7 Nutrition Strategies for a Good Night's Sleep

good-sleep

I’m a productivity junkie! Living in a culture where productivity is highly valued, cutting corners on sleep is often a life survival skill. We’ve been trained to function this way (at least in the US) for over 50 years. As a result, being tired and fatigued is the status quo for many. But, new research is proving this philosophy to be short sighted for our long term health.
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The Sweet Scents of Slumber

#SASsleeptransformation

I jumped down the rabbit hole of essential oils (EOs) and aromatherapy ~18 years ago and never looked back.  Smell is one of the strongest connections we have to memory.  My first experience with essential oil occurred during a massage when the therapist used Lilac.  I immediately thought of my childhood.  We used to have this lone Lilac tree in the corner of the yard.  It was there when we moved in and was strong yet delicate.  During spring, it always had an abundance of frilly, soft blossoms that would blow in the wind and spiral to the earth.  It was magical.  After asking the therapist about the oil, she explained the difference between essential oil and artificial scents.  When I walked to the car in reflective bliss, I knew essential oils needed to be part of my world.

Almost twenty years ago, essential oils weren’t as readily available as they are today.  I began with self-education reading books by Valerie Cooksley and then took some workshops with Cynthia Loving and other experts in the field.  Now, I have an apothecary cabinet dedicated to my favorite oils, amber bottles, recipes and measuring devices.

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System Reboot with Sleep: 6 Physiological Benefits

#SASsleeptransformation

Oh, man!  What's happening?  I just can't figure out what's going on.  I'm tired.  Exhausted actually.  I don't feel well.  I just want my energy back!  We've all been there.  Sometimes more often that we'd like.  Sounds like it's time for a reboot.  How do we reboot the human body?  With SLEEP!

During our reboot (sleep, that is.  Stay with me here. I know you're tired. 🙂 ), many necessary things happen that keep us healthy and feeling good.  Here are 6 things that happen in our body at a cellular level while we sleep: Read More »

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Children and Sleep: #SASsleeptransformation

 

Next week, Work/Life, HCC, and RFC will hold the first ever Sleep Transformation challenge for SAS employees and their adult family members. As part of a series of blogs on sleep by the Work/Life staff, today’s topic is Children and Sleep.

#SASsleeptransformation

#SASsleeptransformation

Like adults, many children do not get enough sleep.  The National Sleep Foundation reports that 30% of children under 11 don't get enough sleep.  Even though young kids should go to bed between 6 and 8 p.m., up to half of preschoolers and 64% of elementary age children go to bed after 9 p.m. (1)

Are you concerned your child isn't getting enough sleep?  There are guidelines available on the internet or from your pediatrician, but I am also going to share some tips to help make sure your little one is getting enough zzzzzs.

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Managing Sleep Issues and Dementia: #SASsleeptransformation

 

As you may know, Work/Life is partnering with RFC and HCC to launch a Sleep Transformation next month, so I thought I would focus this month’s blog on the importance of sleep for older adults with dementia.sleep-transformation-mark-final

We are all aware of the importance of a good night’s sleep, however, it is particularly important for older adults.  Concentration and memory formation are both improved with healthy sleep, and our immune system receives a boost as well, which improves our ability to resist illness.

Sleep problems are often present with individuals with dementia.  These problems may include: Read More »

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Keep your seat - Chair yoga

No really, don't get up.  If you are curious about yoga and want to try a gentle practice, chair yoga may be just what you need (even if you don't know it yet).  Whether you are in a desk chair, a conference room chair, or a wheel chair, you can sit and simultaneously become more fit. The chair replaces the yoga mat and becomes an extension of your body allowing you to take advantage of the benefits of yoga without having to bear your full body weight. Benefits of a single session or regular practice of chair yoga include body/breath awareness and relaxation response among others (Melville, 2012).

Why am I such an advocate?  Because, let me be honest, when someone suggested chair yoga to me in 2012,  it definitely provoked images of limitation rather than expansion.  I was very familiar with inclusive, chair dance and had an appreciation for chair exercise primarily for older adults, but chair yoga?  What?  I didn't even really know it was a real thing.  It took a while for me to fall in love with it, but after a few classes and a training, I began to realize that the chair has options that the mat just cannot offer.  A chair yoga practice makes a great addition to your current practice (if you're already regularly on your mat) and also provides a great place to start if you're new to yoga.  It's accessible and gentle in any space in any chair!  After all, yoga begins with your breath whether you are sitting, standing, lying down, or balancing on your head.

Chair yoga is convenient; it can be as simple as pushing away from your desk for a minute of deep, relaxed breathing.  Most of my chair yoga experience has been beginner-intermediate, but chair yoga can also offer more challenging options.  Regardless of your intensity choice, chair yoga increases blood circulation, awakens your body, and refreshes your brain.  Frequent, short chair yoga breaks are ideal. Try this simple sequence of poses below: Collage deckLinking your movement to your breath, complete each set of poses on both sides 2-3 times .  Notice each side of your body as you move and take time to feel each breath.

Take short chair yoga breaks throughout your day to help you refocus your energy and stimulate creativity.

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Warrior 3: September Yoga Pose of the Month

Benefits: Strengthens ankles, calves, quads and hamstrings. Lengthens spine and assists in opening the chest and shoulders.  Great balancing pose.

Warrior 3 (Sanskrit: Virabhadrasana III )

warrior 3

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3 Ways to Enhance the Flavor of Real Foods

 

If you are new to eating real foods or are just trying to eat less processed foods, you may have initially thought that real food is bland. But I promise, eating real food doesn’t have to mean plain chicken breast and steamed broccoli.  There are plenty of great, easy ways to enhance the wonderful flavors of real, whole foods!  Below are 3 of my favorite ways!

Eating real food doesn't have to be boring! Check out 3 ways to add bold flavor. Click To Tweet Read More »

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This week: make examining your priorities a priority: #SASsleeptransformation

In her book Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert paraphrases a famous quote by Richard Bach when she writes, "Argue for your limitations and you get to keep them". That saying is now on a sticky note at my desk and a reminder to reflect on the excuses I make for myself. Often I find that my limitations are a direct product of something else I have made an unhealthy, unreasonable, or suboptimal priority.

We may be prioritizing the novelty or simplicity of grabbing a coffee to go in the morning over future savings. We may be prioritizing our need to stay updated or feed that impulse to check our phones instead of using them for communication to our close ties. We may be prioritizing time spent watching television over time spent exercising or engaging in alternative forms of healthy self-care. Don't worry - the view isn't too high from my horse right now as I have done all of the above. And it's not even something to fault for. But I think we could (myself included) take better ownership of the fact that what we do have time for in our busy lives are the things we are making (consciously or subconsciously) a priority. Read More »

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Recreate to Feel Great!

This week, we have a NEW author!  Introducing Dany Losh, a Senior Manager at the RFC.  Dany as enjoyed working at the RFC for over 25 years sharing her passion of recreation and fitness with SAS employees and currently manages our Recreation, Leisure, and On-Site Services Team.  Today Dany is sharing with us how recreation helps us stay balanced and healthy!


by Dany Losh, Sr. Manager, Recreation and Fitness Center

Is recreation a priority in your life?  It should be.

Recreation is a word that has many meanings to many people.  It can be done alone or with thousands.  Dictionary.com defines recreation as 1. refreshment by means of some pastime, agreeable exercise, or the like 2. a pastime, diversion, exercise, or other resource affording relaxation and enjoyment. 

strawberrry picking DL 2016As a recreation professional, recreation not only "puts food on the table," it's been in my life for as long as I can remember.  It's me doing what I love and feel passionate about and sharing that with SAS employees and their families.  It doesn't get more rewarding than that!   In a world dominated by work, kids, chores, errands and always being "on the go," it's important to build in time to recharge yourself.  Participating in recreation activities is one way to do just that - recharge and find balance in a busy life. The thing is, recreation doesn't always just happen. It must be a top item on our to-do list pursued with purpose, determination, and priority.

Why recreate?

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