Posted 11 months ago

August – National Wellness Month

August is National Wellness month, and this is an opportunity for all of us to focus on ourselves, self-care, reducing stress and choosing healthy options in our lives. Even the smallest of changes in our daily routines can make positive changes in our physical and emotional health.

Wellness Month was born out of the idea that if we are going to do big things in the world— build our careers, raise a family, change the world, and fight cancer — we need to take care of ourselves.

Self-care is not a new concept.  There are writings from ancient philosophers such as Socrates and Plato, that spoke of the need to take care of oneself, reflect on their lives, and live virtuously.  Many of the holistic approaches we see, can be reflected in their works from these early times, including meditation, mindful breathing techniques and the use of herbal medicines.  To give you a perspective of these ancient writings that inspired the current day wellness practices, Socrates died in Greece in the year 399 BC.

Our Supportive Care Services team at Ironwood can assist you on the path to wellness.  Take this month to try a few new activities, make changes in your eating habits, or work on in improving your wellness routine.

Here is how we can help you!

Sleep - Wellness month blogWe all need quality sleep to function at our best.  How much sleep does an adult need each day? Most adults require between 7-9 hours of sleep each day.  Most importantly, listen to your body.  If you are going through treatment, you may need increased amounts of sleep or require a midday recharge, more fondly referred to as a nap. Taking a nap is wonderful!  During sleep is when our body repairs itself.

Dr. Heidi Rula, Ironwood’s Integrative MD, has put together a video on creating an idea routine to improve the quality and quantity of your sleep.  The video is available on our YouTube page or through this direct link  In the video, she discusses many things you can try to improve your sleep including exercise, taking supplements, adjusting the lighting and temperature in your bedroom, and engaging in relaxation practices.

water - wellness blogAugust is a great month to work on improving your water intake each day and staying hydrated! It is the hottest month in Arizona, with temperatures soaring towards 120 degrees.  The National Weather Service is issuing excessive heat warnings almost daily.  How much water do you need each day living in a dry, desert environment?  Does cancer treatment change that amount?  Your healthcare providers can assist you setting a goal that is right for you.  Certain medical conditions, such as kidney disease, may require less fluids so it is always important to ask your doctor.

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society conducted research on hydration with cancer patients and survivors and made the following suggestions.

– In general, it is suggested to strive for 64 ounces of fluids that do not contain caffeine each day to stay hydrated

– If you are running a fever or experiencing diarrhea, you need to increase your fluid intake by one cup of fluid after each bout of vomiting or diarrhea

– Drink fluids throughout the day rather than waiting to feel thirsty. Be proactive!

– Always keep a bottle or container of water with you so the option to drink is easy

At Ironwood, we have multiple Registered Dietitians available to you to assist with coming up with a hydration goal and plan for you.  They can help you identify good foods and fluids that contribute to hydration, as well as identify items you may want to avoid. Our Dietitians are also available to you if you are struggling during treatment with your food intake and weight maintenance.  They are here to support you on your journey to wellness.

wellness blogTry a new wellness activity this month.  Ironwood has a robust offering from the Supportive Care Services team that is available to anyone in the community. Check out our event calendar and pick one, even three!

All our Integrative classes are researched based and proven to reduce anxiety, depression, improve a sense of connection and community, as well as promote wellness for your physical health.  Need a suggestion?  Our Social Workers and SCS team coordinator can walk you through the calendar and guide you to an activity that is right for you such as Tai Chi, Reiki, Chair Yoga, or Watercolor Painting.  Starting August 7th, you can join East Valley Social Worker Jodi Puhalla on a “Brain Vacation.”  She is launching a series of guided meditation to take you away! Meditation brings your mind to the present moment, increases mindfulness, and help reduce stress, anxiety and other mental health concerns.

Supportive Care Services is here to support you on your journey towards wellness.  To contact us, you can call 480-314-6660 or email

 Nicole McCallister, LMSW

Nicole McCallister is a Licensed Master Social Worker.  Nicole received her Master’s in Social Work from Arizona State University in August 2017.  She received her Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice Studies in April 2003 from Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, MI.

Nicole has spent the last 15 years working with children and families in the child welfare system of Arizona.  She completed a social work internship with Ironwood under the supervision of Kelly Huey from August 2016 through May 2017.

Nicole has volunteered with Ironwood’s breast cancer support group in Scottsdale after her internship was complete.  Nicole is looking forward to working with cancer patients and their families in hopes of supporting the positive change to those in need.