A Healthy Organization For Healthy Communities

ALYSSA COUSE

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County is recognized for its community involvement in many different capacities. However, one theme seems to intertwine them all: healthy communities.  From out to pasture to on post, CCE Jefferson promotes overall wellness throughout the county.  If you aren’t yet familiar with our office, you can find educators in the areas of agriculture, youth development, nutrition, military life and parenting.  When you hear the term “health,” fruits, veggies and exercise probably come to mind, but social and mental health are also important to overall wellness and successful communities. 

Nutrition and Parenting

                In addition to teaching healthy cooking classes and bringing healthy recipes to area schools, the CCE Jefferson Nutrition Program helps other organizations to become healthy workplaces.  Through the Adopting Healthy Habits Community Coalition, wellness policies are developed and changes are implemented to make grabbing a nutritious snack or being active in the workplace a possibility.  If you are interested in getting your organization started, check out the Adopting Healthy Habits page on http://ccejefferson.org/nutrition/adopting-healthy-habits

                The nutrition and parenting departments also interact with families on a daily basis.  Whether it be financial stress or tension within the family unit, educators provide direct assistance to help these families get the most out of their money and their relationships.  For example, Eat Smart New York (ESNY) is a free and completely confidential program that teaches shopping on a budget, meal planning, food safety, etc., to ensure better physical health.  In addition, parenting courses are offered to improve the mental and emotional state of local homes. 

4-H

                4-H youth development is also making health a focus of its programming.  After all, health is one of the H’s! (head, heart, health, hands). As an agriculture educator, I was invited to attend one session during the 4-H afterschool farm-to-table unit. The program began with a healthy snack (varies by day, but usually includes milk and fresh fruit options) and a few minutes to unwind after the school day.  The group had been working on an extensive food web showing how food and other products, such as leather goods, make it from farm to consumers’ homes.  That particular day, the lesson focused on dairy products.  I brought the ever popular wooden milking cow and discussed as much about lactation, cattle nutrition and benefits of consuming dairy products as their attention spans could handle.   The session finished up with the students making their own butter!  This is just one example of how 4-H members are educated about healthy choices and where their food truly comes from.  Other programs, such as    4-H Yoga for Kids, not only teaches kids a new skill but also actually gets their bodies moving!

Agriculture

                The agriculture and food systems department focuses mostly on the health of Jefferson County’s plants, animals, and ecosystems to support the production of wholesome local foods and successful farms.  The health and well-being of the farmers themselves is a growing (pun intended) priority within the industry.  With low commodity prices, increased expenses, and lack of rain, farmers need help now more than ever.  To help with the social stress and even depression that has come with the economic downturn, CCE offices all over the state are connecting producers with resources such as NY FarmNet, transition plans, and even crisis hotlines.  NY FarmNet is a Cornell University program that provides financial counseling as well as personal counseling for struggling farm families.  How can you help the health of farm families? Support them by simply buying their products: milk, cheese, yogurt, fruits and veggies, meats and whole grains.

                There is no escaping healthy habits in this office either. A centrally located healthy snack center makes it easy to choose nutritious snacks like carrots, almonds, or cheese versus chips or sweets. Many staff choose to spend their breaks going for a walk around the block or participate in a monthly challenge.  For example, a challenge might be who can make the most trips up the stairs in a work day.  Just yesterday, we had a six-member team of afternoon break walkers! Even the bathroom stalls are plastered with flyers for physical or food challenges. Staff members also share their heathy habits on the CCE Worksite Wellness Facebook page.  Whether it is hiking with the family, a Zumba class, or kayaking, here you can see how staff practice what they preach…. even after hours!

Interested in finding local foods? Check out the Local Food Guide:

https://s3.amazonaws.com/assets.cce.cornell.edu/attachments/30623/2018_Local_Food_Guide_FINAL.pdf?1526321007

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Joleene Moody

Joleene Moody

Do you love going to work?

I’m going to guess no, because you’re reading this right now. You want out, but you don’t know how to do it. You have bills to pay and mouths to feed. It’s not like you can just give a two-week notice and walk out of hell and into your dream job, right? I mean, who does that?

Thousands of people do that every day.

Droves of unhappy workers trade in their desk and stapler for a shiny new career all the time. We just don’t see it because we’re too busy suffering eight to 10 hours a day at a job we don’t love, compromising ourselves spiritually, financially, and emotionally.

A Gallop poll revealed that 70 percent of U.S. employees are unhappy at work. Seventy percent is a lot of unhappy faces.

When you’re unhappy at work, you start a chain of events that become progressively worse the longer you stay behind the desk. Your life becomes miserable. And the misery doesn’t go away. You wait for it to, but it won’t. Not until you walk out the door.

Here are five things that happen when you stay in a job you don’t love, and the remedy of what to do to rid yourself of the misery
so you can live a genuinely happy life.

Your heart breaks
It’s a thin line between love and hate. When you have to wake up every day and go to a job you don’t love, that line between love and hate grows smaller. You start to question what life is all about. Is this it? Is this all there is; just a commute and a paycheck? This is what I signed up for?

Your relationships suffer
As you question life and your place in it, you become angry. Who do you take your anger out on? The ones you love. You’re not nice. You lash out at those closest to you because they’re standing right there. They take the brunt of your anger, until one by one your loved ones fall away and you find yourself alone.

You become mean and bitter
You’ve seen mean and bitter people out there. They hate the world and everyone in it. Now you’re mean and bitter. You snap at others and become hateful. When you see happy people you secretly plot their demise. It’s a horrible place to be.

You slowly die inside
You’re awake and you’re breathing. You put one foot in front of the other every day, but that doesn’t mean you’re living. Your suffering is causing you so much pain that you’re actually dying inside. Your joy is gone. But instead of taking actions to get out, you take actions that keep you stuck right where you are.

You blame everyone around you for your pain
When you’re stuck in a situation that makes you mean and bitter, you blame others for putting you there. But they didn’t put you there. You put yourself there. You made a series of choices that landed you where you are. If you want out, you have to take responsibility for yourself and take action to get out, bottom line. End of story.


You might be reading this thinking, ‘Working somewhere I hate isn’t ruining my life. That’s ridiculous.’ Perhaps, but here’s the deal: Human psychology says that we need to experience and fill six specific human needs in positive ways in order to feel fulfilled and purposeful. One of those needs is growth. Without growth, we die inside; just like I said. We walk around numb and uncertain. We just exist. Our lives become a circle of frustration. We go to work, come home, pay bills, go back to work, come home, pay more bills … and the cycle continues.

When the weekend comes, we think. “I’m saved!” When Monday comes, we think, “This sucks.” Where’s the joy? If we have to wait for the weekend to experience joy, what kind of life are we really living?

You have a right to love what you do and get paid for it. You don’t have to suffer working a job you don’t love. You tell yourself you do because the bills are piling up and your friends tell you it’s impossible to go after a passion or dream. Everyone else has to work a job they don’t love, so why should you be any different?

They must be right.

You’re scared, too. If you leave your job, you’re ditching your favorite security blanket. Plus there’s that whole, “How am I supposed to support myself and my family if I leave my job to go chase a dream?”

Have faith, baby; just a little faith. If you don’t have a drop of faith, you’ll always be stuck. You’ll always blame others. If you think faith isn’t part of the equation here, stop reading. This isn’t for you. This is only for those who are ready to reclaim their lives.

The remedy

You want out; really and truly? Decide to get out. No more fluctuating back and forth, telling yourself horror stories of what might happen when you quit. No more telling yourself that what you have is “enough” when you know darn well it isn’t.

This isn’t going to be easy. Nothing ever is. But you have a choice right here and now: You can continue to feel the pain of doing what you don’t love, or you can move forward feeling the joy-filled pain of doing something you actually do love.

Either way, it’s going to be uncomfortable. Either way, it’s going to be uncertain. But it’s worth every single awkward twitch and burn. Decide. Only you can put yourself where you truly want to be, no one else.

Be brave. Take the leap. You’ll land on your feet. You always have.

 

http://www.nnybizmag.com/index.php/2016/11/22/11297/

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