The Live Well, Work Well newsletter is an employee newsletter that is produced monthly and covers topics like health, wellness, fitness, nutrition and personal finance. This month’s issue discusses mental and eye health.

5 Things You Can Do to Improve Your Daily Mental Health

Mental health plays a huge role in your overall health and well-being. It affects everything, including how we think, feel and act, and helps determine how we make healthy choices and cope with stress.

Because it’s such a crucial component of your health, it’s important to focus on maintaining or improving your mental health. Here are five simple ways to do so every day:

  1. Express gratitude. Taking five minutes a day to write down the things that you are grateful for has been proven to lower stress levels and can help you change your mindset from negative to positive.
  2. Get exercise. You probably hear all the time how beneficial exercise is to your overall health, but it’s true. Exercising regularly can benefit your brain function, reduce anxiety and improve your self-image.
  3. Spend time outdoors. Getting outside, especially when it’s sunny, can greatly improve your mood, which in turn, benefits your mental health.
  4. Be kind. Helping others and being kind not only helps the receiver of the act, but can also help you. It doesn’t have to be anything crazy—holding the door or giving a compliment can go a long way.
  5. Get a good night’s sleep. Fatigued individuals typically experience drowsiness, mood changes, loss of energy and appetite, headaches, and a lack of motivation, concentration and alertness. Strive for seven to eight hours of sleep a night to improve your mental health.


Eye Health 101

Keeping your eyes healthy is a very important task. Fortunately, it’s also an easy thing to do. Here are five simple ways you can keep your eyes healthy:

  1. Get a regular exam. Complete eye exams consist of a series of tests designed to evaluate your vision and check for eye diseases.
  2. Wear protective eyewear. When you’re playing sports or doing a task that requires eyewear to be worn, heed the advice and wear glasses or goggles to prevent injury to your eyes.
  3. Don’t smoke. Smoking can contribute to a host of irreversible eye diseases, so quit or refrain from smoking to protect your eyes.
  4. Put your shades on. Wearing sunglasses protects your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays. Don’t forget to put them on when you’re outside!

Give your eyes a break. Staring at a computer screen for too long can cause a painful strain on your eyes. Whenever possible, try giving yourself a short break from looking at the screen.


The Unexpected Ingredient in Your Oats

It’s not a superfood, and it’s not naturally occurring. It’s a pesticide. According to expert studies, almost three-quarters of the oat cereal, oatmeal, granola and oat bars tested contained traces of glyphosate.

What’s glyphosate?
Glyphosate is one of the most widely used herbicides in the world. It’s the main ingredient in hundreds of weed-killing pesticides.

Are oats safe to eat?
Experts report that the levels found in the oats is deemed to be “safe.” However, to reduce your exposure, but still eat your oats, opt for organic oats.


Recipe of the Month – Toasted Barley and Wild Rice Salad

Vegetarian, Freezer-friendly, 30-minute preparation

Ingredients

  • 6 small tortillas
  • 4 ml chili powder
  • 1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 125 ml medium or hot salsa
  • 1 ml grated lime rind
  • 30 ml lime juice
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 2 ml ground cumin
  • Pinch fresh ground pepper
  • 45 ml chopped fresh cilantro
  • 30 ml chopped fresh basil

PREPARATIONS

  1. Cut each tortilla into eight wedges and place in a resealable plastic bag. Spray tortillas with cooking spray and sprinkle with chili powder; seal and shake bag to coat tortilla wedges. Place on large baking sheet and bake in preheated 200 C (400 F) oven for about 8 minutes or until golden and crisp. Let cool completely before using.
  2. In a food processor bowl, puree beans, salsa, lime rind and juice, shallot, cumin and pepper until smooth. Scrape into bowl and stir in cilantro and basil, if using.
  3. Serve with tortilla chips.

Makes: 12 servings

Source: Government of Canada


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