This week in Michigan, school was officially cancelled for
the remainder of the year in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. For many students
an occasional snow day is a welcomed site, but trading once-in-a-lifetime
events like prom and graduation, fun with friends, concerts and performances, sports
and end of year class parties for several weeks or months of quarantine is a different
story. With the announcement this week, your child, especially teens, may be left
feeling a sense of loss. As parents, you want to support your children as they
navigate this unprecedented stage of life, but you’re also working through these
changes while trying to keep up with working from home, homeschooling and
keeping the family healthy. We’ve got you covered! Read on for some quick tips on
how to support your teen through quarantine.
It’s OK to feel angry.
High school seniors have lost out on much of what they’ve
been working for over the last 12 years, and teens in general are missing out on
high school and college rites-of-passage. Understandably, they may be feeling angry,
sad, disappointed, and just plain miserable. For parents, expressing empathy for
their current situation can go a long way in helping them cope.
Say this: “I’m sorry that you’re missing out on so many
things you were looking forward to. This will end and life will get better, but
I understand that you feel miserable right now.”
It’s OK to feel happy.
On the flip side, your teen may feel a huge sense of relief with
the premature end of the school year. For some, the stress of studies, pressure
of performances, or social struggles means quarantine is actually a welcomed
change. It’s important to allow your child to feel both disappointment and
Say this: “It’s okay to feel relieved that some of the
things you were worried about are now not going to happen.”
Be ready for friction.
For teens, friendships can be as important and their
relationships with their family members. Expect that they are not going to
enjoy being forced to stay away from their friends for many weeks. Be ready for
arguments and anger as you keep them home to keep them well. This will be even
more challenging as other parents may not follow the rules and allow their children
to interact with friends outside their homes.
Say this: “I’m following the advice of medical experts
during this quarantine, and I can’t allow you to go to someone else’s home or
have someone over to ours, regardless of the choices your friend’s parents are
Give them a voice.
As you navigate a new family schedule, be respectful of the
fact that your teen has their own idea of how they would like to see their day
go. Layout your expectations for schoolwork, help with younger siblings and housework.
Ask for their input and come to an agreement together.
Say this: “I need some things from you during this quarantine,
and I know you have needs too. Let’s look at our weekly schedule together and
come up with one that works for both of us.”
When you’re working from home, it can be more difficult than
ever to disconnect from work. It’s important to give your family, and
especially your children, undivided attention, sans work. Set aside time every day
where you can put your devices away and focus on family.
Say this: “At five-o’clock today, let’s head outside and
take a walk before dinner. It’s important to get our work done, but we need to
make time for time for each other. Spending time with you is one of my favorite
things to do!”
Know when your child needs help.
Despite your best efforts, your child’s response to the stress
surrounding COVID-19 may require some outside help. The IHA Pediatric Behavioral
Health team is here to support you. Call today to learn more.
Say this: “I can see you’re struggling, and I want to do
what’s best to help you. I know someone that can help.”
We’re often so busy with education and activities outside
our homes, there aren’t many opportunities to educate children inside the home.
Enter the quarantine of 2020. Never has there been a time where we were all in
our homes for weeks at a time, without any outside activities. This time
presents many opportunities for teachable moments around the house.
Darks and lights. What goes in the dryer, what doesn’t. Now
is the time to teach your child some basic lessons around doing laundry to
ensure your they aren’t clueless at the laundromat their freshman year of
college. Even the youngest child can help load machines, measure detergent,
push buttons and match up clean socks (if you can find both).
Allow your child to (safely) assist with planning, preparing
and cooking meals. Plan a cooking competition, with your child as the chef and
the rest of the family as judges, set the table and have the family dress up
for a fancy sit down dinner.
Make the bed.
This is a simple act that can set the tone for the rest of
the day. Before you make it out of your room, you already accomplished
Read a map.
Because those turn by turn directions aren’t right every single
time, you’ll want you child to have the ability to understand a map, paper or
digital. Plan a scavenger hunt in your yard with a treasure at the end, and let
your child be the leader. If you have older children, give geocaching a try!
Hammer a Nail.
Learning some basic home repair skills at an early age can come
in handy (pun intended) when your child becomes a homeowner or apartment
dweller. Assist your child with hammering nails into a board, teach them how to
change a light bulb, plunge a toilet, paint a room or any other items on the
to-do list. You’ll feel accomplished to check-off your list and your child will
pick-up some great skills. It’s a win-win!
Clean the bathroom.
Much like lessons in home improvement and laundry, some
basic cleaning skills will serve as lifelong tools for your child. Ask them to
help with the dishes, pick-up toys, vacuum the rugs, clean the windows and the
bathroom. Be sure an adult supervises children while cleaning and use products
that are safe for children.
Balance a bank account.
This is a great way to teach math without having to learn elementary
school math. Create a play store, give your kids some money and help them learn
about spending and saving.
Plant a garden.
Find an area of your yard where your child can create their
garden. Work together to clean the area, remove weeds and prepare the dirt to
receive plants or seeds in the coming weeks. If you have the supplies needed,
start seeds growing in a window now. The responsibility and reward of planting
and caring for a garden throughout the summer are wonderful lessons for children
and adults alike.
Manage a schedule.
Ask you child to create their own schedule. How do they want
to structure their day? What’s important to them? Help them learn to balance
free time or play time with work time. Getting work done is important, but learning
to balance work with leisure will give them skills to manage their stress
levels in adulthood.
Here in Michigan, schools, libraries and other facilities are closed amid the COVID-19 outbreak. Coupled with shortages in grocery stores, some families that rely on food-security programs may be struggling to feed their families. Local non-profit agencies are working hard to ensure these programs are maintained and our communities don’t go hungry. If you or someone you know needs help, scroll down for a list of food-security programs, organized by county and school district. If you are able to volunteer to help get food to those in need, or would like to donate, click here.
Ann Arbor Public Schools has set 11 locations for
free meal pickups around Ann Arbor. Breakfast and lunch packages are available
for pickup from 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM Tuesdays and Fridaysexcept
for Friday, April 3. Meals will be available on Thursday, April 2 instead.
Community Center, 3 W. Eden Court.
Baxter Court Community Center, 1737 Green Road.
Community Center, 2724 Hikone Drive.
Pinelake Village Coop, outside the clubhouse, 2680 Adrienne Drive.
Apartments, outside the clubhouse, 4275 Eyrie Drive.
Farms, outside the clubhouse, 6655 Jackson Road.
Grove, outside the clubhouse, 2835 S. Wagner Road.
Elementary, outside the school, 4250 Central Blvd.
Middle School, outside the school, 3300 Lorraine St.
Maple Meadows Satellite, West Ann Arbor Satellite 1111 N. Maple Road.
Hills Community Center, 2566 Arrowwood Trail.
For individuals that
cannot make it to one of these food pick-ups or have food allergy concerns,
call the AAPS Food Service Hotline at 734-994-2265.
Chelsea School District Food Service is providing sack breakfast and
lunch meals for students from 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM on Wednesday, March 18;
Monday, March 23 and Friday, March 27 at the Chelsea High School commons
entrance. Please contact (734) 433-2208 ext. 6082 for further information.
Dexter Community Schools is implementing Drive-up pickup starting Tuesday, March 17 in the
Mill Creek Parking Lot.Drive-up pickup will be 8:00 AM – 9:30
AM and 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM every Tuesday and Friday. Each pickup will
include breakfast and lunch for 5 days’ worth per child.
Lincoln Consolidated Schools’ Lincoln Food Service is providing grab and go
meals for all students in need. Drive-through distribution begins Monday, from
9:00 AM – 12:00 PM behind the Lincoln High School East Cafe
Milan Area Schools will run its usual bus route to get meals to families
starting Tuesday, March 17. Additionally, a drive-through site will be
available between 4:30 PM – 6:30 PM at Paddock Elementary. Information
regarding further food service distribution will be available Wednesday
Saline Area Social Services is distributing pre-packaged
groceries to families 10:00 AM – 2:30 PM Tuesday and Thursday in its
parking lot at 244 W. Michigan Ave. Those interested in volunteering are asked
to call 734-476-7831.
Community Schools will offer a week’s worth of
breakfast and lunch to be provided from March 17 to April 2. Meals will be
handed out11:00 AM – 1:00 PM Tuesdays and Thursdays at all
six locations. Three sites will hand out meals from 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM on
those days as well.
11:00 AM – 1:00 PM
A.C.C.E., 1076 Ecorse
Community Family Life Center,
1375 S Harris Road
Stronger Tower Ministries, 134
Parkridge Community Center, 591
CRC Community Resource Center,
2057 Tyler Road
4:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Community Family Life Center
Stronger Tower Ministries
Parkridge Community Center
The district is in search of volunteers to staff the six locations. Training for 24 lead volunteers is 5:30 PM – 6:30 PM Monday at the district administration building, 1885 Packard St. Additional volunteers will be needed starting Tuesday, March 17. Part of the job for lead volunteers will be documenting meals served and assisting with clean up.
Fowlerville Community Schools is partnering with Gleaners’ Community Food Bank to distribute food to their students’ families on Thursday, March 19th and Thursday, April 2nd at the Fowlerville High School. Any member of a student’s family can come to the main entrance of the high school from 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM. Approximately two weeks of food for each student will be distributed. There are other resources available to support families during this time as well. Breakfast sandwiches are being distributed at Kodet’s Hardware. Visit their Facebook page for more information. Lunch is being distributed at the Torch 180 at 131 Mill Street. Click here for more information. Families in need of support could also call the Family Impact Center at (517) 223- 4428.
Brighton Area Schools’ Student Nutrition Department has donated a
large quantity of unused food to Gleaners for distribution to families during
the shutdown. Gleaners’ Shared Harvest Pantry will be open by appointment only.
The pantry will offer a drive-up service with a box of food; and may include
meat, fresh produce, toilet paper and laundry soap as supplies are available.
For more information, call (517) 548-3710.
The Salvation Army will provide sack
lunches Tuesday-Friday next week from Noon to 1 PM at the following locations:
Tuesday: Lakeshore Village Apartments 2812 Ontario Ct, Howell, MI 48843
Wednesday: Grand Plaza Apartments 401 S Highlander Way, Howell, MI 48843
Thursday: Prentis Estates Apartments1103 S Latson Rd, Howell, MI 48843
Friday: Howell Estates, 515 Mason Rd, Howell, MI 48843
Brighton Area Schools will also be continuing their “Blessings in a
Backpack” program through BAS by distributing food in the BECC parking lot
during the next three Tuesdays from 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM. This will be a drive
through pick up process. If you need additional support, please email Starr
Acromite at email@example.com or call (810) 299-4040.
Pinckney Community Schools will be offering breakfast and lunch food Thursdays from 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM. Food will be distributed in front of pathfinder school at the main office entry. They ask that all parents and students remain in their vehicles as the food is brought to their car. Two-day portions will be provided at each distribution. Electronic forms are currently being developed so that they can deliver food personally. Pinckney Community Schools will offer a mobile food pantry Wednesday, March 18th from 5:00PM – 6:00 PM in the district transportation garage.
Whitmore Lake Public Schools is providing grab and go breakfast and lunches Monday through Friday. Breakfast can be picked up 8:00 AM – 9:00 AM, and lunch is picked up from 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM at the front doors of Whitmore Lake Elementary School, 1077 Barker Road, Whitmore Lake, MI. To help plan for the right amount of food, parents are asked to fill out this form. If your family is unable to pick up the meals, but still are in need of assistance, you canfill out this form
Clarkston Community Schools is partnering with Chartwells School Dining
to provide free breakfasts and lunch to families in need. Students ages 18 and
younger (or 26 and younger if an Adult Transition Services student) can pick up
food Monday through Friday at the following locations and times:
CURBSIDE PICK-UP AT:
Andersonville Elementary School
10350 Andersonville Road
Daily pick-up from 11am-12:30pm
Sashabaw Middle School
5565 Pine Knob Lane
Daily pick-up from 11am-12:30pm
Clarkston Junior High School
6595 Waldon Road
Daily pick-up from 11am-12:30pm
CCS FOOD SERVICES TRUCK IN PARKING LOT AT:
Bridgewater Park Apartments
5801 Bridgewater Dr.
Daily pick-up from 11:30am-12pm
Clintonvilla Mobile Home Community
4851 Clintonville Rd.
Daily pick-up from 12pm-12:30pm
Independence Woods Mobile Home Community
2500 Mann Rd.
Daily pick-up from 11am-11:30am
Clawson Public Schools is collaborating with Chartwells dining
services to offer a free brown bag breakfast and lunch program to all members
in the community from Monday to Friday 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM or 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM
at Clawson Middle School.
Novi Community School District will provide grab and go breakfast and lunches for students aged 18 and under and students with IEPs up to age 26 on Tuesday March 24 and Tuesday March 31. Seven days of food will be provided each week. Food will be provided for each student in the family. Families can pick up the food in the Novi High School Taft Road parking lot. It is a drive through process in the bus loop area. Families can pick up food between the hours of 9:00 AM and 1:00 PM. There are also two mobile drop off areas in the community. One in the Novi Ridge Apartments and the other in the Pavilion Court. Food will be delivered to the clubhouses via a Novi Community School District
bus in both locations between 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM. Children do not have to be
Pontiac School District will deliver meals to designated stops along each bus route starting Wednesday, March 18 on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. For full details click here.
Lyon Community Schools’
students are eligible to receive breakfast and lunch for seven days on each
pickup date listed below. Students do not need to be present. This program will
be a pickup and go program. Families will pull up to the main entrance of the
respective school building and volunteers will come to your vehicle to ask how
many children you will be feeding. At that time, they will bring the prepacked
breakfast and lunch food to your vehicle. Wednesday, March 18; Wednesday, March
25 and Wednesday, April 1. The locations include:
South Lyon High School 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Kent Lake Elementary 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Dolsen Elementary 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Salem Elementary 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Southfield Public Schools is working with SFE and First Student to offer up to two meals per day to all children ages 18 and under for free. This includes students with disabilities, ages 18-26, with an active individual education program (IEP). Beginning Monday, March 16, meals for seven days a week will be delivered to Southfield Public Schools students and all children in the community throughout the time of the state closure of schools. Specified stops will be made from 10:45 AM – 1:30 PM daily.
Students that ride special needs buses will have meals delivered to their homes. In addition, there will be buses on standby to capture students who may miss the scheduled bus delivery or for special meals. Meals will also be distributed at Thompson K-8 International Academy (16300 Lincoln Drive, Southfield 48076) starting Monday, March 16, 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM. The remainder of the week’s distribution will be 8:00 PM – 1:00 PM. Please call (248) 746-8522 for questions. Click here for the full bus stop schedule.
Troy School District is offering grab and go breakfasts and lunches every weekday from 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM from March 17 to April 1 at the following locations:
Athens High School
Troy High School
Troy Career and College HS
Baker Middle School
Smith Middle School
Morse Elementary School
Troy Union Elementary
Charter Square Apartments
The Gables of Troy
For further information, please call (248) 823-5089.
Walled Lake Consolidated Schools has a curbside pickup for students in need Monday, March 23 and 30 from 1:45 PM – 3:00PM. If you are unable to pick up food, email firstname.lastname@example.org for delivery.
Dearborn Public Schools is offering free pickup breakfast
and lunch for students while school is closed for the mandatory shut down over
the next three weeks. Pickups will run daily from 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM starting
March 17 at Fordson High School, Edsel Ford High School, Dearborn High School,
McCollough-Unis K-8, Salina Intermediate School and Woodworth Middle School.
Detroit Public Schools will offer Breakfast and lunch
and Academic Packets starting Wednesday, March 18 at 58 DPSCD buildings. Students
will not be allowed to enter the building.
“grab-and-go” breakfast will be served, Monday – Friday, from 8:00 AM – 10:30 AM
“grab-and-go” lunch will be served from 10:30 AM – 1:00 PM
K-8 learning packets with a focus on Mathematics, English Language Arts,
Science and Social Studies can be picked-up at the same 58 school locations
All school locations listed below
are linked to Google Maps for directions.
Plymouth – Canton Community Schools has put
together a plan for six district sites to make breakfast and lunch meals
available on a weekly basis. Families are welcome to come pick up free meals
for all kids every Wednesday during the school closure period, starting on
Wednesday, March 18.
Each package contains both breakfast and
lunch for five days. This program is for all kids 18 years old and under, as
well as our students ages 18 to 26 who are serviced with an Individualized
Education Plan (IEP) in their community.
MEAL PICKUP SCHEDULE:
Every Wednesday during the school closure
period (starting March 18) from 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Salem High School, 46181 Joy Rd., Canton
Starkweather Academy, 39750 Joy Rd., Plymouth
Discovery Middle School, 45083 Hanford Rd., Canton
Liberty Middle School, 46250 Cherry Hill Rd., Canton
West Middle School, 44401 Ann Arbor Trail, Plymouth
Eriksson Elementary, 1275 Haggerty Rd., Canton
In addition, families may visit other
school locations to pick up meals should it be more convenient. Visit the Wayne
RESA website for a complete list of Wayne County school districts that are
offering free meal programs. For questions, contact Healthy.Meals@pccsk12.com.
Van Buren Public Schools’ Bus Service will be delivering meals from March 19 to April 10, Monday through Friday. For more information, click here.
Wayne-Westland Community Schools will be providing drive-thru breakfast and lunch for ALL students from 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM at John Glenn High School, located at 36105 Marquette, Westland, MI on the following dates: Wednesday, March 18; Monday, March 23 and Monday, March 30. Students do not need to be present Please fill out this form before you visit to indicate which date(s) you plan to attend and how many children are in your family.
Wyandotte Public Schools is offering breakfast and lunch for pickup in weekly portions
on Wednesday, March 18; Wednesday, March 25 and Wednesday, April 1 at the
Roosevelt High School main entrance parking lot from 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM.
Other services offered within Livingston, Oakland, Washtenaw, or Wayne counties
Bountiful Harvest is providing breakfast and lunches for
Livingston County children who qualify for reduced or free lunch. They will be
providing each child with enough food for breakfast and lunch for a week with
pickups once per week at 290 E Grand River Ave, Brighton, MI. Please call the
day before pickup by 5:00 PM at (810) 360-0271. People are welcome to shop the
pantry during their normal pantry hours Thursday 6:00 PM – 8:00, Friday 4:00 PM
– 6:00 PM and Saturday 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM. They also serve a hot dinner Friday
night 3:30 to 5:30 and a hot breakfast Saturday morning 8-11. Takeout meals are
available. For those who do not wish to come in, they have a shopping list for
you to choose the items you want and volunteer shoppers will gather their goods
and bring them to your vehicle.
Hope Clinic is distributing hot
meals to go on Sundays, Mondays and Saturdays. It will have emergency groceries
available during operating hours. Call (734) 484-2989 to make a pantry
appointment. Visit at 518 Harriet St, Ypsilanti, MI.
SOS Community Services has pantry days from 1:00 PM to 6:00 PM every Tuesday
and 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM every Wednesday at 114 North River in Ypsilanti, MI
48198. Please call for appointments at (734) 484-9945 prior to pantry day.
Walk-ins will be accepted with limited pantry access. Emergency groceries are also
TeaHaus is providing free boxed lunches for AAPS
students starting Monday. The boxed meals are being handed out at Eat More Tea,
211 E. Ann St. in downtown Ann Arbor.
Palm Palace is offering free meals for kids
while schools are closed at 2370 Carpenter Road, Ann Arbor. Please call (734)
To keep all patients safe, please do not enter an IHA facility if you have any of the symptoms of COVID-19, including, fever, cough and shortness of breath. Instead, please visit IHAcares.com/screening to complete a free COVID-19 screening or call your physician’s practice for additional medical assistance.
Things to consider when trying to achieve a healthy diet.
The crowd quiets to a dull roar as the smoke clears, and a
spotlight descends on a lone performer. The performer quickly curtseys and
begins. They reach for a porcelain plate, perch its underside lip on a pole and
begin whirling with increasing ferocity. Soon, the plate is spinning at high
speeds, perfectly balanced on the end of the thin pole. Moving slowly with eyes
above, the performer reaches for more: two plates for each hand! Three! Four!
The crowd roars as the performer nearly loses their balance, anticipating the
moment where the plates come careening down into a pile of rubble. Anxious,
spectators perch on the edge of their seats to peer at the face of the
performer. Lo and behold, a familiar face: it’s you!
Every day we attempt a plate-balancing act, albeit a bit
different than the one described above: maintaining a healthy diet. Balancing
our family’s plates with the right proteins, carbs, and veggies can feel like a
daunting or even impossible task without proper practice. Below are some considerations everyone should
take when trying to maintain the proper balance, so we all don’t come crashing
down into unhealthy lifestyles!
Portion and proportion
The food pyramid was created to understand healthy proportions of various food groups in a diet. Unfortunately, a pyramid isn’t the best shape for explaining ratios, so the food pyramid went through a few makeovers over the years. In its current incarnation, the food pyramid is known as MyPlate, a dinner plate-shaped guide to understanding a balanced diet. But the challenge doesn’t end there. You could eat a totally balanced diet with the proper ratios of carbs to protein to veggies, but if you stack your plate a mile high or eat too small a meal to satisfy your needs, the end result could still be unhealthy for you. You’ve got to remember both food group balance and overall intake to achieve a healthy diet.
One bad meal is not going to undo all your hard work, and
one good meal is not going to undo a whole day of unhealthy eating. Health is a
cumulative experience. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Think of how your meals
relate to each other. Looking back to the original plate-spinning analogy,
you’ve got to think carefully and consider the other plates you’ve already got
spinning before you grab another if you want to be successful.
Convenience has been a constant hurdle in the lives of busy
people trying to maintain a healthy diet. Now it’s different. There are a lot
of good, convenient options at your local grocery store that just need to be
microwaved, like minute brown rice or frozen veggies. Even some fast-food
restaurants now have healthier options on the menu if you’re in a rush.
Every body is unique
Some healthy foods may not agree with your body. There is no
true “one size fits all” diet, but there are some general guidelines like
MyPlate. Your body is an engine, so try out different fuels to see what makes
your body run best. Maybe the proteins you’re eating make you run slow and
sluggish, try a plant-based protein and see if that gives you a few extra
horsepower. If excess dairy makes your engine, uh, “backfire” too frequently,
look for other options to find your calcium and vitamin D.
Framing your decisions
Look at healthy eating as what you’re choosing to
eat, not what you can’thave. It may just seem like wordplay, but
researchers have actually found that mental framing may be a factor in making
healthy food decisions. The mind is more powerful than the body, and a healthy
mind makes for a healthier body!
This weekend, we will all adjust our clocks and spring
forward, but chances are, no one will be springing anywhere for a few days. Losing
an hour of sleep can really throw off your sleep cycle leaving you groggy,
tired and most likely running late. Plus, the darker morning tricks your body
into thinking it’s not actually time to wake up. Luckily, it only takes a day
or two to adjust your internal clock to the new schedule. Although short, those
couple days can be rough, so we pulled together some quick tips to get through
Clear your mornings.
The Monday after springing forward can be brutal. Maybe Tuesday,
too. It’s no small task to get up and going on an hour less sleep, and there’s
a pretty good chance you’ll be running late. If possible, block your morning schedule,
so you can ease into the day rather than rushing through the morning. If
working from home is an option, this would be a great day to do it.
Eat to sleep.
Avoid foods and beverages that interfere with your sleep. About
four to six hours before bedtime say no to sugar, alcohol and caffeine.
Go into the light!
Light suppresses the secretion of sleep-inducing melatonin. Exposing
yourself to sunlight will help with the adjustment to the time change. Open the
blinds and curtains! Let the natural light in!
Conversely, when it’s time for sleep, do not expose yourself
to light. If you get up at night to go to the bathroom, use a nightlight rather
than turning on the lights.
Turn-off when you turn-in.
Help your body adjust to the time change, by getting good sleep.
Get your mind and body ready to snooze by turning your devices off. Laying in
bed on your phone or tablet stimulates your body and brain. Read a book instead,
take a warm bath, listen to calming music, pick-up an eye mask – whatever you find
helpful in falling to sleep.
Take your hour back.
Allow yourself some extra time leading up to the time change
and try to go to bed early to make up for the hour you are about to lose. Making-up
for the lost time, ahead of time, can help your body transition into daylight
As the sun sets on the summer months, days get shorter and
the temperature drops, so does our mood. Snow, scarves and holidays are a
novelty and enjoyable for a few weeks after the heat of summer, but the dark,
cold days of January and February bring much less joy to many. If you find your
mood changing (not for the better), at the same time every year, you may have
seasonal depression or seasonal affective disorder (SAD). This mood disorder typically
comes and goes when the season changes. The most common form of SAD appears in
the fall and resolves in the spring or summer.
The signs and symptoms of SAD are similar to those of non-seasonal
depression, but typically improve or go away with warm, sunny weather. Here’s
what to look for starting in the fall or early winter:
Fatigue and hypersomnia
Increased appetite and overeating
Loss of interest, including withdrawal from
social activities or people
Desire to be alone (may feel like hibernating)
Like non-seasonal forms of depression, there are treatments
available to combat SAD. Depending on the severity of your symptoms and whether
you have another type of depression, the treatment for SAD may include:
Bright light therapy
Changes to sleep hygiene, outdoor walks and
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, women
are four-times more likely to be diagnosed with SAD than men. Other factors
that may increase your risk of SAD include: living far from the equator with
major shifts in seasons, and a personal or family history of depression or
bipolar disorder. Age can also have an impact on whether you get SAD. Young
adults seem to be affected more frequently than children, adolescents and older
If you’re feeling any or all the symptoms of SAD, make an
appointment to see your provider. They can help find the best treatment plan to
get you feeling better.
nearly half of adults in the United States have high blood pressure, it’s a term
we hear frequently, but what is it exactly? High Blood Pressure or Hypertension
is when the force of blood pushing against the walls of your arteries is consistently
too high. When left untreated, hypertension puts you at risk for heart disease and
stroke. It’s normal for our blood pressure to rise and fall throughout the day,
but when it stays high for long periods of time your heart can be damaged leading
to health problems or even death. The good news is, there several steps you can
take to manage hypertension and live a healthy life!
should do this today. Smoking is harmful for many reasons and we encourage all patients
who are smokers to quit immediately. It’s often easier said than done, so check
with your provider for some strategies to ensure you quit smoking for good.
activity strengthens your heart, and a stronger heart can pump more blood with
less effort, thus decreasing the force on your arteries and lowering your blood
pressure. For some patients, exercise lowered blood pressure enough to quit
taking medication. Daily exercise can also prevent hypertension as you grow
older. If you are implementing a new exercise routine, or starting to exercise for
the first time, be sure to chat with your doctor before you begin.
Eat a Heart Healthy Diet.
In other words: put down the salt shaker! Incorporating the DASH Diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) into your daily life can have a big impact on not just hypertension, but your health overall.
Eat more vegetables and fruit
Eat less foods that are high in saturated fat, cholesterol and trans fats
Eat more whole grains, fish, poultry and nuts
East less sodium, sugar and red meats
itself is pretty simple but following it can be a challenge. Try making small
changes at first and ease your way into a new diet. Add a serving of vegetables
at lunch and dinner, choose fruit, plain popcorn or low-fat yogurt as your
afternoon snack, switch to low-fat dairy products, limit how much butter, salad
dressing or other condiments you use, and if you don’t know already, learn to
read food nutrition labels and choose low sodium foods.
Take Your Medications.
not be able to manage you high blood pressure with diet and exercise alone, but
there are medications that can help you reach your blood pressure goal. Talk
with your doctor about the right approach for you. They will know when it’s
time to work medications into your routine. Once you are prescribed a
medication for high blood pressure, it’s important to take it exactly as directed.
If you are not able to follow your physician’s instructions, be sure to discuss
your options at your next appointment. Don’t make changes to your treatment
without guidance from your doctor.
Monitor Your Blood Pressure at Home.
Once you implement changes into your lifestyle, it’s important to monitor your blood pressure on a regular basis to understand if you are going in the right direction. If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, it’s important to check it daily to ensure your numbers are stable and staying in a safe zone. Check with your provider for best practices for measuring your blood pressure at home. They can also help you find the right fit when it comes to purchasing a cuff. Once you’re ready to go, use this helpful log to keep track of your numbers for the month.
If you’re a dog person, you are familiar with the warmth a pup
can bring into a home. Dogs are always happy to see “their person” and provide
endless affection and joy. It tuns out, they do all that and more – owning a
dog may actually be good for your health. According to the CDC, some of the health
benefits of pet ownership include: decreased blood pressure, decreased cholesterol
and triglyceride levels, reduced depression, and improved physical health. Owning
a dog is not the sole answer to reducing heart disease or high blood pressure,
but it may be a practical part of your overall strategy. So, how do those puppy
dog eyes positively impact a person’s health? Read on for four ways a four-legged
friend may improve your overall wellbeing.
Get and stay active.
There are few things to motivate someone to get off the couch and take a walk
like a whining dog. Dog owners are more likely to meet fitness recommendations
each week than a person that does not own a dog. Whether taking the pup for a
walk, or stepping outside to toss a tennis ball, dogs motivate their owners to
Reduce stress. Dog
are trained to be therapy or service animals for a reason. They have been found
to reduce anxiety and blood pressure and increase serotonin and dopamine (neurochemicals
that boost your mood and overall wellbeing).
Improve your mood. Dogs
may even help keep depression at bay. In addition to increasing serotonin and
dopamine, they provide structure and meaning to their owner’s life (as an owner,
you must get up in the morning to walk or let your dog out), encourage socialization
and prevent isolation and loneliness. For some, having the structure and
companionship of a pooch can help protect against cognitive decline and
Benefits for kids. There
is evidence that exposure to a pet at a young age may lower the risk of
becoming allergic to animals later in life. Little ones may even develop a
stronger immune system. Dogs also present an opportunity for children to learn about
responsibility, empathy and independence.
While dogs provide several health benefits, there are also risks associated with having a dog in your home. Dogs and other pets cause a number of falls each year, especially for older adults or people with mobility issues. If you’re considering adopting a dog, chat with your doctor first.
You know when it’s coming – that foggy feeling, muscle aches,
sneezing. You’re getting sick. You start to consider your plan of attack, but
first you need to know what you’re dealing with. Is this a cold or something more
severe? Read on to learn difference between cold and flu symptoms.
What is the
difference between a cold and flu?
Flu and the common cold are both respiratory illnesses but
they are caused by different viruses. Because these two types of illnesses have
similar symptoms, it can be difficult to tell the difference between them based
on symptoms alone. In general, flu is worse than the common cold, and symptoms
are more intense. Colds are usually milder than flu. People with colds are more
likely to have a runny or stuffy nose. Colds generally do not result in serious
health problems, such as pneumonia, bacterial infections, or hospitalizations.
Flu can have very serious associated complications.
How can you tell the
difference between a cold and the flu?
Because colds and flu share many symptoms, it can be
difficult (or even impossible) to tell the difference between them based on
symptoms alone. Special tests that usually must be done within the first few
days of illness can tell if a person has the flu.
What are the symptoms
of the flu versus the symptoms of a cold?
The symptoms of flu can include fever or feeling feverish/chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue (tiredness). Cold symptoms are usually milder than the symptoms of flu. People with colds are more likely to have a runny or stuffy nose. Colds generally do not result in serious health problems.
Are you suffering from flu or cold symptoms? Still need to get the flu shot this season? Save your spot in line at an IHA Urgent Care near you.
With the new year comes a fresh start and for many people an
opportunity to make some positive changes in their lives. With great
intentions, they head off into the new year determined to make a go of this
year’s resolutions. Too often, busy lives take over and resolutions are abandoned
after just a few weeks. Forming new,
positive daily habits is a challenge, but it’s not impossible. Read on for some
advice on how to incorporate a new habit into your daily routine and make your
2020 resolutions stick!
Pick one goal.
Don’t spread your willpower too thin. Focusing on one goal at
a time will increase your chances of actually achieving it.
Look at the small
Rather than setting a resolution for the whole year, start
with one month or even one week. Your goal should feel attainable with as little
pressure as possible.
Make a sub-habit.
There are things you do every single day without even
thinking about it: brushing your teeth, feeding the dog, walking into the house
after work, you get the idea. Try setting your goal as a sub-habit of one of your
already established daily habits. For example, “after I feed the dog, I will
take him for a ten-minute walk” or “when I walk in the door after work, I will
put my workout clothes on and run one mile”.
Take it one (baby)
step at a time.
When forming a new habit, a low-level commitment is much easier
to work into your day. Start with simple tasks that make it almost impossible to
fail. Once you get started, you may find yourself doing more. Here are some
suggestions for daily micro-commitments:
Take a 5-minute walk
Write one paragraph in your journal
Eat one serving of vegetables
Plan for obstacles.
Weather, time, cost or illness will no doubt present a
challenge in achieving your goal of forming a new healthy habit. Plan ahead for
challenges and be ready to work through them. Come up with “if-then” statements
to help make it over predictable stumbling blocks;
If I am
not able to sustain the cost of a gym membership, I will walk in my neighborhood
or local mall
If I am not
able to walk outside due to weather, I will do floor exercises in the basement
for 20 minutes
If I’m not
feeling well enough to walk or do a full work out, I will lift weights for 10
We all have the friend that checks in at the gym every day
on social media. Well, maybe they have the right idea. When your progress is monitored
or witnessed by others, you are more likely to follow-through with your commitment.
Consider creating or joining a group with similar goals, and post or text each
other when you complete your daily goal. You may also want to tell your primary
care physician about your goals and expect to follow-up next year or at your
Take time to celebrate your success! Having something to
look forward to will motivate you along the way. Choose rewards that support
your new healthy habit – avoid rewarding yourself with sugary treats or days
off from your new habit. Instead, download new music for your workout routine,
see a movie, or grab lunch with a friend.
Have you scheduled your 2020 wellness exam? Make an appointment with your primary care physician to discuss some health goals that may benefit your physical and psychological well-being.