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My Healthy Journey: Chronic Back Pain

This piece was originally written for Health Alliance’s Blog and features information about Health Alliance’s products and services. Visit that site for more on my healthy journey and many more health and insurance subjects.

The Opioid Epidemic and Chronic Back Pain

Over the last year, the leading news story in health care has been the opioid epidemic. And chronic pain, particularly chronic back pain, has been at the top of the list of reasons why people use opioids long term.

Chronic pain is pain that lasts longer than 12 weeks, and for many, it’s pain that can last the rest of their lives. Chronic pain can happen because of a genetic problem or disorder or an injury or accident. Many people who survive serious car accidents or workplace accidents deal with chronic pain for the rest of their lives.

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My Healthy Journey: Finding Time for Sleep

This piece was originally written for Health Alliance’s Blog and features information about Health Alliance’s products and services. Visit that site for more on my healthy journey and many more health and insurance subjects.

It’s been a busy year for my team at Health Alliance, so I hope you’ve been enjoying Nicole’s Chasing Health series while I’ve been too busy to post!

When life gets busy and stress takes over, the first thing that always goes for me is sleep. I’ve never been very good at getting a lot of it, even though it’s one of my favorite things in the world, especially when stress sets in.

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My Healthy Journey: Time to Sweat

This piece was originally written for Health Alliance’s Blog and features information about Health Alliance’s products and services. Visit that site for more on my healthy journey and many more health and insurance subjects.

I’ve changed my diet, organized my life, and made healthier choices, so the last and biggest thing on the list is exercise.

I don’t like to exercise, as I think a lot of us don’t. I’m competitive, so I liked playing sports as a kid, but as an adult, exercising by myself is boring and hard work. If I had a gym membership and could read on a treadmill, it might be different. But as it is, it’s hard to make myself do it.

But if I can (for the most part) give up candy, completely abandon soda, and stop drinking coffee for a month, I can handle anything!

I started by doing a muscle-strengthening yoga routine every day, which was a great way to start for me. It wasn’t too intense, it was calming, and it really helped me regain some flexibility and balance I’d lost over the years.

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My Healthy Journey: Finally Settled

This piece was originally written for Health Alliance’s Blog and features information about Health Alliance’s products and services. Visit that site for more on my healthy journey and many more health and insurance subjects.

I finally have something to sit on in my apartment! After 3 months, I’m mostly settled in.

Moving requires a lot of organization, and as I told you before, this was a rushed and unorganized move, which is probably exactly why it’s taken me this long to get settled.

You may not realize how much being organized (or disorganized) affects your life and even your health.

One study showed that you’re more likely to suffer from stress and depression if your house is cluttered and full of unfinished projects. (This was definitely my house for the last 3 months.) Long-term stress is tied to heart disease, digestive problems, poor sleep, obesity, and cancer.

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My Healthy Journey: Another Year, Another Move

This piece was originally written for Health Alliance’s Blog and features information about Health Alliance’s products and services. Visit that site for more on my healthy journey and many more health and insurance subjects.

My roommate just got a big job promotion and skipped town on me, which means that while I am thrilled for her, I am once again moving.

I have moved 13 times since I started college in 2008. I went to school in Chicago, and so each year, I moved all my belongings up in the fall and then back down in the summer. Then my senior year, I moved to Manhattan… and then back to Chicago. And since I’ve been back in Central Illinois, it hasn’t been much better.

So you would think I would be a pro at the nomadic life, right? Wrong.

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My Healthy Journey: TV Bingeing

This piece was originally written for Health Alliance’s Blog and features information about Health Alliance’s products and services. Visit that site for more on my healthy journey and many more health and insurance subjects.

Instead of telling you all about how healthy I’m being (although I am cooking and eating better!), I have a confession.

I binge on TV shows.

Actually, I binge on all types of media. I binge on social media (a hazard of the job really), movies, and especially television shows. And when winter hits, especially after getting all new bedding for Christmas like I did this year, all I want to do is curl up in my comfy bed with my dog and Netflix. And this year has been no exception.

I may have (definitely did) watched all 6 seasons of Lost in the last month, and 3 of those were in the last week. (Because I don’t have self-control!) Did I choose a show that encourages this with a million mysteries? Probably. Is it actually crazy that I did this? Yes!

I know I’m not the only one who does this, but I have to say that I feel awful now. Is this partly because I wasn’t completely satisfied with the ending? Probably (sorry Lost lovers!). Is it because I stayed up ‘til 3 a.m. to finish it before work? Totally.

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My Healthy Journey: Progress and Prep for the Holidays

This piece was originally written for Health Alliance’s Blog and features information about Health Alliance’s products and services. Visit that site for more on my healthy journey and many more health and insurance subjects.

It’s that time of year when food is unavoidable. We’re just a week away from Thanksgiving, and a month away from Christmas. And while I have plenty of resolutions I could line up for the new year, there are a lot of things I’m trying to focus on to stay on a healthy track for the holidays.

It’s starting with healthier recipes. I love to cook, and I love the Thanksgiving classics, so finding ways to lighten those is definitely key. Luckily for me (and for you), finding those recipes on Pinterest is part of my job description. Check out our Holidays board and stay tuned on social media and on this blog all this month and in December for holiday food ideas. They can help make both lighter meals and menu planning easier.

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Sleeping Beauty

First of all, movie posts seem popular, so I will try to increase those. This is my first effort to do so, bear with me.

Sleeping Beauty is my favorite Disney Princess movie. Always has been. I don’t know why, but I think it had something to do with the cake propped up by a broom, the cutest prince, the creepiest of the evil witches that turned into that badass dragon, and Aurora’s voice not being screechingly annoying or inducing the urge to writhe as Snow White’s always did (seriously, ask my mom, I used to fast forward through the part where she sang into the well.)

So when I was living in NYC and reading enough magazines and movie blogs to drown in, I was insanely pumped to discover the ads for this movie, Sleeping Beauty. I am going to start you off with the trailer so that you will understand my following sentiment more thoroughly:

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