When I was a kid, if I were told that I’d be writing a book about diet and nutrition when I was older, let alone having been doing a health related radio show for over 36 years, I would’ve thought that whoever told me that was out of their mind. Living in Newark, New Jersey, my parents and I consumed anything and everything that had a face or a mother except for dead, rotting, pig bodies, although we did eat bacon (as if all the other decomposing flesh bodies were somehow miraculously clean). Going through high school and college it was no different. In fact, my dietary change did not come until I was in my 30’s.
Shifting Your Mindset to Embrace Change
Although it has seemed like we have woken up to a new world every single day since March, there is no denying that the upcoming holiday season is going to be difficult for a lot of people. Almost all of us have experienced some form of loss at some point in the past 8 months. Some have been more fortunate than others, but this doesn’t make light of the different degrees of pain that people have been experiencing. On top of the pandemic, and the unprecedented election season; the upcoming holidays may only add to the daily negative emotions we are all feeling. I mean, things are probably going to look a lot different this year.
An Opportunity for New Traditions
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March, we have seen two major waves in different parts of the country. The first hitting the northeast in late spring, and the second hitting the south mid-summer. There is now a lot of speculation that we are approaching a third wave. Unfortunately, there is no specific region that is particularly hit the hardest in this wave; all of the regions are impacted. Cases are rising in almost every single state. Even worse, we are approaching a major holiday season. Whether you are planning to celebrate Thanksgiving, Diwali, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Pancha Ganapati, or something else; you may be anticipating that these celebrations will look different from years past. We are facing a major dilemma too. Do we risk further spread of COVID-19 to celebrate or do we change how we celebrate at the expense of our emotional wellbeing?
Recently, my family had this discussion. What are we going to do about the holidays? I’m going to be honest; it was incredibly difficult. It required us to be honest, patient, understanding, and vulnerable. We all had to share our truths and consider the wants and needs of others. There were even a few tears at times, and lots of compromise. The whole experience seemed so strange. I mean, we had to talk about the holidays and what we couldn’t do; what was unsafe; and what posed a risk to our most vulnerable family members. It was sad.
And then something changed.
Like a light bulb turning on, or the spark of matchstick, we realized that the upcoming holiday season wasn’t something to wallow in. It is an opportunity for new traditions. We shared ideas of how we can make the holidays exciting, memorable, and fun. And for the first time in what seems like a long time; I can say with confidence that I am actually looking forward to the holiday season.
Now, I am fully aware that some people may not have a “traditional” family unit to reach out to this holiday season. But maybe this can be an opportunity to reach out to those in our inner circle – our people – and speak our truth. We can practice patience, kindness, empathy, honesty, compromise, and understanding. We can make our game plan, set expectations, and share ideas. Maybe having these difficult conversations can be an opportunity to heal and mend relationships. By shifting our mindset to view the upcoming holidays as an opportunity for new traditions, we can do a lot more to our emotional wellbeing than we think. We can build trust, hope, and resiliency.
If you are struggling with holiday plans, I invite you to consider having these conversations with your people. Keep an open mind, and you may be surprised with the outcome. Stay safe, and be well.
Serving Others for Emotional Wellbeing in New England
Volunteering or involving one’s self in community service has been widely researched for potential benefits to social and emotional wellbeing. Although it is already known that there is a great deal of benefit that is experienced by the recipient of the community service; there is a lot of evidence showing that the person who does the community service experiences improvements in social and emotional wellbeing. Some of these benefits include improvements in symptoms of depression and anxiety, a greater self-worth, and an overall improved life satisfaction. Doing volunteer work also improves social wellbeing by allowing us to form strong social connections with others who have similar interests as us. Additionally, doing community service and volunteer work allows us to get out of the house and stay physically active.
Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, the way we can engage in community service and volunteer work has changed. If you did regular community service before the start of the pandemic, I’m sure that there are just some things that you can’t do anymore due to COVID-19 protocols and physical distancing. But if you are looking to get involved again, or want to start a new habit of doing community service and live in New England, here is a list of a few community service activities in each state!
Maine: Use this link to navigate to the United Way website of Maine. Here, you can find a list of all community service opportunities in Maine. Some of the biggest needs are for volunteers for Meals on Wheels across the state, and volunteers for the Ronald McDonald House in Bangor.
New Hampshire: Use this link to get to the VolunteerMatch website for New Hampshire. Here, you can filter your area and interests in the search and the website will bring you to a page with all of the current volunteer opportunities that would be best suited for you. They even have a page exclusively for virtual community service!
Vermont: Use this link to get to the VolunteerMatch website for Vermont. Similar to the page for New Hampshire; you can filter your area and interests to find community service that you would be most interested in.
Massachusetts: Use this link to find the Massachusetts Service Alliance website. Here, you can use the map on the homepage to select your region to see all of the current community service opportunities in your area!
Connecticut: Use this link to find the Volunteer Square website for Connecticut. There are nearly a dozen pages of different community services opportunities in all areas of Connecticut. You can also filter your search for projects in your area and area of interest.
Rhode Island: Use this link to find the VolunteerMatch website for Rhode Island. Even though Rhode Island is the smallest state, the VolunteerMatch website shows that there is a current need for almost 4,000 volunteers across the state!
If you find yourself living outside of New England or are unable to access some of the community service opportunities above, there are always small things that you can do on your own to serve your community! These are things such as donating blood, dropping off a can of food at the local food pantry, or even bringing those coats and hats from your younger days to your local public school department. Even though these things are all small, if we can all do something, they add up! Let us know what your favorite way to do community service is at Healthy.UNH@unh.edu!
Acidity, or hypoglycemia, is probably one of the most
widespread disorders in America and the civilized nations today.
It is not a disease as such, but rather a symptom that
arises from a wide range of hormonal abnormalities and imbalances reflecting
the irregular function of many glands and organs, and especially a poor diet.
Unfortunately, it often goes undiagnosed and its
multitude of symptoms are frequently labeled as emotional or psychological in
origin. The symptoms are usually episodic, being related to the time and
content of the previous meal and are usually improved by eating correctly.
Symptoms include nervousness, irritability, emotional
problems, fatigue, depression, craving sweets, inability to concentrate, cold
sweats, shakes, palpitations, tingling of the skin and scalp, dizziness,
trembling, fainting, blurred vision, cold extremities, nausea, midmorning and
mid-to-late afternoon tiredness, anxiety, indecisiveness, crying spells,
allergies, convulsions, and hyperactivity, for openers.
Cardio Kickboxing with May-Win
A few days ago, I signed up for a virtual fitness class with the Hamel Rec. Center (HRC). This was Cardio Kickboxing! I had never taken a kickboxing class before or a virtual group fitness class for that matter so needless to say; I was nervous. This class in particular is offered every Sunday from 5:45-6:45 and I registered for it on Sunday morning (about 6 hours before the start of the class). Registration for group classes opens 24 hours before the start time of the class and the entire process occurs on the HRC online portal. Even better, it takes less than a minute to register! To learn more about the basics of registering and how the general works of the virtual classes, check out this blog.
After registering from the class, a Zoom link was sent directly to my student email account which made it super easy to find when it was time to log on. I decided to leave my camera off for the class as there was no pressure to turn it on, but I would periodically turn my mic on during breaks to interact with other people in the class. Besides the fact that I was doing this from home through a computer screen, I can definitely say that I got just as good of a workout. Actually, I think it was maybe even better that I got to do it in the comforts of my home. Because I was at home, I felt like I could push myself harder than if I were taking this class in-person.
In terms of “content” of the class, there was the usual warm-up, workout, and cool down. May-Win (the instructor) did an amazing job keeping me engaged and going over moves in clear detail to prevent any injury. She was super upbeat and had such a positive demeanor; it didn’t even feel like an hour had gone by at the end of the class! As this was my first experience with kickboxing and the virtual group fitness classes through the HRC, I will definitely be doing this again next Sunday. I got a great workout and felt a small sense of normalcy for the first time in months. This really changed the whole mood of my day and was the perfect way to end the week.
If you are a UNH community member and are interested in taking virtual Cardio Kickboxing with May-Win, sign up here! Be on the lookout for the next HRC virtual group fitness review; Vinyasa Yoga!
By Ernie Mundell
WEDNESDAY, Nov. 25, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, anecdotal reports suggested that infusing very sick patients with the blood plasma of people who’d survived the disease might help boost outcomes.
But study findings released Nov. 24 in the New England Journal of Medicine, along with disappointing results from prior trials, suggest that those initial hopes may have been unfounded.
The new study was conducted by researchers in Argentina. It compared outcomes for 228 hospitalized COVID-19 patients who got an infusion of so-called “convalescent plasma” against those of 105 patients who did not (the “placebo group”). All were so sick as to have developed pneumonia.
Mark Parkinson, CEO, American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL), Washington, D.C.
Jessica Van Fleet-Green, MD, chief medical officer, Daiya Healthcare, Bellevue, WA.
Terry Robertson, CEO, Josephine Caring Community, Stanwood, WA
Adam Marles, president and CEO, LeadingAge Pennsylvania, Mechanicsburg.
Katie Smith Sloan, president and CEO, LeadingAge, Washington, D.C.
Gregory Johnson, MD, chief medical officer, Good Samaritan Society, Sioux Falls, SD.
Christopher Laxton, executive director, Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine, Columbia, MD.
COVID Tracking Project: “The Long-Term Care COVID Tracker.”
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: “Trump Administration Announces Initiative for More and Faster COVID-19 Testing in Nursing Homes.”
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services: “COVID-19 Nursing Home Data,” “FAQs on Nursing Home Visitation,” “Interim Final Rule (IFC), CMS-3401-IFC, Additional Policy and Regulatory Revisions in Response to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency related to Long-Term Care (LTC) Facility Testing Requirements and Revised COVID19 Focused Survey Tool.”
LeadingAge: “As COVID-19 Death Toll Approaches 100,000 in Long-Term Care Settings, Aging Services Providers Need Immediate Congressional Relief,” “LeadingAge Releases Survey Results: Aging Services and Testing.”
Journal of the American Geriatrics Society: “Characteristics of U.S. Nursing Homes with COVID‐19 Cases.”
The Associated Press: “Nursing home COVID-19 cases rise four-fold in surge states.”
Modern Healthcare: “Nursing home COVID-19 cases rise fourfold in surge states.”
The Washington Post: Covid-19 surges back into nursing homes in coronavirus hot spots.”
American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living: “Report: COVID Cases in U.S. Nursing Homes.”
HeraldNet: “Big COVID outbreak at Josephine Caring Community in Stanwood.”
Becker’s Hospital Review: “Nevada reverses block on rapid COVID-19 tests in nursing homes.”
Skilled Nursing News: “HHS Will Send 750K Abbott Point-of-Care Tests to Nursing Homes Next Week.”
CDC, National Center for Health Statistics: “Nursing Home Care.”
BusinessWire: “Jessica Van Fleet-Green Joins Daiya Healthcare as Chief Medical Officer.”
Josephine Caring Community.
While 2020 has been marred by the imprint COVID-19 has left in its wake, it has also been a year of raising up those on the front lines fighting this devastating pandemic. We’re thanking first responders and medical professionals in a way we never have before, recognizing the sacrifices they all make daily to help ensure we all stay healthy and well. Essential Workers’ praises are rightly being sung, but there’s one group of people who deserve heroic accolades – especially this year – for whom the silence and isolation have been deafening and discouraging: the Caregiver.
November is National Family Caregiver Awareness Month and WEGO Health wants to support this cause and shine the spotlight on all of the incredible people who freely and selflessly give all of themselves to care for their loved ones with chronic illnesses or disabilities. They are superheroes hiding in plain sight, giving 110% of what most of us could fathom each and every day.
Still, task force members spoke out against the idea of nationwide lockdowns or schools, even as New York City returned to remote learning this week, CNN reported.
“We do know what to do and we are asking every American to do those things today,” Birx stressed. That starts with wearing masks, but also staying apart and limiting gatherings, she said.
The virus spreads even when people do not show symptoms, Birx noted. “It is because of this asymptomatic spread that we are asking people to wear a mask indoors,” she said. “Decreasing those friend-and-family gatherings where people come together and unknowingly spread the virus,” will also help slow the spread, she added.
Earlier Thursday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asked Americans not to travel for Thanksgiving. More than 187,000 cases were announced nationwide on Thursday, another single-day record, and daily tallies have been rising in 47 states, according to The New York Times.
In California, officials reported more than 13,000 new cases, a single-day record, prompting the state to announce a 10 p.m. curfew for all but essential workers, the Times reported.
Even if the current seven-day national average of about 166,000 daily cases plateaued until the end of the year, nearly 7 million more people would still contract COVID-19, the Times said.
Though talk of two highly effective vaccines came this week, they will not be widely available until spring of 2021.
“We are in for a rough period through the end of February,” Dr. Jessica Justman, a professor of epidemiology at Columbia University, told the Times. “It looks hard to find a way to break it.”
A global scourge
By Tuesday, the U.S. coronavirus case count passed 12.4 million while the death toll neared 258,000, according to a Times tally. According to the same tally, the top five states in coronavirus cases as of Tuesday were: Texas with nearly 1.2 million; California with just over 1.1 million; Florida with over 944,000; Illinois with nearly 666,000; and New York with almost 607,000.