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September 12, 2023

Overcoming Injury and Trying to Connect

The AFT provides staff with monthly health and wellness tips, and now they are sharing them with the Share My Lesson community too! September's issue offers guidance on overcoming injury, unlearning emotional eating, and trying to connect.


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Overcoming Injury

Injuries are never fun. Getting back to exercise after recovering from an injury, as minor as blisters from poor fitting shoes, or a bad knee injury, can be challenging. Pushing yourself too soon after an injury can make it worse, so be sure to get the green light from your doctor first, if serious. Once you are cleared to get moving again:

Start slow. A good guideline is to start at about 50% of your normal level of intensity.

Vary activities. Consider adding low-impact activities such as swimming and walking.

Listen to your body. Pain is the body ’s way of alerting us that something is wrong.

Learn from your injury to help minimize risk of injuries in the future. Every workout should begin with warm-up stretches and end with cool-down stretching. A warm-up helps get the body ready for exercise by gradually increasing heart rates and loosening muscles and joints. A cool-down after a work out slowly brings the heart rate back to normal. Stretching before and after the work out will help increase flexibility.

Vegetables and Fruits

Vegetables and fruits are at the core of reaching and maintaining optimal health! They are low in calories, fill you up and are a tool to provide energy. Think of filling your plate with 25% vegetables and 25% fruits for 50% fruits and veggies.

All vegetables and fruits are not created equal. Vegetables that are fried, such as onion rings, french fries and tempura are not healthy options. Another way to value foods is based on the glycemic index (GI) scale, which is based on how slowly or quickly these foods can cause an increase in blood glucose levels. Low GI foods tend to foster weight loss.

Some of the healthiest vegetable choices that are best for optimal heath and weight loss are:

Zucchini, Spinach, Peppers, Onions, Mushrooms, Lettuce, Alfalfa sprouts, Artichokes, Arugala, Asparagus, Cucumber, Cabbage, Squash, Brussel sprouts, Bell peppers, Broccoli, Chives, Leeks, Celery and Cauliflower.

Choose from a selection of colorful fruits with a lower GI scale, including:

Olives, Avocados, Lemons, Limes, Raspberries, Blackberries, Grapefruit, Cherries, Tomatoes, Apples, Oranges, Peaches, Pears, Strawberries, Plums and Nectarines.

Unlearning Emotional Eating

We learn how to eat as children and carry those habits into adulthood. Very young children are good at regulating their food intake and stop eating when they are full. Some argue that it is during the pre-school period that children begin to adapt their food intake by responding to social cues rather than their own body cues.

emotional eating graph

Social Cues that Influence Eating Behavior Can Include:

Behavior modeled for a child. Seeing a parent turn to food when they’re sad.

Feeding children in emotion-regulated ways. Giving a cookie to an upset child to cheer them up.

Celebrating with food. Children go to birthday parties where everyone has fun and gets candy or cake. Holidays are all about the food and children begin to associate food with positive feelings.

Restricting certain foods. Telling children they can’t have something makes it a preferred food.

These eating habits learned early on can be modified later. We can use this knowledge as adults to shift our mind-set towards food. Recognizing that our eating patterns have developed from family and environmental influences can be key to changing our food choices. A few strategies to overcome stress eating and better manage our food cravings include:

  1. Mindful eating. Pay attention to what you are eating. Don’t eat on auto-pilot but be aware of what you are eating, how much you are eating and if what you are eating is what your body actually needs.
  2. Find alternative outlets to soothe emotions. Recognize when you are triggered and substitute a different action to take your mind off food.
  3. Remove judgement. Take away any feelings of guilt that arise from labeling foods as good or bad. Choosing to eat chocolate when you are allowing yourself to indulge, lets you enjoy a treat and move on.

Managing emotional eating is a process to approach with kindness and acceptance towards ourselves.

Recipe of the Month

recipe of the month

Sauteed Spinach

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic minced
20 ounces fresh spinach
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper

Heat oil in pan over medium heat, add garlic and cook until soft. Add spinach, toss and cook until wilted. Remove from heat and add salt and crushed red pepper.

Trying to Connect

Fairy tales and Disney movies have, for a long time have been telling stories of children who learn to fend for themselves and find aid from characters such as elves, animals and other forest creatures.

These stories are popular because they touch a common chord of feeling emotional loneliness and longing for a deeper connection with people.

It’s common to feel unseen and unknown by someone we want to be close to, but less common is the understanding that self-awareness can help reverse the feelings of isolation.

Emotional intimacy involves knowing that you have someone you can go to with all of your feelings, about anything and everything. It is a profound sense of being seen for who you really are without judgement. This type of security requires genuine emotional interaction that not everyone is comfortable with.

If you are on the side of trying to connect with a person that doesn’t seem to relate emotionally, try these three approaches to change your expectations.

  1. Detach and Observe. Observe their behavior as an outsider.
  2. Relate. Communicate in a way so interactions are tolerable.
  3. Express and then let go. Release the need for the other person to hear you, change or validate what you said.

Join the Health & Wellness Community

We are bringing fitness instructors, social-emotional and mental health leaders, and nutritionists together so we can collectively “workout” and de-stress our bodies and our minds. 

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American Federation of Teachers

The American Federation of Teachers was formed by teachers more than 100 years ago and is now a 1.7 million-member union of professionals that champions fairness; democracy; economic opportunity; and high-quality public education, healthcare and public services for our students, their families and o

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