health and wellfare

The Girl in HR’s #SHRM15 Tip No. 14

Its hard to model wellness — especially away from home… and in Vegas — but do your best to make conscience decisions and if you’re going to indulge, do it wisely.  As HR ppl, we ARE leaders in this area for our teams and leaders.

The healthy stuff might be harder to find, but your body will appreciate it — when you get back home (and adjusting to this desert heat).  What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas — I’m gonna try to leave behind some of those empty calories! (note: as I write this the caterer JUST walked past me with a tray of chewy chocolaty brownies, on of my favs). Its not easy.. not an understatement.

Hope you’re having a great conference!

Making the HR Connection, yours

Who will pay higher premiums under Obamacare? Young men – May. 14, 2013

The Obama administration says the Affordable Care Act will provide cheaper health insurance for millions of Americans.But some people, particularly young men who aren’t insured through their employers, could see their premiums go up once coverage in the state-based insurance exchanges begins in January.

Many groups have come out with reports forecasting what will happen to premiums, on average, next year. But just what folks will pay for insurance on the individual market depends on a variety of factors. They include the enrollee’s income, age, gender, current coverage level and state of residence.

“The average isn’t very relevant to any particular person,” said Jim O’Connor, principal at consulting firm Milliman, who authored a report on how “Obamacare” will affect premiums.The exact cost of plans likely won’t be known until the summer, at the earliest — and possibly not until the exchanges open for enrollment in October. Insurers have already submitted their proposals to state officials, and regulators are now reviewing them. But it is up to each state to decide when to release the plan specifics.Few insurers have disclosed their individual market plan prices for next year, but several have warned that they’re likely to rise significantly.

In Maryland, for instance, Blue Cross has said its premiums could go up 25%.Participants will have the opportunity to pick from a variety of plans offered by several different insurers. They range from “bronze” plans with low premiums but higher out-of-pocket costs to platinum plans that carry higher premiums but cover more expenses.One key provision is that those with pre-existing conditions cannot be excluded or charged more for coverage. Until now, many cancer survivors, heart attack sufferers and those with other ailments have found it tough to get insurance. The new rule is great for those who have been sick, since they can now obtain more affordable plans, but it is likely to make things more expensive for the healthy people who get insurance by raising the overall cost of coverage.

via Who will pay higher premiums under Obamacare? Young men – May. 14, 2013.

Leave your kids at the park day: Why letting kids play on their own is a good idea.

This Saturday is the fourth annual “Take Our Children to the Park…and Leave Them There Day.”

For real.

The idea is that at around 10 a.m. parents take their kids to—as you might expect from the name of this holiday—their local park. And then they leave them there.

Not if the kids are babies, of course. Not even if they’re toddlers. But if they’re at least seven or eight years old, why NOT leave them there with the other kids gathering? It could be their first chance to finally do that thing we did as kids without thinking twice: Play.

And by “play” I mean: Stand around, get bored, wonder what to do, wish there was an Xbox around, feel hungry, feel a little too hot or cold, feel mad at mom for not organizing something “really” fun, like a trip to Chuck E. Cheese, feel bad all around, realize the other kids are feeling bad too, and then—in desperation—do something.

via Leave your kids at the park day: Why letting kids play on their own is a good idea..

Even Moderate Drinking Linked to Increased Cancer Risk | Healthy Living – Yahoo! Shine

Sad news to read today — may have to give up my wine and craft beers? Now, you are talking to a gal who at one point (and technically still does) has a room in her house dedicated to wine and spirits (I call it the champagne room — and I’ve recreated it 3 times in my last 3 homes).  Wine used to be a staple at my house and it wasn’t unusual for me to enjoy a bottle or two a week. However, in efforts to be overall healthier, my sig-o and I pretty much ditched alcohol — but I still like to enjoy a great beer, fine wine, or awesome mixed drink every now and then.  I’m probably not in the bucket anymore since I may have 1-2 drinks a week at most and most weeks its a big fat zero. When it comes to your wellness, it really is about knowledge, decisions, actions, and then results.

While this made me a little down at first, I’m now a little excited — it may be time for me to re-model the champagne room. I’ll still make beer and dabble in wine, but now that I have some new information to add to the picture to think about my overall health and wellness which impacts not only my physical and mental health, but my relationships, and my work.  Plus I’ve been steadily increasing drinking green smoothies — so its a timely article to me. Cheers to your health! What do you think?

Making the HR connection, yours, thegirlinhr

New research shows that even a single alcoholic drink per day can increase your risk of developing certain types of cancer, including breast cancer in women.

Though people have long believed that a glass or two of wine can be good for your heart, the new study, conducted in conjunction with researchers in the U.S., Canada, and France, shows that the cancer risks far outweigh any heart-healthy benefits.

The stats sound scary, but Naimi told Yahoo! Shine that the risks for mild to moderate drinkers are very low. “The people who drink small amounts of alcohol needn’t be duly concerned about this,” he said. “But it is important to recognize that when it comes to cancer, there’s no free lunch.”

via Even Moderate Drinking Linked to Increased Cancer Risk | Healthy Living – Yahoo! Shine.

How Do You Deal with Stress

I am always looking for ways to deal with stress… I found these five suggestions from how The Peaceful Mom” deals with stress —

  1. Eat Chocolate!
  2. Exercise-I decided to start running
  3. Order Pizza-
  4. Refuse to Cook
  5. Eat Cashews-I recently found out that eating 10 cashews a day has the same effect on your brain chemistry as taking one Prozac.

via Top Five Ways to Deal with Stress.

This made me think.. what are some of the things that I do to de-stress (I should probably do more of them :))

I didn’t have a top five — but I did have 12 that came to mind

  1. Get active — Go for a jog/walk/yoga (I prefer Bikram)
  2. Listen to music (and sometimes I “dance it out” — ala Flight of the Conchords or Grey’s Anatomy — okay so many not exactly like Bret from the Conchords, but ya know what I mean)
  3. Get a massage
  4. Goof off on FaceBook/Internet– I play this stupid game called Zombie Island and looking at updates from my friends and their families always makes me smile (hit me up if you also play Zombie Island — just kidding! No, but seriously… )
  5. Get a mani or pedi
  6. take a break from “thinking” — Read a trashy magazine or Watch mindless tele (some great reality tv that falls into this one — my only challenge is stopping)
  7. Play with my dogs — they are so full of love
  8. Cook or Bake — different than cooking dinner every night, but something new and exotic always gives me something else to focus on. Often times I’ll make something and I’ll give it to my neighbors. And sometimes just finding potentials things to try or updating my Sunday Domestic Diva blog gives me the same feeling
  9. Plan a party of event — sounds like more work or stress — but event planning “fills my bucket”
  10. Go to dinner with my sweetie
  11. Spend some time with friends
  12. Wine! (can’t believe that wasn’t #1)  😉

What about you– have some to share — or think something on one of the list is just weird or batty?

Not sure where to start — you may find this helpful (curious to see how sleep didn’t make either one of our lists — is it on yours)

Making the HR connection,

No — Not my flip flops! Not my flip flops!!! — Comfort and fashion impacting wellness? Indeed.

Its summer and its Texas — that means pedicures and more importantly — FLIP FLOPS. Who am I kidding, I live in central Texas, so that in and of itself means flip flops year round except for the handful of days that it gets really “cold.”

Flip Flops are a staple in my wardrobe, this CNN article discusses the harms of wearing flip flops too often. It made me think “ts not just about fashion, it may impact the wellness of your employees.”

I started my career in retail. Which meant long days on my feet. I had worked retail in high school and through college, but when I took my first job out of college, the ante was raised. As a manager, I couldn’t wear sneakers (“tennis shoes”) to work. After a few years of walking the store in heels and “fashionable” comfort shoes my feet had taken a beaten. I was in my early 20s and had already been to several foot specialists. Talk about a big cost to my pocket — even with my insurance. I had severe heel spurs and required physical therapy every week that left me in tears. Many of my co-workers from that job are still in retail and were too proud to go to a podiatrist. I wonder how the toll has taken on their feet — and legs and backs.

Fast forward to the present where my professional environment is all about being casual and comfortable — jeans and t-shirts — and flip flops. It took me almost 2 years before I broke down and accepted the fashion rules, but now I’m hooked on my flip flops. What used to be a staple as house shoes or quick trips to the mailbox now consume my closet in every color (to match all those t-shirts that I get my from my employer – and my sun dresses for the days that I want to “dress up”).

What I took as comfort I now see could have a serious impact to my health and well being – -and could lead me to those regular appointments again with the podiatrist.

Bringing it all together…

Not many employers are probably asking themselves if their dress culture promotes a culture of wellness. And if you don’t want to think about your employees and their health — let’s think about the bottom line — potential increasing costs of benefits as medical claims rise. If your employees are anything like mine at my retail gig, you may not see them as podiatry claims – but likely as leg and back plain — maybe even head, neck and headache pains — not understanding the connection between what is on their feet and the impacts that it makes to misalignment in the body.

I prefer to take the lens of the former — healthy employees! There is an opportunity to communicate to employees the impacts that their shoes could make to their health. Is it any different than helping educate people on healthy eating habits which also impact wellness?

Today as I get ready for work, I’m ditching the flip flops and grabbing the sneakers! And this weekend, I’ll be replacing my cheapo flip flops for some that offer more support — its Texas after all!