Halloween during a pandemic
To many of you, the pandemic caused by Covid-19 may seem surreal. There may be times where life feels completely normal as you head off to work, school or maybe out to dinner. But, the new normal quickly kicks in as, before you leave the house, you make sure you have an extra face mask, a pair of gloves and a bottle of hand sanitizer.
It can sometimes seem difficult to know exactly how to make the right adjustments in life during this time, adjustments that will keep ourselves and families safe but also allow for enjoyment and satisfaction.
One of the many questions we are facing right now is what to do about the upcoming holidays. With infection rates rising and flu season quickly approaching, it is important to be cautious in any type of activity we may be participating in. This is especially true with the holidays where gatherings can quickly grow in number and are held indoors where social distancing may not be possible.
With Halloween coming up at the end of this week, many of you may feel undecided about how to celebrate and what activities to participate in this year. Talking with residents throughout the valley, there are many families who will be out trick or treating while others are planning on staying home. Make your decision based on what you feel is best for your family.
Although the CDC has discouraged Trick or Treating this year, they are aware that many will continue to participate in this most favored traditions of Halloween. In response, the CDC has composed a few guidelines on how to best keep you and families safe while Trick or Treating and also some tips on how to enjoy Halloween if you choose not to Trick or Treat.
Click on this link for the CDC's website for tips on how to keep Halloween safe.
Can you believe how quickly October has gone? We are in its final week and with it quickly drawing to an end, let us reflect on one more thing about October before it is over. This is National Fire Prevention Month. If you haven't already this month, please take some time during this last week of October to test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and replace batteries, if needed. Also, make sure your fire extinguishers are in good, working condition. Go over your emergency plan with your family; if you do not have an emergency plan, take time to sit down and create one, there are plenty of good ideas online. Remember, you only have 2-3 minutes to evacuate your house during a fire. Make sure you are prepared.
The Power of Sleep
How many of you woke up peacefully this morning feeling refreshed, well-rested and ready to start the day?
How many of you jerked awake to the sound of an alarm, groaned and slowly rolled out of bed with only one eye open; or, how many of you hit the snooze button once, twice or even three times before getting out of bed.
If you answered no to the first question and yes to any of the rest, you are not alone. It is estimated that around 75% of Americans are waking up abruptly to the sound of an alarm clock and around half of those are hitting the snooze button.
So, how do we get away from these mornings that start way too early and are never greeted with the enthusiasms that a new, beautiful day should? The answer is very simple; and, we all know it: we need more sleep.
The CDC estimates that 1 in 3 Americans are not getting enough sleep. Why is it that sleep is one of the most important things our bodies need but is also the first things we sacrifice when looking for extra time in the day?
Sleep is the time for our brains and many other systems in our body to recharge, restore and replenish. How many of us are more concerned about our phones being fully charged than we are about our own bodies?
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, sleeping impacts our brain functions and its ability to adapt input; without enough sleep, our brain may not fully process what we've learned during the day and may affect our future memory.
The CDC reports that being sleepy throughout the day and constantly depriving ourselves of getting enough sleep may be linked serious health consequences such as: depression, obesity, diabetes and heart disease. And, according to the Mayo Clinic, not enough sleep can cause impairments in our attentiveness, coordination and reaction times that may lead to workplace accidents or accidents on the road.
Now that we may understand a little more of the importance of sleep, how much sleep do we need exactly? Click on this link from the National Sleep Foundation outlining the recommended sleep times.
The most important step in getting the sleep we need is by making it a priority. Click on this link from the National Sleep Foundation that is filled with many tips on getting a better night's sleep, or watch the quick video below from the Mayo Clinic. If you have more time, there is also a link to a great Ted Talk about sleep.
What happens when you just cannot sleep? There are nights where you may find sleeping more difficult than others and this can be normal. However, if this becomes a reoccurring problem and you find sleep difficult night after night, even after following every tip available, it may be time to speak to your doctor. The CDC recommends that keeping a sleep diary to track your sleep habits for ten days and talking to your doctor may be necessary in getting better sleep. There are also many disorders that cause sleep disturbances that may need to be addressed in order for you to receive the sleep needed; these may include insomnia, sleep apnea, narcolepsy or more. Please click on this link from the National Sleep Foundation to learn more about sleep disorders.
Now, that we've learned a little more about the importance of sleep and how to get a better night's rest, let us put into practice the things we have learned and give our bodies the sleep it needs.
October is in full swing. The temperature is beginning to drop and the sun seems to disappear behind the mountains at a quickening pace. Before we get too much further into October, let us not forget about one of the most important health awareness campaigns that are going on throughout this month, Breast Cancer Awareness.
According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer is one of the most common cancers for women and 1 in 8 will receive a diagnosis in their lifetime. This can seem very frightening since breast cancer is the second leading cancer death in women (American Cancer Society). For this reason, early detection and treatment is crucial in fighting breast cancer. Cancer screenings such as self-examinations and mammograms should be a routine part of our lives as women.
Although breast cancer may not be preventable there are ways that may help lower the risk of getting breast cancer. The below video, provided by the CDC list a few ways in which we can reduce our chances of breast cancer. Or click on the CDC link below to read about risk factors and how to reduce your risk.
October 13, 2020 Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day
This day is to bring awareness to those who are fighting in this advanced stage of the disease and also those working tirelessly in research and treatment options.
This day is designated to remind and encourage women to set up an appointment for a mammogram as recommended. Click on the link below to read the guidelines for cancer screening recommendations from the American Cancer Society.
Life is full of many things that cause us stress: illnesses, employment, financial issues, school, family life and so much more...With all this, it is important to take a break and find a little joy in life every once in a while. This upcoming Wednesday is the perfect time to take that little break. It is National Dessert Day! So, take a break and indulge in your favorite dessert. Or, get creative and make one of these treats that tops the list as America's most popular desserts:
October is a wonderful month in Cache Valley. The trees turn from deep green into the beautiful, fall shades of red, orange, yellow and gold. Pumpkins decorate doorsteps and thoughts begin to drift to the quickly approaching holiday season.
October is also a great month to focus on our health and well being, especially as we continue to to battle against the ongoing pandemic from COVID-19. Throughout this month, there are many nationally recognized health days to help us reflect on our individual and family health.
For this first week of October, let us focus on two aspects of health: children's health and mental health.
National Child Health Day: Monday, October 5th
National Child Health Day is a United States Federal Observance Day that happens every first Monday in October. On this day, the current president releases a proclamation to call on all to recognize and support the efforts in improving and promoting children's health.
Take some time on this day to focus on your child's health. Here are a few tips to help you out:
1. Physical Fitness: Encourage active play several times a day
2. Health Eating: Make a healthy snack for your child and let them be involved in the process . Click here for recipe ideas!
3. Limit Screen Time: Click here to see recommendations from professionals
Mental Illness Awareness Week, October 4-10
Mental illness is one of the most overlooked health issues in our nation, even though 1 in 5 adults will experience some type of mental illness this year. Due to the stigmas and prejudices surrounding mental illness, many individuals do not seek treatment. Mental health is an important part of achieving overall health and wellness. The goals of Mental Illness Awareness Week are to promote awareness and education and limit stigmas and prejudices.
Please see below for more information on the events that are happening this week, ways to get involved and links to resources to learn more about mental illness and where to seek health.
October 6, 2020: National Day of Prayer for Mental Illness Recovery and Understanding
October 8, 2020: National Depression Screening Day
October 9, 2020: Aggies Thrive Event. Wear purple to show your support!
October 10, 2020: World Mental Health Day and NAMI WALKS
Click on the images below for more information: