1. Published

    Since mindfulness can also mean being intentional, we should have the conversation about whether we practice being mindful with our families. Most of us say that family is most important to us and that we put them first – but do we? A 2018 Nielsen report stated that American adults spend over 11 hours per day listening to, watching, reading or generally interacting with media.

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    Another practice that goes along with being mindful is being grateful. Living life with an "attitude of gratitude" not only helps your current mood, but research shows that it helps you age well.

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    Another great suggestion for practicing mindfulness for this Mindful May is coloring! Well-known psychiatrist Carl Jung first recognized the benefits of coloring back in the early 20th century. Recently we have seen a rise in the availability and popularity of coloring books for adults. Adult coloring books often have more intricate patterns and designs where drawing skills aren’t necessary. However, it doesn't matter what you are coloring - whether it is a children’s or adult’s coloring book – it can be beneficial.

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    It goes without saying that life as we know it has changed. The demands from working remotely, pressures from homeschooling, worries about finances, family, health, jobs, and security have caused us to experience an incredibly stressful period of time. Seemingly endless demands and concerns can put additional stress on our time and resources.   

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    Extension educator Kristin Bogdonas says mindfulness is usually associated with meditation and stress relief, but it can also be a powerful tool when choosing what we eat, how we're eating, and how our choices affect our health. She suggests we take a closer look at how we can apply mindfulness to our everyday eating behaviors.  

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    I have always been an outdoorsy nature person. When I was a kid, I spent most of my time outside – my parents had the hardest time getting me to come back inside at the end of the day. My love of nature continues, and I share my passion for it with anyone who will listen! I always drag my family to state parks, zoos, and botanical gardens. However, times have changed drastically, with the popularization of technology, along with urbanization, and people spend way less time outdoors and around nature.

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    We traditionally celebrate Older Americans Month (OAM) each May. When OAM was established in 1963, only 17 million living Americans had reached their 65th birthday. By 2017, around 47 million had reached that milestone. Why not observe our older population with this year’s theme of “Make Your Mark?” Around the nation, older adults make their marks every day as volunteers, employees, employers, parents, grandparents, mentors and advocates. They offer their time, talents and experience to the benefit of our communities.

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    Nearly 50 million adults in the United States face the reality of Americans managing a mental illness every day. During the month of May, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) joins a national movement to raise awareness about mental health. May is officially National Mental Health Month, and highlights mental health issues and provides a time for our nation to acknowledge mental illness.

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    In today’s world, especially now, no one is immune to feeling stressed. Eustress or positive stress can help motivate us to do well and get things accomplished. However, according to University of Illinois Extension educators, if stress accumulates and is not managed effectively or there is no outlet for it – stress can become chronic and have adverse effects on our minds and bodie

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    Many people find journaling a great way to process feelings in a positive way.

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    When we cannot see friends or family members, remember there are many ways for us to still connect. Human connections promote wellness, here are ways to reach out to family and friends who may be alone. Reframe your thinking. Instead of focusing on the negative, flip the script and think about the positive ways you can use this time. Start by reaching out to those who are important to you and deepen your relationships.

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    In a time when more people are working from than usual, we felt it might be helpful to offer some tips for working from home. Of course some of these tips are best when working from home and not while some are trying to both teach their children and do their jobs from home. We understand if some of these tips are the ideal and possibly not your current situation. Hopefully some of them will be beneficial for you the reader:

    Set a Schedule

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    The teenage years revolve around friends, school, family, sports, and events. Cancellation and social distancing may have real effects on the emotional health of teens.

    Look for:

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    There are over 34 million people in the US that provide care for someone over the age of 50. Although there tends to be an average profile for caregivers, their population is greatly diverse representing both genders and all races, cultures and ages. However, the majority of caregivers give of themselves without expecting anything in return, and they rarely think of themselves first. Caregiving is a rewarding experience for most, but also has many challenges and burdens that cause great amounts of stress. 

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    It is safe to assume that many adults today remember being told at one time or another by their disciplining parents, “You are grounded and are not to leave the house.” This typically meant separation from friends, playing outside, and taking part in planned activities. Even if it’s been a while since the age of being grounded, the social distancing plan underway may bring back feelings of “having one’s wings clipped.”

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    Many families with young children are seeking resources about learning at home with young children as the COVID-19 situation evolves in our communities. This is a trying time for early childhood programs and families as they work together to keep young children safe, healthy, and learning.

  17. Published

    Many families with young children are seeking resources about learning at home with young children as the COVID-19 situation evolves in our communities. This is a trying time for programs and families as they work together to keep young children safe, healthy, and learning.

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    Raising kids, eating right, spending smart, living well—that’s the theme of a national Living Well Campaign that is being promoted by the Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences, both at the national level and here in Illinois. The goal of the Living Well Campaign is to provide people with the education and information they need in order to “live well.”  

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    We often hear about the importance of family mealtime, but do you know what all the fuss is about? As a parent, it is sometimes easier to dismiss this family routine and feed kids fast food or prepared food in the car coming or going to their multitude of activities and events. So let’s pause for a moment from the rush of family life and learn a little more about the importance of eating together.

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    Minimizing sedentary behavior and participating in regular physical activity is essential for good health and wellbeing. Sedentary behavior is often interpreted as being physically inactive; however, there is a difference between physical inactivity and being sedentary. Sedentary behavior is anything that is done while sitting or lying down. This can be sitting at work or school all day, sitting and watching TV, and even sitting while driving. Behavior that the majority of people participate in every day.