Self-Care Community

Healthy Eating: More About Lifestyle and Less About Dieting

By Ruthann Russo | October 31, 2019 | 0 Comments

The 7 Sources of Health can connect you to healthy and mindful nutrition and make the practice of healthy eating more of a lifestyle and less of a diet. Your WHY Research shows that people who know their “WHY” or life purpose are likely to live 7 years longer than those who do not know their life purpose. They also spend less time in the hospital, have a stronger immune system, have a lower risk of many chronic diseases, such as high blood pressure and stroke. And for older adults who develop Alzheimer’s, those with an established WHY have a…

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Self-Care Before Patient-Centered Care

By Ruthann Russo | October 24, 2019 | 0 Comments

Self-Care is the foundation for Patient-Centered Care. Patient-centered care should respect each patient and take full account of our values, stories, fears, worries and hopes and respond to our emotional, spiritual, and social needs in addition to our physical needs.[1] Before a provider can do this, the question for each of us as patients is, are we fully aware of our emotional, spiritual, social, and physical needs?  Are we practicing self-care to support ourselves? Are we caring for ourselves as whole-persons? If you are not sure what whole person self-care looks like, read on. In my work, I have studied…

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10 things to do at your desk to improve your health and balance your nervous system

By Ruthann Russo | October 20, 2019 | 0 Comments

10 things to do at your desk to improve your health and balance your nervous system Breathe: Breathing is the only bodily function that is both conscious and unconscious. You breathe whether you think about it or not. However, if you think about your breath, you can alter it. It is this ability to alter your breath that lets you consciously control your stress response. For example, deep breathing can be used to induce a relaxed state, which may include feeling calm, a slowed heart rate, muscle tension release, and tranquil thoughts. There are many different types of “deep breathing”…

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YouLab: Researching Yourself

By Ruthann Russo | July 26, 2019 | 0 Comments

YouLab is a skill that acknowledges you as the research scientist of your own life.  As with any experiment, you are looking for a cause and effect relationship. For example, what happens when I don’t eat sugar for a day? When I opt for the stairs instead of the elevator for a week?   It’s all about adding, subtracting, or changing something in your life and noticing how your entire self (body, mind, and emotions) responds. You might want to start with some small changes, such as drinking more water for a few days.   The key is making a…

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6 Evidence-Based Practices for 8 Common Chronic Conditions

By Ruthann Russo | July 25, 2019 | 0 Comments

According to the CDC 90% of healthcare dollars are for people with chronic and mental health conditions.  The eight most common chronic conditions linked to high employer spending are depression, increased blood glucose, high blood pressure, obesity, tobacco use, physical inactivity, anxiety, and chronic pain. Self-care, practices individuals take to maintain or improve their health and well-being, when practiced consistent with the evidence, is a key strategy for chronic illness management.  Evidence-based self-care practices are an essential component of a Sustainable Self-Care Initiative (SSCI).  For health systems, structured self-care practices are inexpensive to implement, can decrease costs of care over…

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Population Health: Managing Populations vs. Populations Managing Themselves

By Ruthann Russo | July 25, 2019 | 0 Comments

In a recent interview, the CEO of a large health system described population health as having, “an interest in you as a person and in being responsible for your health…”   While a noble feat, what if health systems instead (or additionally) created partnerships aimed at empowering community members to manage themselves?  This partnership, called a sustainable self-care initiative (SSCI) provides training, technology, and tools to help participants live their best possible lives.  It could work, especially if the health system’s leaders were to embrace the tools, practice the skills, and openly model a healthy way of life.   SSCIs already…

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Group Treatments: A Viable Solution for Health Systems?

By Ruthann Russo | July 24, 2019 | 0 Comments

Chronic conditions are responsible for 86% of healthcare costs in the United States. Stress is at the root of most chronic disease. And, self-care practices, such as meditation, yoga, acupressure, guided imagery, and qi gong can be used to manage both stress and chronic conditions. The problem? These interventions are not covered by health insurance. Group treatments may be a solution.  Although group treatments are not covered by insurance, they provide a clinically effective and economically affordable methodology to help patients manage chronic conditions. In addition, group interventions increase patient satisfaction, engagement, and social connection.  They also improve symptom management…

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Chronic Pain is MORE Than the Pain 

By Ruthann Russo | July 24, 2019 | 0 Comments

The annual cost of chronic pain is as high as $635 billion a year, which is more than the yearly costs for cancer, heart disease and diabetes.  In 2014,  Integrative Medicine Journal published an article I wrote about options for treating chronic pain that complement conventional treatment.  The research supports interventions such as biofeedback, guided imagery, hypnosis or even mindfulness for the management of chronic pain.   Part of the reason these self-care skills, or “mind-body” practices can work so well for chronic pain is because chronic pain is MORE than the physical sensation of pain.  Melzack & Casey explain…

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What is self-care?

By Ruthann Russo | July 18, 2019 | 0 Comments

You know how at the moment we become a parent we think to ourselves, no one ever taught me how to do this, no one ever taught me how to be a parent? We’re just supposed to “know” how to be a parent.  The same is true for self-care, it’s something that is assumed to be innate in all of us.  But the truth is, in this information and sensory overloaded world, self-care – the care of our WHOLE selves – is often overlooked. Caring for ourselves as a whole person is key to preserving our health and optimizing our well-being. …

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What is Value-Based SELF-Care?

By Ruthann Russo | July 18, 2019 | 0 Comments

The concept of self-care can sometimes feel illusive or just so basic that it hardly seems appropriate to use self-care and the current US healthcare crisis and drive for value-based care in the same sentence.  The bottom line? Self-care is the foundation for all care. The cause and effect of a Sustainable Self-Care Initiative If health systems are willing to take on the challenge – to teach evidence-based self-care skills to their communities – will it improve health and well-being and decrease healthcare costs. The result?  Increased value of “health” care to the consumer along with increased consumer responsibility for…

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