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Be a Healthcare Rebel - May 2015

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May 2015 – Take Small Steps: Take Time to Do "Nothing"


Though we often complain, it seems that human nature these days has a tendency to revel in non-stop activity, jammed schedules, no vacations, and constant technology connection — and in many instances taking on this behavior as a badge of honor. We never stop running the race.

If you were a professional athlete scheduled for surgery or a passenger planning a vacation, you would want the surgeon or the pilots to be well rested, focused, clear headed and have more than enough energy to get the job done. Why should you and your colleagues, friends, and family deserve any less from you?

Doing "nothing" is actually actively doing something — decompression, reflection, and recharging. Ironically, many of us face more challenges with slowing down, and doing so for a long enough period of time to make a difference, than we do with trying to multi-task (which much literature indicates does not work and, in fact, is counter-productive) and burn the candles at both ends, even though it does not feel good. 

Take Small Steps.

  1. Take five minutes each day to do "nothing." Over time, gradually increase the number of times of day or the amount of time in a single session you give yourself to clear your mind and relax your body.
  2. Consider reading Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn.

Much like the sleep recharge, the simple step of doing "nothing" may seem small but will do your brain a world of good.

Be a Healthcare Rebel - April 2015

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2015 - Take Small Steps: Eat Better

Eat Well

Many of us have an interesting relationship with food, eating it for comfort one minute and thinking of it as the enemy the next. However, in some cultures, food is actually viewed as medicine for our bodies.

75 percent of Americans are overweight or obese, and the problem of weight management has become a global phenomenon. Among many potential repercussions, excess weight is associated with chronic conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, heartburn, lower back pain, joint aches, sleep apnea, depression and even some cancers. But there is some good news. A Johns Hopkins study reported four factors that led to an 80 percent risk reduction of premature death from all causes:

  1. no tobacco
  2. optimal weight
  3. physical activity
  4. healthy eating (Mediterranean diet

When you first begin to make a change, it may be difficult to eat according to the recommended guidelines, and it can also be confusing to contend with what seems like lots of conflicting information on what is good or bad for you. But…it IS possible to make progress over time.

Take Small Steps

  1. Download this wonderful, easy reading guide to nutrition: What’s on Your Plate?
  2. Discuss your weight status with your physician to determine the weight that is healthy for you and any precautions you should take as you work on achieving and maintaining your goal weight.
  3. Consider a consultation with a nutritionist. Many health insurers cover such help, especially if you have a chronic condition like diabetes. Call and find out if (and under what conditions) you have coverage.
  4. Drink an extra glass of water each day.
  5. Drink one less soda each day.
  6. Put one less spoon of sugar, honey, etc. in your coffee or tea.
  7. Eat an apple a day.
  8. Use a smaller plate or bowl, and don’t go back for seconds.
  9. When you eat out, divide your entrée in half and put it in a doggie bag. Eat one half and save the other half for a meal later in the day or the following day.
  10. Unless your health status or lifestyle (i.e., you work the night shift) literally makes it impossible, try not to eat after 7 p.m. or 8 p.m. Begin with one day per week, and then add another day each subsequent week. Over the course of 7 weeks, you will have accomplished this goal! 
  11. Slow down when you eat and enjoy your food. It’s not a race, so don’t just mindlessly shovel it in.

While you may not be able to tackle each of these small steps all at once, starting with just a few is progress.

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