Over the past few weeks, many of you have reached out with NJWELL questions and/or updates. Here is a comprehensive breakdown of everything you need to know about NJWELL.

Let’s start with an overview of NJWELL for those who may not be familiar with the program. NJWELL is a voluntary employee wellness program designed to help eligible members of the State Health Benefits Program (SHBP) and School Employees’ Health Benefits Program (SEHBP) live a healthy lifestyle.

NJWELL offers various wellness incentive levels, anywhere from $250 – $500, to active SHBP and SEHBP members and their covered spouses or partners who participate in the state’s Direct Primary Care Medical Home program.

How It Works and What You Need To Do

R-Health and NJWELL have partnered to make it easier for active SHBP and SEHBP members to earn their NJWELL reward. Despite the present circumstances with COVID-19, you can still earn your reward by engaging with us virtually.

R-Health members automatically earn between $250 – $500 by completing the following between November 1 and October 31.

  • Complete a health assessment through your health plan’s online portal. You can sign into your portal, here
  • Complete a comprehensive physical examination and at least one follow up appointment with your R-Health doctor or complete two virtual visits (with one focused on prevention and wellness)

If you have questions regarding your NJWELL reward, please contact Horizon’s support staff directly at 1.800.414.7427.

Getting Your Mental Health in Check

We all sometimes get tired or overwhelmed by how we feel when things don’t go according to plan. How we handle stress could be related to our mental health, which plays a huge role in how we think, feel, and act.

Like so many, talking about mental health can be hard—however it’s more common than you may think. Nearly 1 in 5 American adults will have a diagnosable mental health condition in any given year according to Mental Health America.

But did you know that your primary doctor, like me, can help you identify triggers as well as develop specific goals and strategies to help get your mental health in check? In doing so, I like to start by having an honest conversation with my patients. You can do a quick mental check in at home by asking yourself the 4 questions below.

  1. How are you feeling today, both physically and mentally?
  2. How have you been sleeping?
  3. Have you been isolating yourself from others?
  4. Are you always worrying about the worst-case scenarios?

If you’re concerned about your responses, reach out to me. Getting help starts with talking to your doctor. We can work together to create a plan that will teach you how to cope. The most important thing is that you get help.

Reducing Exposure to Environmental Toxins

Environmental toxins can be found all over our homes – in our furniture, food, clothes, personal care items, and household cleaners. Exposure to these toxins may be contributing to diseases like obesity, diabetes, allergies, and asthma. By breathing in and being exposed to toxins, there are several ways they are affecting our health:

  • Interfere with glucose and cholesterol metabolism and induce insulin resistance
  • Disrupt cell function
  • Cause stress on the body
  • Promote inflammation
  • Alter thyroid health
  • Impair appetite regulation

Fortunately, there are ways to recognize and reduce our exposure to environmental toxins:

  • Remove food toxins. Stay away from processed and refined foods and try to stick to the EWG Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists to choose where you spend your money when purchasing organic since it is not necessary to purchase everything organic.
  • Reduce the amount of toxic exposures at home. Choose non-toxic household cleaners, beauty, and bath products. Look for plant-based cleaners or even make your own.
  • Minimize exposure to pesticides. Remove your shoes when you enter your home to limit tracking lawn pesticides throughout your home.
  • Keep mold at bay. Mold, mildew, and fungal toxins can also cause a range of health problems. Keep air filters clean, try to keep humidity below 60% to reduce mold growth, and regularly clean and dry any areas where water may build up like showers and sinks.
  • Avoid products that contain phthalates. This is a compound that is often found in plastics. Check the labels of products to ensure they are phthalate-free, avoid storing food in plastic containers, and look for natural fibers such as cotton, linen, wood, and bamboo when buying drapery, window blinds and shades.

We can’t control every environmental toxin from entering our home so it’s important to regularly clean, dust, sweep/vacuum, and invest in an air-purifier to keep our homes as toxin-free as possible to keep us healthy.

Improving Your Eating Habits

There are many reasons why people want to start eating healthier. Whether itto help you reach and maintain a healthy weight or reduce your chances of getting a chronic disease—getting control of your eating habits is all about managing your nutrition. Nutrition management is where we understand good nutrition and pay closer attention to what we eat to help maintain or improve our health.  

However, you may be wondering, “where do I even start?”  

As an expert, I have found that taking a whole-body approach and partnering with my patients to create a complete plan helps manage nutritional goals on a more consistent basis. You can easily start making healthier food choices now by trying my top 4 tips: 

  1. Read the label before buying food. Many of the foods we consume have a lot of sodium which doesn’t bode well on the heart. 
  1. Stay away from saturated fats and try to increase baked and grilled foods.  
  1. If vegetarian, incorporate 2 tablespoons of flaxseed every day or enjoy fatty fish 2 times a week to increase the omega three in your diet.  
  1. Eat small frequent meals as opposed to large meals a day. This keeps your metabolism going and maintain a steady insulin level in the blood. 

If you’re interested in nutrition management, contact your primary care doctor to get started on a plan to better support you with your overall goals.