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Get Outside and Do Something!

Posted by on Sep 8, 2014 in Blog, Happy Together

Get outside and do something! How many times have we had to tell our kids to do that? With technology today, it has become more and more difficult to get kids outside and to stay active. One great way to have them burn off energy and learn many skills to help them in life is to have them play organized sports.

Here are a few benefits from getting kids involved in sports:

Active children = Active adults
Children that are active as children have a better chance of being active when they are older. Habits are established early in life and evidence suggests that physically active children are more likely to mature into physically active adults. Being an active adult can result in a lowering of blood pressure, reducing risk of heart attack, lowering stress levels, and living longer!

There is no “I” in team
Children who are part of a team learn many social skills that they can carry with them for the rest of their lives. They learn how to work as a team with a common goal in mind. They learn that there are people who they will get along with and some who they will not, but to be successful, they need to learn to work with all kinds of people to achieve the goals. They also will make many friends along the way, some they will keep with them for the rest of their lives. I met my best friend through sports by playing junior high basketball together. Granted, we had a lot of time to get to know each other sitting on the bench, but we became great friends and still are to this day.

Time Management Skills
In many instances, children who are in sports also learn the skill of time management. Both of my children are active in sports the entire year. They learn, especially during the school year, the importance of time management. Finding time to get your school work done while still playing sports can be difficult at times. You have to learn to be disciplined and manage your time to get everything done. That skill will help them be successful in any occupation they decide to do after school is over.

Create Confidence and Self Esteem
Playing sports is a huge self esteem booster for kids to help them find their “swagger.” They learn greater confidence by learning about their own strengths and capabilities. Many kids find themselves turning into natural leaders by learning leadership skills. They also learn how to teach others and create building blocks to become mature adults. My oldest son was asked by his coach recently to help teach a younger child on his team the position he plays. He is learning to become a mentor by helping to coach the other child. By doing this, he is learning to become a leader. Learning these leadership skills at a young age will be a big boost someday in the corporate world.

Eric
Underwriting Manager

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Are You at Risk for Colon Cancer?

Posted by on Aug 22, 2014 in Blog, Happy Together

On January 17, 2014, my husband went for a screening colonoscopy that his health care provider had recommended due to his age; he did not have any symptoms. During his follow up appointment on January 23, 2014, he was diagnosed with stage II colon cancer. On February 18, 2014, he had surgery to remove part of his colon. Luckily, he has not required any additional treatment.

My husband is cancer-free because his doctor recommended a routine screening. Please consider screenings to protect yourself.

When should you schedule a screening colonoscopy?

  • Age 50 years or older.
  • No history of adenoma or colon cancer.
  • No history of inflammatory bowel disease.

Who should be screened and when?

  • All men and women should be screened.
  • People with family history of colon cancer or inflammatory bowel disease are considered “high risk” and should be screened before age 50.
  • African Americans should begin screening at age 45.

Important facts

  • Colon cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed type of cancer and is the second leading cause of cancer death in the U.S.
  • Each year 150,000 Americans are diagnosed with colon cancer.
  • Colon cancer claims 50,000 lives every year.
  • Colon cancer affects men and women equally.
  • If detected and treated early, colon cancer is up to 90% curable.
  • There are currently 1 million colon cancer survivors in the U.S.

Types of screening tests

  • Colonoscopy.
  • Virtual colonoscopy.
  • Sigmoidoscopy.
  • Fecal occult blood test.
  • Fecal immunochemical test.

Why aren’t people getting screened?

  • Lack of knowledge of the screening benefits or the risks for colon cancer.
  • Fear, embarrassment, and/or discomfort.
  • Cost or access to screening test.
  • Their health care provider did not recommend it.

Talk to your doctor about getting a screening colonoscopy today.

Lisa
Speciality Claim Representative

Source: Colon Cancer Alliance www.ccalliance.org

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Making a Difference for Cancer Patients

Posted by on Aug 8, 2014 in Blog, Happy Together

It seems like every time you turn around, someone you know has or had cancer. It could be a loved one, a friend, a parent, or a child. You could even have cancer yourself. When we hear cancer, we always think the worst. When facing a cancer diagnosis, the first thing everyone thinks is, “I’m going to die from this.”

When it comes to facing a cancer diagnosis for your child, however, the first thing that goes through our heads is, “Why not me?” You would give anything to take their place if you could.

St. Jude is the first and only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Care Center devoted solely to children. Listed below are some facts about St. Jude:

  • Families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing, or food because St. Jude believes all a family should have to worry about is helping their child live.
  • Since St. Jude opened in 1962, treatments invented there have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20 percent to more than 80 percent.
  • St. Jude is working to drive the overall survival rate for childhood cancer to 90 percent in the next decade. They won’t stop until no child dies from cancer.
  • St. Jude freely shares the breakthroughs they make, and every child saved at St. Jude means doctors and scientists worldwide can use that knowledge to save thousands more children.
  • Because the majority of St. Jude’s funding comes from individual contributors, St. Jude has the freedom to focus on what matters most—saving kids regardless of their financial situation.
  • St. Jude was founded by the late entertainer Danny Thomas, who believed that “no child should die in the dawn of life.”

I don’t have a child with cancer, but I do have a father who had throat cancer. With the support of his family and friends and his own personal strength to endure obstacles, he did beat the cancer and has been cancer-free for several years. St. Jude provides that kind of support and strength to children with cancer and their families. My family continues to support fundraisers for groups that help all types of cancer patients in the hope that one day cancer will be cured. The next time that envelope comes by for a donation, remember that even one dollar will put us one step closer to finding a cure. You can make a difference!

Kelly
Customer Service Representative – Life

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Have You Considered Preplanning a Funeral?

Posted by on Jul 22, 2014 in Blog, Happy Together

As the world goes round, life goes on … I get that; I really do. And I know that everyone has lost someone that they deeply cared about, and I’m no different. We lost my mom on July 31, 2007. It was pretty devastating even though we “knew” it was coming. You see, she had been diagnosed with cancer in 2004, and the prognosis was never very good; however, my mom’s story is honestly not what this is about.

My dad is not one to complain or whine about being sick. He never ran to a doctor unless he truly had to. Now that I think about it, he was never really sick that I can remember. This year, my dad came down with a cold, or at least that is what he called it, and we didn’t think that much about it at the time. My dad is 75 and retired, lives in his own house, drives his own car, etc. The first couple of days, he just wasn’t himself and said he didn’t feel good but continued doing his normal life stuff. By day three, he was sleeping a lot and didn’t really eat. On day four, he started complaining that he was sick to his stomach, and on day five, he still wasn’t ready to call the doctor. The next morning, however, he said that he had been up most of the night and that he couldn’t breathe. He decided that we could take him to the emergency room only because he didn’t think that it was safe for others for him to drive himself. He was still acting as if this was just a common cold, and no one really ever questioned him. Now you have to understand that my mom and dad had four daughters and that we have always been a very close family. We all have our own families and most of our kids have their own families, too, but we all live fairly close by and are always there for each other. I believe that this day was a Thursday, but at any rate, we girls all have day jobs that we all needed to go to. Once he had called us all, we decided amongst ourselves that two of us would take him to the emergency room while the other two could go to work, and if need be, we could switch at lunch. After all, it was just a cold.

They got to the emergency room shortly after 8:30 a.m. Of course, the hospital did all their interviewing and reporting, but there was still no news at 9:30 a.m. He was complaining of chest pains by then, and they gave him nitroglycerin, “just as a precautionary measure.” They did blood tests, urine tests, and all kinds of other tests. They were always very careful not to say anything about going home or releasing him, and still, it was just a cold. The morning was flying. Two of us sat in the actual emergency room with him while nurses came and went asking questions and doing their nursing duties.

Parts of the day are still a little fuzzy to me, but I think I got there about 11:00 a.m. or so. I was taking over so one sister could go to work. By the questions they were asking, we started to figure out that they were trying to find something more than just the common cold that we all thought this was. One doctor came in shortly after I got there and was telling us that they were going to try to have a cardiologist come down, just to rule out something. That sent chills through the three of us. One sister was replaced with another, and we still sat there. The cardiologist came and went, and then we were told that they were ordering an echocardiogram. They took us for the echocardiogram and brought us back, and we still sat there. Dad slept off and on after the echocardiogram was done while nurses and others came and went. Then the cardiologists came back in. He said, “Within the last 24 hours, you have had a heart attack. It does seem to have been a mild one; however, we are admitting you to ICU.”

The other two daughters were called and came back as quickly as possible. As we sat there, the nurses were running around getting everything ready for the admission. The nurse stood at my dad’s bedside and asked him the typical questions like whether he wanted anyone to be notified, whether he wanted any clergy to visit him, and what information they could release and to whom. Every once in a while, Dad would throw in something like, “A cup of coffee might be nice” or “It’s about time for me to go home, isn’t it?”—always with a kidding tone in his voice. This kept on for a little while, and I wasn’t really paying much attention until she said, “Not that we expect anything to come up, but do you want any life-prolonging procedures done while you are here?” and his answer without hesitation (but in a soft pitch) was “No.” I left the room and turned the corner, bawling my eyes out like I was four years old again and had lost my favorite doll! I tried as hard as I could to pull it all together and get back in there, saying something like I had a phone call I had to answer. Honestly, I think hearing my dad say that he didn’t want any type of resuscitation/life-sustaining procedures was just as hard as planning my mom’s funeral.

Preplanning your own funeral may not be the best way to do it, but I know that it will save loved ones a little bit of sorrow when it is already a very trying time. I’m not trying to promote anything; I’m just telling you my story.

Valerie
Specialty Claim Customer Service Representative

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The Power of Positive Thinking

Posted by on Jul 8, 2014 in Blog, Happy Together

Some researchers have said that the average person has between 50,000 and 70,000 thoughts per day. That is a lot of thoughts! With all of those thoughts running through our brains, it is hard to believe that we can accomplish anything other than thinking! However, we still have responsibilities that we have to take care of each day such as work, families, etc. Have you ever stopped to think that your thoughts can directly affect your life? Each day we have the choice to be optimistic or pessimistic. We have control of our attitudes and the outcomes of our lives. Thinking positively can have a dramatic effect on your life.

“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” – Helen Keller

Optimistic Versus Pessimistic
To be optimistic is to have a tendency to look on the more favorable side of things. People who are optimistic tend to cope better with stress, have an easier time achieving a good mood, have many good social relationships, are confident, and are healthier in general. Below are some health benefits of being optimistic:

  • Increased life span
  • Lower rates of depression
  • Lower levels of distress
  • Improved coping skills
  • Reduced risk for death from cardiovascular disease
  • To be pessimistic is to be negative and expect the worst of every situation. Below are some negative health risks associated with being pessimistic:

  • Poor mood
  • Less social support
  • Prolonged recovery from illnesses and stress
  • Less satisfaction with life
  • Positive Thoughts Are Contagious

    • With positive thoughts and a positive attitude, you and the people around you will experience positive feelings.
    • Always expect the best, not the worst. Whether you are preparing for an exam, applying for a promotion, etc., you should always visualize the positive outcome that you are trying to achieve.
    • Always surround yourself with positive people. Our attitudes are contagious, whether they are negative or positive. Always try to replace negative thoughts with positive thoughts, and never let fear of failure take over.
    • Do things that make you happy more often. When you spend time doing things that you like and become a more positive person, activities that were unenjoyable to you previously will be easier to participate in and may even become enjoyable.
    • Never tell yourself that you can’t do something. Remember that you can do anything you set your mind to. If there is a will, there is a way. If you truly want something, you will make it happen instead of making excuses for why you can’t do it.
    • Smile often. Smiling alone can boost confidence and give you a better outlook on life.
    • Stop complaining. It may be easier to complain about a problem than to try to fix it, but in the end, it just spreads negativity and could cause more problems.
    • Stop worrying. Worrying has actually been linked to causing physical illnesses such as fatigue, stress, and depression and speeding up the aging process.

    It Doesn’t Happen Overnight

    If you tend to be pessimistic, you cannot automatically become an optimist overnight. With lots of practice, you will be able to achieve a positive state of mind. Once you have done that, you will have a better outlook on life and be able to handle everyday stress in a far more constructive and healthy way. You may also become less critical of the world around you.

    Jessica Dorsey
    New Business Associate

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    Yoga Has Benefits for Office Workers

    Posted by on Jun 22, 2014 in Blog, Happy Together

    Sitting for long periods of time while doing office work all day is very unnatural for humans!

    Yoga has countless benefits for people who sit at a desk job. Yoga can reduce stress and tension. It can improve your focus and concentration. It also detoxifies and tones muscles. Yoga can relieve head, neck, and back strain along with carpel tunnel syndrome and high blood pressure. It can improve your posture and flexibility and improves your outlook for a better day.

    The body is your temple. Keep it pure and clean for the soul to reside in.
    B.K.S. Iyenga

    Yoga isn’t just about twisting your body into the shape of a pretzel. There are many other benefits that yoga can offer. Not only will these benefits help you if you sit all day long at your job, but it can flourish into other areas of your life.

    Yoga can boost your immunity and help people who suffer from migraines. Yoga can help you sleep better, especially for people who suffer from insomnia. Another added benefit that researchers have found is that yoga can help fight food cravings, and we all can benefit from that! Researchers also found that regular yoga practice is associated with mindful eating.

    Carolyn Gregoire from the Huffington Post states there are many different types of yoga. The most common are Hatha Yoga—an ancient form that emphasizes physical postures which can improve cognitive function and boost focus and memory. Bikram yoga is a form of yoga performed in a heated room. This type of yoga has been found to benefit flexibility in your shoulders, back, and hamstrings.

    Another great benefit of yoga is that you can do it anywhere. If you travel for your job, you can practice in your hotel room. While on your break, take a few moments to yourself and practice a few yoga poses. Yoga is for everyone. There are classes you can take and also videos you can watch that vary from being a beginner yogi to an expert. Ask a friend to come along. Most classes that are offered nowadays have everything you need such as mats, blankets, and straps. Just bring yourself and comfortable clothes!

    Shana Rudd
    Resolution Facilitator

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