Effects of Stress on Your Health

Stress is the body’s reaction to unfamiliar situations. Stress is a normal part of everyday life, and so is our response to it. When you feel threatened, a chemical reaction occurs in your body that allows you to act in a way to protect yourself. This reaction is known as “fight-or-flight”, or the stress response. During this process, your heart rate increases, your breathing quickens, your muscles start to tighten, and your blood pressure rises.

Some causes of internal and external stress include major life changes (pregnancy, getting married, or a new job), relationship problems, financial responsibilities, and academic pressure as well. Stress may be affecting your health, even though you might not realize it. Stress can affect your body, thoughts, feelings, and behavior.

The effects of stress on your emotional wellbeing are:

  • Constant worrying
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Irritability (agitated behavior – twiddling your fingers, clenched jaw, grinding teeth)
  • Angry outbursts
  • Social withdrawal – decreased contact with family and friends
  • Overeating or undereating

The most common physical symptoms of chronic stress are:

  • Sweating
  • Headaches
  • Digestion issues – nausea or constipation
  • Muscle tension
  • Increased heart rate
  • Weight gain

Here are some coping mechanisms and ways you can manage your stress better.

  • Identify what’s causing your stress. Ask yourself about your feelings and the problems that you’re having. Is it something that you can control or is it always going to be an issue?
  • Exercise on a regular basis. It’s important to make time to exercise at least 3 times a week if your schedule permits.
  • Utilize techniques for physical relaxation. Activities such as deep breathing, yoga, and meditation will make a huge difference in your overall outlook and help you to relax.
  • Socialize with family and friends. Talk to someone close to you about what’s on your mind. You’ll feel much better when your feelings are out in the open, instead of just bottling them up.
  • Find a hobby that you can enjoy. Read a book, draw, or listen to your favorite music.
  • Journal your thoughts. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to someone, writing down your feelings is a great way to get it out of your system.
  • Sleep! Getting enough sleep is key. Sleep deprivation can negatively affect your mood. Make sure you are sleeping at least 6 -7 hours per night.

Stress is inevitable. It’s always important to have a plan so that your stress levels aren’t getting too out of control. Finding stress-reducing routines that work well for you is the first and most important step of increasing side effects of stress, both emotional and physical. Learning how to manage your stress takes time and practice.

However, if you have tried all above steps and your stress becomes more difficult to manage, or if you start to develop more serious symptoms (chest pain, difficulty breathing, or irregular menstrual cycle) it is important to seek medical attention immediately.

 

Written by Dami Falade

Electronic Devices and Eye Strain

American adults spend an average of nine hours a day using technology. If you are someone who spends a vast majority of their day in front of a computer, tablet, mobile phone, or other electronic devices, you are likely to experience symptoms of computer vision syndrome. Computer vision syndrome, also known as digital eye strain, describes a group of eye and vision-related problems that are a result of continued technology use.

The most common symptoms associated with computer vision syndrome include:

  • Headaches
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Itchy, burning, or watery eyes
  • Dry eyes
  • Double vision
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Blurred vision

Computer vision syndrome is common and sometimes unavoidable, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take small steps to protect your eyes. Here are some tips on how to combat computer vision syndrome.

Take a short break. Try to schedule a five-minute break every hour, if possible. Stand up and walk around or just rest your eyes for a few minutes.

Look away. While using electronics, look at something else other than your screen every 20 minutes for 20 seconds. This will help to relieve eye strain.

Blink more. In order to reduce your chances of developing dry eye while using a computer, make it an effort to blink frequently. Blinking moistens the front surface of your eye.

Increase font size. This will help so that you aren’t struggling to read and strain your eyes. You can also adjust the colors – black print on a white background won’t be too strenuous on your eyes.

Lower your brightness. You can adjust the brightness of your display screen to where it has the same brightness as your work area.

Minimize glare. Clean your monitor regularly to remove dust. Position your light source at a right angle relative to the monitor, and/or position your screen to avoid reflecting light from overhead lights or windows.

Visit an eye care specialist annually to keep track of your eye health and seek treatment for any vision related issues. Preventative care helps maintain healthy vision.

 

Written by Dami Falade

The Importance of Sleep

According to the National Sleep Foundation, sleep is crucial for a person’s health and wellbeing. However, millions of people are not getting enough sleep and suffer the consequences of that.  A study conducted by the National Sleep Foundation has found that 40 million Americans suffer from over 70 different sleep disorders and 60% of adults have sleep problems a few nights a week. A lack of sleep on a regular basis can lead to continued health complications. Here are the factors that are impacted by sleep.

Overall productivity – Quality sleep enables your mind to be focused and stimulate creativity.

Weight – Researchers have found that people who sleep for less than 7 hours nightly are more at risk to be overweight or even obese. Being sleep deficient impacts the balance of the hormones that affect appetite. Leptin and ghrelin, the hormones that regulate appetite, are found to have been interrupted by lack of sleep.

Physical Health –

  • Sleep is your body’s way of fighting off infections. When there is a lack of sleep, your immune system is weakened, which makes you more vulnerable to illnesses.
  • While you are sleeping, your body restores the damage done by stress, ultraviolet rays and other harmful exposure, not to mention other traumas such as muscle injuries.
  • Your body goes into a state of stress when you are running low on slow. Bodily functions are put on high alert, which is where high blood pressure and stress hormones come into play. Stress hormones make you more at risk for heart-related conditions, cancer, and diabetes. High blood pressure increases the risk of strokes and heart attacks, and the added stress hormones make it more difficult to fall asleep.

Mental Health –

  • Along with your physical health, mental health is very important too in terms of sleep. When you don’t get enough sleep, your body enters a stressful state. A good night of sleep will make you feel more energized and alert.
  • During sleep, even though the body is at rest, your brain is processing your day, your memories, and your feelings. Deep sleep is a time for your brain to link things together, and getting better sleep will help you to process and remember things better.
  • Sleep can reduce your risk of depression by impacting many of the chemicals in your body, primarily serotonin. People who are lacking serotonin are more likely to suffer from depression. One way to combat this is to make sure you are sleeping 7 to 9 hours every night.

A good night of sleep each night is a major key to living a long and healthy life. Getting enough quality sleep each night has many benefits pertaining to physical and mental health.  It’s important to make sure that you are getting the rest that you need. Your body will thank you for it!

 

Written by Dami Falade

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Energy Boosting Foods to Increase Workplace Productivity

The foods you eat lay the foundation for your overall body chemistry and processes. Here are some food and nutrients that are key to more energy and productivity:

  • Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so it’s important to not skip it. What you eat in the morning sets the tone for how your day will go. Eggs are one of the most common breakfast foods. Whether they’re hard-boiled or scrambled, eggs are packed with nutrients such as Vitamin B which improves reaction time.
  • Fresh fruit is a light snack that can be eaten for breakfast or even be eaten in between meals. Bananas, berries, apples, oranges, and melons are a great source of natural sugars, fibers, and healthy vitamins, which regulate the body’s blood sugar.
  • Although green tea does contain caffeine, this caffeine will not make your body crash and burn, as opposed to coffee. Aside from improving brain function, aiding with digestion, and fat burning, drinking green tea helps you concentrate better.
  • Kale: Kale is very versatile – it can be eaten in salads or can even be blended into a smoothie with other fruits and vegetables. Kale is a great source of iron and Vitamin C, which improves overall blood flow and blood clotting. It also preserves vision quality.
  • Chicken: Chicken breasts are another versatile food that are low fat and packed with protein. Instead of deep frying, it can be grilled the night before and eat it for lunch with a salad, or with some vegetables on the side.
  • Nuts: Nuts are a great source of natural fat and protein that the body needs in order to be healthy. Not only do they contain antioxidants and Vitamin E, they’ll give your body the natural increase in memory and overall brain performance. You can have them as a snack in between meals.
  • Avocados: One of the best ways to increase productivity is to have a consistent and steady blood flow to the heart and brain. Avocados help blood flow and also improve focus.
  • And last but not least, water. The human body is made up of 70% water. Every single organ in your body uses water so that it can work well. Studies have shown that drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day will provide your brain the fuel it needs to think clearly and quickly, and be more focused.

The World Health Organization has confirmed that when the right foods are consumed, brain power can increase by as much as 20%. Eating healthy is not just a temporary fix – it’s a lifestyle choice. With food, it can be easier to go with the cheapest or faster option, but that doesn’t mean that it’s the most beneficial option. When you make healthier choices, you will feel better inside and out!

What to Do in a Hostile Work Environment

A hostile work environment can be described as an environment where one’s workplace is toxic and unwelcoming to the point where it’s almost impossible for them to get their job done. This also includes being repeatedly singled out from the group, constantly being berated for minuscule things, or always being the subject of a cruel joke. The harasser can be a supervisor, a fellow colleague, or even a visitor who doesn’t work for the company.

Being in a hostile work environment can be detrimental to one’s health. According to a 2017 Study from the Workplace Bullying Institute, 60.4 Million Americans are affected by workplace bullying. Those who are or have been bullied can experience high levels of stress, anxiety, inability to concentrate, and trouble sleeping – just to name a few. If there have been attempts made to confront the harasser about their offending actions and the behavior persists, here are some options to choose from so that one doesn’t feel completely stuck.

  • Consider your allies. If you have a trusted friend in the workplace, talk to them. There is a chance that your fellow colleague could be experiencing the same thing that you are. Not only is it important to know that you are not completely alone, but it’s also good to know that someone else has been made aware of what’s going on, in the case that the situation escalates.
  • Keep yourself safe. Along with having an ally, it’s also important to be conscious of the circumstances. If the harasser is your immediate supervisor or even a colleague, try to avoid situations where you might be alone with them. If they invite you out to lunch, politely decline. If they keep persisting, tell them that you brought lunch from home, or that you’re just not hungry. Even though there’s a chance that nothing will happen, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Steer clear of situations where you’re not completely comfortable.
  • If you’ve followed all three previous steps and nothing has changed, the only thing left to do is to possibly look for an escape. If you have a human resources department in your company or organization, you might want to utilize that and make them aware of the situation. However, if you simply cannot tolerate the behavior anymore, you can consider resigning. Perhaps start looking for positions elsewhere. If the opportunity arises and you do get another job somewhere else, give your supervisor your 2 weeks’ notice. Explain to them that you found another position elsewhere and that you are leaving. It is important to note that you should make a peaceful exit. You never know when you’ll need a recommendation letter, or there is a chance you could end up working for the company again in the future.

Tips for Winter Wellness

Cold weather and short days lead to long naps and endless movie marathons. Even those who are health-conscious may find themselves sitting indoors and gradually lessening their physical activity when winter approaches. However, maintaining your health throughout the entire year is important. The following health and wellness tips will help stay in good health during the winter:

  • Go for a walk even when the weather is really cold. Your body has to work overtime to get warm and you may burn up to 50% more calories than you would on the same walk in the summer.
  • Replace hot chocolate with a cup of herbal tea. Tea contains antioxidants and can build your immune system. Not only is it a healthier choice, but you even benefit from drinking it.
  • Winter is flu season and simply washing your hands is an effective way to prevent the spread of germs. This is also the perfect time to get your flu shot, which is the best combat method for the flu. Nova Medical Centers proudly provides vaccination services to assist in keeping you healthy.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking at least 8 glasses of water each day and using moisturizers to protect your skin. Cold air and indoor heaters can dry out your skin and cause skin irritation.
  • Buying indoor plants is an inexpensive way of providing moisture and oxygen to a drier atmosphere caused by heating. Plus, they’ll even give your home or office more life and brighten any cold, dull day.

Bundling up and staying inside is a natural reaction when winter comes along. Ensuring that you stay active and healthy during the winter keeps you from working twice as hard to stay healthy during the spring.  Simple habit changes can drastically positively impact your health.

At Nova Medical Centers, we specialize in occupational health. We pride ourselves by attending to your health and safety. From updates on OSHA regulations to workplace safety tips, your safety is our number one priority. Contact Us today for more information about our services. Our team of experts and friendly staff are ready to assist.

 

Written by Nayda Sanchez

6 tips for healthy holiday eating

The holiday season is in effect and we all know that means festive food overload. A lot of eating followed by weight gain is a typical pattern for most people. The good news is you don’t have to deprive yourself of your favorite holiday foods in order to maintain health during the last seasons of the year.  These 6 tips will help you indulge your favorite foods while reducing the impact of negative consequences:

  1. Portion Control

Portion size is important throughout the entire year, but especially during the holidays. Opportunities to eat festive snacks and desserts will happen often. Eating smaller portions and lessening how frequently you eat holiday treats can help gear you away from weight gain.

  1. Eat when you’re hungry

Holiday parties and potlucks happen recurrently and it’s important to indulge only when you’re hungry. Don’t treat yourself only because the food is available.

  1. Pace yourself

Eat slowly and savor every bite. Wait 10 minutes before going back for seconds to see if you really are still hungry.

  1. Do not skip meals throughout the day

Skipping meals throughout the day to prepare for a big holiday feast may lead to overeating. It is especially important to have breakfast, as research shows that those who eat this important morning meal tend to consume fewer calories throughout the day.

  1. Strategize

There are many strategies to help you avoid overeating. For instance, using a smaller plate allows you to serve yourself less food. Also, eating vegetables and a salad before entrees and desserts can help you become full faster and prevent you from overeating on foods with higher calories like desserts, pasta, and bread.

  1. Stay active

Chilly weather tends to give people the urge to want to stay indoors, but don’t worry there are plenty of indoor activities that allow you to get a workout done while staying warm. There are plenty of options to choose from like walking up and down the stairs at home or at the workplace, working out at the gym or even joining an indoor sports team like basketball.

Eating healthy and staying active during the holiday season is achievable by being mindful of your food intake and ensuring you are continuing your workout schedule.

Nova Medical Centers specializes in occupational health. Attending to your health and safety needs is our number one priority. We proudly offer onsite health fairs that provide employees with health tips, blood pressure checks, BMI and much more. Contact us today to schedule a health fair or for more information on any of our other services.

 

Written by Nayda Sanchez

National Physical Therapy Month

Physical therapy plays a critical role in the recovery process of patients who have experienced injury or deformity. Both physicians and patients who have participated in physical therapy know that it is more than just treatment. It is a journey of transformation. American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) established National Physical Therapy Month (NPTM) in 1981 to raise awareness of the life changing benefits it offers to patients. Here are some key facts about National Physical Therapy Month:

  • National Physical Therapy Month is celebrated in October
  • Every year, APTA selects a theme such as lower back pain, posture, balance, fitness and obesity, to be the main focus. This year’s focus is on the #ChoosePT campaign which encourages physical therapist to tout the benefit of choosing physical therapy in lieu of opioid medication
  • A “Day of Service” is designated to give physical therapists an opportunity to engage their communities in activities to promote healthy lifestyles and to spread awareness of the importance of physical therapy
  • Many clinics offer free posture screenings, balance assessments or fun runs
  • 50 Chapter Challenge, Neighborhood blood drives, photo contests, and Miracles Baseball Leagues are some events organized by APTA to make it easier for physicians to get involved during NPTM

Physical therapists deserve recognition for their hard work and dedication to empowering patients to take control of their treatment plans and recovery progress. National Physical Therapy Months allows physicians to spread awareness of the benefits of physical therapy while receiving the appreciation they undeniably earned.

At Nova Medical Centers, our team of highly skilled licensed physical therapy staff is committed to providing the most current treatment to patients. Our program provides one-on-one patient care, which means patients do not share their individual therapy time with multiple patients. We pride ourselves in leading the occupational health industry. Contact us  today for more information about our physical therapy program or any other of our services.

Employment Drug Testing

Drug testing promotes positive work culture

 According to a survey conducted by the Society of Human Resources, 57% of employers implement drug testing to determine if employees or job applicants are using drugs. Employers overlook drug testing because it’s not required by the state they are operating in, it’s too costly or they believe it’s not a viable investment. However, the benefits can be impactful.  Listed below are significant benefits of drug testing:

  • Creating a drug-free environment builds a safe workplace. Performing job functions while under the influence makes it more dangerous for employees and their colleagues. Using heavy equipment or driving a truck requires an employee to be alert; being under the influence will increase the likelihood of injury.
  • Drug screenings in companies has led to an increase of productivity within their employees. Drug problems can cause an individual to lose focus of their responsibilities and their commitment to their employer. Being absent and lack of punctuality are linked to drug use. Eliminating drugs from the equation helps shape a goal-oriented, productive atmosphere.
  • Employers may be eligible for discounts on workers compensation insurance for maintaining a drug-free work place by drug testing workers
  • Drug testing encourages a healthier lifestyle not only at the workplace, but also in employee’s personal lives.

Drug testing can lead to impactful company cultural changes. It is a representation of the restriction of drug use at the workplace and a great way to showcase company culture even before an employee is hired.  Reliable colleagues, motivating leaders, and a supportive learning environment are all desirable characteristics for job seekers.  Implementing a drug-free workplace shows employees that you not only care about their success, but their overall health. It is a key component in protecting the safety, health and welfare of employees.

At Nova Medical Centers  our teams of medical professionals specialize in ADA, DOT, NIOSH, OSHA and other state and regular federal regulations which govern the occupational medicine industry. Our sole focus on occupational health allows us to provide exceptional pre-employment services. We pride ourselves in tailoring our care to every single client. Contact us  today for more information about our pre-employment services.  Our friendly staff and team of experts are here to meet all of your occupational health needs.

Written by Nayda Sanchez

Preparing for Flu Season – Helpful tips to keep from spreading the flu

With fall just around the corner, now is the time to start preparing for flu season. 10% of the population contracts the flu yearly. Though it may not seem like a high percentage, more people are affected than you think. Interacting with people who have been exposed to the flu is inevitable, but it doesn’t mean we can’t better prepare ourselves. Below are 5 tips to help you fight the flu:

 

  1. Get Vaccinated

Vaccinations are the best way to help the prevention of spreading the flu. Nova Medical Centers proudly offers onsite vaccinations. It is important to know the benefits of receiving flu vaccines.

 

  1. Sanitizers are your best friends

During flu season, sanitizing commonly used surfaces such as computer equipment, doorknobs, desks and telephones can help keep from spreading the flu. Use cleaning products and disinfectants to kill germs on surfaces.

 

  1. Wash your hands

Washing your hands several times a day prevents spreading flu germs. Germs can live on anything someone who is infected has touched for over two hours. It is advised to wash your hands several times a day. You soap and water to thoroughly wash hands. If soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizers.

 

  1. Stay home when you’re sick

If you have the flu, the best thing you can do for yourself and others is to stay home. Staying home prevents the spreading of the flu.

 

  1. Exercise and eat healthy

Feeding your body the nutrients it needs to stay healthy and exercising regularly is proven to help you fight viruses. The healthier you are, the less prone to illnesses you become. Work-out regularly, eat your veggies and get plenty of sleep. Your body will thank you once flu season arrives.

 

Nova Medical Centers specializes in Occupational Health. We want to help you and your employees combat against the flu. Our Onsite Flu Shot Clinics provide flu shots without leaving the office or making appointments. Contact Nova Medical Centers for more information about scheduling an Onsite Flu Shot Clinic.

 

Written By: Nayda Sanchez