California Educator

August / September 2018

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Sleep Experts agree getting sufficient shuteye is as important to health and well-being as diet, exercise and stress relief. And getting "more than 'rest and recharge,' sleep allows your brain to imprint and store information you're exposed to during the day," says Hendel. Goal: 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Baby step: Establish good sleep hygiene by waking and going to bed at the same time each day, even on weekends. Eat "Studies show when you start the day with the right pro- portion of protein, fats and complex carbo- hydrates, your blood sugar rises steadily, making it easier to be alert and awake," says Miller. " The body works best in 90-minute spurts of intensity and rest , so small snacks help you through mid-morning and early afternoon dips." Goal: Eat a power breakfast every day. Studies show eating breakfast improves memory, problem-solv- ing ability and mood. Baby step: Snack smart. Hendel rec- ommends fiber-rich, non-processed foods such as nuts and seeds, a fruit or veggie, or a hard-boiled egg. Move Studies show physi- cal activity improves circulation, boosts energy and reduces stress. Plus, research suggests that exercise, particularly interval training, is an optimal way to enhance mood and build endurance. Bonus: The benefits of a workout last for hours. Goal: Exercise for at least 30 minutes, 5-7 days each week. Baby step: Take every opportunity to move. Park at the end of the parking lot. Take the stairs. Wash your car. Do lunges while you brush your teeth. Breathe Stress is big risk factors for chronic disease. Research shows that daily meditation not only reduces stress, lowers blood pressure and promotes well-being, it also creates a surge in mood-stabilizing chemicals and feel- good hormones like serotonin. Goal: Meditate for 10 minutes daily. According to a Univer- sity of Pennsylvania study, daily meditation improves the ability to prioritize and manage tasks and goals, refo- cus attention, and stay alert. Baby step: When you're stressed, take three deep breaths. Even one deep, cen- tered breath can lower blood pressure, ease muscle tension and release stress. Dream Visualizing a desired outcome can lead to that outcome. Accord- ing to research in positivity, changing the output of your body requires rewriting the software in your mind. This explains why people who see the glass half full tend to be healthier than their glass-half-empty counterparts. Bonus: Positive emotions are contagious — you'll create an ener- getic environment for students. Goal: Actively reframe your thoughts to support your desire for happiness and suc- cess. You're more likely to meet these goals. Baby step: Every morning, visualize yourself accomplishing a small goal, such as meditating when you get stressed. Make a commitment to self- care and optimal wellness Healthy Habits T E A C H I N G R E Q U I R E S extraordinary mental and physical strength, so making a daily commitment to your health is key. "Self- care in terms of nutrition, fitness and mental resiliency is crucial to your performance level," says physician assistant Amy Hendel, founder of and author of The 4 Habits of Healthy Families. Creating good habits takes time, but it's worth the effort. "It can take anywhere from four to 10 weeks to make lasting changes," says Caroline Adams Miller, positive psychology expert and author of Creating Your Best Life. e more consistency you bring to the change early in the process, the more likely your new habits will stick. Here are five critical self-care areas — and positive daily strategies to ensure lasting change. Source: NEA Member Benefits 68 CTA & You

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