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Celebrate Your Teachers!

It’s National Teachers Appreciation Day! Now more than ever, teachers need to know how much we value them and the work they’re doing in this time of distancing. Though everyone knows how important teachers are, it can be tough to let them know you recognize their work. Today is the day to show your kid’s teachers, and all the teachers, that you care. Send free Teacher Appreciation e-cards to express your thanks and appreciation!

Everyone has had that favorite teacher that has helped inspire them. Teachers take on so much and ask for so little. Their job is one of the most important in the world, shaping young minds and teaching them important lessons. In order for them to do their job effectively, it’s only right to encourage them so that we have a brighter tomorrow.

Whether you are a student, parent, administrator, or teacher, one simple gesture can show teachers how much you appreciate them!

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How Exercise Can Improve Your Brain Function

May 2cnd was National Fitness Day. It is common knowledge that exercise is good for your health, but scientists are starting to discover just how important it is for your brain as well!

Exercise is one of the most transformative things that you can do for your brain. Dr. Wendy Suzuki is a neuroscientist and a leading researcher in neurology. Dr. Suzuki’s work provides scientific evidence that exercise has immediate, long lasting, and protective benefits for your brain!

There are three proven reasons how exercise can improve your brain function:

1. Immediate effects on your brain – a single workout will immediately increase the feel-good chemicals in your brain like dopamine and serotonin, which puts you in a good mood. It also improves your ability to shift and focus attention lasting 2 hours, as well as faster reaction times. However, you need to exercise regularly for long lasting results.

2. Exercise actually changes the brain’s anatomy, physiology, and function. With regular exercise over a long time span, the hippocampus actually produces new brain cells which makes it increase in volume. It also enhances your prefrontal cortex, which is the center in your brain for executive functioning that includes attention, focus, decision making, personality expression and aspects of speech and language.

3. With regular, long term exercise habits, you have long lasting improvement for attention, focus, mood, and long term memory.

Think about the brain as a muscle – the more you exercise, the stronger the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex become. This is important because the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex are the most susceptible parts of your brain to neurodegenerative disease and cognitive decline in aging. Unfortunately there is no cure for Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia. But with increased exercise over your lifetime, you are strengthening your brain and creating the strongest and biggest prefrontal cortex and hippocampus so it takes longer for these diseases to take effect. Dr. Suzuki calls regular exercise ‘a supercharged 401K for your brain’.

How much exercise is enough to get these benefits? The rule of thumb is about 3-4 times a week of exercise for a minimum of 30 min exercise session. Aerobic exercise is important to get your heart rate up, and this can be as simple as walking around your neighborhood or vacuuming! “Exercise will not only help you feel good today, but protect your brain from incurable diseases, and in this way it will change the trajectory of your life for the better.”

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Melanoma Awareness Day

Melanoma Awareness Day

Today, May 4th, is National Melanoma Awareness Day, and the month of May is National Skin Cancer Month. Now that the weather is warming up, make sure to take extra skin precautions!

Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that develops when melanocytes (the cells that give the skin its tan or brown color) start to grow out of control. Melanoma is much less common than some other types of skin cancers. But melanoma is more dangerous because it’s much more likely to spread to other parts of the body if not caught and treated early. Unfortunately, one person dies every hour from melanoma and people of all skin colors and races can develop the disease.

Unprotected exposure to UV rays via sunlight can be extremely hazardous to your health. It is important to be vigilant about taking care of your skin in the sun because unprotected sun exposure in your youth can turn into melanoma or other skin cancers later in life. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the US, 1 in 5 people will develop it in their life. A person’s risk for melanoma doubles if they have had more than 5 sunburns at any age.

HOWEVER, there are many precautions that you can take to lower your risk of skin cancer and melanoma, and safeguard your health!

-Apply sunscreen (at least SPF 30) every day in every season – even on cloudy days up to 40% of the sun’s UV rays can shine down!

-If you are going to be out enjoying the sun, apply a generous amount of sunscreen – the amount that would fill a shot glass is enough for your body.

-Reapply sunscreen (especially if you have been in the water) every 2 hours when you are in the sun

-Wear a hat with a brim

-Cover up with protective clothing

-Try to avoid the sun when it is strongest between 11a-3p, stay in the shade when you can!

-Your eyes need protection from UV rays as well, wear sunglasses with UV ray protection

-Choose broad spectrum sunscreen, it protects from UV and UVB rays

-Reflection caution – when you are out skiing the sun reflects off of the white snow, make sure to use plenty of sunscreen! Same when out on the ocean, it reflects off of the water.

-Avoid direct sunlight

-Use lip balm with SPF

-Drink plenty of water

-Check your medications – sometimes medications can cause increased sensitivity to the sun, check with your doctor.

-Never, ever, use tanning beds or tanning lights. There is no such thing as a healthy tan!

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Plant Based Foods for Your Health!

Private Home Care is passionate about proper nutrition. We know from scientific evidence that you can significantly improve your diet, health, and risk of disease by eating more plant-based foods. You can still gain benefits from plant based foods without going completely vegan or giving up all of your favorite foods

But where to start?! The key is moderation. Taking small steps and making small changes can have a big impact. Note: you don’t have to eat just salads! There are plenty of delicious, filling options that are plant based and also not salads!

-A simple very first step is to make sure to have at least one plant-based snack a day. This can be nuts, fruits, veggies, crackers with hummus, a smoothie, toast with peanut butter, whole wheat pretzels and so forth. Experiment and discover what you like!

-You can also make healthier swamps. Instead of cream in your coffee, use almond milk. Instead of churned butter on your toast, use a healthy butter substitute spread. Instead of sprinkling cheese on your salad, add creamy avocado!

-You can start by saying that you will make sure to have three plant based meals a week. This could be breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Examples are oatmeal with nuts and a banana for breakfast, bean burrito or falafel for lunch, or whole wheat pasta with marinara sauce for dinner.

-Next you can challenge yourself to eating one vegan meal a day for seven days. Suggestions: vegan pancakes from a ready to make vegan pancake mix for breakfast, three bean chili or minestrone soup for lunch, vegetarian sushi or baked potato with vegetarian baked beans for dinner.

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Celebrate May Day!

Children dancing around the maypole

Today is May Day which is usually celebrated on May 1st or the first Monday in May. The holiday dates back to Roman Republic times. Celebrations include dancing and singing. The most common modern celebration is dancing around the maypole. It is a holiday to celebrate the beginning of spring, but more recently has also become about labor. In the 19th century May Day was chosen as the day to celebrate international workers.

In the United States, May Day celebrations vary by region. They usually celebrate spring and labor during the festivities. In Minneapolis there is a May Day Parade and Festival that brings 50,000 people on the first Sunday in May. On May 1st in Minneapolis, local Morris Dance sides meet at the Mississippi River at dawn and dance for the rest of the day. In Hawaii, May Day is known as Lei Day and is a day to celebrate island life and culture. It was first celebrated in 1927 in Honolulu and celebrations include the traditional holiday song “May Day is Lei Day in Hawai’i”.

You can celebrate May Day too. One tradition that has not been as popular recently that we can bring back is giving May baskets. These are small baskets of candies and flowers left anonymously for others. Another tradition we can do is crowning the May Queen with a flower crown. You can give May baskets to your family and crown one person as the May Queen. We can all use some fun in quarantine, so celebrate May Day today.

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Mental Health: Exercise and Movement is Possible for All

Exercise can be challenging during this time, especially for those with mobility or balance limitations. Luckily, there are options for free and low risk exercises to do at home. Please note to always consult with a doctor first before trying any new exercise routine, and stop immediately if you are feeling unwell.

Exercising can absolutely be tailored to meet your needs and cater to your abilities! This includes:

-Standing Chair Exercises
-Seated Cardio Workout
-Seated Stretching or Yoga
-In-bed Exercises (reduced risk of injury or fall)

When engaging in physical activity during social distancing, please err on the side of caution to prevent any injuries or accidents.

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COVID-19 Mental Health Guidance From Private Home Care – Exercise and Movement

Take Care of Your Mind and Body Through Exercise and Movement

When you are staying home and social distancing, you may be less physically active than usual, especially for those who cannot leave the house at all due to being at a higher risk for COVID. We all know how important exercise is – it keeps your body strong and healthy, and also improves your mental health because when we exercise our brain releases ‘feel good’ chemicals that help us to manage stress and anxiety.

Please note to always consult with a doctor first before trying any new exercise routine, and stop immediately if you are feeling unwell.

Exercise tips:

-Gentle yoga
-Following an exercise tape or video
-Make sure you are not sitting down for too long, stand or stretch your legs regularly.
-Playing upbeat music and putting on fitness clothes can help motivate you to move!
-Try to exercise or move at a time of day when you feel most energized.

Get creative when exercising from home!

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COVID-19 Mental Health Guidance by Private Home Care – Healthy Daily Routine

COVID-19 Mental Health Guidance by Private Home Care – Healthy Daily Routine

Try to Follow a Healthy Daily Routine as Much as Possible!

Private Home Care has always valued and helped structure excellent routine for their clients and loved ones as part of a healthy lifestyle. Now it is more important than ever to stick to a healthy routine. When we organize ourselves and know what to expect, it helps us feel more in control of our well-being and makes it easier to deal with the unknown.

-Try to stick to a regular sleep schedule

-Make your bed every morning

-Get dressed 

-Connect with loved ones

-Eat regular, healthy meals

-Stay hydrated

-Move your body

-Plan to do one or two activities (a puzzle, crafting)

-Practice good hygiene, especially washing hands

-Get enough sunlight exposure by going for a walk outside or sitting by a window

One helpful strategy can be making ‘bookends’ for your day, including a morning routine and an evening routine. Ideas for morning routines such as making your bed and drinking coffee while doing a crossword puzzle.A relaxing evening routine can include washing your face with warm water, applying nice-smelling lotion, and writing a list of 3 things you are grateful for.

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COVID-19 Mental Health Guidance from Private Home Care – Manage How You Consume Information

COVID-19 Mental Health Guidance from Private Home Care – Manage How You Consume Information

Help manage your mental health during COVID-19

It is important to stay informed, but it is also important to be mindful of exposure to news and media because it can be distressing to your mental health. Constantly watching the same news can increase negative feelings, and reading may be an easier method to select and control what kind of information you are receiving.

It can be helpful to limit the amount of time spent consuming news, such as 15 minutes a day, or only in the evenings. Considering the source of the news is also important because there can be false information, such as on social media, that can actually have serious and dangerous consequences for public health! Reliable news and updates can come from sources like the CDC or your state’s department of health.

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