Your Thoughts Matter – a 4-H Project

Mental health matters for everyone. Mental health is not the same thing as the absence of a mental illness. Mental health includes emotional, psychological, and social well-being. Just like health doesn’t mean only the absence of disease, positive mental health doesn’t mean that people are always stress free and happy. Positive feelings alone aren’t enough (especially because there are some not-so-healthy ways to feel good). It means still being able to function when facing challenging times and knowing how to get support when you need it. You can also learn how to help others when needed.

We are encouraged to take care of our physical health before we feel sick. We may take advice to eat well, exercise, and try to get enough sleep to help maintain overall wellness. What if we took the same approach to mental health? Just as you may work to keep your body healthy, you can also work to keep your mind healthy.

One way to learn more about mental health is the Your Thoughts Matter: Navigating Mental Health 4-H project. Your Thoughts Matter is an advanced-level 4-H project designed for youth who are interested in learning more about mental health, why it is important to overall well-being, and steps that promote more positive understanding and action.

Topics in the Your Thoughts Matter project include:

  • What is Mental Health?: What mental health means and its impact on those around us
  • Mental Health Disorders: The difference among some common but serious mental health disorders
  • Stigma: How society communicates about mental health in casual speech and in the media
  • Self-Help and Resources: Self-help and becoming part of the solution

In this project, you will be prompted to complete all 10 activities and all the Talking It Over questions, take part in at least two learning experiences, become involved in at least two leadership/citizenship activities, and complete a project review.

Today’s Take-Away: You can listen to this short video for a project review. In this video, Luke Uhlenbrock, a 4-H member from Clermont County, gives an overview of the project and shares his thoughts about participating in the Your Thoughts Matter virtual SPIN Club last year.

This project book is currently available for download on the Stay-at-Home Projects page on the Ohio 4-H website. In addition, another virtual SPIN (Special Interest) Club will be offered later this year. We will share the dates when they become available.

You can also access other Mental Health Month resources on our Ohio 4-H webpage. Come back here for more information and ideas.

Yours in Health,

Signature

Theresa Ferrari, Extension Specialist, 4-H Youth Development

Dimensions of Wellness

Health and wellness are broad concepts. The World Health Organization defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” That means that being healthy is more than just not being sick. Overall wellness includes many areas. It means being healthy in many areas of our lives. Achieving wellness is a lifelong process of “making the best better.” International Mind-Body Wellness Day gives us an opportunity to reflect on the many dimensions of wellness and the connections between body and mind.

Every aspect of wellness can affect a person’s life. The Eight Dimensions of Wellness take into account not only a person’s physical health, but all the things that contribute to a person’s overall wellness. These dimensions are interconnected, each one building on the other.

Eight Dimensions of Wellness

8 Dimensions of Wellness

Eight Dimensions of Wellness

  • physical
  • emotional
  • social
  • intellectual
  • environmental
  • spiritual
  • vocational/occupational
  • financial

For an overview of what each dimension entails, you can view a short 3-minute video from Northwestern University.

Creating balance in our lives is an important part of wellness. When we’re trying to get through a tough time—whether it is stress, an illness, trauma, or an emotional challenge—balance is especially important. In these times, our habits and routines can help us get that feeling of control back. This means focusing on ourselves as well as the roles we play in the lives of others including family member, friend, classmate, and club member.

Maybe you made a New Year’s resolution related to improving some aspect of your health. But maybe, with so many areas to consider, it can seem overwhelming to know where to start. In our posts, we’re going to break it down into more manageable chunks, day by day and week by week.

To start the new year off, we’re offering the Healthy Body Healthy Mind SPIN (special interest) Club to learn fun ways to keep your body and mind healthy. This SPIN club will be offered virtually through Zoom, with live sessions on Tuesdays from 5:30-6:30pm for 6 weeks starting January 19, 2021.

  • When: January 19 and 26 and February 2, 9, 16, and 23 from 5:30-6:30pm
  • Where: Zoom (link sent after registering)
  • Who: This SPIN Club is open to all 4-H ages youth 8 to 18.
  • What: 4-H professionals Frances Foos, Lori Now, Amanda Raines, and Cassie Turner will lead you through Yoga for Kids, games, activities, and more, all from the comfort of your home.
  • Cost: It’s free to participate, but some supplies will be suggested for activities.
  • Register here by January 14.
Promotion for Healthy Body Healthy Mind SPIN Club

Register by January 14 for the Healthy Body Healthy Mind SPIN Club

We’ll be addressing these dimension of wellness throughout the month of January, Ohio 4-H’s Mental Health Month. Come back for more information and ideas!

Yours in Health,

Signature

Adapted from: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2016). Creating a healthier life: A step-by-step guide to wellness. https://store.samhsa.gov/product/Creating-a-Healthier-Life-/SMA16-4958

#4hhealthyliving #4thH #Ohio4Hmhm #MentalHealthMatters #4HGrowsHere

Give Yourself a New Year’s Resolution Break

Self-Care Saturday New Year's Resolution Break

Give Yourself a New Year’s Resolution Break

Should you make a New Year’s resolution for 2021? It’s a time-honored tradition – making a New Year’s resolution. With the turn of a calendar page, the start of a new year presents a clean slate. Research conducted at the University of Pennsylvania found that tying goals to specific dates, or what they called the fresh start effect, can help people to be more effective at setting and achieving goals related to changing their behaviors. Like the 4-H motto, many of us want to “make the best better.” However, after the challenges of 2020, 2021 may be the time to give yourself a New Year’s resolution break.

I’m not suggesting that you shouldn’t think about the coming year and what you might want to accomplish. By giving yourself a break, I mean being kind to yourself about what’s possible, especially given the current circumstances. Although setting goals can be a motivator, making too much change in a time of chronic stress can be have the opposite effect – it can actually increase our stress level and sidetrack us from taking action. Then when we don’t achieve our goal, we get discouraged and give up.

If you do decide to create a New Year’s resolution this year, here are some tips:

  •  Set small, specific goals. Setting small, specific goals will help you experience more immediate success, especially if your goal is one with delayed rewards.
  •  Accentuate the positive. Researchers in Sweden found that those who what they called approach-oriented goals were significantly more successful than those with avoidance-oriented goals. In other words, focus on what you want to do, not on what you don’t want to do (e.g., eat 3 servings of vegetables a day vs. don’t eat junk food).
  • Make a plan. Having a goal is great, but how will you achieve it? A resolution without a plan for achieving it will likely not succeed. Come up with some concrete things you can do and when you will do them.
  • Write it down. Writing helps you remember your goal and the steps in your plan. Tape your goal in a place where you will see it to remind yourself.
  • Get support. Identify a support person and give them periodic updates on your progress. The Swedish researchers found that group that received some support was more successful at keeping their resolutions.

Not surprisingly, health is at the top of the list for New Year’s resolutions. Throughout the month of January, we’ll share more information and ideas for keeping healthy in 2021.

Use this page to think about a New Year’s resolution.

Yours in Health,

Signature

#4hhealthyliving #4thH #Ohio4Hmhm #MentalHealthMatters #4HGrowsHere

 

Daily Dose- Pizza with Pizazz

Pizza and salad makes a meal

Let’s participate in Pizza Day! Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced Spirit Week, with Friday as Pizza Day. The governor has asked everybody who participates to tag their pictures with #SpiritWeekOhio #InThisTogetherOhio #StayHomeOhio. Your photo may be featured on state social media platforms!

Pizza has been called the world’s most popular food. Traditional pizza is cooked in a wood-fired oven. It originated in Italy and was brought to the U.S. by Italian immigrants, where it has taken on a life of its own. About 1 in 8 Americans eat pizza on any given day.

Composed of flatbread with toppings, pizza had humble beginnings. It started as peasant food, but it’s fit for a queen. A classic pizza is Pizza Margherita – a crust topped with soft, white mozzarella cheese; red tomatoes; and green basil. It is said to be named after Italy’s Queen Margherita. (The colors of this pizza are also the colors of the Italian flag.)

Pizza sometimes has a bad reputation as an unhealthy food, but it doesn’t have to be. Ingredients to be on the lookout for are sodium and fat. Sources of fat include meat and cheese, which, in addition to some crusts, also contribute to the sodium content. You can include any ingredient, just be mindful of amounts and portion sizes.

You can make pizza a home! Recipes abound on the internet, but you can get creative and make our own. You’ll need to look up recipes if you want to make your own crust. Here’s one to get you started. 

The variations of pizza are endless! When you make your own pizza, you get to the control the ingredients. Use your creativity to Design Your Own Pizza.

 

Be Mindful about MyPlate

To pack the most nutritional punch into your pizza, use MyPlate to design yours. Here are some suggestions:

 

Design Your Own Pizza

Be creative and use the ingredients you have on hand

Crust (Grain)

  • Naan bread
  • English muffin
  • Pita bread
  • Flour tortilla
  • Refrigerated biscuits or crescent rolls
  • Homemade pizza crust (with or without yeast)
  • Cauliflower crust (Vegetable Group)

Base

  • Tomato sauce
  • Pesto

Toppings (Vegetables) And the great debate – is pineapple on pizza acceptable?

  • Fresh vegetables (peppers, onions, zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, potatoes, spinach, asparagus, etc.)
  • Cooked vegetables (great way to use up leftovers)

Toppings (Protein)

  • Meats
  • Seafood

Toppings (Dairy)

  • Shredded cheese or fresh Mozzarella cheese

Seasonings

  • Fresh or dried herbs (such as basil, oregano, parsley, chives)
  • Chopped fresh garlic or garlic powder
  • Crushed red pepper
  • Green onions
close up of homemade pizza

Pizza with Pizazz – Here’s my Pizza Day creation with ingredients I had at home

Here’s the pizza I made with ingredients I had on hand: I didn’t use the oven to make my pizza. I used naan bread for the crust, which I heated in a frying pan, with a small amount of oil to prevent sticking. I topped the naan with a thin layer of tomato sauce. I sautéed an onion, chopped garlic, and peppers – green, orange, yellow, and red (about 1 cup). I topped the crust with the vegetable mixture and added shredded parmesan cheese and basil. Easy and tasty!

The “Let’s Start Cooking” 4-H project has a recipe for Veggie Pizza (page 29).

#SpiritWeekOhio #InThisTogetherOhio #StayHomeOhio #pizza

#4HInThisTogether #StayHomeOhio #ThankYouPublicHealth #leanonyourlandgrant #LandGrantFierce #OSUExtension #ohio4h #COVID19 #coronavirus #4thH #4Hhealthliving

 

Yours in Health,

 

 

 

Daily Dose- Superheroes – Ordinary and Extraordinary

teenagers in a line wearing capes

Camp counselors wearing capes at a superhero-themed camp

Although they have their beginnings in mythology, many trace the rise of superheroes in the U.S. to the late 1930s. This was a time when the U.S. was suffering from the fall-out of the Great Depression and before entering World War II.

What makes a superhero? Superheroes have some kind of extraordinary power. They fight crime or use their talents to do some good. They try to make the world a better place. They are clever in how they use tools and technology (think Superman’s cape, Spiderman’s webs, and the Batmobile). Another part of the appeal of superheroes is that they give us someone to look up to. And they wear costumes! Now every year at Halloween there are bound to be children (and adults) dressed up as the classic Superman and Batman, as well as the popular superhero of the day.

In the book titled Superhero Ethics: 10 Comic Book Heroes, 10 Ways to Save the World, Which One Do We Need Most Now?, author Travis Smith floats the idea that it is not their superpowers that make them so super. Instead, it is their character and qualities, which guide what they do with their power. He said that superheroes represent “the qualities that human beings must cultivate in order to confront the quandaries of ordinary life.” In other words, they point out the qualities that will help us to be better people.

As super as they are, superheroes aren’t perfect. After all, Superman has his kryptonite. Through these characters we can learn to turn our weaknesses into advantages. In that way, they are a symbol of hope, that you can overcome challenges and make yourself into a better person.

3 girls wearing Superman costumes

Camp counselors are superheroes!

Who are our modern-day superheroes? Perhaps today we have a new idea of superhero, a time when ordinary people are doing extraordinary things. They don’t wear capes – they wear scrubs and lab coats and the uniforms of police and firefighters. They work in schools and hospitals and homes. They are “disguised” as the ordinary people who drive trucks with needed supplies, stock shelves in our grocery stores, and drive public transportation. They work long hours to fight an invisible enemy. They are the essential workers of the coronavirus pandemic.

In Spider-Man 2, Aunt May reminds Peter Parker that “there’s a hero in all of us.” Today, my heroes are 4-H teen leaders sewing masks and matching 4-H members as pen pals. It’s families using 3D printers to make personal protective equipment for medical staff. You are a superhero when you stay home, even when it’s hard, and when you wear a mask to keep others safe.

Download Today’s 4-H Journal Here!

Yours in Health,

 

 

 

Daily Dose- 4-H Meeting Mad Lib!

Today is National Tell a Story day! Stories come from all places including friends, families, experiences, or even from our imagination. A story can be a way to share history with others, connect to family members, or even entertain us.

For National Tell a Story day I decided to celebrate with a story where you get to decide some of the fun details of our story. Today’s story is about our first meeting back face-to-face! I am using a style called mad lib which gives a template for another person to fill in the blanks. The trick is, you fill in the blanks before you see the story!

I had a blast developing this template and testing it on my family. I hope you will enjoy (and share yours) as well!

Mad Libs originated in 1953. You can read the full history of them here!

Today’s Journal – Tell a Story

 

 

 

Daily Dose- Let’s Get Moving! Be Fit at Home

3 girls on yoga mats moving their arms

Yoga at the State Fair

Physical activity is one part of being fit and healthy. According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, children and adolescents should do 60 minutes or more of physical activity every day. You don’t even have to do 60 minutes all at once. The first key guidelines is move more and sit less!

There are many activities you can do to be fit at home. Let’s break it down into the different types of activities you can do.

Recipe for Physical Fitness

  1. Flexibility activities
  2. Aerobic activities
  3. Muscle-building activities
  4. Bone-strengthening activities

 

  1. Flexibility:
    • What are they: These activities help your joints and muscles move easily.
      • Examples: forward bends, toe touches, shoulder rolls, knees to chest, yoga poses. Stretch slowly and smoothly; don’t bounce.
    • How often: Stretch to take a break from sitting. If warming up, spend 2-3 minutes doing flexibility exercises. Hold each stretch for at least 10 seconds and increase as time goes on.
    • How they help: Stretching keeps your muscles loose and relaxed. Being flexible decreases your chance of getting hurt and prevents you from getting sore. Flexibility exercises can help you warm up before more vigorous activities.
  2. Aerobic activities: Most of the 60 or more minutes a day should be either moderate- or vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity.
    • What are they: These activities get your heart beating faster!
      • Moderate-intensity aerobic: active recreation such as hiking, skateboarding, rollerblading, cross-country skiing, and bike riding; walking; games that require catching and throwing; and house and yard work such as sweeping or pushing a lawn mower
      • Vigorous-intensity aerobic: running, active sports, vigorous dancing, aerobics, active games that involve running and chasing, and jumping rope.
    • How often: at least 3 days a week
    • How they help: Aerobic activities helps your body use oxygen and helps your heart send blood to the muscles.
  1. Muscle-strengthening activities:
    • What are they: These activities involve having muscles work or hold against a force or some weight.
      • Examples: push-ups, sit-ups, lunges, squats, lifting weights, and working with resistance bands, a good game of tug-of-war, gymnastics, swinging on the monkey bars, and climbing a tree!
    • How often: at least 3 days a week
    • How they help: Having strong muscles makes it easier to do everyday tasks. These activities help your balance, coordination, and posture.
  1. Bone-strengthening:
    • What are they: These activities involve an impact (often with the ground) or tension force.
      • Examples: running, brisk walking, dancing, stair climbing, tennis, basketball, and volleyball are great for your bones, as are hopping, skipping, and jumping
    • Bonus: Many bone-strengthening activities may also help strengthen your muscles and your heart.
    • How often: at least 3 days a week
    • How they help: Make bones grow and get stronger.

 

Being fit helps your body and your mind. Physical activity helps you to be more alert and helps with your moods. Being fit will help you feel better now and in the future. Let’s get moving today!

Today’s 4-H Journal

Yours in Health,

Daily Dose- Earth Day: For the Health of Our Planet

In 1970, fifty years ago, people around the world celebrated the first Earth Day on April 22. Earth Day began as a day of education about environmental issues.

What was going on 50 years ago that prompted this observance? It appeared that people took the environment for granted. Recycling wasn’t a common practice, certainly not curbside pick-up. Waste from factories ended up in the air, lakes, and rivers, which made for unsafe and unhealthy conditions. But then in the 1960s, Americans started to become aware of how pollution affected the environment.

By the end of the decade, the damage done by an oil spill in California and a fire on the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, Ohio, brought the environment to the forefront.

The first Earth Day mobilized millions of Americans for the protection of our planet (an estimated 20 million Americans, 10% of the population at the time, took part). Earth Day was a catalyst for change. During the 1970s, important pieces of environmental legislation were passed to protect air, water, and land. You can read more about the history of Earth Day here.

a group of girls holding a sign

I learned about the environment though my involvement in a youth organization (Girl Scouts). That’s me, first row, second from left.

I was in high school in 1970. At the time, there was no curbside recycling like there is now in many communities. My Girl Scout troop collected glass and paper for recycling, which we brought to a business that actually paid us per pound (it was one of our troop’s fundraisers). We did trail clean ups, living by the mantra “leave a place better than you found it.” It didn’t matter that we didn’t throw that trash on the ground; it was our responsibility to pick it up. I know that participating in these activities shaped my attitudes and behaviors toward the environment to this day.

This year we can’t gather in person to participate in Earth Day activities. But that doesn’t mean our concern for the environment goes away. You can check out NASA’s website for many Earth Day activities.

Use today’s 4-H Journal Page to think about ways you can keep the environment healthy.

Here are some things I’m trying to do:

  1. Recycling
  2. Using less plastic
  3. Thinking about whether I need something before I buy it
  4. Picking up after myself and picking up trash when I see it

Here are some other action ideas.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.

(Margaret Mead)

Earth Day reminds us that humans have an impact on the environment. Earth Day prompts us to ask how we can sustain these positive changes. Earth Day also reminds us that our health depends on our planet’s health.

 

Daily Dose- Let’s Go on a Hunt…for the Good Stuff

When things are changing and out of our control, it is easy to focus on the negative. But even when things are unpredictable and not going the way we planned like with the COVID-19 pandemic, there are still a lot of good things going on. Being resilient, or having the capacity or ability to recover from difficulties, is a life skill that we can work on all the time. One way to develop this skill is to challenge ourselves every day to “Hunt the Good Stuff.”

Hunting the good stuff is seeking out the positives in every situation. It might be difficult to find them sometimes, but they are there! Often our first reaction is to focus on all the negative things. That just means we have to look harder to find the good stuff. Hunting the good stuff is easy when life is going our way. But it’s just as important when we find ourselves in situations that where we don’t have control. We may not be able to change the situation, but we can change how we think of it.

Have you heard the saying “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade?” That’s hunt the good stuff!

Focusing on the positives and analyzing them helps you see the light in each situation. In turn, it helps build your resiliency and trains your mind to look for the positives even in stressful situations.

Hunting the good stuff requires us to stop and think about what’s going on. It’s another way to practice mindfulness, which we wrote about in an earlier post that you can find here.

Hunting the good stuff helps you to be more positive, leads to gratitude, and helps you mentally and physically. So even though life is a bit unpredictable right now, and we are facing change and disappointment, focus on the good! To help you with that, we created a Hunt the Good Stuff 4-H Bingo! Use this card to seek out the positives that are going on right now. If you haven’t done something yet, use it as a way to seek out positive activities to expend your energy or use it to help you come up with some other fun ideas!

Download PDF Version Here

Today’s Guest Post and BINGO game was brought to you by Christy Clary, Educator in 4-H Youth Developed located in Brown County, Ohio.