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100 Ways to Wellness Challenge

Family Health Care, Oncology, Orthopedics, OB Health Services: Caribou, ME

100 Ways to Wellness Challenge

CLICK THE IMAGE ABOVE to watch Wellness Wednesday LIVE from 6/10/20 with Healthy You Program Director, Bethany Zell, as she outlines the upcoming challenges and how you can get involved!

Summer plans get disrupted? Join Heathy You for the 100 Ways to Wellness Challenge from anywhere! Learn 100 simple ways to move toward improved health and wellness with daily challenges and easy action steps. Completely self-paced, you decide how involved you want to be and how you receive your daily challenge information – by email, on the Healthy You Facebook page or by visiting this dedicated page on the Cary Medical Center website. Join the Healthy You Community Facebook group and join in the conversation for extra accountability and to connect with others who are taking the 100 Ways to Wellness Challenge with you!

USE THE LINK IMAGES BELOW TO RECEIVE THE CHALLENGES IN YOUR EMAIL INBOX AND/OR TO JOIN THE FACEBOOK COMMUNITY GROUP!

WAY TO WELLNESS #87

Experts have found evidence to suggest meditation can promote physical and emotional wellness in multiple ways, such as: 

  • improved sleep
  • anxiety and stress relief
  • greater self-awareness
  • increased self-compassion
  • reduced pain
  • reduced cravings when quitting smoking

There are many guided relaxation body scans available online. Think of a body scan as a mental X-ray that slowly travels across your body.

Here are some tips on how to give it a try:

  1. Get cozy. Start by getting comfortable. Lie down or sit in a position that allows you to stretch your limbs easily. 
  2. Focus. Close your eyes and begin focusing on your breath. Notice the sensation of your breath filling and leaving your lungs as you inhale and exhale. 
  3. Choose where to start. Begin anywhere you like — left hand, left foot, right hand, right foot, the top of your head. Focus on that spot as you continue breathing slowly and deeply.
  4. Pay attention. Open your awareness to sensations of pain, tension, discomfort, or anything out of the ordinary. 
  5. Go slow. Spend anywhere from 20 seconds to 1 minute observing these sensations. 
  6. Acknowledge. If you begin to notice pain and discomfort, acknowledge and sit with any emotions these sensations bring up. Accept them without criticism. For example, if you feel frustrated and angry, don’t judge yourself for these emotions. Notice them and let them pass. 
  7. Breathe. Continue breathing, imagining the pain and tension decreasing with each breath. 
  8. Release. Slowly release your mental awareness on that specific part of your body and redirect it to your next area of focus. Some people find it helpful to imagine releasing one body part as they breathe out and moving on to the next as they breathe in. 
  9. Move along. Continue the exercise along your body in a way that makes sense to you, whether you move from top to bottom or up one side and down the other. 
  10. Note drifting thoughts. As you continue to scan across your body, note when your thoughts begin to drift. This will happen probably more than once, so don’t worry. You haven’t failed, and you can easily get your thoughts back on track. Just gently return your awareness to where you left off scanning. 
  11. Visualize and breathe. Once you finish scanning parts of your body, let your awareness travel across your body. Visualize this as liquid filling a mold. Continue inhaling and exhaling slowly as you sit with this awareness of your whole body for several seconds. 
  12. Come back. Slowly release your focus and bring your attention back to your surroundings.

WAY TO WELLNESS #86

Equipping others with knowledge that we have can be extremely empowering for both the teacher and the learner. Not only does the learner develop new skills, but you as the teacher build personal confidence and become empowered to share more of your knowledge in new ways. Over time, sharing what we know gives our intellectual wellness a boost as we help others learn more about whatever it is that we know a lot about.

Find ways to teach someone something. It could be as simple as teaching someone about something you collect or how to bake something or as intricate as teaching someone how to do some mechanical work on their car. When we share our knowledge, we share power and everybody benefits.

WAY TO WELLNESS #85

According to a recent Yale University/EPA study, the U.S. recycles less than 22% of its discarded materials. This U.S. recycling level has not improved in 20 years despite the billions of dollars spent on recycling competitions, symposiums, awareness campaigns and new sorting technologies. 

  • Although only 5% of the world population, the U.S. generates more waste than any other country in the world. (World Watch Institute)
  • In less than 15 years, worldwide waste is expected to double. (World Watch Institute)
  • When U.S. recycling levels reach 75% it will be the environmental and CO2 equivalent of removing 55 million cars from U.S. roads each year.
     
  • When U.S. recycling levels reach 75% it will generate 1.5 million new jobs in the U.S.

Manufacturers truly want materials back to reuse in their manufacturing, but they aren’t able to reuse the materials if people don’t recycle correctly.

Always recycle emptied metal food and beverage cans, all emptied plastic bottles and jugs, and all clean office paper, newspaper, and clean and flattened cardboard, and put them in the appropriate recycling bin(s).

Verify if glass bottles and jars are recyclable in your community. Sadly, many communities and recycle programs are starting to reject glass jars and glass bottles.

Never put plastic bags or plastic wrap, plastic cups, dishware, straws, food or food-related paper, paper cups, Styrofoam, paper tissue, clothing, wood, tubes, furniture, batteries, wires, electronics, garden hoses, prescription bottles, or needles, in your recycling bin, unless you have specifically been instructed to. Instead, contact your county or city to learn where to properly recycle, compost, donate, or dispose of those items.

Remember, whenever possible, don’t use, accept or buy single-use plastics.

WAY TO WELLNESS #84

Negative self-talk is something that most of us experience from time to time, and it comes in many forms. It also creates significant stress, not only to us but to those around us if we’re not careful.  Here are a few of the negative consequences of negative self-talk:

  • Limited thinking. You tell yourself you can’t do something, and the more you hear it, the more you believe it.
  • Perfectionism. You begin to really believe that “great” isn’t as good as “perfect,” and that perfection is actually attainable. 
  • Feelings of depression. Some research has shown that negative self-talk can lead to an exacerbation of feelings of depression. If left unchecked, this could be quite damaging.
  • Relationship challenges. Whether the constant self-criticism makes you seem needy and insecure or you turn your negative self-talk into more general negative habits that bother others, a lack of communication and even a “playful” amount of criticism can take a toll

Finding healthy ways to speak to ourselves is important and it all begins in our mind. Check out the short video below for some tips on how to begin re-writing the negative scripts that exist in your brain and look for ways to replace them with more positive messaging whenever possible.

Jim Kwik: How to End Negative Self-Talk

WAY TO WELLNESS #83

Today, we challenge you to perform a random act of kindness for someone who might need a boost in their work day. Maybe it’s a co-worker in your office or workplace or maybe you are retired but have an adult child or spouse still in the workforce that you could pop in and surprise with a work day treat or note. If you don’t have anyone in your immediate circle that you could do something for at their workplace, try surprising a random employee at a business you frequent…surprise waitstaff by tipping the full amount of your bill at a local restaurant, surprise your mail carrier with a gift card for a cup of coffee, or bring a bouquet of flowers for the front desk at your doctor’s office. 

WAY TO WELLNESS #82

Chemicals in our food, personal care products and cleaning supplies can permanently damage the immune system and nervous system, and interfere with hormone function. The liver is the body’s primary organ for detoxification. It takes toxic chemicals and breaks them down into less harmful substances that are then excreted from the body. If our toxic load is high, it can overwhelm the liver and inhibit the elimination of toxins that are built up in our body. The intestines, kidneys, lymphatic system, skin, and lungs are all key players in healthy elimination of toxins. It is important to become aware of common toxins in your environment, take steps to reduce your exposure to harmful substances, and improve your body’s detoxification processes by increasing your body’s natural defenses.

Take a look at the product labels for the products your commonly use for personal care and household cleaning. Seek more natural options with fewer chemicals and as you run out of a product, replace it with a less toxic variety.

The Environmental Working Group has a great website featuring a comprehensive database of personal care products to help you find less toxic substitutions in multiple categories. www.ewg.org/skindeep/

There are also a lot of natural cleaning supplies available in stores and online today than even a decade ago, but you can also save money and reduce your chemical exposures by making your own natural cleaning products. Need some tips and recipes on how to get started? Visit https://www.womensvoices.org/avoid-toxic-chemi…/diy-recipes/ for several great cleaning basics.

WAY TO WELLNESS #81

Regular shared mealtimes provide a sense of rhythm and regularity in lives. They can evoke deep feelings of contentment and security because people need structure and routine. Mealtimes offer people the opportunity to stop, be still, reflect on their day and days ahead, and listen to and interact with others. Mealtimes are also a grounding opportunity, a time when anxieties can be expressed and you can be listened to. All of this creates and fosters social connections with others.

Sharing meals helps to develop social skills. Children especially learn from behavior modelled by parents, older siblings and guests.

Regular mealtimes provide rhythm and make us stop and focus on eating while sitting upright in chairs (as opposed to in the car, on the go or in front of the TV) which improves digestion. The act of talking and listening also slows down the eating process.

Try to find creative ways to safely gather over a meal with others… maybe you gather and share a picnic or barbeque al fresco (outside), maybe you ZOOM or FaceTime together while eating meals in different locations. Be sure to follow your local guidelines for gathering safely.

WAY TO WELLNESS #80

Today, we challenge you to look for an organization that is aligned with something meaningful to you. Whether it is disease-specific or civic-minded, there are people everywhere who don’t have the ability to fight for action to benefit the causes affecting them – be it poverty, animal cruelty, cancer or anything in between. You can be a part of the larger voice for those who have none. Even if you are only one person, you can begin by changing the conversation and drawing attention to the causes that are most important to you.

Is there something you can do to become more involved in that cause? Is there a civic group that you feel complements your life’s purpose and mission with their work? Maybe you already volunteer with the American Cancer Society or you are a member of your local Rotary Club. Are you serving in a way that is really meaningful to you? Do you need to re-assess your commitment or research ways to get involved with your existing affiliate organizations in a way that is more aligned with your passions? Look for additional opportunities within your cause communities for you to give back.

You might also find a community of support and encouragement with others who are equally as passionate about the same topic. All of these things can lead to an improvement in our overall wellness.

WAY TO WELLNESS #79

Artificial sweeteners like aspartame, Splenda and NutraSweet are not healthy substitutes for sugar. Look for ways to reduce your intake of artificial sweeteners. Look for all natural sweeteners that would make a better choice, but keep in mind that just because these are healthier doesn’t mean you can overeat them and expect that you won’t gain weight. They still contain fructose, just in a healthier, cleaner form. Some natural sweeteners like molasses and maple syrup have additional health benefits that elevate them above regular sugar but as with all sweeteners, they should be used in moderation in order to reduce spikes in your blood sugar levels. 

WAY TO WELLNESS #78

For something so simple, there are an amazing number of benefits linked to journaling. These benefits are both subjective (personally felt) and objective (scientifically proven).

Here’s are some of the many benefits:

  • Strengthens your immune system and leads to better physical health
  • Improves emotional intelligence (the ability to perceive and understand emotions)
  • Soothes anxiety and increases feelings of calmness
  • Promotes individuation (the maturing of the self/identity)
  • Enhances mental health 
  • Helps you to deal better with depression 
  • Encourages spiritual growth and integration
  • Reduces symptoms related to panic, PTSD, and addiction
  • Increased self-awareness, self-understanding, and self-compassion
  • Improves your ability to communicate with others 
  • Increases happiness 
  • Promotes mental clarity and problem-solving skills
  • Helps you to deal with stress and intrusive thoughts more effectively 
  • Increases creativity
  • Improves your work efficiency
  • Can help to improve your IQ 
  • Speeds up emotional recovery after romantic breakups 
  • Promotes emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual healing

Even just spending a few minutes a day recording how you feel is hugely beneficial, this is because journaling helps you to read your own mind and make sense of all the mental clutter and emotional turbulence you feel inside.

As a self-awareness and self-discovery tool, journaling is a fantastic resource. When we explore our thoughts, we’re not living second-hand knowledge or seeing ourselves through the eyes of some “professional” – instead, we are actively seeking to understand, through direct experience, who we are and what we value the most at a core level.