Tag Archives: new year

Hunt for Happiness Week

Hunt for Happiness Week

It’s Hunt for Happiness Week, and it’s the perfect time of year to find what makes you happy and figure out how to prioritize it in the new year.

If you’re not eating healthy meals or getting enough sleep, you may not be ready to focus on what makes you happy. Start with the basics that give you the foundation you’ll need for happiness.

Start with the Basics for Happiness

 

Think about what you want to focus on and what makes you happy in 2019 by making a vision board on your Pinterest.

Making Your Happiness Vision Board

 

Don’t treat the blues with something you’ll feel guilty about later. Skip the fast food burger and instead go for a hike, sing along to your favorite album, or cuddle your pet.

Create a happy space in your home. Use colors and artwork you love, your favorite candle and music, a cozy throw or sweater, and a favorite activity. Spend time in it daily.

Happy Space in Your Home

 

What made you happiest as a child? Pick up a puzzle, adult coloring book, or your baseball glove and relive your happiest childhood activities.

Relive Childhood Happiness

 

Appreciate the everyday moments of happiness in your life, whether that’s your morning coffee, time playing with your kids, or watching TV with your loved ones at night.

Appreciate the Small Happy Moments

 

Research shows that giving can make you happier and more grateful. Find a cause you believe in and volunteer or join a charity 5k with friends.

Giving Is Good for Happiness

Healthy Meal Prep Lunches

Healthy Meal Prep Lunches

As you strive to stay on track with your New Year’s goals, whip up these healthy meal prep lunches at home to eat well all week long and save money.

First, skip the takeout and whip up these grab-and-go Mason Jar Burrito Bowls.

Mason Jar Burrito Bowls

Mason Jar Burrito Bowls

 

Whip up this delicious Chicken Lo Mein packed with veggies for a meal prep lunch the family will love.

Chicken Lo Mein Noodles + Video

 

This light and tasty Lemon Roasted Salmon will leave you full but not sleepy in the afternoon.

Lemon Roasted Salmon
Image and Recipe via Little Spice Jar

 

No need for wings, whip up these Instant Pot Buffalo Chicken Meatballs for that craving instead.

Instant Pot Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

Instant Pot Buffalo Chicken Meatballs Meal Prep

 

Cuban-Style Tuna Meal Prep Bowls are perfect for using the canned favorite in a new way.

Cuban-Style Tuna Meal Prep Bowls (Gluten-Free, Paleo)

 

All of the flavor of spring rolls is ready on the go with this Mason Jar Deconstructed Spring Roll.

Mason Jar Deconstructed Spring Roll
Image and Recipe via Carmy

 

Beautiful, veggie-packed Chicken Hummus Naan Wraps are the ideal boost of protein for lunch.

Chicken Hummus Naan Wraps
Image and Recipe via The Rising Spoon

Healthy Food Habits

Healthy Food Habits for the New Year

It’s a new year, and instead of setting huge dieting goals, we recommend focusing on small healthy food habits that will improve your relationship with food.

First, make sure you’re drinking your daily recommended water, six to eight 8-ounce glasses a day. Not only is preventing dehydration good for you, but it can help reduce hunger between meals.

Drink Enough Water

 

Don’t give up your favorite foods. Instead, focus on smaller quantities and servings.

 

Cook your veggies in tasty ways. Steamed veggies are easy, but usually bland. Try roasting, sautéing, or spiralizing your veggies, and don’t forget the seasonings and herbs!

Flavorful Cooking

 

Food prep has been linked to better eating because it’s convenient to grab when you’re hungry. Prep after you get back from the store.

Food Prep Is Key

Keeping Things Fresh

 

Eat filling lunches that can help you get through the rest of the work day, and then eat smaller dinners to avoid feeling too full and sleepy early in the evening.

Strive to eat fruits and veggies across the color range each day. Not only will it help you get in all your servings of veggies and nutrients, but the variety has been shown to help people eat bigger meals without increasing calories.

Eat the Rainbow

 

Don’t focus on perfection. Everyone splurges on food sometimes, but the key is to get back to healthy eating after that rather than spiraling out of control.  

Splurging Doesn't Ruin Your Diet

Happy Medicare New Year

Steps to a Happy “Medicare” New Year

Winter preparations are done. Winter festivals have ended, and end-of-year holiday celebrations are over. Just when you think you can sit back and relax, there is still one last item you may need to consider.

If you made any Medicare changes during the past Annual Enrollment Period (October 15 to December 7), there are some actions you can take that may help you have a happy Medicare new year.

If you enrolled in a new plan or your plan had changes during the Annual Enrollment Period, you should make sure you’ve received your new member ID card. This card contains the newest info for your 2019 care. Be sure to show your new ID card to the doctor’s office and pharmacist on your first visit of the new year so that they have your newest information on file. It’s also worth mentioning that with the new cards for the new year can come new deductibles (depending on the plan you choose), which start over at the beginning of the year.

If you decided to stay with Original Medicare, you’ll still use your Medicare card for hospital and doctor services. If you have not received the new Medicare card that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services began issuing in April 2018, be on the lookout because they are all scheduled to be mailed by April 2019.

If you joined a Medicare prescription drug plan that works with Original Medicare, then the plan will mail you a card so you can fill your prescriptions. If you joined a Medicare Advantage plan (like an HMO, PPO, or POS), you’ll also get a new card to use for both healthcare visits (doctor and hospital) and for picking up your prescriptions.

If you need medical care or need to fill a prescription before you receive the ID card but after the effective coverage date, you may be able to use other proof of plan membership. Some examples are the welcome letter you got from the plan or even your enrollment confirmation number and the plan name and phone number.

If you elected to have your plan premium withheld from your Social Security check, don’t be alarmed if you don’t see it deducted right away. It may take up to 3 months from the time you made the premium withhold request before you start seeing your premium withheld from your Social Security payment.

The 2019 year is a great time to take advantage of your one-time “Welcome to Medicare” or annual wellness visit your plan offers to you. This benefit is usually no cost to you! It is designed as a preventive measure to help you take charge of your health, be advised of future needed preventive services, and establish a baseline for personalized care. And speaking of preventive measures, many Medicare Advantage plans come with a fitness benefit or provide access to physical fitness activities at no cost to you.

I wish you all a happy and healthy 2019!

Morgan Gunder is a community and broker liaison for Reid Health Alliance. Born in the South and raised in the Midwest, she is a wife and mother with a passion for traveling, learning, and technology.

Healthy Resolutions like Fitness

Vantage Point: Healthy Resolutions Without the Cost

What just happened? I blinked, and all of a sudden, it’s 2018! The holidays came and went, and now it’s time to go back to our normal routines. I’m personally excited for spring to get here. I’m over this cold.

As I go back to my routine, I think of what I’m going to do differently this year. It is very cliché, but I really do look back on my previous year and reflect on what I can improve on for 2018. We can improve in every aspect of our life: relationships, work, finances, and health.

We all try to set goals and keep them for the entire year. But sometimes we set unrealistic goals, or we just don’t try hard enough. The most common goal I hear is having a healthier lifestyle. We all have at least one unhealthy habit that we want to kick to the curb. As I get older, I realize it is not about looking good or having “rock hard” abs, it’s about being healthy and strong.

There are so many ways we can have an active lifestyle. Many people would join a gym to reach that goal, but what happens if you can’t afford a gym membership? And the older we get, the harder it is to do heavy lifting or the more dangerous it is to use a treadmill.

We are so lucky to have an organization like the Wellness Place in the Wenatchee Valley. Its mission is “[t]o improve and enhance the health and well-being of community members through programs and education; inspiring every person to live their best life now.” Their current programs include targeting and supporting cancer patients, Stay Active and Independent for Life (SAIL), and diabetes support services.

The SAIL program started in 2006 and focuses on balance and fitness for those 65 and older. Exercises that improve strength, balance, and fitness are the most important activities you can do to stay active and reduce your chance of falling as you age.

These classes are offered all over the greater Wenatchee area, and they’re no cost to the attendees. It is a great opportunity to kick off a healthier lifestyle for free. Learn more about the classes and when and where they take place and start your new year the right way.

Jessica Arroyo, born and raised in the Wenatchee Valley, is a Medicare community liaison for Health Alliance, serving Chelan, Douglas, Grant, and Okanogan counties in Washington. During her time off, she enjoys spending time with her husband and infant son.

What's in a Nickname like Sticks?

Long View: What’s in a Name?

Have you ever had a nickname? My oldest son, now 23 years old, goes by Sticks. Over the course of his life, I’ve given him at least a dozen different nicknames. This particular child needed a lot of nicknames because he was a kid who was constantly evolving, first in his own mind, but eventually for the entire world to see.

When he was about 16, he announced that he had taught himself to play the drums, which was a surprise to me since we did not own any drums. What we did own were 2 abused trumpets, gathering dust from lack of practice and the sudden desire to quit band and join the football team.

One night while on a vacation cruise, he played the drums like a rock star as part of a talent show band he had assembled with the other kids on board the ship. Stickle-Fritz was born in that moment. Now, I simply call him Sticks, and he is still a drummer for several different church worship teams. This nickname stuck.

Scoobs is my 19-year-old son, and he’s only had the one nickname (in shortened or altered versions) since the day he came home from the hospital. Scooby-Doo popped into my head as I lay him in his crib for the very first time because he was the most adorably pudgy little Gerber baby. He looked nothing like the animated goofy Great Dane, but a mother’s nickname doesn’t have to make sense to anyone but her.

It became Scooby-Snack when he was just so cute, I could eat him up. Scoob-inator when he played football and rugby. Today, he’s just Scoobs. (Sticks is rolling his eyes right now because his baby brother “is just so spoiled!”)

My freshman year in high school, a close friend of mine nicknamed me Lorelai-Poop. The name stuck. Over the course of 4 years of high school, it was truncated down to just the last 4 letters. You can imagine the “joy” it gives me to hear my high school nickname shouted out at the mall 31 years later. I’ve been trying to scrape this one off my shoe for decades. (Thank you Brad Hosford.)

The nicknames we give ourselves in our heads can stick too: Lousy-Dancer Larry, Bad-Golfer Gus, Can’t-Cook Carol. Give yourself a new nickname for the new year. Let’s take a page from Mr. Sticks and decide to become something even before we actually are. The way we talk to ourselves has a tremendous effect on the eventual “self” that we become.

Be kind to yourself in 2018. Challenge yourself in 2018. Soon you may find yourself becoming Likes-to-Boogie Larry, Getting-Better-Golfer Gus, Maybe-She-Can-Cook Carol. Sticks, Scoobs, and Poop will be pulling for you.

Lora Felger is a community and broker liaison at Health Alliance. She is the mother of 2 terrific boys, a world traveler, and a major Iowa State Cyclones fan.

Get Organized

Covered Bridge: Getting Organized for the New Year

Every year I start out with a new goal. Of course, a healthier lifestyle is always at the top of my list, but I also always make other goals. (Maybe it’s so if I fail at my first goal, I have backups? We’ll discuss that on next year’s January e-column if I succeed!)

Some are big and some are small, but one I know consistently comes back each year is, “how do I get organized?” (I do realize that if this is a consistent goal each year, shouldn’t it be my first goal? Baby steps here…)

I notice each year when I set out to accomplish this goal, I feel the need to take this on alone, and then suddenly, I’m overwhelmed and want to quit immediately. That should be my first red flag.  

Asking for help should be the first step in this goal. Whether it’s from a spouse, children, family members, friends, or co-workers, asking for help will always make it easier to get the task done, no matter what you are trying to organize.

Don’t try to do it all at once! We get so wrapped up in trying to accomplish our new goal that we try to do too much at once, and then we fail, because it’s just too much. Start small, work in timed intervals, and most importantly, remember it doesn’t have to be done in one day.

Enjoy the process! Whether you are reminiscing over photos or paperwork or cleaning out the garage, take the time to remember the things you’re going through and share your stories with someone. You never know, someone may want the item as a keepsake to tell the story later.

At Reid Health Alliance, we hold Downsizing and Decluttering educational presentations, and if you know a group that may want some more information in the coming months, please feel free to reach out to me. Even if I never get organized this year, I can help you get organized!

Happy New Year and new goals!

Morgan Gunder is a community and broker liaison for Reid Health Alliance. Born in the South and raised in the Midwest, she is a wife and mother with a passion for traveling, learning, and technology.