Tag Archives: focus

Children’s Vision and Learning Month

Children’s Vision and Learning Month

It’s Children’s Vision and Learning Month, and you’d be surprised how important vision can be to learning.

1 in 10 children have a vision problem significant enough to affect their ability to learn.

Children's Vision and Learning

 

20/20 vision means you can see at a distance, but it doesn’t mean a child can focus, coordinate, and track with their eyes, which can impact their performance in school.

Vision and Focus at School

 

Children with vision problems can be misdiagnosed with ADHD because they have poor reading comprehension, skip or reread lines, take longer to do school work, or show a short attention span.

Mistaken ADHD Diagnoses Based on Vision Issues

 

Teaching your kids skills like using scissors, drawing, painting, and handwriting before school can help them establish hand-eye coordination, be ahead in school, and help you spot potential eye problems.

Teaching Hand-Eye Coordination

 

School vision screenings provide less than 4% of the eye tests needed to help kids see, and they can miss up to 75% of vision problems.

School Vision Screenings

 

61% of children who were found to have eye problems through school screenings are never taken to the doctor to get help.

Going to the Eye Doctor

 

Yearly comprehensive vision exams with an eye doctor are the best way to protect your child’s sight and make sure they’re prepared to learn at school.

Self-Care Month

Self-Care Month

It’s Self-Care Month, and if you’re not sure why self-care matters, these TED talks can explain why your emotional and physical health should be a priority.

If you’ve never focused on self-care before, these 10 habits are a great way to get started.

Taking Time for Yourself

 

Create a relaxing routine for self-care. Whether it’s herbal tea and reading a book before bed or coffee and the newspaper in the morning, taking structured time for yourself is a great way to wind down and prepare you for the next thing.

Relaxing Routines

 

Take a break from technology. Whether it’s picking up a book, heading outdoors, or just spending time with friends or family, turning off the news and social media can help you refocus on yourself.

A Break from Tech

 

If you need to be more mindful or focus on relaxation, even if it’s only for 5 minutes, find a meditation app that can help guide you.

Mindful Meditation

 

Learn something new. Cooking or baking new recipes, knitting, or playing an instrument requires you to focus but can also give you time to yourself.

Learn Something New

 

Mixing up your day-to-day routine, like taking a different route to work, can help you get out of a rut, and these little changes can help you create new neural pathways to keep the brain healthy and build new habits.

Changing Up Your Routine

National Time Management Month

National Time Management Month

It’s National Time Management Month, and we have tips and tricks to help you improve your time management skills.

Prioritize and learn to say no. Each day, prioritize what needs to happen in your private and professional life. When you don’t have time for things outside those priorities, politely refuse to add more to those.

Schedule your time and set deadlines. Use a planner or digital calendar to keep track of your obligations. Use it to schedule blocks of time for things you need to get done, like grocery shopping, and stick to it like you would a deadline.

Schedule Your Time

 

Delegate tasks. Let co-workers help with work, and if you need help picking up the dry-cleaning or getting the kids to practice, ask friends and family for help.

Learn to Delegate Tasks

 

Make to-do lists. Whether they’re online, on an app, or written down, a to-do list for the day can help make managing your work or personal life easier. And they give you a sense of accomplishment as you finish things.

Using To-Do Lists

 

Avoid multi-tasking whenever possible. Even people who are great at multi-tasking can get big projects done faster and more efficiently when they’re allowed to focus. Give yourself the time to focus on the big stuff.

Avoid Multi-Tasking

 

Start early, and avoid procrastination. Starting the day early helps you make a plan for the day. And by starting with your toughest work first, the rest of the day will feel easier in comparison.

Avoid Procrastination

 

Take breaks and rest. Too much stress can take a toll on your productivity, so go for a walk or stop and get some hot tea whenever you feel tired or stressed. And rest to avoid exhaustion, which hurts your productivity in the long run.

Time to Unwind

Time for Self Care

My Healthy Journey: Putting Self-Care First

It’s a new year, which means it’s time to re-evaluate and set new healthy goals. For me, that always means trying to refocus on self-care.

As those of you following along know, I always have a hard time prioritizing the little things. So far, I have 3 big self-care goals that help with that for 2017.

Get Organized for Self-Care

Planning in Writing

I always have a planner for scheduling our company’s social media because I like to have it in writing. But this year, I took it a step further and bought myself a Passion Planner.

If you haven’t heard of Passion Planner, it combines a lot of things, like keeping a bullet journal, setting goals, imagining your future, and reminders to take care of yourself. Here’s a peek at what that looks like:

Weekly View of Passion Planner

It’s built to help you track time, workload, and to-do tasks for your personal life and goals, and it even makes you find the good in your week.

Finding Time

In an effort to fight off my workaholic tendencies, I’ve been thinking a lot about time and time management. There’s one TED talk in particular that has had me thinking for weeks:

https://pc.tedcdn.com/talk/podcast/2016W/None/LauraVanderkam_2016W-480p.mp4
Video via TED

This idea that there is enough time for the things that matter to you, even if you live an extremely busy life, feels so wonderful. Not only do I have no doubt that she’s right, it’s also an idea to live your life by.

For me, I’m adding a third-column to-do list to my Passion Planner, which is the self-care to-do list Laura recommends in that video. Too frequently things like my chipped toenail polish are such a low priority that I never make time for them (and I can only imagine this just gets worse as you have kids).

By putting them on my list, I give myself permission to make those little things a priority, to make time for them, even when they seem selfish or stupid. I can make time for reading a book, checking my personal email, playing with my dogs, anything. This is how I plan to make self-care a priority.

Soon, I will use the pages at the end of each month to evaluate how the first month of this is going, how my goals went, what was good and bad this month, and more.

Evaluating for Self-Care

Meal Planning and Tracking

I’ve been trying to make healthy meal plans and grocery shop in advance each week, which again, requires I make time for it.

This great video series of bento box lunches from Mind Over Munch, one per day in January,  has really been helping me to get inspired with each day’s meals. (She also has a digital cookbook of these if you need more than 30 days of inspiration!)

How I Meal Plan

To meal plan, I’ve been using a lot of tools to make it happen, which makes it a lot more fun for someone like me who loves checking things off.

First, I have a lovely Wonder Woman list that I write down meals for the week on, organized by breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I try to choose at least one recipe for a nice big breakfast on the weekends, at least one recipe for a few lunches (something I can make multiple times or a big batch of something, like soup), and then 5 or 6 dinner ideas that I’ll make over a week and a half or so (taking leftover days off from cooking). And finally, at least 1 dessert because I have a huge sweet tooth. I label where each recipe is coming from and use it as a weekly menu, marking off things I make as I go along.

Meal Planning Tools

From there, I make a grocery list on the lovely Wunderlist, which is my favorite because it syncs across devices, but there are lots of other grocery shopping apps you can try.

And I use that whiteboard beside my Wonder Woman list to keep track of all the meal prep I need to do, like boiling eggs, making homemade salad dressing or sauces ahead of time, or prepping veggies and snacks for the week.

Then, I keep a calendar whiteboard on my freezer with dinners scheduled out. It helps me plan which days I’m eating leftovers, which ones I need something easy, or when I’m going out.

Monthly Meal Calendar

I also keep a more thorough list in my planner of what I eat for each major meal.

Meal Tracking by Month

I’ve also just been trying to find little things that make my life easier in the kitchen, like my new knife block, which swivels to hold a cookbook or tablet while I’m cooking:

Kitchen Recipe Holder

Tech and Digital Organization

Finally, on the organization front, I’m trying to clean up from a digital standpoint. This means a lot of things. I got a wireless speaker for Christmas. Syncing it to my cell phone lets me play music wherever I am in the house without needing a stereo or getting my computer close to water, like while I’m cooking or showering.

I’ve also been trying to clean up my digital presence, like organizing my iTunes, consolidating multiple Netflix and Hulu profiles I’ve had on different accounts, organizing all my bills online, backing up files like my writing on Google Docs, keeping track of my different passwords and profiles, and more.

I’ve also been taking the time to use digital solutions to solve some of life’s inconveniences, from the Tile on my keys to organizing all of my loyalty cards and memberships with Key Ring and  tossing all of those business cards without guilt by backing them up in CamCard.

It’s amazing how satisfying throwing away all that clutter can be.

(Looking for more ways to clean out your wallet?  This Real Simple article can help! It even has handy suggestions for using the leftovers off all your gift cards!)

Reading Challenge as Self-Care

There are all kinds of reading challenges all over the internet, practically one for every interest you could have. Popsugar’s yearly challenge is always a good general challenge, but looking at it, I just kept thinking about all the books I already know I want to read.

So instead, I’m making my own reading challenge. I used a Christmas Amazon gift card to buy a big stack of books that have been on my list for a while and combined them with a handful I’m in the middle of or have been hoarding,

Reading List Start
(Why yes, that is a dog toy “hidden” on top of my books…)

On my self-care list, I’m forcing myself to dedicate at least 15 minutes a day to reading a book. Not the news, not my phone, a physical book.

And once I’ve forced myself to sit still and focus for those 15 minutes, I inevitably find time for at least 15 more.

Healthy Eating Self-Care

In keeping with all that self-care and meal planning, I have to follow through with making those healthy meals too.

For Christmas, I also got 3 cookbooks, which are keeping me going. Both of Skinnytaste’s cookbooks and The Dude Diet cookbook.

My New Cookbooks

Skinnytaste

Skinnytaste’s cookbooks have a variety of recipes to make up for my comfort food favorites, from chicken enchiladas, chicken parm, and baked potato soup to staples like homemade marinara, which I’m trying to avoid buying at the store.


Chicken enchiladas with homemade enchilada sauce and lime cilantro rice.


Teriyaki pork chops, with homemade teriyaki sauce, and spicy pineapple salsa.


Oven-fried chicken, which tastes a lot like Shake ‘n Bake, with cheesy cauliflower mash.


Baked potato soup, which is filled with hidden cauliflower.

The Dude Diet

And, you may not know it from looking at me,  but nachos, bar nachos especially, and chili cheese fries are my top 2 favorite foods. (Closely followed by all things sweet, mostly candy, but that’s beside the point.) So The Dude Diet is perfect for me.

It has all kinds of healthier takes on hearty classics, even going so far as to have Taco Bell copycat tacos. (Be still my beating heart!)

So far, from simple Pad Thai, where the weirdest ingredient I needed was Sriracha, to truly bar-worthy BBQ chicken nachos, this cookbook has yet to disappoint.

Chicken Pad Thai
I substituted chicken for shrimp in The Dude Diet shrimp Pad Thai recipe.

BBQ Chicken Nachos
Drool-worthy spicy, baked BBQ chicken nachos.

Using these cookbooks, I’ve been slowly tasting my way through their wonderfulness, and it’s making a difference! Not only can I see it, but I can feel it. And the best part is I’m not sacrificing anything. These recipes are delicious and doable.

Build your own group of recipes that you trust and love, or start exploring healthy cookbooks yourself. Enjoying what you’re eating is the only way you’ll be able to make a healthy lifestyle feel achievable.

Do It Yourself

Not sure how to get started setting your own goals? Our wellness tool, Rally, can help you set food, exercise, organization, and even reading goals.

Follow us on Pinterest for more healthy recipes, or find us on Instagram to see my progress and what I’m cooking up.

And join me in setting your own healthy goals for 2017. Let’s make this our healthiest year yet!

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Healthy Eating Together for National Nutrition Month

National Nutrition Month 2016

This month is National Nutrition Month, and this year encourages you to savor the flavor of eating right.

Social food experiences, like family dinners holiday gatherings, and meals with friends, can help you cook healthier meals together.

Eating Socially

 

Savor your food. When you notice the flavors and textures of the food, you’ll enjoy it more and feel full faster.

 

Enjoying food traditions can help you get cooking. Learn to make your family’s traditional dishes and find healthy substitutes, like low-sodium soy sauce.

Traditional Comfort Food

 

Think about where you eat. If you eat at your desk or TV a lot, try somewhere you can focus on your food instead of multitasking.

 

Consider talking to a nutritionist. They can help you make informed food choices based on your personal needs.

Personal Food Choices

 

Cut back on salt with fresh products, by cooking at home, and by flavoring food with herbs and citrus.

 

Avoid soda and sugary snacks. Small portions of sweet treats or fruits can satisfy your sweet tooth.

Avoiding Excess Sugar

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Vision Testing for Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month

Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month

It’s Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month, and National Eye Exam Month, so make sure their eyes are ready for back-to-school too.

Their eyes should be checked during regular exams and vision testing should happen around age 3.

 

Do your kid’s eyes naturally cross? They may have strabismus.

2

 

Does one of your kid’s eyes seem to wander? They may have amblyopia, or a lazy eye.

3

 

Does your kid’s eyelids droop? They may have ptosis.

4

 

Does your kid have trouble seeing or identifying certain colors? They may be colorblind.

Legs in mismatched socks on gray carpet

 

Does your kid seem disinterested in reading or seeing distant objects? They may be far or nearsighted.

African American mother and daughter in nature.

 

Does your kid squint or turn their head trying to focus on the TV? They may have astigmatism. Take them to the eye doctor for a checkup.

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Protect your kids eyes in these situations by taking them to the eye doctor for a checkup at the first sign of problems. The earlier it’s caught, the better the chance of improving a vision problem.

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Coping with Eating Disorders

Eating Disorders Awareness Week

This week was Eating Disorders Awareness Week, so we gave you facts about the mental illness each day and advice on how to build a healthy relationship with food.

Eating disorders are mental illnesses that cause unhealthy relationships with food, and approximately 24 million people in the U.S. struggle with one. Find help.

Eating Disorders

 

50% of people with eating disorders also suffer from depression, and only 10% of people with them get treatment. Find help.

Depression and Eating Disorders

 

91% of women said they controlled their weight through dieting, and 22% said they dieted “often” or “always.” Find help.

Unhealthy Dieting

 

Men make up 10-15% of those with anorexia and bulimia, but are the least likely to get help. Find help.

Men and Eating Disorders

 

69% of girls ages 10-18 say that models and celebrities in magazines inspired their ideal body shape, and more than 50% of teen girls will smoke, skip meals, fast, or vomit to control their weight. Find help.

Setting Unhealthy Expectations

 

An estimated 25% of college-age girls binge and purge to manage their weight, and 58% say they felt social pressure to maintain a certain size. Find help.

Food Binging

 

Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. For women ages 15-24, the mortality rate of anorexia is 12 times higher than any other cause of death. Find help.

Death by Eating Disorder

 

First up to building a healthy relationship with food was some advice from Lori Lieberman, a dietitian who works with people suffering from eating disorders. She recommends planning in advance. Even if you don’t prepare food ahead, having a mental plan of what you’re going to eat it can make mealtime easier.

Making a Plan

 

Lieberman also recommends mixing in foods you enjoy but think of as forbidden to avoid overeating and make eating enjoyable. See more of her advice for those rebuilding their relationships with food after eating disorders.

Indulge in "Bad" Foods

 

Focus on healthy fats, like avocado, salmon, and olive oil, which fill you up and are good for you.

Healthy Fats

 

Make sure you and your family eat breakfast! It’s good for you, and improves focus during the morning at school and work. See more tips for helping your kids build a healthy relationship with food.

Healthy Breakfast

 

Drink plenty of water instead of soda, even diet. You could eat a filling snack instead for the number of calories in a can of pop!

Drink More Water

 

Take time to chew your food. Studies show that eating slowly actually makes you feel full sooner. Get more tips.

Chew Your Food!

 

Remember that no food is actually bad. Building a healthy relationship with food, one that lets you have anything in moderation, lets you make healthy choices in any situation. Learn more.

Good Foods Vs. Bad Foods

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