Industry Incite: Heart Health & Stress*
The focus on Heart Health returns every February, and we hear about eating fewer fried foods, quitting smoking, getting exercise (all decent tips, in our opinion). But there’s another Heart Health topic that deserves more attention: Stress. Here are our Top 5 Tips to care for your heart by controlling stress levels:
- Sleep: Chronically under-valued, a good night’s sleep is pivotal to overall health and is one of our best tools to help manage stress levels. We know: easier said than done. But finding those routines that help you add minutes to your Zzz’s can have a big payoff for your short- and long-term health.
- Chocolate: …WHAT?! Yes- Studies show chocolate may help reduce stress hormones, plus the antioxidants in dark chocolate can be cardio-protective. Be mindful of your portion of 70+% dark chocolate, so you don’t go overboard, then enjoy every bite. (And try out our recipe below!)
- Mental Balance: Some use meditation, prayer, grounding exercises, or music. Others take a few minutes to quiet the ever-present narrative in their mind. However, you choose to do it, centering your mind or finding that calm mental space can give you the break you need in a hectic day and can lower your blood pressure at the same time.
- Expression: Talking to a friend or counselor, creating art, having a good cry, screaming into a pillow – sometimes what we need is to express the things that stress us out.
- Move More: Many people find repetitive exercise meditative, but it goes further than that. Exercise stimulates the release of stress-relieving hormones, and the effect can last long after the workout is concluded.
*These tips are not a substitution for medical advice: contact a healthcare provider if you need help managing your stress or caring for a heart condition.
It may be Valentine’s season, but the folks at Hershey’s create melty deliciousness all year round! While there are plenty of heart-shaped options available at this time of year, Incite can help senior living communities celebrate with chocolatey treats all year long with a plethora of Hershey’s confections. Contact us today if you’re looking for a sweet solution to resident engagement activities, holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, Tuesdays…. There’s no wrong way to enjoy a taste of chocolate!
Recipe Quick Bite
Heart-shaped boxes of gooey confections aside, we love the role the chocolate can play in a balanced diet. At its heart, cocoa is a good-for-you food. High in antioxidants and rich in fiber, the cacao bean (the plant that becomes chocolate!) is a nutritional powerhouse. Enjoy dark chocolate + cocoa in your home kitchen with these stress-relieving chocolatey Energy Bites!
Darkest Dark Chocolate Energy Bites
- Makes 10-12
- ½ cup rolled oats (plus extra in case you need it)
- 3-4 Tbsp nut butter (plus extra in case you need it)
- 2-3 Tbsp finely chopped very dark chocolate or chocolate chips (70% cocoa or higher)
- 2 Tbsp dark unsweetened cocoa powder (if you can get ahold of black cocoa, all the better!)
- 1-2 Tbsp chia seeds
- 1-2 Tbsp Dried cranberries, blueberries, raisins, or chopped dried apricots (optional)
Chop dates roughly, then place them in the bowl of a food processor (be sure all pits or pit remnants are removed). Add in the oats and pulse a few times to combine, then add the remaining ingredients and continue pulsing until a crumbly dough forms. Scoop some out with a spoon and, with clean hands, form the dough into a ball. If the mixture seems too dry and the ball won’t hold its shape, add more nut butter to the bowl and pulse slightly. If it’s too wet/sticky, add some additional oats and pulse to combine. When the mixture forms into a ball that holds together without being sticky, empty contents of the food processor into a mixing bowl and form the dough into golf ball-sized orbs. Chill them on a cookie sheet in the fridge to firm them up. You can freeze these treats for longer-term storage or keep them in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Team Member Highlite
This month we’ll get to know Shawn Engelman, Regional Manager of Business Development for the Southeast:
- Shawn enjoys spending his free time with his wife and daughter. Guiding her into becoming her own person has been a priceless experience.
- Shawn and his family live just a few minutes from Disney World and loves stopping by regularly to take his daughter Sophia (during non-pandemic times)
- Shawn grew up in Pittsburgh but has called Florida home for the past 12 years. The warm weather and sunshine would make it hard for his family to ever live somewhere else!