Tag: health

Go To The Doctor. Love, Hanna.

If there’s one thing I ever wanted to do with my writing, it’s to make someone’s life just a smidge better. (Also, like, make people cry after reading my poems, but that’s another story.) So when I found out about health insurance provider Oscar Insurance’s infographic for CDC Girlfriend’s Day , I jumped at the chance to help spread some important information. Oscar is a new tech-based insurance company that wants their members to be proactive about their health. They have a Doctor on Call tool that allows you to reach a doctor with any question at any time of the day, and a Misfit fitness tracker that lets you earn cash back for reaching a daily step goal. (If you’re in the area, be sure to check out their New York and New Jersey health insurance plans.)

My close friends reading this are probably rolling their eyes back into their heads. “Hanna! You once had a sinus infection for nearly two months because you refused to go into the doctor!” Yes, I know. That happened.

But I am reformed! I promise!

When I was working as a camp counselor in Alaska, I got super sick. Maybe it was the roller coaster weather patterns (hot and dry to cold and foggy). Maybe it was the late nights and early mornings. Maybe it was living in platform tents with five other staff members. The week I got sick, I was a floating counselor, and spent most blocks at the boathouse. I helped seven-year-olds find proper life jackets, pushed kayaks of middle schoolers out into our lake and prayed nobody forced me to use my small craft safety training. As I was helping one of my favorite girls pull her kayak in, she turned her small, freckled face to me and said “Jaybird, are you okay? You look really tired. Are you sick?”

That’s the thing about working with kids. They are honest (sometimes to a fault). Let’s just say after that, I pushed meds every four hours on the dot and drank more chamomile tea than I thought was humanly possible. I was better in a day and a half. Two lessons there: 1) I have an easily readable face and 2) do not deny help because you think you’re better than modern medicine.

Since that oddly transformative head cold, I have ~seen the light.~ I always have DayQuil in my cabinet. I finally reached out and got medication to curb my crippling anxiety attacks and depression. I actually treated my seasonal allergies during the pollen haze that is early springtime in the Midwest.

More so than just medication, I learned to listen to my body. Instead of pushing myself to exhaustion four nights a week, I cut back on my involvement in clubs. I tried sleeping instead of propping my near-lifeless body up with coffee crutches. Of course, during my senior year of journalism school, this was sometimes more of a theory than a practice. But I tried, and that’s sometimes all you can do.

The reason I’m prattling on and on about my own (seemingly stupid) path to modern medicine and common sense is because it’s important. By taking care of your health, you can keep watch over your livelihood. I know not everything can be fixed with a trip to the doctor — trust me. My mental health diagnoses gives me hell every day. I have hormonal imbalances that lead to a huge barrage of side effects and chronic issues. My skin breaks out if you look at it wrong. But I am working on making conscious decisions to improve my health. Life is better experienced when you don’t feel like you’re dead on your feet.

Real talk: Check-ups and vaccinations are super important, y’all. Early screening means early detection means getting a jump on treatment before infections spread or compound. Check in to be sure your family and friends are getting the routine immunizations and screenings they need!

Let’s be smart about this, ladies: We are generally social beings, so why not use it for a good? Let’s say you already text the group text with dog pictures 10 times a day (me). Try throwing in a reminder every once in a while to drink water, go on a walk or make that doctor’s appointment you’ve been putting off. Get on Facebook and share an article with free flu shot clinic locations. Send your sister healthy lunch recipes you can make super cheaply (because let’s be real…we’re broke).

Establishing accountability from a place of genuine concern is a trend I’m all over. I love you — of course I want to make sure you live forever!

Oscar Women's CheckupsLRG
Infographic courtesy of Oscar Insurance

Chickens With No Heads (or: Why I Want To Be Productive)

Recently, I’ve felt like a headless chicken on a hamster wheel. Let’s all take a second to imagine that scenario.

I know how to write block letters as fast as I can write in print or cursive. I am a bargain hunter. I make a mean veggie egg scramble. I have a welcoming personality (right?). 

I have a lot of good traits.
Productivity is not one of them.

Don’t get me wrong — I mean well. I understand the concept of time-management. It’s in the application to my real-time life that I run into problems.

To-do lists get me started, but I rarely finish one completely. I put things off just long enough to completely forget about them, only to have the assignment re-enter my brain at 11:45 p.m. the night before it’s due. I get roped in to two-hour-long conversations with my friends about feminism instead of dissecting French theatre (twist my arm). Also, Netflix.

In high school and the beginning of college, I could make it work. My scrambling efforts still managed to turn out A papers. The test was rarely hard enough to completely dupe me. I could talk my way out of a lot of things. I was confident in my ability to not only get myself into a mess of due dates, but to climb back out again.

In both children and adults, there can be a hard-to-deny link between a robust sense of hope and either work productivity or academic achievement. — Jeffrey Kluger

I’m not saying I was a good student, or that my actions were always completely moral, but it was enough to get me by.

Not anymore, friends. Not anymore.
Journalism does not function on procrastination. Nor does proper mental health.

Recently, I found the limit on my ability to climb back out of my own messes. How does one find one’s limit? By not only crossing the line, by running for miles past it. Obviously.

I’m not going to rehash all the details. Let’s just say I put off assignments for entirely too long, and the ~outside world~ isn’t available for phone interviews past midnight on a Wednesday. Adding that to a string of other personal shortcomings, it made for a rough week. Shout out to my strong, amazing sister, roommates and friends for being golden stars of support and kindness. Y’all are the best.

Moving on.

This blog post is here to commemorate a new start. It’s going to be a rocky, imperfect journey, and I know it’ll be worth it. Similar to (wonderful, wonderful) Crystal’s blog declaration about blogging more often, I am hoping y’all will keep me accountable.

Here is my plan:

  1. Do it now. When I was at camp this summer, I learned a very vital life lesson about myself: if I don’t do it now, it won’t get done. My dad has been trying to get this into my head for years and years and years.
  2. Stop trying to prioritize – you suck at it. I always manage to put fun things (reading about study abroad, blogging, naps, snacks, naps) ahead of less fun things (calling unresponsive sources, writing french papers, working out) in the name of “prioritizing.” No. Wrong. Blogging does not take precedence over assignments crucial to my GPA. Financial aid deadlines are more boring and more important than watching one (or four) more episodes of Firefly on Netflix. Reevaluate what’s truly important before you sit down to what you first thought was a priority.
  3. Remember why it matters. Being successfully productive, not just busy and bogged down, is one of the best feelings. Getting into contact with a source who you would have missed had you waited an hour can make your whole day. Finishing your paper in a normal time frame with time to sleep is not unattainable. Finding ways to be proactive in your own life and happiness is crucial in the path to contentment.

I do love the feeling of work. When gears are grinding and pieces are falling together and a story is taking shape — there isn’t anything quite like it.

Sometimes I don’t do some work because I feel like I don’t have time. I wonder how much extra time I would have if I was an actual effective, efficient adult. Let’s find out.


Author’s note: Are you a productive adult in today’s society? Send me advice!

Time and Time again

Time Magazine has been a longstanding icon of hard journalism — international issues reporting, human interest pieces, mean-mugging profile portraits. It’s been one of those steadfast magazines that has no plan to fold.

When I was buying some delicious caffeinated beverages at Wal-Mart last week, a special Time issue caught my eye. It was gorgeously designed, printed on thick gloss paper and 112 pages long. To boot, it was one the topic of “good, healthy food.” Universe, meet the Time Book.

Dec. 2012 issue
Dec. 2012 issue
Sept. 2011 issue
Sept. 2011 issue

Turns out, there was a special nutrition edition Sept. 12, 2011 by the same title, and another cover story Dec. 3, 2012. While they’re great articles, neither are up to par with the glory that is a Time Book. The topic of good food isn’t just the issue’s anchor story — it IS the issue.

The book is 100+ pages dedicated solely to talking about healthy, good-for-you, good-for-your-soul food. Some are old articles from the Time archives, some are new reporting. It covers an expanse of topics, from the perks of frozen fruits and veggies to the modern local food revolution. It consults chefs, nutritionists and experts from a variety of fields. As you might have known, the food industry is one of those that wiggles its way into all others: business, health, pharmaceutical, fashion, industrial. The topic of food pervades our personal lives so deeply that it should seem quite shocking not as many people pay closer attention to what they eat.

Now that's what I call design.
Now that’s what I call design.

My thoughts on the Time Book, food aside, are all positive. It is a lengthy, extended edition made to be a collector’s item. It can be read and re-read, since it was made to be kept, not necessarily to be timely. Of course, scientific discoveries about food change, but not at the “news circuit” pace. The Book contains recipes from the editors of Cooking Light, helpful hints on grilling, good insight into the health food revolution (which I am 150% on board for) and other articles. It is, if you’ll excuse the horrendous pun, essentially timeless. As a human being, and especially as a Polish human, food is always is the front of my mind. It is something I know I’ll be referring back to time and time again.

New obsession alert!

Chia seeds, y’all. Y’ALL. What took me so long to try these little superfoods?

Chia seeds are tiny little seeds (groundbreaking writing here, I know) that come from the Salvia hispanica plant. The seeds are rich in protein, omega-3s and fiber – i.e. they’re good for you.

Screen shot 2013-01-16 at 1.58.03 PMMost people put chia seeds in gree smoothies (which I am doing tomorrow for breakfast). Today, I had juice instead (spinach, apple, lemon, carrot), paired with apples and peanut butter. I dipped peanut butter-covered apple slices in chia seeds and nearly fell over. It was super good! The seeds are mostly tasteless, but the texture is super great, like sprinkles on ice cream or poppy seeds in muffins.

What is your favorite way to eat chia seeds?