brain health

An Innovative Approach to Mental Health & Employee Well-being

brain health

Is your EAP program your most underutilized, 100% funded employee benefit? If your organization is like many who offer an EAP program, your employees may not even be aware of the services available, or there may be a stigma attached to inquiring about EAP assistance, or they may not even know what EAP stands for.

Oftentimes, educating employees on what EAP means and communicating the details of the various services offered is the first step to improving program participation and helping employees who need help.

Here is SHRM’s definition of an EAP:

“An employee assistance program (EAP) is a work-based intervention program designed to identify and assist employees in resolving personal problems (e.g., marital, financial or emotional problems; family issues; substance/alcohol abuse) that may be adversely affecting the employee’s performance. The plan may also include a wide array of other services, such as nurse advice telephone access, basic legal assistance and referrals, adoption assistance, or assistance finding elder care services. EAP services are usually made available not only to the employee but also to the employee’s spouse, children and non-marital partner living in the same household as the employee. EAP plans are usually 100% paid by the employer.” Souce: shrm.org, Aug. 2014

Studies show that the #1 Reason employees don’t take advantage of the EAP services available to them is the stigma attached to mental health and the fears of being labeled “mentally ill, crazy, nuts or psycho”.

A strategy I recommend to employers to help overcome this stigma is to re-imagine or re-name the EAP program to emphasize Brain Health vs. Mental Health. This innovative approach to reframing how brain health is viewed and thus communicating and promoting brain health and the benefits and services offered (and usually paid for at 100% by the employer regardless of how many employees use it) to the employee population in a fresh, positive, inviting manner can be a game changer and provide outreach to those who can really benefit.

May was Mental Health Awareness Month, but the effort to de-stigmatize and re-evaluate strategies to improve the overall health of our employee populations needs to be an ongoing initiative.

For resources and research on brain health, check out Dr. Amen Clinics. Here is just one of many articles available. For more information on what you and your organization can do to reimagine your EAP Benefits Program, contact Susan at svanhoosen@cairnstone.com

 

May Mental Health Month

Mental Health Month – What Employers Need to Know & Do

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. With research that shows most U.S. workers are stressed and many suffer from depression and other mental health related conditions, it’s important to know the facts, access the resources and de-stigmatize mental health in the workplace. As part of creating a true culture of overall well-being, mental well-being must be a part of your initiatives.

Check out this FREE Mental Health Month Toolkit from Mental Health America! It’s packed with valuable resources, fact sheets, worksheets and social media campaigns to incorporate at your workplace.

If you’re in HR or responsible for your organization’s employment, legal and compliance matters, an article from the EEOC on what you need to know about mental health in the workplace:

Mental Health Awareness

“Until recently, mental and behavioral health has been a societal stigma, especially in the workplace. However, it is becoming increasingly hard to overlook when charges of discrimination based on mental health conditions are on the rise.

According to preliminary data from the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the commission resolved almost 5,000 charges of discrimination based on mental health conditions and obtained approximately $20 million for individuals with mental health conditions who were unlawfully denied employment and reasonable accommodations in the 2016 fiscal year.

The conversation gained notoriety in December of 2016 when the EEOC published two resource documents. The first— “Depression, PTSD, & Other Mental Health Conditions in the Workplace: Your Legal Rights,” summarized the rights of individuals with mental health conditions under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). The second—The Mental Health Provider’s Role in a Client’s Request for Reasonable Accommodation at Work—as the title suggests, explains the reasonable accommodation law to the employees’ mental health providers.

Under the ADA and other nondiscrimination laws, employers must provide “reasonable accommodations” to qualified employees with disabilities. Many employers are aware of the varying types of accommodations for people with physical and communication disabilities; but many are less familiar with accommodations for employees with disabilities that are not visible, such as mental or behavioral disabilities.

Understanding the EEOC’s position on this topic is now crucial because it can help manage applicants and employees living with mental health problems, as well as respond to administrative claims alleging violations of mental health rights.

What is considered a mental health condition, and who gets reasonable accommodation?

Mental health conditions that may qualify for a reasonable accommodation, according to the EEOC, are essentially conditions that substantially limit one or more major life activities—these include brain/neurological functions and activities like communicating, concentrating, eating, sleeping, regulating thoughts or emotions, caring for oneself, and interacting with others.

The EEOC notes that such conditions do not have to “result in a high degree of functional limitation to be ‘substantially limiting’.”  The following are examples that qualify as disabling according to federal regulations:

  • Major depressive disorder
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Schizophrenia

The EEOC notes that this list is not exhaustive and that an employee may qualify for a reasonable accommodation if he or she has a substantially limiting impairment in the past. In addition, the ADA does not protect individuals currently engaging in illegal drug use, nor does it require employers to tolerate use of alcohol or illegal drugs on the job. However, an employee with alcoholism or who was addicted to drugs in the past may be entitled to a reasonable accommodation.

Reasonable accommodation solutions for mental health conditions

Reasonable accommodation, as defined by the “Depression, PTSD, & Other Mental Health Conditions in the Workplace: Your Legal Rights,” guidance, is “any change in the work environment, or in the way things are customarily done that enables an individual with disability to enjoy equal employment opportunities.”

Mental health claims do not excuse any failure to meet production standards or rules of conduct that are applied consistently and are necessary for the operation of the business—even if the employee’s difficulty was caused by a mental health condition, or the side effects of medication.

It is important to note that the employer ultimately decides which accommodation will be used. Sites such as the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) exist as a resource for ideas on how to potentially accommodate a worker with a mental health condition; however as the site itself states, it is only a “starting point in the accommodation process and may not address every situation. Accommodations should be made on a case by case basis, considering each employee’s individual limitations and accommodation needs.”

Employers and consultants that want to understand how to build a corporate culture that destigmatizes mental illness in the workplace can attend the Healthcare Revolution event, Oct. 28-30, 2018.  The Mental Health and Behavioral Health Summit will take place during the conference bringing to nations top insurers and employers together to explore prevention and early identification and intervention as well as some of the most innovative ways employers are addressing this today.

While employers are encouraged to still seek consultants, it is also important to give employees a voice in the decision. When a healthy work environment is created, workers and employers can explore some of the following questions: What limitations is the employee with a mental health impairment experiencing? How do these limitations affect the employee and the employee’s job performance? What accommodations are available to reduce or eliminate these problems? Are all possible resources being used to determine possible accommodations? Do supervisory personnel and employees need training regarding mental health impairments?

Common concerns and frequent accommodations for workers with mental health conditions are:

Concentration or distraction issues: Those who have difficulty concentrating –for example employees who suffer from attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) –may require employers to reduce distractions in the work area by making it quieter; provide more frequent reminders of task/ memory aids; working from home (if this doesn’t cause undue hardship to the employer); and in some cases, restructure their position to include only essential functions.

Managing treatment and medication: When it comes on to employees on medication, employers may provide a flexible schedule to allow workers to attend their appointments or stabilize their medical plan. In some cases, providing more frequent breaks for medication and allowing the worker to use a water bottle during worktimes may also be necessary.

Anxiety: Workers suffering from anxiety may require the presence of a support animal, or flexible work environment (one that allows them to attend meetings remotely, or occasionally work from home). Employers can also exchange non-essential job tasks with another employee or change the management style of the employee’s supervisor.

As more efforts are placed into promoting mental health, it is crucial for employers to build a corporate culture that destigmatizes mental illness in the workplace. Not only is it the law, but a 2016 World Health Organization (WHO) study shows that every USD $1 put into scaled up treatment for common mental disorders, there is a return of USD $4 in improved health and productivity.”

Bottom line – Mental health is essential to everyone’s health and well-being, and mental illnesses are both common and treatable. The key is identifying and providing supportive intervention and treatment programs and resources to ensure all employees can thrive at work.

 

 

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What You & Your Employees Need To Know About Skin Cancer

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Did you know most skin cancer is found by people who go see a doctor/dermatologist as a result of a suspicious mole or sun spot and not by routine exams?

Skin cancer is on the rise and it is preventable. Early detection is the key, so be proactive and become a Skin Cancer Prevention Hero by conducting a self-examination and encourage your family, friends and co-workers to do the same.

For a quick skin health education activity, share this quiz as part of your Employee Well-being initiatives in support of May Skin Cancer Awareness Month and in support of keeping your employees skin healthy:

Take The Spot Skin Cancer Quiz

To make it free and easy, check out these nearby locations where you and your employees can get a FREE Skin Cancer Screening for a no-excuses skin checkup. Find a free skin cancer screening near you and get it done!

And for those who just want the facts, educate yourself, your family and your workforce to be skin smart and raise awareness on skin smarts and skin cancer prevention: (Source: www.ADA.org)

Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma:

  • These are the most common forms of skin cancer, and are collectively referred to as non-melanoma skin cancers.
  • These arise within the top layer of the skin and can appear on any sun-exposed area of the body, but are most frequently found on the face, ears, bald scalp, and neck.
  • Basal cell carcinoma frequently appears as a pearly bump, whereas squamous cell carcinoma often looks like a rough, red, scaly area, or an ulcerated bump that bleeds.
  • Although non-melanoma skin cancer spreads slowly, if left untreated, it can lead to disfigurement.
  • Researchers estimate that 5.4 million cases of non-melanoma skin cancer, including basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, were diagnosed in 3.3 million people in the United States in 2012.
  • See a board-certified dermatologist if you spot anything changing, itching, or bleeding on your skin. When caught early and treated properly, skin cancer is highly curable.

Melanoma:

  • This is the most deadly form of skin cancer.
  • One American dies from melanoma every hour.
  • Melanoma may suddenly appear without warning, but can also develop from or near an existing mole.
  • It can occur anywhere on the body, but is most common on the upper back, torso, lower legs, head, and neck.
  • Melanoma frequently spreads to lymph nodes and most internal organs, making early detection and treatment essential.
  • See a board-certified dermatologist if you spot anything changing, itching, or bleeding on your skin.
  • New, rapidly growing moles, or moles that itch, bleed, or change color are often early warning signs of melanoma and should be examined by a dermatologist.
  • If detected early and treated properly, melanoma is highly treatable.

To help you spot skin cancer early, when it’s most treatable, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends that everyone learn the ABCDEs of melanoma:

  • A is for Asymmetry: One half of the mole does not match the other half.
  • B is for Border irregularity: The edges are ragged, notched, or blurred.
  • C is for Color that varies from one area to another.
  • D is for Diameter: While melanomas are usually greater than 6mm (the size of a pencil eraser) when diagnosed, they can be smaller.
  • E is for Evolving: A mole or skin lesion that looks different from the rest or is changing in size, shape, or color.

For more information about skin cancer prevention and detection, or to find a free skin cancer screening in your area, visit SPOTme.org.

To learn more on how to enhance your Employee Wellness Programs and raise awareness and education on skin cancer and other health education prevention, contact:  wellness@cairnstone.com 

 

 

Portrait of meditating partners sitting on desks with their legs crossed in office

5 Reasons Mindfulness Improves Employee Well-being

Portrait of meditating partners sitting on desks with their legs crossed in office

Traditional wellness programs typically don’t address stress, resiliency and mental well-being. As we transition from education and awareness (mindfulness) during April Stress Awareness Month to May Mental Health Awareness Month, it’s important to provide a continuum of learning on how to help organizations and employees better manage stress and get proper training.

Stress is the leading cost of illness, costing U.S. businesses a staggering $300 BILLION/year in turnover, absenteeism, productivity and medical costs! 

Top businesses and forward thinking employee well-being program administrators are incorporating a not so traditional training approach and are seeing reductions in employee stress, workplace conflicts, injuries, absenteeism and healthcare costs – Mindfulness.

Mindfulness (also referred to as resilience training or brain training) is attention and awareness training used to reduce stress, focus attention and optimally perform in the present moment.

Or as I like to coach – Mindfulness is the difference between being able to “respond vs. emotionally react.”

Employees are seeking tools and healthy ways to cope with stress at work and at home. If your team or organization hasn’t yet incorporated Mindfulness Training as part of your Leadership and/or Employee Well-being Training initiatives, here are

5 Reasons (Bottom Line Benefits) to Start A Total Well-being Training Approach Today:

  1. Mindfulness training reduces stress, anxiety and depression while improving the immune system and the cognitive skills that are key to high performance and compassionate care giving.
  2. Mindfulness training improves chronic stress-related conditions, strengthens the immune system, lowers blood pressure and improves heart health.
  3. Mindfulness training helps people develop healthier eating and drinking habits, which helps aid weight loss and treatment of eating disorders.
  4. Mindfulness training boosts happiness, mood and energy levels. Happier healthier employees thrive at work and tend to be the highest performers.
  5. Mindfulness training improves sleep quality and reduces insomnia, helping people ditch sleep medication and thrive after a good night’s rest.

For more information on how to incorporate Mindfulness & Resilience Training at your workplace, contact Susan Van Hoosen, CCWS, CHC at svanhoosen@cairnstone.com

multasking woman

Try This One Thing To Manage Workplace Stress

multasking woman

As we continue our education and workplace health promotion in support of April Stress Awareness Month, it’s important to get back to basics, slow down, take a deep breath and pause. A recent New York Times article summed it up well, “As much as people would like to believe otherwise, humans have finite neural resources that are depleted every time we switch between tasks. That’s why you feel tired at the end of the day. You’ve used them all up.”

That’s why the simple practice of Monotasking beats Multitasking every time and can decrease stress and increase performance and energy! Changing this one work habit can be a game (and life) changer!

Monotask: To do one thing at a time.

Research continues to grow suggesting that the hurried, busyness of thought that multitasking is the way to get more done is NOT where it’s at! Say what??

Hard to believe for those of us that are wired with type-A behaviors to go full speed ahead and do as many things as we can in an attempt to get as much done as possible! Deep breath…………………ahhhh.

A growing body of evidence shows that multitasking actually makes us less efficient, less effective, less focused, more stressed AND more prone to making mistakes! Makes sense when you pause and slow down to think about it, huh?

“Multitasking makes the little information we do take in when we’re multitasking more difficult to remember at a later stage”, reports Psychology Today.

Maintaining focus and interest on one task at a time isn’t always easy, but like meditation and mindful living (and working), it’s so worth it! When we are mindful and 100% focused and present with one task, we can flow through to the next with more ease and efficiency and much less stress. Although Monotasking is not the same as mindfulness, being more mindful (cultivating awareness, and focusing on the here and now), Monotasking allows us to pay attention to, and complete, one task at a time more effectively.

So, start today and practice being more mindful as you tackle your tasks and projects – one task and one project at a time. Slow down and pay attention to how you feel as you become more present. Just like any other healthy habit, to achieve overall well-being and inspired living, it’s a practice.  As a recovering multi-tasker and work in progress myself, I promise you’ll feel and live better.

For more information on how to incorporate stress management training as part of your Employee Wellness initiatives, contact Susan Van Hoosen, CCWS, CHC, Health & Productivity Director, svanhoosen@cairnstone.com

 

 

 

Stress Awareness Month

5 Strategies to De-Stress & Improve Employee Well-being

Stress Awareness Month

Stress Happens. It’s a part of life and a part of most workplaces. We may not be able to control stressors at work (or at home) but we can control how we respond and manage our stress. 

In honor of April National Stress Awareness Month and as part of our employee health promotion initiatives, here are 5 Strategies to Help Your Employees Manage and Reduce Stress, thus increasing overall health and well-being:

  1. STOP & SLOW DOWN – Unplug and Be More Present & Mindful 
  2. RELAX DAILY – Take 5 and Recharge by simply getting still or outdoors with nature
  3. LET IT GO! – Release negative, unhealthy thoughts & behaviors
  4. PRIORITIZE SLEEP & REST – Promote this under-rated healthy habit & take a 10 minute rest
  5. SEEK SUPPORT – Release the stigma and encourage utilization of EAP & support resoures

We know that long-term stress can lead to a wide range of preventable illnesses—from headaches to stomach disorders to obesity and depression—and can even increase the risk of serious conditions like stroke and heart disease. These preventable chronic conditions not only cost employers in increased health care costs, but in absenteeism and reduced productivity. Healthy employees are happier employees and their health is your company’s greatest wealth.

Understanding the mind-stress-health (mind-body) connection can help better manage stress and improve health and well-being.

Dis-Ease = Disease

When we help employees understand the importance of self-care and taking time to practice the five healthy behaviors listed above, we can help create healthy habits for a lifetime.

Each of us are responsible for our own health and as leaders in your organization, it’s critical to lead by healthy examples, such as slowing down to be more present and mindful with colleagues, taking PTO, seeking support and utilizing EAP benefits and encouraging unplugging and rest when away from the office.

For a fun workplace wellness challenge, try encouraging your employees to track their sleep (7-8 hour nightly goal), participate in a self-care activity weekly, attend a Yoga class or practice slowing down and being more mindful (2 Minute Mindfulness Breaks Daily Challenge).

Cheers to letting go of stress being a true well-being champion!

For more information on how to help your employees manage stress or enhance your employee well-being initiatives, contact Susan Van Hoosen, CCWS, CHC at svanhoosen@cairnstone.com. 

 

 

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National Spinach Day – A Healthy Habit Practice

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As we continue discovering ways to practice and share healthier heating habits as part of March National Nutrition Month, today marks the perfect opportunity to experiment with how to get more greens into our daily intake.

Check out the fun facts on all the health benefits of spinach and how to incorporate. If you need to freshen up your Employee Wellness initiatives, share this and host a spinach recipe pitch in to boost team building, community and healthy heating habits!

Eating spinach may not help us grow instant muscles like Popeye, but it will help strengthen our immune system and fight inflammation with all of its nutritional value. 

Low in fat and even lower in cholesterol, spinach is high in niacin and zinc, as well as protein (great news for Vegetarians & Vegans!), fiber, vitamins A, C, E and K, thiamin, vitamin B6, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, and manganese.

Abundant flavonoids in spinach act as antioxidants to keep cholesterol from oxidizing and protect your body from free radicals, particularly in the colon. The folate in spinach is good for your healthy cardiovascular system, and magnesium helps lower high blood pressure. Studies also have shown that spinach helps maintain your vigorous brain function, memory and mental clarity. (Source: Dr. Mercola, www.foodfacts.mercola.com)

A few simple tips to experiment with incorporating spinach and all of its wonderful health benefits into your diet are:

  • Grab a few handfuls of raw organic spinach and toss with your favorite lean protein, some berries or veggies, nuts and seeds and a bit of olive oil and vinaigrette for a delicious, power salad.
  • Add to your eggs, sandwiches, soups or salads
  • Add a handful to your smoothie for a power shake without the taste of spinach
  • Saute in olive oil and lemon juice for a warm, delicious side dish

If you’re still not sure you’re ready to experiment with spinach as part of creating a healthy eating lifestyle, here are 15 Impressive Benefits of Eating Spinach:

 

 

For the official observance background and fun facts about spinach, here is an article posted by the National Day Calendar (www.nationaldaycalendar.com) in recognition of National Spinach Day:

NATIONAL SPINACH DAY    

National Spinach Day is observed annually on March 26th.  Not only are there so many delicious ways that you can enjoy spinach, but it is also incredibly good for you!

An annual plant,  spinach is native to central and southwestern Asia. Thought to have originated in ancient Persia, Arab traders carried spinach into India, and then it was introduced into ancient China where it was known as “Persian vegetable   The earliest available record of the spinach plant was found in Chinese, saying that the spinach plant was introduced into China via Nepal.

During her reign as queen of France, Catherine de Medici was well known to have enjoyed spinach so much that it was served at every meal.  To this day, dishes made with spinach are known as “Florentine” reflecting Catherine’s birth in Florence.

  • Spinach is:
  • Eaten raw or cooked and is available fresh, frozen or canned.
  • One of the best sources of iron.
  • An excellent source of calcium, folic acid, fiber, protein, calcium and vitamins A, C and K.
  • Is loaded with cancer-fighting antioxidants
  • Believed to help improve cardiovascular and gastrointestinal health.

Types of spinach:

Savoy:  dark green color with curly leaves; usually sold in fresh bunches.
Flat or Smooth Leaf:  broad, smooth leaves;  mostly grown for canned and frozen spinach as well as soups, baby food and processed foods.
Semi-savoy:  a hybrid variety with crinkly leaves:  is sold fresh and processed.

  • Following China, the United States is the world’s second-largest producer of spinach.
  • California, Arizona and New Jersey are the top spinach producing states in the United States.

HOW TO OBSERVE

You might want to have a fresh spinach salad or a spinach pizza or maybe a warm, delicious spinach dip.  If one of those is not your choice, perhaps it would be a dish of creamed spinach or spinach lasagna. There are many ways to add spinach to your daily diet and partake in its health benefits. Use #NationalSpinachDay to post on social media.

 

 

 

 

 

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National Nutrition Month – Employer Toolkit

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March  is National Nutrition Month and a great opportunity to help your employees practice healthy eating habits and celebrate the overall wellness benefits of good nutrition.  We know that healthy eating and good nutrition contributes to healthy, happy, productive employees and that it’s not easy to create a lifestyle of healthy eating.

Whether your workplace hosts a Healthy Eating Lunch & Learn, offers healthy snacks or provides Health Coaching,  education and awareness are key to empowering your employees to make healthy choices.  In support of National Nutrition Month, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics makes it easy for employers to make informed food choices and practice healthy eating habits. Check out the free Tool Kit below and help your employees have fun with the campaign for nutrition.

National Nutrition Month® 2018

National Nutrition Month® is a nutrition education and information campaign created annually in March by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The campaign focuses attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.

“Go Further with Food”is the theme for 2018, and its importance is timely for many reasons. Whether it’s starting the day off right with a healthy breakfast or fueling before an athletic event, the foods you choose can make a real difference. Preparing your foods to go further, by planning meals and snacks in advance can also help to reduce food loss and waste. This year’s theme for National Nutrition Month® encourages us to achieve the numerous benefits healthy eating habits offer, but it also urges us to find ways to cut back on food waste. Learning how to manage food resources at home will help you “Go Further with Food”, while saving both nutrients and money.

In addition, National Nutrition Month® promotes the Academy and its members to the public and the media as the most valuable and credible source of timely, scientifically-based food and nutrition information.  “Go Further with Food,” a reminder to eat healthfully for ongoing energy and plan meals and snacks in advance to help reduce food loss and waste. Check out how these social media posts to share and engage your employees:

Social Media Campaign and Press Kit

National Nutrition Month Tips and Key Messages:

  1. Include a variety of healthful foods from all of the food groups on a regular basis.
  2. Consider the foods you have on hand before buying more at the store.
  3. Buy only the amount that can be eaten or frozen within a few days and plan ways to use leftovers later in the week.
  4. Be mindful of portion sizes. Eat and drink the amount that’s right for you, as MyPlate encourages us to do.
  5. Continue to use good food safety practices.
  6. Find activities that you enjoy and be physically active most days of the week.
  7. Realize the benefits of healthy eating by consulting with a registered dietitian nutritionist. RDNs can provide sound, easy-to-follow personalized nutrition advice to meet your lifestyle, preferences and health-related needs.

For more information on how to incorporate nutrition and a culture of health and wellness at your workplace, contact Susan Van Hoosen, CCWS, CHC, Health, Wellness & Productivity Director at Cairnstone Benefits Group. svanhoosen@cairnstone.com

 

March Health Awareness

March Health Awareness – Choose Your Cause & Take Charge!

March Health Awareness

We know knowledge is power and that screens save lives. So, as part of our workplace wellness education and awareness initiatives, here are just a few of the health observance theme days and weeks in March to help give you and your employees the knowledge to be informed, the signs and symptoms to look for and become more mindful in taking charge and action of your overall health and wellness.

My March Challenge to you and your workplace is to choose at least one cause or health risk to focus on this month, whether it’s National Nutrition Month, World Water Day on March 22nd, National Sleep Week March 12-18th or promoting preventative colon cancer screens and colonoscopies and sharing the signs and symptoms to look for as part of Colon Cancer Awareness Month. Choose at least one and hep spread the awareness and be a health champion, knowing you could help save a life.

Here is an article from the American Cancer Society on Colorector Cancer Signs and Symptoms. Remembering that screens save lives and that early detection is key to survival and treatment, share these signs and symptoms with your employees as part of your education and prevention initiatives. You can also encourage everyone over 40 or 50 to get a colonoscopy.

Be a Health Champion, choose your cause and take charge. You may not only save on your healthcare costs, but you could even save a life!

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Colorectal Cancer Signs and Symptoms

Colorectal cancer might not cause symptoms right away, but if it does, it may cause one or more of these symptoms:

  • A change in bowel habits, such as diarrhea, constipation, or narrowing of the stool, that lasts for more than a few days
  • A feeling that you need to have a bowel movement that is not relieved by having one
  • Rectal bleeding with bright red blood
  • Blood in the stool, which may make the stool look dark
  • Cramping or abdominal (belly) pain
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Unintended weight loss

Colorectal cancers can often bleed into the digestive tract. Sometimes the blood can be seen in the stool or make it look darker, but often the stool looks normal. But over time, the blood loss can build up and can lead to low red blood cell counts (anemia). Sometimes the first sign of colorectal cancer is a blood test showing a low red blood cell count.

Many of these symptoms can be caused by conditions other than colorectal cancer, such as infection, hemorrhoids, or irritable bowel syndrome. Still, if you have any of these problems, it’s important to see your doctor right away so the cause can be found and treated, if needed.

 

healthy computer veggie download

How To Sneak In More Veggies & Fruits At Office & Home

healthy computer veggie download

In honor of nearing the end of Heart Health Awareness Month, below is a great article from the American Heart Association with tips on which fruits and vegetables are best and how to sneak in more veggies with meals and snacks. Although February is designated as heart health awareness themed, it’s important to practice heart healthy eating habits all year long to maintain and sustain not only a healthy heart, but a healthy lifestyle in general.

Consuming the recommended 5 servings daily of fruits and veggies can be extra challenging when juggling work and home obligations. Whether working in an office, at home or out in the field, eating healthy and getting our veggies in with each meal can feel like a full time job itself! And, like the lady in this funny comic strip, we can become more concerned with our work and electronics than our own health!

To help your employees (and families) make it easier, here’s a guideline from the AHA with simple tips to practice. And, if you’re looking for a fun way to kick off your workplace wellness heart healthy food initiatives, consider a fun veggie challenge like one of these:

  • 30 Day Veggie Challenge
  • 5 a Day Keeps The Doctor Away Challenge
  • Meatless Monday Lunch Pitch-In
  • Fruit & Veggie Recipe Challenge
  • Most Colorful Dish Challenge

Cheers to spreading the health, one veggie at a time.

Susan Van Hoosen, Certified Corporate Wellness Specialist and Health Coach & Health and Wellness Director at Cairnstone Benefits

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How To Eat More Fruits and Vegetables

Last Updated: February 16, 2018 2018 American Heart Association, Healthy For GoodTM, heart.org/healthyforgood

It’s good to add more fruits and vegetables to your diet for a variety of health benefits, including to lose weight. Whether you cook at home or eat out, try these easy ways to sneak more colorful, nutritious and delicious vegetables and fruits into your snacks and meals (even breakfast).