Health Tips

May – Mental Health

Mental Health

 

Mental health is just as vital as physical health. Make a commitment to yourself and prioritize your mental health by following these practices:

  1. Open Communication: Whether you are experiencing stress, anxiety, or simply need someone to talk to, don’t hesitate to reach out to a trusted individual.
  2. Work-Life Balance: Striking a balance between work and personal life is crucial. Be sure to take breaks, set boundaries, and make time for activities that recharge yourself outside of work.
  3. Self-Care: Remember to prioritize self-care. This can be exercise, mindfulness, hobbies, or simply taking a moment to breathe. Small acts of self-care can have a big impact on mental well-being.
  4. Support Resources: Crown offers an Employee Assistance Program through Behavioral Health Systems (BHS). This benefit allows Crown employees and their dependents each 8 free sessions per calendar year for a whole collection of services, including mental health issues. To contact BHS, call 1-800-245-1150. Another resource is 988. 988 is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. To access all you need to do is dial 988.
  5. Stigma Reduction: It is important to continue to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health. By fostering an environment of understanding and empathy, a culture can be created where seeking help is seen as a strength and not a weakness.

Together, we can promote a workforce culture where mental health is valued and supported. Remember, you are not alone, and your mental health is important.

 

Take Charge. Live Well!

April – Oral Health

Did you know, there is significant correlation between good oral health and overall well-being?  Research consistently shows maintaining good oral hygiene not only contributes to a healthy smile but can also play a crucial role in promoting general health. Poor oral hygiene can lead to an accumulation of harmful bacteria in the mouth, which can subsequently enter the bloodstream, causing inflammation. This can attribute to heart disease, diabetes, respiratory infections, and other diseases. In addition, the accumulation of harmful bacteria in the mouth can lead to problems such as cavities, gum disease, and tooth loss.  These problems can significantly impact an individual’s quality of life, leading to discomfort, difficulty eating, and diminished self-confidence.

Make a commitment to yourself and prioritize your oral health by following these simple practices:

  1. Brush teeth thoroughly at least twice a day.
  2. Floss daily to remove food particles and plaque between your teeth.
  3. Schedule regular dental check-ups and cleanings to detect and address any issues early on.
  4. Maintain a balanced diet low in sugary snacks and beverages which can contribute to tooth decay.
  5. Avoid tobacco use as it not only stains teeth but also increases the risk of gum disease and oral cancer.

By making this commitment to oral health you can support both your oral health and your overall well-being. 

Take Charge. Live Well!

March – Dine Out/Take Out

Dining out can be a fun and convenient way to enjoy meals with family and friends, and a necessity when life gets busy.  However, it often comes with challenges to maintain a healthy diet. The next time you are out to eat, be mindful of your choices and try to incorporate some of the healthy choices in your order.

Choose Grilled or Steamed: When ordering from restaurants, opt for grilled or steamed dishes instead of fried or breaded options. Grilling and steaming retain more nutrients and typically have less added fats.

Watch Portion Sizes: Restaurant portions tend to be larger than what you might serve yourself at home. Try splitting your meal in half and saving the other half for later or sharing your meal to avoid overeating.

Be Wary of Hidden Sugars: Pay attention to sauces and condiments, as they can often be a source of hidden sugars and unhealthy fats.  Ask for sauces on the side or choose options with simpler ingredients.

Hydration is Key: Don’t forget to stay hydrated. Opt for water or unsweetened beverages instead of sugary soft drinks or high-calorie drinks.

Mindful Ordering: Take a moment to review the menu and choose healthier options.  Look for keywords like “grilled,” “baked,” “steamed,” or “fresh” rather than “fried,” “creamy,” or “crispy.”

By prioritizing healthy eating when dining out, you can enjoy delicious meals while also supporting your overall health and well-being.

Take Charge. Live Well!

February – LDL Cholesterol

LDL Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a waxy substance produced by our bodies and found in some of the foods we eat.  It is categorized in two packages – LDL, the “bad” cholesterol, and HDL the “good” cholesterol.  Let’s take a deeper look at LDL cholesterol.  LDL stands for Low Density Lipoprotein and is needed in our body; however, problems arise when the levels of LDL cholesterol are too high in the body.  Ideally, your LDL cholesterol levels should be below 100 mg/dl.

LDL Cholesterol LevelCholesterol Category
Less than 100 mg/dlOptimal
100 – 129 mg/dlNear optimal
130 – 159 mg/dlBorderline high
160 – 189 mg/dlHigh
190 mg/dL and aboveVery high

When the LDL levels are elevated, plaque is deposited on the artery walls, increasing the risk for heart disease and stroke, making it important to manage your cholesterol levels. There are two ways to lower your numbers:

  1. Heart-healthy lifestyle changes, which include:
    • Heart-healthy eating – a heart-healthy eating plan limiting the amount of saturated and trans fats you eat.
    • Weight management – if overweight, losing weight can help lower your LDL levels.
    • Physical Activity – making time for regular physical activity on most days of the week.
  2. Medications. If lifestyle changes alone do not lower your LDL levels enough, you may also need to take medicines. There are several types of cholesterol-lowering medicines that work in different ways and can have different side effects. Talk to your provider about which medicine is right for you. While you are taking medicines to lower your LDL level, you still should continue with heart-healthy lifestyle changes.

Take Charge. Live Well!

January – Reclaim Your Calm

Reclaim Your Calm

Meet the new year with a renew focus on your mental health. Everyone feels overwhelmed at times, but too much stress can be hard on your mental, emotional, and physical health, so it is important to find ways to offset those negative effects.

Here are a few healthy habits from Kaiser Permanente® that can help you stay cool under pressure.

Sweat more, stress less.

Symptoms of stress can create a vicious cycle between your mind and body. Physical activity helps to break this cycle by relieving tension and releasing feel-good brain chemicals that fight the effects of stress – any type of physical activity can help reduce stress.  The positive effects can be felt immediately.

Eat right and stay hydrated.

Take good care of your mind and body by keeping health foods on hand, cutting back on sugar and caffeine, and drinking plenty of water. A few small changes in your daily habits can make a big difference in how you feel.

Take a break to breathe.

When stress strikes, try a few minutes of deep breathing.  Breath in for a count of 5, hold for 5, and exhale for 5. Repeat 10 times or until you start feeling more calm, grounded, and focused.

Unplug to recharge.

Your phone needs time to recharge, so does your brain. Disconnecting from digital noise for a little while each day can help you stress less, sleep better, and spend time doing more rewarding activities.

Get creative

Studies have shown that spending time doing creative activities can help with stress and boost overall well-being. It doesn’t even matter what you do – maybe you’ll draw, journal, play music, or knot – as long as it is creative and you enjoy it.

Visit kp.org/stressmanagement to learn additional ways to manage stress, before it manages you.

Take Charge. Live Well!

December – Enjoy the Season

The holidays should be a time of joy and excitement, and for many people, they are. Still, the anxiety of having too much to do, too little time and the tendency to overspend can easily overshadow holiday happiness.  With some practical tips, you can minimize the stress that accompanies the holidays

  • Get organized. Make lists or use an appointment book to keep track of tasks to do and events to attend. Remember you are only oner person, and you can only do so much. Be realistic with how much you can handle during the holiday season.
  • Know your spending limit. Shop with a list and a budgeted amount of what you’ll spend. Set a budget, and don’t spend more than you’ve planned.
  • Be realistic. Try not to put pressure on yourself to create the perfect holiday for your family. Remind yourself of the cultural or spiritual meaning of the holidays. Try to value the time you spend with loved ones and friends.
  • Keep a regular sleep, meal, and exercise schedule. Don’t forget about your own needs. Taking care of yourself will help you deal with stressful situations during the holidays.
  • Get support if needed. The holidays can be a difficult time for those that have lost family or friends, or for those that may not be able to be with loved ones. If you are struggling to cope, contact your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) at 800-245-1150 for confidential support and guidance.

Take Charge. Live Well!

Biometric Screening: Lipid Panel

Why is a screening important?

A lipid panel is a primary tool for assessing your risk of cardiovascular diseases by identifying abnormal levels of lipids in your blood. Abnormal lipid levels in your blood can lead to buildup in your blood vessels and arteries which can cause damage and increase your risk of cardiovascular problems. A lipid panel includes measurements of the following components:

Total Cholesterol = HDL Cholesterol + LDL cholesterol + 1/5 of triglycerides.

LDL Cholesterol: This is known as the “bad” cholesterol. LDL cholesterol is needed because it carries cholesterol to your body’s cells, but having too much can contribute to plaque buildup in your arteries and cause problems.

HDL Cholesterol: This is known as the “good” cholesterol. It helps mover extra cholesterol from your bloodstream to your liver. Your liver then removes it from your body.

Triglycerides: Are a type of fat in your blood that the body uses for energy. High levels can put you at risk for the buildup of fats, cholesterol, and other substances on the artery walls.

The results of a lipid panel allow healthcare providers to take appropriate measures, when necessary, by suggesting dietary and lifestyle changes, medication, and closer monitoring. Understanding your lipid profile is important for a healthier and happier life.

Looking for additional information or have questions, contact HealthWise at healthwise@crown.com.

Self-Care

Self-care is a crucial aspect of maintaining your overall well-being and quality of life. Our busy lives make it difficult to set aside time for ourselves, but it is important to make self-care a regular part of our routine and invest in ourselves – it allows you to be your best self.

What is Self-Care? Self-care refers to the deliberate and intentional practices you engage in to promote your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. It involves prioritizing and caring for yourself. There is not a one-size-fits-all approach and self-care activities vary depending on the individual. Typically, the goal is reducing stress, enhancing relaxation, and improving overall quality of life.

Physical Health: Activities may include regular physical activity, proper nutrition, sufficient sleep, good hygiene, and attending medical checkups. These activities positively impact your physical health by boosting your immune system, increasing your energy levels, and reduce the risk of various health issues.

Mental Health: Activities may include taking time to relax, journaling, seeking therapy or counseling, and engaging in hobbies that bring you joy. These activities can help alleviate stress, anxiety, depression, and allows you to recharge your mind.

Social Health: Activities may include spending time with loved ones, reaching out and connecting with friends, and participating in social activities that bring you joy. These activities can help bring emotional balance, reduce stress, and provide a sense of belonging.

Mindfulness

In our busy world, it is easy to get stuck on auto-pilot and focus on getting as much checked off on your “to-do” list. This can lead to burnout, mental fatigue, stress, and a host of other problems. Mindfulness is a type of meditation and is an effective tool to help slow yourself down and live in the moment without judgement. Mindfulness has shown to help decrease depression, increase emotion regulation, reduce stress and anxiety, increase cognitive improvements, strengthen relationships, and better physical health. Ultimately, mindfulness does not change the stressor, but it allows you to help create a more positive outcome. Try adopting some of the mindfulness techniques below and incorporate them in your daily life.

Breathing Methods – By concentrating on the flow of your breath you can slow your heart rate while reducing the feelings of stress, anxiety, or anger. Simply focus as you inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Try to let thoughts leave the mind and remain focused on your breathing.

Guided Imagery/Sensations – Focus on your 5 senses, sight, smells, sounds, tastes, and touch. This allows you to be in the present moment and can help quiet or calm disruptive or negative thinking.

Thoughts and Feelings – This is focusing on emotions and thoughts but without judgement and allowing the feelings to fall away. This put you in control of where to focus your energy and attention, but not ignoring the emotion itself exist.

Movement – Mindful movement is the act of brining awareness to the body to relive stress, improve focus, and burn energy. Don’t mistake this for a workout, but a way to strengthen the mind-body connection – mindful walking, guided stretching, yoga, tai-chi, etc.

CLICK HERE FOR SPECIFIC MINDFULNESS EXERCISES TO PRACTICE

Back Health

Back pain is one of the most common medical problems in the United States. Knowing your risk factors while being proactive by practicing self car tips can help protect your back and keep you feeling your best.

Risk Factors

Age: Back is more common with age, especially after you turn 45. Be Proactive!

Inactivity: Weak or inactive back and stomach (“core”) muscle can attribute to back pain over time.

Weight Gain: Excess body weight puts extra stress on your back and joints.

Job-Related: Jobs requiring heavy lifting, twisting, or pulling may put undue stress on the back and put on at a higher risk to experience an injury. Also, Desk jobs or jobs with prolonged sitting (driving) can also cause problems due to inactivity and poor posture.

Self Care Tips

Movement Breaks: Avoid staying in the same position for prolonged periods. Take breaks to stand, move around, or stretch. This will help to keep blood flow moving throughout the body. Ideally, you should move for three minutes every hours.

Muscle Activation: Muscular imbalances can cause certain muscles to be overactive and other muscles to be inactive which can lead to pain over time. Click here for a reference sheet of muscular activation exercises.

Stretch: Stretching is a simple technique to help promote blood flow to the muscles, relieve tension built up over time, and elongate muscles that are overactive. Click here for a reference sheet of stretches.

Posture: Maintaining proper body alignment is vital for your back health. Be mindful of your posture throughout your day when you are standing and sitting. Click here for a reference sheet on posture.