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The Importance of Self-Care

In our busy society, the idea of slowing down to focus on Self-Care is often an unfamiliar concept for many. Over the years of working with patients, I have helped patients implement self-care practices as part of their journey toward wellness.

Below are some tips that can be part of a good self-care plan.

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Healthy Eating

It is not always easy to go for healthier food choices, in our busy daily life. As I suggest to patients that I work with, implement one healthy choice that you can with meals, focus on small gains. For more on benefits of healthy eating, check out this article in Medical News Today.

Sleep

Getting enough rest is important to self-care. Yes, easier said than done sometimes right? However, your body needs time to recuperate as well as your mind. Good sleep can improve your physical health and your mental health. Health.com has a great article on the benefits of sleep. 

Keeping your body moving

Exercise is one way that I have heard from patients is important to their self-care. Whether it is taking a walk, hike, working out, or simply moving your body for a few minutes a day. These activities can increase physical health and help prevent anxiety and depression. 

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Keeping hydrated is essential for you body and health. Water helps keep your organs functioning normally, helping you feel healthier. To learn exactly how your health is improved by drinking water, check out this article from everydayhealth.com.

Have Fun!

When was the last time you did something fun? I hear often; “I haven’t done some of the activities I used to enjoy anymore.” Part of self-care is being able to de-stress by doing what you enjoy such as a hobby or recreational activities (being outdoors, etc.). Make some time to get back to doing something that you enjoy and find fun!

If you liked the information in this article, keep tabs on the StayWell Health Center Blog as we will have more self-care tips to come! The StayWell Behavioral Health Department can be contacted at 203-756-8021, option 5.

 

Janet Peterson, LCSW

Behavioral Health Clinician/Manager

StayWell Health Center

kid eating watermelon

Pediatric Nutrition with Dr. Jody Navitsky M.D.

As we live our modern lives that tend to be sedentary and fast paced, our childrens nutrition has suffered.  We used to make meals with our family three times a day as a routine.  Now we often reach for what is quick and tasty, satisfying our hunger while compromising our own nutrition.   Our children as a result have been gaining weight.  Early onset Type 2 Diabetes, Fatty Liver Disease, Hypertension and other obesity complications are now commonplace, and unfortunately, lower the life expectancy of our kids by many years.  

 

As a pediatrician, I counsel families on a daily basis to go back to the meal sharing and preparing they were raised on.  I have a few basic recommendations, that when followed, can greatly improve pediatric nutrition and allow children to grow healthy and strong while avoiding too much weight gain.

vegetablesI encourage families to prepare meals in their head first then plan and cook them. Try to plan some weekly meals the kids like and the rest based on what you have available to you.  Include vegetables into every meal.  We all should be taking between 5 to 9 servings of fruits and veggies a day.  This single habit can improve your nutrition greatly.  When kids refuse the veggies you have included in the meals don’t worry or force them to eat them, just model eating them yourselves and sooner or later they will come around.  Hidden veggies sautéed and pureed also count as veggies and often can be cooked into meals without the kids noticing. 

You do not need to cook every meal for your kids based on what they want, please do not even ask what they want for dinner.   If they refuse your food that you have chosen to cook its ok to let them go to bed hungry.  Ultimately, when they are hungry enough they will choose to eat what they are given.   Human kids have not ever been known to starve themselves on purpose.  Hunger will always win if food is available.

Try to make most snacks whole fruits, this will help to get in the 5-9 servings a day.  Frozen fruits are just as nutritious as fresh, canned not so much as they are usually prepared into a juice liquid.  Fruit snacks are not real fruit.

Avoid all sugary beverages; this includes fruit juice or other juices.  Try to serve only water and 3 milk servings in a cup daily for liquid needs.  Do not add sugar to the milk in the form of syrup or powder. 

We all know the foods that are not healthy for us, try to leave these at the store rather than taking them home.   Kids don’t need access to snack foods all day, if there are no chips to snack on they will find something else with more nutrition for a snack.

Try to avoid fast foods that have drive through attached.  There are many chemical additives to these foods that are not healthy for us or for our kids.  Read the ingredients to your favorites on the web, if you come across something you can’t pronounce it is a sign your body has no need for it.

When you talk about nutrition with your kids focus on making their bodies grow strong and healthy rather than commenting on their weight specifically.   

I hope you have enjoyed these nutritional tips and can work on trying some out at your home this summer!

 

Dr. Jody Navitsky M.D.

Pediatrician

StayWell Health Center

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10 Tips for a Healthier Summer

 

As the weather warms up and people are spending more time outside, it’s a great time to think about your health and the easy steps you can take this summer to stay healthy and active!

 

1-Wear Sunscreen

In most cases, skin cancer is caused by overexposure to the sun. Protect your skin from harmful damage by coving up when you are outside and wearing sunscreen of at least 30 SPF to prevent burns. It’s important to make sure you are reapplying sunscreen every 2 hours and after swimming to make sure your skin is protected all day. During the day, the sun is most powerful between 10am and 4pm. Spend time in the shade if you can during these hours. For more about sun safety, check out cancer.org.  

 

2-Stay Hydrated!

It’s easy to get involved with what you are doing and forget to drink. Not drinking enough can lead to heat stroke, heat exhaustion, and severe dehydration resulting in a trip to the emergency room. Older adults are especially prone to heat stroke and dehydration during hot months. When exercising, it is especially important to hydrate to replenish what your body has sweat out. In general, make sure you drink enough water and stay away from drinking high amounts of sugary and alcoholic drinks.

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3-Eat Well 

Healthy eating is important year-round but can be easier during the summer months! Eating smaller more frequent meals helps your body process quicker and saves energy. Fresh fruits and vegetables   have a higher water content, helping you stay hydrated. Lighter foods like salads, fruits, veggies, fish, and chicken are great ways to get proper nutrition without feeling bogged down after eating a meal. For a quick list of healthy foods and their benefits, click here!

 

4-Stay Active

Getting regular exercise helps to keep you healthy and the summer offers a lot of fun ways to do this. Mornings and evenings are a great time to exercise because temperatures are cooler and the sun is not as intense during these times, so exercising won’t be as strenuous for your body. Wearing light-colored and lightweight clothing also helps keep you cooler by reflecting the light instead of absorbing it like darker colors do, making you hotter. Certain activities, like swimming, are a great way to be active and stay cool at the same time!

 

5-Keep cool in extreme heat.

Extreme heat is dangerous for everyone, but can be especially harmful for older adults and people who suffer from chronic medical conditions. Easy ways to stay cool are staying hydrated, staying indoors in a cool space when heat it at its hottest, and staying informed about the daily temperatures and air quality. Air-conditioning and fans can go a long way to helping keep cool. Staying hydrated during extreme heat is also very important to helping your body regulate its temperature and stay cool. 

 

6-Get Rest

Resting is a crucial thing that your body needs in order to reset and repair itself for the next day. You should be getting between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night. Keeping your room dark and cool will help make sleep more comfortable, allowing you to sleep deeply. A full night of sleep also helps to give you more energy by feeling well rested and can lift you into a better mood, helping your mental health.

 

7- Practice good hygiene

As we have learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to have good hygiene. Simple tips to achieve this are to make sure that you wash your hands frequently, don’t share food and drinks with other people, and cleaning frequently used surfaces such as kitchen counters and bathrooms. When eating outdoors, keeping plates and utensils separated from raw meats and unclean surfaces will help reduce the risk of contamination. For more tips on proper food preparation, click here!

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8- Your pet wants to say cool too

Remember that our pets feel the heat as much as we do so it’s important to keep them safe and healthy during the summer! Simple things like making sure that your pet has plenty of fresh clean water and walking your dog in the early morning or late evening can make them much happier. Hot pavement can burn the pads of their paws, making it very painful to walk. Don’t ever leave pets in a hot car, even just for a few minutes. Your pet is happier at home where it is cool! A full list of summer pet safety can be found here!

 

9- Air Out the house!

Summer is a great time to open the windows in your home and let fresh air flow through. Fresh air cleans out stagnant air that gets trapped inside and helps reduce odors and cleaning chemicals that may be lingering in the air. In addition to refreshing the air, open windows help prevent mold and dust which can lead to health issues down the road. Opening windows also allows sunshine in which helps brighten the home and kill potential dust mites. Opening windows can improve your mood, especially when spending extra time at home during quarantine. Check our more reasons to air your home out here!

 

10- Protect your eyes!

Just as the sun can be damaging to your skin, it can also be damaging to your eyes. Wearing sunglasses and a hat can help prevent damage when you are outside and looking at bright objects or reflections. Remember, never look directly at the sun!

 

Brought to you by the StayWell Health Center Team

 

Chaz & AJ Show

Dr.Tess Lombard speaks with Senator Blumenthal on the Chaz & AJ Show

On March 25th, Senator Blumenthal appeared on the Chaz & AJ show on 99.1 PLR to speak about the new stimulus package for those suffereing during the Coronavirus. The package will help not only the hospitals and Health Centers in Connecticut, but will also help small buisinesses to help stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Tess Lombard, Chief Medical Officer here at StayWell, had the opportunity to speak with the Senator about an extension of the Telemedicine waiver for Medicare patients in relation to FQHC's.

Check out the full interview here!

 

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