mind to the present” (p.105) and that “all anxiety, fear and suffering disappear when we tame our mind” (p. 106). Practicing mindfulness is the cure for the monkey mind.
There is a lot of misconception about how to practice mindfulness is and what it actually is. Jon Kabat Zinn, professor of medicine and founder of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) describes mindfulness as paying attention on purpose without judgement. That’s it….mindfulness just means paying attention and we can do it anywhere, anytime. We can practice mindful walking, mindful eating, mindful washing dishes, mindful teeth brushing and mindful breathing. We don’t just have to sit on the floor with our legs crossed for hours on end to reap the benefits. All we need to do when we find our mind wandering is to stop, take a pause and come back to the present moment. The more our mind wanders, the more opportunity we have to practice coming back and it is this practice of coming back that enables us to be more present and focused. Over time we find that we can sustain our focus for longer periods of time. It is in this present state that we can truly experience and enjoy life. The only time our lives are happening is in this moment.
To help myself practice coming back to the present moment I made a little sign as a reminder to “Be here now” and I’ve put it right next to my laptop. When my mind starts to wander, I stop, take a breath, feel my feel on the floor and come back to the present moment. If your mind has been hijacked by the monkey, try a gentle reminder like your own sign, set an alarm to remind you to pause and check in with yourself, try this mindful pause from Coach Cami, check out a meditation app like Headspace or Calm or enroll in an MBSR program online. Training our mind to stay present doesn’t have to be a big deal or be time consuming and perhaps that’s why it seems so difficult. Sometimes it’s easier to make a commitment to practice the big, hard things but it’s the little things that seem to make all the difference.