Let’s Fuel Our Body: August Wellness Month

The last three weeks, we celebrated August Wellness Month with a look into exercise, mindfulness meditation and social connection. As a company who values the health, wellness and happiness of our people above all, this week we’re going to talk about another element we can use to fuel our wellness journey: the food we eat.  

Two years ago, the American Cancer Society reported a strong correlation between obesity and cancer. Obesity is rapidly surpassing smoking as the number one prevention for cancer in the United States. We often hear we should be eating paleo, low carb, low sugar, vegetarian, vegan; the list goes on and on. It may seem difficult to narrow down the “ideal diet” to factor into our unique, individual tastes and lifestyle choices.  Today we are going to highlight data from the National Institute of Health to support one of the many options for fueling our body with nutritious food to support our wellness long term.  

Studies from the National Institute of Health found the Mediterranean diet to be one of the most efficient in terms of nutrition, weight loss and longevity. It also reduces the likelihood of diabetes and heart disease. In one study, participants on a Mediterranean diet resulted in a 25% reduction in cardiovascular disease.  

The traditional Mediterranean diet has a strong plant-based component consisting of whole foods such as fruits, nuts, vegetables, beans, and whole grains. While red meat, sugar and salt are rarely consumed, fish and poultry make up a large portion of the traditional Mediterranean-inspired diet. If we find ourselves hungry between meals, we can curb our appetite with a handful of nuts, vegetables or fruit to satisfy any cravings. Fueling our body with nutritious food does not have to uproot our lifestyle. An easy way to stay on track during your wellness journey is to record food intake.  

In today’s digital age, there are many ways to take control of monitoring what we use to fuel our body. Here are some popular apps to record our food intake:  

We hope you enjoyed our month-long wellness celebration! As we continue to get moving, mindful, build social connections and fuel our bodies, we hope you remember wellness is a lifelong journey— let’s enjoy it!  

Let’s Stay Connected: August Wellness Month

Nearly six months into the fallout of the global pandemic, many of us are facing the heightened challenges of adjusting to our new “normal.” It seems socializing, or lack thereof, with our friends, family and coworkers has taken the hardest hit on our daily routines. Here at CSG, our greatest mission is to engage our employees by feeling emotionally connected to our work, our purpose and each other. 

Studies have found having a strong sense of social connection decreases anxiety and depression, and research has pointed to a longer lifespan in individuals with strong social relationships. Since many of us are not able to connect socially in person, here are some fun tips to build connection with others, safely:  

  • Print a blank calendar or agenda. Block off hour long windows at night or on the weekend to schedule a time to call up friends and family you haven’t spoken with in a while. Give them a call and get an automatic mood-booster.  
  • Meet your neighbors (from six feet away ?). Does anyone else find themselves going on more walks than usual? Stop and say hi to the friendly faces who share your street! 
  • Host a virtual coffee hour. Every Thursday our team meets in the morning to reconnect and share some thoughts and stories to get us excited about starting our day off strong.  
  • Start a virtual book club. Select a book you and your friends or co-workers are interested in reading and meet virtually to discuss any valuable insights and takeaways. Our team recommends Grit by Angela Duckworth.  

The willingness to reboot, connect and build strong social interactions are necessary to create rich, meaningful connections and promote overall wellness. The next time an opportunity arises to have a long conversation with someone you care about, take a walk, or spend some extra time with your co-workers, remember to do so is to put your wellness first. The bonds you may cultivate are a natural remedy to promote overall wellness. 

Let’s Get Mindful: August Wellness Month

Last week we kicked off August Wellness Month with a look into the importance of incorporating engaging hobbies into our lifestyle and launched our internal “CSG Steps” challenge to raise money for No Kid Hungry.

As we continue to work our way to 10,000 steps each day, we are certain to feel overwhelmed with trying to find enough time in the day to accomplish it all—work, exercise, quality time with friends and family, etc. Today we would like to present a way to combat the stress and anxiety life may bring by taking part in mindfulness meditation.  

Studies have shown that mindfulness meditation, a mental exercise in which one focuses deeply on their surroundings and sensations, leads to a significant reduction of the inflammatory responses caused by stress. Chronic stress can lead to high blood pressure, restless sleep, and can trigger an increase in levels of anxiety and depression. The mindfulness meditation practice to reduce stress can take form in various breathing exercises, mental imagery, environmental awareness (sights, sounds, smells), and muscle and body relaxation.

The benefits of this meditation practice present a positive correlation with high levels of stress. The more stressed an individual feels, the more meditation can significantly reduce those stress levels. Dedicating a few minutes each day to practice mindfulness meditation can help lower blood pressure and anxiety, reduce the likelihood of depression, improve sleep, sharpen our attention span, and even slow age-related memory loss; all by simply taking a spare moment or two to be still, breathe, and focus on our surroundings.

Life can be chaotic. It comes as no surprise taking a few minutes to be still can have significant benefits on our overall health and wellbeing.  If you’re saying to yourself,”I don’t have a spare minute in my day,” we would like to challenge you to start small with 1-2 minutes of deep breathing and see the immediate benefit creating a sense of calmness can bring.  

If you would like additional tools to get started on your mindfulness journey, here are a few apps and resources we recommend:  

Let’s Get Moving: August Wellness Month

August is National Wellness month! During these 31 days individuals are encouraged to focus on self-care, build healthy habits, and tune in to one’s overall physical and mental health. As a company centered around the wellbeing of others, who treasure our team members supporting life-saving clinical work, last month we challenged our team to share creative ways they are creating healthy habits and staying active. Each week during August Wellness Month we will share tips on forming healthy habits with exercise, meditation and mindfulness, healthy eating and social connection. 

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has determined four unhealthy habits which lead to decreased health:  

  1. Tobacco use 
  1. Inactivity 
  1. Poor nutrition 
  1. Substance abuse 

With inactivity ranked number two on the list, it is imperative for individuals to keep active with hobbies and exercise. It often feels difficult to translate what we know, such as walk 10,000 steps a day and eat fruits and vegetables, into daily actions, so we created the “CSG Step Challenge,” where we challenge our team members to get at least 10,000 steps each day. There are countless benefits to walking 10,000 steps each day. Some benefits include decreased risk of heart disease and reduced stress levels.  

Leading a healthy life does not only mean getting enough steps each day. It also means incorporating healthy hobbies into our lifestyle. We asked members of our team to share hobbies they use to stay busy and active. From building a chicken coop to building a screened in porch, from remodeling a car to spending some extra time in nature, our team has found crafty ways to create healthy habits by embarking on hobbies which energize them.

In summary, having healthy hobbies, an active lifestyle and moving body is always moving in the right direction—toward overall wellness. Join us further in celebrating Wellness Month as we get moving in support of No Kid Hungry, a nonprofit working to ensure every child in the United States has access to healthy food where they live, where they learn, and where they play. Stay updated on CSG’s Step Challenge and follow our fundraiser’s progress here. We are looking forward to kicking off August Wellness Month with an overarching goal of caring for our most precious asset: ourselves.