Tag Archives: ideas

Settled Into a Healthier Home

My Healthy Journey: Finally Settled

I finally have something to sit on in my apartment! After 3 months, I’m mostly settled in.

Moving requires a lot of organization, and as I told you before, this was a rushed and unorganized move, which is probably exactly why it’s taken me this long to get settled.

You may not realize how much being organized (or disorganized) affects your life and even your health.

One study showed that you’re more likely to suffer from stress and depression if your house is cluttered and full of unfinished projects. (This was definitely my house for the last 3 months.) Long-term stress is tied to heart disease, digestive problems, poor sleep, obesity, and cancer.

This long to-do list at home can actually prevent the cortisol (a stress hormone) in your system from naturally lowering throughout the day. This affects your mood, sleep, health, and more.

Planning can also be key to a lot of healthy life decisions, and that takes organization. This slideshow from Good Housekeeping highlights what organization is doing for you:

  • It reduces financial stress by avoiding late fees and unnecessary costs.
  • It helps keep good relationships with loved ones by helping you to keep your mood up and avoid arguments over lost stuff, forgotten appointments, and errands.
  • It increase your time for your favorite activities. Imagine every minute you’ve spent looking for your keys going toward your favorite TV show, music, or activity.
  • It protects your health. If you forget to take your meds or schedule doctor appointments, you really could be putting your physical health at risk, so make sure you put things in places you’ll see them, organize your schedule, or even download an app to help remind you.
  • It let’s you exercise more! One of the first things you lose from your schedule when things get crazy is workouts. Plus, when you’re constantly forgetting your gym bag, it’s an easy excuse to skip the gym.
  • It let’s you eat healthier. Healthy cooking takes planning, like finding recipes and buying the right groceries. Snacks you grab on the go and dining out can be huge calorie bombs, so plan ahead!
  • It helps keep your home healthy. One study found that dust can have arsenic, dead bugs, pollen, and dead skin in it. Plus, removing clutter can eliminate up to 40% of your housework.

Many people believe that we are a product of our environment and that a messy environment can affect all areas of your life, physical, mental, and emotional

Rally, our wellness tool, knows that organization can be an important part of your healthy journey, too, so it has a mission that challenges you to de-clutter for 10 minutes every day.

I finished unpacking and organizing all my bookshelves a few weeks ago but was waiting for my new couch to arrive before I shared pictures.

My Couch
Tootsie LOVES the new couch.
IMG_2063
Those beautiful watercolor paintings on the wall are prints by Kelly Eddington, my high school art teacher and the wife of one of our Health Alliance employees.

Ignore that lamp on the floor. I just need one more side table in here!

In case you don’t remember, this is what the shelves looked like, before the gold shelf got here:

Book Collection

This is them now:

Untitled-1

Everything is unpacked and on display, and finally getting to a place where I can use my living room feels so satisfying!

And now that I’m to this point, if I stick to the challenge of de-cluttering for a little bit every day, it should be easy to keep things looking nice.

Looking for some clever ways to clean up the messes in your house? Check out this list of 58 organization ideas and DIY projects.

Every Kid Healthy Week

Every Kid Healthy Week

This week was Every Kid Healthy Week which celebrates and promotes the steps our schools have made to help kids stay healthy. Learn more about what schools are doing.

Looking for ideas to host a Every Kid Healthy Week event? Host a healthy foods taste test. Invite a local gym or trainer to teach the kids. Plant a school garden. Sponsor a school walk-a-thon.

See success story and talk to your school.

Every Kid Healthy Logo

 

Let’s Move promotes a healthy lifestyle for kids across the country. School salad bars are just one way they’re making it happen.

School Salad Bars

 

Let’s Move’s 5 simple steps to success are a great starting point for you to take part in Every Kid Healthy Week.

Let's Move! Logo

 

See how one school in Chicago is inspiring healthy kids.

Dewey Success Story in Chicago, IL

 

Get involved with Action for Healthy Kids and Let’s Move.

Reading and Writing for Your Mind

My Healthy Journey: Reading and Writing for Your Health

Reading for Your Health

I’ve said it before on here, but I’ve always loved reading and writing, and I’m not always very good at making time for it. I read a lot of news but not that many actual books anymore. Funny, because I don’t have any furniture in my apartment, besides the books on books.

Book Collection
All the books on the floor are going to go on a shelf that’s not here yet… (Tootsie, my dog, was really confused as to why I was taking pictures of this mess.)

It’s been one of my goals to make it more of a priority again. In the past month, I’ve read both Mindy Kaling’s book, “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?” and Amy Poehler’s “Yes Please” (which has really wonderful and funny advice for young women), and I just started Stephen King’s “On Writing,” which makes me want to stop everything and write.

But there are lots of reasons to read and write every day. Rally, our wellness tool, has challenges for just that, so you can make your brain a priority. In one, it challenges you to read for 20 minutes, and in another, to write in a journal every day.

So what’s this doing for your health?

Reading has been shown to slow memory loss, increase concentration, and reduce stress. Not to mention, one study found that reading helped improve your social skills, your ability to understand others and their emotions, and your ability to feel for others. Reading can literally help you treat other people better!

Not to mention that taking 20 minutes a day to read with your kids can make an amazing difference in their education and development.

Read Aloud 15 Minutes Infographic
Image via ReadAloud.org

 

Not sure where to start? This 2015 Reading Challenge from Popsugar gives you goals without locking you into a set of books you wouldn’t choose for yourself.

Popsugar's 2015 Reading Challenge
Image via POPSUGAR

 

So far I’ve got a funny book, a memoir, a mystery or thriller, and a book from an author I love that I haven’t read yet checked off for the year. What can you check off?

Writing for Your Health

And there are LOTS of reasons to keep a journal. Don’t believe me?  Here are 101 reasons.

I’ve never been much of a journal writer (my writing brain drifts toward fiction), but as I’ve said here more than once, I love lists.

And that’s the beauty of keeping a journal! There’s always a way to make it work for you. Here are some alternatives to the traditional “Dear Diary” format.

  • Don’t want to write about your feelings? You can keep a journal without it being personal. Keeping a work journal can help you stay organized and productive.
  • A bullet journal helps you organize and categorize your tasks, events, notes, and ideas quickly with lists.
  • Do you want to mix things up in your writing? If you want to paint a picture one day and write fiction or poetry another, there are creative journal tips to help you.
  • If you’re more of an artist than a writer, guess what?! Doodling boosts memory and creativity. And believe it or not, it’s a thing some companies are actually paying to teach their employees. Here’s why, how, and what you should be doodling.

I’ve been keeping a form of a bullet journal in my fitness binder on that handy grid paper I told you about. It’s really just a record of the most important things that happened to me that day that I can easily find later. I use other elements of this in my work to-do list and in organizing things like the social media topics I’ve done in the past. Below is a taste of what mine looks like, or this blog has really good examples of this in action.

Bullet Journal

(Don’t mind the ghost talk in the middle there if you can read it. That’s just me noting  a plot idea for a fictional horror story.)

This lets me keep lists instead of trying to write a paragraph about things that don’t need any emotion or explanation. And my favorite part is it helps me organize things like character and story ideas, something I am known for jotting on anything around me until I have a strange collection of crumpled notes on things like napkins, CD sleeves, or even mail.

Head over to Rally, take your health assessment, and start meeting your goals for strengthening your mind!

Choosing New Years Resolutions

Resolutions You Can Actually Do

While I was thinking about my own resolutions, I of course did some Googling. Here are some great resolution ideas for you that can both better your life and are actually doable. Don’t try them all at once, but they are good ideas to start making small changes in your life!

  • Try 52 new foods this year. Once a week, cook at home and make a food you’ve never tried before. It will help you start cooking at home, and it will feel like an adventure!
  • Rather than writing down your resolutions, try using pictures to inspire you instead. Our brains respond more powerfully to images than text. Try a resolutions cork board in your house or a Pinterest board online. (Check out our Pinterest for all kinds of healthy ideas.)
  • Stop looking for a soul mate. Studies show that having things in common or compatibility aren’t what actually makes good relationships. Two people who really want to give it a shot are more likely to make it than two who like the same things.
  • Change the info you take in. There’s been lots of debate about how technology can help or hurt us mentally. But maybe it’s better to worry about what you’re taking in off all your devices. All of the info in the world is at your fingertips online, so spend some time reading about something other than celebrities.
  • Make things yourself. “The Ikea Effect” says we get more satisfaction from things we worked harder for, even if it’s just cooking a meal.
  • Don’t try too hard to save money. While you do save  by cutting out your morning latte, if that drink adds to your mood each day, your happiness may be worth the small cost.
  • Befriend your friends’ friends. Creating social networks in real life by connecting to your friends’ other friends has shown to be satisfying for everyone involved.
  • Make a change to your workspace. Studies show green in your workspace can help you concentrate, and that standing while you work can be better for your health.
  • And don’t forget to love yourself! And have a Happy New Year!
Calvin & Hobbes Resolutions Comic

Read more stats, facts, and ideas about these resolutions from this article from The Guardian.