Halloween and the Sweet Tooth Craze

It’s no surprise that America is sugar obsessed. Most everyone is aware that too much sugar is not good for the body, yet we consume some of the highest amounts in the entire world.  According to the USDA, the average American eats about 170 pounds of the sweet stuff each year.

Sugar is much like an addictive drug, exciting the pleasure centers of our brain and enticing our taste buds to crave more. Consuming mass amounts of sugar overtime can cause serious health problems such as chronic disease, obesity, migraines, diabetes, behavioral problems and even allergies.

How can you reduce your sugar intake? 

Eat sweets in moderation. Read your food labels and beware of sneaky sugar in bread, condiments, salad dressing, soups and pasta sauce.  Replace one sugary drink per day with a water, and cook more meals at home.

For kids, especially during Halloween, monitor their intake and set allowances of how much candy they can have per day. The increase in sugar can affect their sleep patterns and ability to pay attention in school.

Eight Tips to Avoid the Negative Effects of a Desk Job

Many people find themselves sitting at a desk for a majority of the workday. If you are one of those people, you probably realize that this sedentary lifestyle is not the best for your health. Sitting at a desk all day is bad for your heart, your posture, your circulation, and can lead to weight gain.

Fortunately, there are things you can do to help prevent it. These eight tips will not only help keep the weight off, but they can mitigate some of the other detrimental effects of sitting at your desk all day as well. Most of them revolve around the simple act of moving – any chance you get.

Tip #1: Jump start your metabolism in the morning before work. To burn more calories throughout the day, try drinking cold water and eating a good breakfast with protein, or get in some early morning exercise. Even a quick 10-15 minute exercise when you get out of bed (push-ups, crunches, burpees, etc.) will be beneficial and give you added energy for the rest of the day.

Tip #2: Watch what you eat and stay hydrated. Keep a bottle of water at your desk and pack yourself a healthy lunch. Throw away that bag of chips or box of cookies and swap it out for fruits, veggies, healthy protein, nuts, and yogurt. See our blog on “Eating Healthy During the Work Week” for more great ideas. {LINK TO BLOG WHEN PUBLISHED}

Tip #3: Do exercises and easy stretches at your desk. Every couple of hours, or when you have a free moment, incorporate exercise or stretching into your day. It will get the muscles moving, heart pumping, and blood flowing.

Tip #4: Use your lunch hour to get some exercise. If you can’t get to a gym, go for a walk. The activity will give both your mind and your body a break. Don’t forget to forego the elevator and take the stairs!

Tip #5: Swap your chair out for an exercise ball. This simple change will improve your posture by forcing you to use more of your core muscles to sit up straight. You might also be tempted to squeeze in some crunches, planks, or other exercises when you have a free minute or two.

Tip #6: Evolve to a standing desk. You probably don’t want to stand for a full day, but alternating standing and sitting will break up the monotony of sitting. More importantly, you burn more calories when you stand.

Tip #7: Schedule walking meetings. Talk about killing two birds with one stone! You’ll be getting work done while getting some exercise all at once.

Tip #9: Get a Fitness tracker. It’s amazing how numbers can drive you to set goals and exceed them. This is part of the philosophy behind fitness trackers. It keeps track of all the things you do during the day (activity, exercise, food, weight, sleep) and gives you feedback so you can see the numbers, whether it’s pounds lost, steps walked, or hours slept.

Having a sedentary job doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to gain weight. Just remember to eat right and keep moving!

Time Management Tips for Back to School

Even though summer feels like it just started, the school buses will be revving up before we know it. In order to prepare for back-to-school time and transition schedules for you and your family, it’s important to implement good time management practices that will lessen anxiety and stress.

Get a jump start on things before school starts. Look for weekly deals at your favorite stores for school supplies and buy extra so you have it for the middle of the year when your student starts to run out. This not only saves time, but money, too. Also, start implementing the school year schedule early. Slowly adjust sleep and wake up times to get closer what they will be during the school year, assign “homework” that can be completed in the afternoon, and schedule time for activities such as what the student would experience at recess or after-school activities.

When the school year arrives, set you and your family up for success by carrying out the routine you’ve established. Also, packing backpack and lunches as well as setting out clothes the night before will help for an easy morning. Additionally, buy snacks in bulk to save money and portion them out beforehand so you can grab and go. This is a helpful tip for back-up breakfasts as well if you are running late in the morning.

Doing a little bit at a time to prepare for the transition back to school can go a long way to keeping your family on track and your sanity intact!

What to Do (and NOT do) to Help You Sleep Like a Baby

Some of us sleep like babies, but unfortunately, many of us don’t. Approximately 20 to 40 percent of Americans suffer from insomnia, a sleep disorder resulting in wakefulness or restlessness and an overall inability to sleep. Some people can fall asleep fine, but suffer from an inability to stay asleep, which is referred to as sleep-maintenance insomnia.

Dealing with insomnia of any kind is frustrating and the reality is that there is no cure besides medication. What you can do is improve your “sleep hygiene” to get your body and mind in shape for a good night’s sleep. Here are some tips to make that happen.

  • Keep a consistent sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, even on the weekends. The routine will reinforce the natural sleep-wake cycle of your body.
  • Get at least 30 minutes of exercise during the day (but not in the few hours before bedtime). The physical activity will help tire your body out so you can sleep better.
  • Develop a bedtime routine that involves winding down as you get in bed. For example, take a warm shower, brush your teeth, do some easy stretching or practice yoga before turning off the light.
  • Make sure your sleep environment is comfortable. This involves being in a cool, dark, and quiet room with a comfortable mattress.
  • When you find yourself tossing and turning in the middle of the night, try to meditate. Practice progressive muscle relaxation or deep breathing to force yourself into a more relaxed state. If that doesn’t work, try listening to soft music or reading for 20-30 minutes before you try to go back to sleep.
  • Avoid eating large meals before bed.
  • Avoid stimulants (caffeine, nicotine) in the afternoon.
  • Avoid alcohol in the few hours before you go to bed. Alcohol may initially seem as though it makes you sleepy, but it may cause you to wake up later as your body metabolizes the alcohol.
  • Avoid using technology right before you go to bed (i.e., watching television, working on your computer or other electronic devices).
  • Avoid naps or limit them to no more than 30 min.

The Center for Disease Control recommends that adults get at least seven hours of quality sleep each night. To wake up well rested and refreshed, set yourself up for success by using our tips above to improve the quality of your sleep.

The Importance of Full Spectrum Support for Veterans in the Workplace

The American Council on Education estimates 1.5 million U.S. veterans will be transitioning to the civilian workforce over the next three-to-five years – a 30 percent increase over historical norms. As increasing numbers of veterans enter the workforce, it’s important for companies to recognize that veterans offer unique and versatile skill sets as potential employees. It’s even more important for companies to provide full spectrum support for the transitioning veterans.

“Full spectrum support” goes beyond hiring a veteran, and includes training organizational leaders and managers in veteran-specific issues, such as financial guidance, educational assistance, stress management tips, and emotional and family support. Through Three Wire’s VetAdvisor Program – a peer-to-peer coaching program tailored to support veterans through all phases of transition from military to civilian life – we work tirelessly to ensure businesses and veterans have the custom tailored support necessary to succeed in both their personal and professional lives.

Bunker Labs CEO and U.S. Navy veteran Todd Connor points out that “…while plenty of Americans and industries strive to support [our vets], they often don’t know how to interact with them.” Veterans live and work in a military culture that is often foreign to the civilian population. Day-to-day business environments and operations are usually very different.

Bunker Labs’ research also found that 25% of veterans want to start businesses in their local communities. Civilian mentors and professional networks each serve to support “vetrepreneurs” while navigating a successful entrée into their chosen industry. Fortunately, there are many resources available to the vetrepreneurs including programs supported by the SBA (Veteran Business Outreach Centers, Boots to Business, Contracting Support for Small Business), the Department of Veteran Affairs (Vet Biz, Veteran Entrepreneur Portal) and the National Veteran Small Business Coalition.

Government initiatives such as the Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve, the Veterans Employment Center at the Department of Veterans Affairs, and organizations such as the Veteran Success Resource Group support veteran employment and those who employ former military members. As the preceding initiatives and programs continue to grow and operate, and as more companies harness the power of the veteran experience, veterans will prosper in the civilian and commercial workspaces.

At VetAdvisor, we are the “First in Veteran Centric Care” and offer a mission-centric focus that cultivates and celebrates the years of military skills and service that veterans bring to bear. Some of these skills include a strong work ethic, attention to detail, managerial and organizational skills, sense of teamwork, and a calling to serve a purpose greater than self.

Improving the veteran’s experience in the workplace – providing each a full spectrum of support – includes being aware of what the veterans’ needs are and implementing the appropriate support mechanisms to address those needs. At VetAdvisor, we endeavor to partner with organizations seeking to recruit, retain, and actively engage with veteran employees as part of our Human Capital Management service offering.