Archive for the ‘Health’ category

Spring means VACATION!

April 17th, 2018

Time to get away

Have you got time for a spring break?

Or, are you skipping the possible vacation opportunity?  Are you working through your vacation time?

Although our family is taking less vacation together, my husband and I will be taking a week off together.  How about you?

The temptation is to keep on working and go on holiday “later”…

Many of us are tempted to skip our holidays, or, at least check our work emails often while at the beach or in the hotel.  After all, nobody wants 1,000 emails to go back to work to.

But psychologist have found it vital for our health and well-being if we can completely shut down for a while, even if it’s a 48-hour break from emails, and a change of pace and scenery.  Have you planned your vacation for this year?  Decided to skip it the summer holidays and work while “nobody is in the office”?  A quote below shows the importance, or lack thereof, of vacations in different countries:

“The online travel agency Expedia conducted a survey about vacation time in 2010, and according to their data the average American earned 18 vacation days—but only used 14 of them. Every European country included in the survey reported both more vacation days earned and used. France topped the list, with the average worker earning 37 vacation days and using all but two of them. And according to Expedia’s data, only 38 percent of Americans said they used all of their vacation time, compared to 63 percent of French respondents.” http://www.usnews.com/science/articles/2011/08/17/the-benefits-of-taking-time-off

Your physical and mental health depend on R&R

Studies have shown that we need to take time away from the daily schedule of work for our health, whatever that place and activity might be.  It is the “other” that causes restoration and growth.  For example, new places make new mental neuron synapses grow and rest the overused “pathways” of much used tracks of thinking in our brains. This, of course, also promotes creativity.

Not only that, but when we go on holiday, stress levels are reduced and therefore, productivity increases with a break in our work.  Employers should be sending their team members away more often just for better productivity—and for better creativity.  The employees return to work relaxed, healthier, and ready for more challenges to be overcome, more new ideas to be generated.

Your need to relax — or you might find it difficult to do so later on

It has been shown that, depending on your actual stress level at any point in time, it will take more or less time to unwind and really relax.  If you go for too long without a break working at t high stress level, it becomes increasingly more difficult to wind down.  Eventually if this goes on for too long, you will be unable to “remember how to relax,” and may be in danger of burnout.  Therefore, even long weekends with no emails are recommended to keep you “in practice”.

Take the long weekend off, at least!

In Europe, we have movable feasts coming up:  Ascension, Pentecost and Corpus Christi.  May people take these three and four-day weekends off and do something special.  Nobody expects any emails to be answered, most people even TURN OFF their cell phones!  This was also done from Thursday night to at least Monday night of the Easter weekend holiday.  If you live in Europe, these weekends can also help you wind down a bit.  We will be taking advantage of these holidays, too.

Your family relationships matter, and spending time with family builds the relationships

Finally, it is important to remember that the reason you are working is less important than your relationship with your loved ones (or something is very wrong).  Take the time off to build your relationships with your significant family/friends, doing things you all feel are enjoyable and relaxing.  It is the time spent together in the end that matters, because those are our key relationships.

SO: Just do it.  Take your Spring Break!

I work only for about thirty minutes each day, clearing emails and doing triage so my return to my business and to teaching at the university is not so stressful.  Of course, I do not check mails from Friday-Monday morning on holiday, ever.  I have a friend who gives herself x number of coupons during a vacation to look at emails.  Try these or something else that works for you.

However, you deal with your responsibilities, take your vacation time off; limit the amount of time on work-related activities such as emails while you are away; and do things with those people you love; and finally, have fun this spring!  There is only one Spring of 2018, after all.  Enjoy!

Patricia Jehle      patricia@jehle-coaching.com    www.jehle-coaching.com

 

Healthy, sustainable Eating

January 13th, 2018

A double pyramid to help you eat healthily and sustainably

An Eco-Friendly Diet that’s healthy? What’s that?

After this week’s earlier blog on good decisions and the placebo effect, especially regarding healthy food choices (http://www.jehle-coachingexpat.com/2018/01/11/placebo-effect-and-decisions/ ) I started thinking about meat (and other protein) eating and I started researching on the ecological sustainability of high-protein diets and the recommendations of the UN and medical associations.

While doing my little research, I came across the “double pyramid”, which shows the effects of what we eat (diet) on the environment and comparing it to the updated suggested dietary pyramid used by the UN and medical authorities.

I assume we all want to be healthy and for the world to be a better place, and one of the ways we can help these goals is to care about what we buy in general, and specifically, what we eat. I personally think we need to eat a more sustainable, but yet a healthy diet, and it’s a viable choice, both environmentally and financially.

So, here’s what our eating footprints look like, depending on our general diet: Vegans (though I could never claim to be one) have the lowest carbon and water footprints. Just saying. This is followed by vegetarians and then omnivores. I am an omnivore, but I readily will give up eating meat or other animal/fish proteins for days on end. This excludes our own home-grown eggs from our (free range, very happy) chickens, and Swiss milk products. I do live in Switzerland and come from Minnesota, after all.

Having said that meat eaters have the highest carbon and water footprints, it can also be said that most dietary recommendation pyramids now say we should not eat so much meat, especially red meat, anyway. And if you cut your meat eating down to twice a week, you already halve your footprint levels. That’s not too bad, considering it is healthier, anyway.

I did note that coffee and chocolate are not listed on the pyramids, and find that not so helpful for my personal lifestyle.

Coffee and Chocolate

After a quick google, I found that black (UGH!) coffee has 21g carbon footprint per cup and the latte (MMMmmm!) 340g- gasp and sigh. The water footprint is high, one article said 20 049 m3 per ton of harvested coffee just for the growth, and that does not include roasting containers and any other preparation. But maybe we should be buying at least a FairTrade version.

Deforestation aids to adding to chocolate’s carbon footprint, so we should really only buy sustainable fair trade brands. In Switzerland, the UTZ seal is important (for both chocolate and coffee). Regarding chocolate, one article says “Cadbury estimates that 169g (6 ounces) of carbon dioxide equivalent are emitted into the atmosphere for each 49g (1.7 ounce) Dairy Milk chocolate bar. This calculation includes emissions from the production of raw ingredients such as cocoa, cocoa butter, milk and sugar, and from packaging and distribution, but not from land-use change.” http://www.wri.org/blog/2015/08/how-much-rainforest-chocolate-bar

Maybe a diet after Christmas would be in order for me, but first we have to eat all the chocolate in our house, and there is quite a bit left. Anybody want to come help?

A sustainable Diet

Now, let’s go back to the suggestions. Here’s the low-down on my interpretation of the double pyramids:

What to eat a lot of:

Local and seasonal fruit (and dried version) and vegetables, bread, pasta, potatoes, rice, legumes, olive oil (- which for me is local), nuts, and milk products and eggs. For those who don’t have good olive oil, try something else that’s local and healthy.

What to eat a little bit of:

Fish and seafood (see the wwf list for what is healthy and not over-fished), local chicken and other poultry. They put cookies here, interestingly enough, too. I like cookies.

What to eat once or twice a week, maximum (SORRY!)- and the list is rather the same, surprisingly:

Sweets, “bad” fats, and red meat

That’s it! Al we have to do is the good old rice, vegetables and beans thing, which I have known and done since college days. I bet we all know this. Luckily I bought a new (to me) Moosewood cookbook recently to jazz up my vegetarian cooking.

Tonight we will be eating chili and rice. What about you? So, let’s eat healthily and sustainably for a better world and a better life!

I raise my carrot to you and to our better health!

Patricia Jehle www.jehle-coaching.com    patricia@jehle-coaching.com

 

 

 

Placebo effect and decisions

January 11th, 2018

Mind over Matter

Get out of Your Own Way and make sure you are making good decisions

I recently read an article that said that January is the month where you and I would most likely spend (waste) money on bogus health products, so watch out! This is the season of getting our lives in order, of losing those extra Christmas and New Year holiday pounds, of starting new self-improvement programs, and the like.

When I put cynicism aside over our overzealous resolutions to improve, is there some truth to these efforts and ideas that we can indeed change, or is it really the placebo effect at work.

 

Is there a Placebo at Work?

My medical-student daughter says that the placebo effect is real and very helpful in a lot of cases. This means if you decide to spend a lot of money on a bogus home remedy of sorts and you believe it’s going to work, it probably will. This means of you follow x diet for so many weeks, it is likely to work if you believe in it.

So, what do you believe in? What’s your go-to remedy for x, y, or z?

My nephew is a convinced user of mega-vitamin supplements with zinc, etc. to enhance his immune system. I have got to admit that I use something similar when I travel or feel a cold coming on.

The real question is what is at work, the vitamins and mineral, or a placebo? The other question is if it matters or not.

And does the placebo effect continue to diets and such?

My next thoughts lead to eating habits and diets, as this is the season of shedding our extra pounds, or at least attempting to do this. I have to admit I really don’t believe in diets, as I have seen friends and family do the diet yoyo – and I, myself, have been rather stable in weight for the past several years, even during chemotherapy. As and aside, I had hoped to shed a few pounds during therapy, but alas, it was not to be, sigh.

So, at least for a time, does the placebo effect work for diets? And what is healthy, anyway? Are carbs all that bad, and is sugar a “drug”? Now, here is my layperson, non-expert opinion:

Diets don’t work, instead we should eat, move and live healthily.

According to Mayo Clinic this is hwat you should be eating for a normal 2,000 calorie eating plan:

  • A variety of vegetables — dark green, red and orange, legumes (beans and peas), starchy and other
  • Fruits, especially whole fruits
  • Grains, at least half of which are whole grains
  • Fat-free or low-fat dairy, including milk, yogurt and cheese, and fortified soy beverages
  • A variety of protein foods, including seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, legumes (beans and peas), and nuts, seeds and soy products
  • Oils, including those from plants, and those that occur naturally in nuts, seeds, seafood, olives and avocados

Including:

Vegetables 2 1/2 cups a day
Dark green 1 1/2 cups a week
Red and orange 5 1/2 cups a week
Legumes (beans and peas) 1 1/2 cups a week
Starchy 5 cups a week
Other 4 cups a week
Fruits 2 cups a day
Grains 6 ounces a day
Whole grains ≥ 3 ounces a day
Refined grains ≤ 3 ounces a day
Dairy 3 cups a day
Protein foods 5 1/2 ounces a day
Seafood 8 ounces a week
Meats, poultry, eggs 26 ounces a week
Nuts, seeds, soy products 4 ounces a week
Oils 27 grams a day
Limit on calories from added sugars, solid fats, added refined starches 270 calories a day (14% of total calories)

Thus, I would have you note that grains and starch foods are BIG on this list, and I find it interesting that so many people I know are scared of those foods. It’s not those foods, but the processed versions that are really bad. Another aside, for those who know what they are, Twinkies still exist. I saw some last week in a Target store in Seattle. I know that many of you are off all sugar, but unless you are diabetic, this could be a bit extreme. A little sugar is not going to hurt you, unless you are addicted to it, as I am to coffee and salty foods. BUT, so you know, the Mayo Clinic only allows a normal snickers bar worth of sugar a day. That’s all. Luckily, I don’t like many sweets and can forego this, but many friends have sweet-tooths.

One other thought on bias

Our biases are rampant and the goal is to become aware of them (and our assumptions) and take them into consideration when we make decisions. When we make un-considered biased decisions or decisions based from fears we are most likely to make poor decisions and mistakes. So, we need to ask ourselves, or better get the help of others to ask, what are our biases, our assumptions, our fears. We must move beyond t these to find the solution and make the best decisions.

Which decisions and why?

Whether it’s diet, activity, health, or future, let us make good sustainable decisions based on truth and not a placebo effect. 

Have a healthy rest of the week and weekend!

Patricia Jehle

www.jehle-coaching.com     patricia@jehle-coaching.com