Blog Posts

Talking About Belly Fat

October 5th, 2015

I admit it! I’m one of the millions of Americans with that extra roll of fat around the belly – along with a muffin top and all the lumps and bumps that go with it. The truth is, it’s not a laughing matter. Beyond being uncomfortable and unattractive, excess belly fat is also a danger to your health.

Most of the fat around our bellies, about 90 percent, is the stuff you can see and feel, the “pinch an inch” fat. This is what’s called subcutaneous fat, and it’s found between the skin and the outer abdominal wall.1 That’s bad enough, but it gets worse.

Deeper than that is another type of fat called visceral fat. This layer lies beneath the abdominal wall and in the space surrounding the liver, intestines and other organs, and is stored in the tissue that covers the intestines. This fat is a factor in a number of health problems. Having a lot of subcutaneous fat is often a sign that you have significant visceral fat, too.

The thing about fat is that it looks like a blob and it feels like a blob, doing nothing but sitting there expanding. In reality, it’s a biologically active tissue, especially the visceral fat. It actually secretes chemicals, like hormones and proteins, that affect other cells in the body. One of the proteins it releases can trigger an inflammatory response, which is a risk factor for heart disease and other chronic conditions.

Higher levels of visceral fat have been implicated in a number of disorders as reported in this article from Harvard Medical School’s Harvard Health Publications. The one that stands out the most is cardiovascular disease. Several studies have confirmed this connection.

The fat effect hits cardiovascular disease indirectly by impacting its risk factors. Visceral fat tends to increase blood pressure and blood glucose levels, raise triglycerides and lower HDL (“good” cholesterol). This package of risk factors is also known as metabolic syndrome and it poses a high risk for cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes.

If that’s not enough to get you thinking, consider this. Researchers have also found evidence that links higher levels of visceral fat to an increased risk for dementia, asthma, breast cancer and colorectal cancer. Who knows what else?

If you’re feeling moved to do something about the fat around your waist, that’s good because moving is the first thing you need to do. The authors of the Harvard article offer some tips that may help to tackle visceral fat.1 While a lot of it has to do with genetics and other things you can’t control, there are some things you can do, including:

  • Exercise – Exercise can help you lose the bulk around your belly. You might not lose pounds, but you can lose visceral fat and gain muscle mass. Aim for 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity most days of the week.
  • Eat a healthy diet – Eat a balanced diet that can help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Don’t smoke – When you smoke, fat tends to collect around your belly rather than your hips and thighs.
  • Sleep well – Get a good night’s sleep, but not too much. This applies mostly to people age 40 and under. Try to get more than five hours but not much more than eight a night.
  • Monitor your moods – A women’s health study found that those who had more depressive symptoms had more visceral fat. Higher levels of stress hormones were also linked to more visceral fat.
  • Cancel the procedure – Forget about the liposuction to remove your belly fat. It doesn’t get inside the abdominal wall to reach the deeper fat.

It’s always best to work closely with your doctor, especially before starting an exercise program. He or she can guide you in the best steps to take to take on you belly bulge. Good luck!

Doctors on Call Online?

September 21st, 2015
Doctor looking at medicine through a telemedicine view.

Public domain image.

What can you do when you need to see your doctor, but time is scarce and your home or job is an hour’s drive from the provider’s office? How about a video chat from your desk at work during your lunch break using your laptop, tablet or smartphone? The growing practice of telemedicine can make that happen.

 

Telemedicine is an overdue mode of care delivery that most Americans today are ready and willing to embrace. Another term, telehealth, is often heard as well. Telehealth is a broader term encompassing remote heath care and information services provided over a distance, whereas telemedicine refers more specifically to clinical services and education provided from one site to another.

 

In December, American Well®, the nation’s largest telehealth operator, engaged Harris Poll to complete its 2015 Telehealth Survey of US consumers ages 18 and older. They found that 64 percent of Americans are willing to use video for physician visits.

 

Another group, The Affiliated Workers Association, did a study a few years back and reported that more than 36 million Americans have already used telemedicine in some way. And that was in 2012! Think of how those numbers have grown since then, as more employers are adding a telemedicine component to their employee benefit plans.

 

Convenience is an obvious advantage of this practice. Being able to consult with your doctor from the comfort of your home or office is a no-brainer. This is a great way to handle those regular appointments for things like medication management or for getting a referral, prescription refill or advice on a symptom that has suddenly made an appearance. As long as touching the patient isn’t required to make the diagnosis, most any condition can be dealt with through a telemedicine visit.

 

Also, when it’s easier to see a doctor, you’re more likely to do it. That’s like two benefits in one: improved access and increased compliance. Telemedicine makes it possible for more people to see a doctor to get care and then get the follow-up appointments they need to ensure their treatment plans are working. And if the provider is watching your progress, you’re more likely to follow doctors’ orders!

 

As for health care costs, one of today’s hottest topics, telemedicine is a cost saver in several ways. On one hand, it saves providers money because it is a more efficient way to deliver care. On the other, it saves insurers and patients money because physicians often charge less for a telemedicine visit than an in-person visit. There are the savings on travel expenses, too, especially for those patients who live a long distance from their doctors.

 

Before you key up your next doctor appointment, consider that there are a few drawbacks of the telemedicine approach to care. As mentioned earlier, providers are limited in some cases because they cannot touch the patient. And because the patient is not actually in the room with the provider, the provider might miss out on some critical non-verbal cues that might help put perspective on the patient’s illness and emotional state.

 

Other issues can also negatively affect the use of telemedicine. For one, it is bound by the limitations of the technology. Something can go wrong with the electronics, such as a power outage or lost internet connection. An even bigger hurdle to jump might be the resistance by many doctors who just aren’t comfortable using technology in their practices. Hopefully, this will change and more physicians will explore the options available to them and their patients through services like telemedicine.

 

For more information about this growing trend in care delivery, see this American Telemedicine Association website. Log on!

The Ever-Changing Face of Lung Cancer

September 8th, 2015
second hand smoke is just as bad as smoking and can give you lung cancer

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In 2008, I lost my father to lung cancer. The diagnosis came just three short months before his death at age 80. He was a lifetime smoker, having picked up the bad habit at the young age of 17. The dangers of cigarette smoking were years away from being unveiled and back in the 1940s, smoking was “socially acceptable.”

But in 2006, the world was shocked by the passing of Dana Reeve, widow of actor Christopher Reeve. Never having smoked a day in her life, Ms. Reeve died of lung cancer because of her exposure to second hand smoke while working for years as a singer in bars and restaurants filled with smoke.

Physicians and researchers believe that passive smoke — the smoke exhaled by others — is potentially even more dangerous than actively inhaled smoke.

Just last week, I was taken back by the sudden passing of a friend’s wife from lung cancer. She was 45 and leaves behind two young sons.

Another variable is genes. It is clear that some families have a higher occurrence of lung cancer than would be expected. While some of this might be due to shared smoking, some evidence suggests there are certain genes that predispose to lung cancer.

In approximately 40 percent of people diagnosed with lung cancer, the diagnosis is made after the disease has advanced. In one third of those diagnosed, the cancer has reached stage 3.

According to the Mayo Clinic, signs and symptoms of lung cancer may include:

  • A new cough that doesn’t go away
  • Changes in a chronic cough or “smoker’s cough”
  • Coughing up blood, even a small amount
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Wheezing
  • Hoarseness
  • Losing weight without trying

So, as a smoker, be courteous and careful to those around you. And as a non-smoker, be aware of the risk of being around smoke, even if you don’t smoke yourself!

Afternoon Blues? 5 Easy Ways to Boost your Energy!

August 31st, 2015
Woman running on beach energy boost

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Feeling that mid-afternoon slowdown where you just need a bit of a pick-me-up? Here are a few of my favorite things to do around the office to get my energy up and make it through the remainder of the day.

  1. Move a Little

Even a ten minute stretch break or walk around the office can get the blood moving and produce a lasting pick-me-up. In fact, in a review published in Psychology of Sports and Exercise, researchers found that activities as brief as ten minutes keep you energized for up to four hours. Even that walk around the office will get your blood moving so more oxygen reaches the brain.

  1. Breathe Through Your Belly

Your boy’s number one fuel? Oxygen. If you’re feeling tired at your desk, try taking some deep belly breaths, expanding your ribcage and stomach with every inhale, and pushing your belly button in your spine with every exhale. This great yogic breathing technique will get more oxygen to your brain and throughout the body, to give you an instant wave of energy.

  1. Crank the Tunes!

I’m definitely one of those people that can’t work out without my favorite tunes, because the upbeat tempo of the music keeps the pace of my workout just as fast. Research also shows that people instinctually synchronize movements and expressions to music through a phenomenon called entrainment. So, play some upbeat music and you’re feel that way yourself. Hey, why not dance a little in your chair? No one’s looking!

  1. Drink Water

One of the biggest indicators of lethargy or low energy in dehydration. Because water aids in both body regulation and brain function, it is helpful in regulating our moods. If you aren’t feeling very sharp, boost your alertness with some water!

  1. Dream about your Significant Other

Still sleepy? Try a daydream! Researchers at the University of Western Ontario in Canada observed that when 183 working men and women thought about their current partners, they suddenly increased their blood-sugar levels and, thus, their energy levels.

Autumn Allergy Alert!

August 17th, 2015
Woman having allergy reaction

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For many of us, spring isn’t the only season for suffering with an itchy throat, red and watery eyes, a stuffy nose, sneezing and other distressing symptoms of allergies. The end of summer brings with it a whole new crop of allergens from sources such as ragweed and the mold in autumn’s decaying leaves and grasses.

Depending on how old you are, you might have heard a late-summer/early autumn allergy referred to as “hay fever.” Ragweed, not hay, is the biggest culprit in causing hay fever, also known as allergic rhinitis. Ragweed is known to release pollen from mid-August to about November or, if you live in a colder climate, until there’s a good freeze.

The ragweed plant can grow just about anywhere in the US, but it’s most common in rural areas of the East and Midwest. Don’t think you’re off the hook if you don’t live in these areas. A single ragweed plant can produce up to one billion grains of pollen1, and they’ve been known to travel up to 400 miles!

Mold and mildew, which thrive in the damp environments so common in the fall months, can also trigger autumn allergies. Mold and mildew produce spores that travel through the wind or circulated air in your house. A simple job like raking leaves can send mounds of mold spores into the air – and into your respiratory system!

And don’t forget the everyday allergens like dust and pet dander.1 They can add to your misery when you have an autumn allergy. The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) mentions a few other problem areas for fall allergy sufferers in their article found here.

For people with seasonal allergies that hit at this time of the year, your best bet is to be prepared. There are ways you can get yourself and your environment ready for the autumn allergen onslaught and ways you can manage your allergies once they get here.

First, the ACAAI recommends that you learn what it is that triggers your symptoms. You might think it’s ragweed, but it might be something totally different. An allergist can help you get to the truth of the matter and then find ways to avoid those triggers and reduce – or even eliminate – your symptoms.

An allergist can also recommend appropriate treatments to begin before the season starts to get you ready to handle the allergen attack. Treatment might include over-the-counter or prescription medication or immunotherapy in the form of drops or injections.

Second, create a plan of attack for managing yourself and your environment during this time of year. Here are some suggestions from the ACAAI3, Healthline1 and WebMD4:

  • Monitor pollen and mold counts. When they’re high outdoors, stay inside.
  • Keep your windows and doors closed in your home and car during the height of allergy season.
  • After you’ve been working in the yard or doing an outdoor activity, take a shower, wash your hair and change your clothes to remove any pollen.
  • Before you turn on your heater for the first time, clean out the air vents and put in a new filter.
  • If you have pets, especially cats, try using an air filter to keep the air free of pet dander.
  • Wear a mask when you rake leaves or work around the damp areas in your home or yard.
  • Use a dehumidifier to keep the air in your house at about 35 percent to 50 percent humidity.

Listen to the advice of your doctor and follow your allergy action plan, and you can live through autumn allergy season without a sneezy, sniffly struggle!

See to Your Eye Health!

August 10th, 2015
Woman getting an eye exam, looking at an eye chart

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How often do you think about the health of your eyes? Do you care for them as you do the rest of your body? This National Eye Exam Month, we’re reminded that we need regular eye check-ups, just like regular physicals and screenings, to keep our eyes healthy and optimally functioning. And for some people, a routine eye exam could even be a vision saver.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describes a laundry list of disorders that can affect the eyes. Some are primarily associated with aging, such as macular degeneration, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma. Diseases like these are the leading causes of blindness and low vision in the United States. All of them require close management by a qualified eye care professional. And, of course, regular eye exams are critical.

Eye disorders that get a little less attention but are just as important to the nation’s collective eyesight are the refractive errors, including myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism and presbyopia. These disorders are the most common eye problems affecting our country. In fact, recent studies by the National Eye Institute concluded that about 11 million Americans 12 and older could improve their vision with proper correction of their refractive conditions. They can be detected during a routine eye exam.

Myopia is more commonly known as nearsightedness. With myopia, objects that are up close, or near, can be seen clearly, but objects further away are blurry. Hyperopia, or farsightedness, is a little more complex than just the opposite of myopia. While in its truest sense near objects are blurry and objects further away are clearer, hyperopia can express differently in different people. For some, objects at any distance can be out of focus.

 

With astigmatism, the eye does not focus light properly on the retina. That’s the light-sensitive patch of tissue at the back of the eye that converts light into the messages that get sent through the optic nerve to the brain. Without the proper focus, images look blurry and can even seem stretched out. Presbyopia occurs as people age. In this case, the eye’s crystalline lens can no longer change shape well enough to focus clearly on near objects. That’s why people in their 40s and 50s start holding out that newspaper in order to read it!

To stay ahead of all these disorders and maintain good eye health, don’t forget to see to your eyes. An ophthalmic exam is nothing to fear.2 How often should you go? Well, for adults between 20 and 39, the recommendation is to have a complete eye exam every five to ten years.

Adults over 40 need more frequent exams. Those between 40 and 54 should be seen every two to four years. Those between 55 and 64 should be seen every one to three years, and those age 65 and older need exams every one to two years. Adults of any age who wear contact lenses should be examined yearly.2 Anyone with symptoms or risk factors for eye disease should follow their doctor’s recommendations.

If you’re interested in eye health and would like to know more, check out this web page. It has links to information about many eye disorders and treatments. Just don’t forget how important your eyes are to your overall health and wellbeing. Happy National Eye Exam Month!

Times of Stress and How to Manage

July 27th, 2015
Woman with hands on head looking stressed or as if she has a headache

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In his 18 years of life, this is undeniably the most stressful time of our lives together.

As I prepare to see my 18-year old son off to military boot camp for 13 weeks, I stand by and watch in awe and amazement of the young man I see him become.

The emotional rollercoaster began in his senior year of high school when the talks with military recruiters began taking place. He made his choice quickly and without hesitation. As his mother, I support him in all that he chooses to do. Including serving this great nation.

In our journey together, I’ve quickly realized the high degree of stress such a decision brings with it to both my son and our family. The fear of the unknown; the impending dangers he faces; leaving home for the first time; the reality of not hearing his voice or seeing his face for 13 weeks. After all, I’ve been with him every day for the past 18 years.

As his mother, I’ve raised him all these years in anticipation of this moment. I have to let go. And he has to know that I will be OK.

Meantime, the emotional and physical stress builds.

So, how does one relieve undeniable stress in situations such as these? Unhealthy choices might include a spoon and a pint of ice cream while parked in front of a television set watching Netflix.

But, I didn’t see him through to this point in his life and not intend to be sitting, front row and center, in the stands at his boot camp graduation. So, I’m pretty sure a healthy diet, long walks and my iPod will help see me through.

According to one article, other ways to relax the mind include:

  • Hobbies – Do something you enjoy like gardening or volunteer work.
  • Home improvements – Choose one room in your home and renovate. Even if that includes something as simple as a fresh coat of paint.
  • Write it down – I know for sure I will be writing my son positive letters while he is away. You might also choose to keep a journal and share it later.
  • Meditation
  • Let your feelings out – Talking with family and friends can be a tremendous comfort. Laugh, cry, and share memories together.
  • Exercise – Take a Yoga class, join the gym or just take frequent walks around the neighborhood.

I know I plan to engage in at least one of the above suggestions to help relax my body and mind in the months ahead. I will welcome, and need, the distraction.

Wish me luck. Letting go is so hard.

Health At Any Age!

July 20th, 2015

As I cross the threshold into my thirties this year, I suddenly find myself wondering, how can I age gracefully? What do I need to do NOW to ensure health at any age? Here are a few tips that promise to ensure health and happiness as each and every decade approaches.

20’s – ACTUALLY Eat Healthy

Group of People in their 20s with thumbs up

iStock Photo

The 20’s are a great time to build healthy eating habits that can last you a lifetime. Thanks to the internet, we’ve never had more access to healthy recipes, cooking tips and meal plans that can create a lifestyle of eating healthy and taking care of your body with plenty of plant-based foods. I became a health-conscious eater at age 28 and watched in awe as I shed the pounds and transformed my body. Now’s the time to get into the habit of healthy eating, as it will make it a whole lot easier to keep eating well throughout your life.

30’s Get Active, Anywhere

Group of People in their 30s on coffee break

iStock Photo

Your 30’s may find you in motherhood, or fully committed to a blossoming career, or both! However busy your schedule is, you know you need to work out, but it doesn’t have to be at the gym. Your 30’s are a great opportunity to consciously carve out time for doing a little more of the things you love. For example, walk the dog a little bit faster, for a little bit longer every day. Little steps can lead to big changes. If you love dancing, take a dance class. If you enjoy socializing, start a running group. For me, I find joy playing tennis with my tennis partner twice a week after work. If you’re in your 30’s, muscle density starts to decline, so this is a perfect time to develop a fitness routine that fits seamlessly into your daily life, and will help with the stress of all the busy new changes!

40’s Pay Attention to Your Mental Health

iStock Photo

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This one can be tough, especially for women who juggle work and family. Your 40’s are a great time to engage in a de-stress routine that helps combat some of the bodily changes you may begin to experience. When feeling stressed, try stretching, deep breathing, or talking to a girlfriend you may have had for 20 years now! In your 40s, you may begin to experience perimenopause, which might affect your sleep, moods, and sex life. Talk to your health care provider about how to deal with your symptoms.  

50’s Get Regular Checkups and Preventative Screenings

Group Of 50- and 60- SomethingsFriends Having Fun On Bicycle Ride

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One of the best ways to reduce your risk of illness and disease is to see your health care provider regularly – before you get sick. If you’re in your 50s, you need to start paying attention to blood pressure, getting regular physicals, and making sure you know which cancer screenings you need and how often. Check your breasts once a month for lumps, get routine pelvic exams, and even an annual eye exam, just to make sure you’re at your best! Your 50s are a great time to be proactive and begin major preventative care, to ensure a happy and healthy retirement.

60’s Protect Your Heart

Group of people in their 60s dipping their feet in the pool

iStock Photo

Today, women in their 60s are returning to college, starting businesses, running marathons and enjoying healthy sex lives. If you’ve taken care of your body and mind up to this point, you’re going to be more active and healthier than you thought possible. Still, there are unique concerns for women as they reach the 60 mark. As heart disease is a leading cause of death for women, it’s important to maintain a healthy diet low in sodium and saturated fat. Try to reduce alcohol consumption to no more than one drink per day, and definitely refrain from smoking. Have your cholesterol and blood pressure checked regularly as an extra precaution. 

70’s and Beyond … Preserve Your Senses 

Group of people in their 70s exercising

iStock Photo

Lifestyle plays a major role in helping to maintain your senses as you age. Eat a balanced diet to ward off such age-related eye disorders as macular degeneration, and preserve hearing by staying away from loud noises for long periods of time (no headphones!). If you do begin to experience some degree of hearing loss, swallow your pride and get tested for hearing aids, which have recently been associated with less cognitive decline and dementia. Wearing the devices could pay off in the long run, experts say, by helping you stay engaged with others and your environment.

 

Hyped About Hypertension Control

July 13th, 2015
Nurse taking blood pressure

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If you’re like me, you’re one of the estimated 70 million American adults who have hypertension – or high blood pressure. That works out to 29 percent or one in every three American adults.

While many of those millions are able to control their blood pressure, some with lifestyle changes alone, and some with the help of medication, I’m one of those who is struggling to lower their numbers. I thought that maybe writing about some key strategies for controlling blood pressure might help all of us whose numbers hover on the high end.

Most physicians start treatment by suggesting some adjustments to your routine before diving into the drugs. The Mayo Clinic has a great article about ten lifestyle changes that you can make to lower your blood pressure and, as a result, reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute confirms many of these strategies. Here are just a few of them.

Shed a few pounds. Excess weight can have a big effect on blood pressure, and losing as little as 10 pounds can help bring your numbers down. I’m definitely convicted on this one. I have 10 pounds and more to spare.

Exercise regularly. This is a no-brainer. It’s advice for preventing or controlling just about every disorder known to man. It could also help you achieve goal number one. Various “experts” have different ideas about how much you need to exercise to achieve a benefit, so just follow your doctor’s recommendation. I guess I need to dust off the stationary bike.

Eat a healthy diet. Your doctor might recommend a specific diet for you to follow, but there are a few general considerations. You want to eat a diet that is rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products. It might include foods like fish, poultry and nuts. You’re going to want to stay away from foods that are high in saturated fat, cholesterol and, especially, sodium. You should eat less red meat, sweets and, basically, anything that contains a lot of sugar or salt. I’m actually pretty good on this count.

This one’s a little trickier to do. Manage your stress. A lot of ongoing stress definitely raises your blood pressure. Just go to the doctor after a crazy day at home or work and see what your readings are. There are many good stress management techniques that work well. Santa Clara University has a list of ideas for reducing stress that might be a good place to start.3

Take your medication. Some people can control their blood pressure by making lifestyle changes such as these, but for others of us, we need the big guns – medication. There are many types of medicines doctors can prescribe for high blood pressure: diuretics, beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors, calcium channel blockers, the list goes on. Likely, one of these medicines will be effective in controlling your blood pressure. It might take a few tries to find it, or you may need more than one. My doctor and I are still searching for the magic potion for me.

If you’re one of the 70 million and you’re having trouble keeping your numbers down, try a few of these suggestions. Get moving, drop a few pounds, cut out the salt and be sure to see your doctor routinely to keep an eye on your blood pressure. Help your doctor out and take readings regularly between visits so he or she can get a better overall perspective of your numbers over a period of time. Try to de-stress and if you’re on medication, take it regularly, exactly as prescribed.

I now know what I have to do while my doctor and I work to find an effective medication for my hypertension. What other suggestions do you have to offer?

No Bark, No Bite: Pets at Work

July 6th, 2015
Dog and Cat Family at FHCN

Part of Florida Health Care News’ Fur Family

Ours is a pet-friendly workplace, as are about 20 percent of all companies in the United States, according to a survey by the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association (APPMA) — and that number is growing. It’s about time American companies realized the many benefits of having furry friends on the job. Stress reduction is the most obvious and most talked about benefit, but there are others.

In their survey, APPMA found that the majority of employees felt that having pets at work leads to a slew of advantages. For one, they felt that the freedom to have their best friends at work inspired a more creative environment. But, that’s not all. Other benefits they described included increased employee satisfaction, decreased absenteeism and improved relationships between managers and employees. Not bad.

Not only that, but there’s research to back it up. In a study conducted in 2010, researchers discovered that having a dog in the workplace increased collaboration among employees. In another study in 2012, investigators were able to demonstrate that dogs in the workplace reduced stress and increased employee satisfaction. Go, dogs, go!

Let’s face it. Pets at work are bound to make you smile. And that’s infectious, so everyone’s mood gets a boost. Just ask anyone in our office, and they’ll tell you that the presence of our “Morale Officer,” Luna – an amazing Malinois-Tervuren mix (a Belgian shepherd for us laypeople) – is a daily pick-me-up.

Dogs are great to have around the office, but don’t discount the value of having cats on board, too. They might be more aloof than dogs in general, but nothing beats the calming effect of petting a purring feline — and watching them dart through the halls can be a very entertaining break in the day.

You don’t have to tell the government employees of Doña Ana County in Las Cruces, New Mexico, about the benefits of having cats at work. They’ve got a unique set-up in their office where they’ve got cats from a local shelter “on loan” that they can spend time with at their desks. If they prefer, they can spend time with the cats in a special space set aside in their office that they call “the library.”

As an aside, a secondary benefit of having the cats on site is that many of them are being adopted. There is a lot of public traffic through the government office, and when people see the cats in the library, many choose to give them forever homes. Great story. It’s got benefits for everyone.

Sure, there’s some work involved in having pets in the workplace. They have to be fed and watered, and dogs have to be regularly walked outside. But these are small inconveniences considering the many benefits associated with their presence. Higher morale, better relationships, and increased team cooperation, commitment, focus and satisfaction, along with decreased stress and absenteeism more than make up for those inconveniences.

Good planning and a few guidelines can easily deal with the little complications that some places use as excuses, such as allergic employees, so few barriers remain in the way for more companies to employ pet-friendly policies. Let’s hope they do!

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