Thursday, December 22, 2016

Healthy Holidays: Where do I take my?

Out with the old and in with the new?

If you have some things you need to get rid of, perhaps due to some newly acquired items over the holidays… there is a wonderful resource to help you. It is called

Where do I take my” lists out just about any item you can think of and provides information on where you can dispose of it safely. It also recommends places where you can donate and recycle things. And it provides information on where to dispose of a hazardous item safely.

Disposing of unwanted items responsibly is good for the environment and can help others who are in need. The choices you make when tossing out your old stuff can have a big impact! Your choice makes a difference.

If you’re not able to find information on disposal for something, you can always call our Environmental Health Education Phone Line. Our staff will do their best to find an option that works for you! (360) 867-2674.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Become a Healthy Homes Volunteer!

Thurston County’s Healthy Homes Program trains volunteers to provide free educational home visits to encourage behaviors and actions that promote healthy living spaces – such as preventing and addressing mold, creating healthy indoor air, reducing asthma triggers, reducing exposure to toxins, and more. We have a free volunteer training coming up in February! You can learn all about housing-related health risks and how to identify, prevent, reduce, and address them. This training is fun and the knowledge gained is useful in our daily lives.

Individuals can take this training for professional development if it applies it to their current work and not be expected to become a volunteer with the program.

When: Thursdays in February from 6:30-8:30 p.m. and two Saturdays in March from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Saturday sessions include lunch and will be scheduled based on group availability. The training is a total of 16 hours, plus at least three “training visits” before volunteer training is considered complete.

Where: Thurston County Public Health at 412 Lilly Rd. NE, Olympia, 98506; across from St. Peter’s Hospital. Intercity Transit bus routes # 60, 62A, and 62B serve the area. If transportation is an issue for anyone who is interested, please don’t let that stop you from applying. We are close to bus routes and there is a good chance that volunteers attending the training can carpool.

Who: No prior experience is necessary; the training teaches all you need to know to conduct Healthy Homes Visits in pairs. This training is for anyone interested (or who works) in giving back to the community, environmental health, housing, public health, health education, children’s health, and healthy living.

What volunteers do: Volunteers can conduct Healthy Homes Visits, participate in booths at community events, perform outreach, or work on special projects. They are notified of opportunities to volunteer and can sign up as their schedules allow. Healthy Homes Visits are free, voluntary, and completely confidential. We are invited to do the visit by the resident, where we perform a checklist and walk-through. Based on what we find we provide information, guidance, and resource lists to the residents to help them take the next steps. Individuals can take this training for professional development if it applies it to their current work and not be expected to become a volunteer with the program.

Contact Information: (360) 867-2674 or


Thursday, December 8, 2016

Healthy Holidays: Self-care over the holiday season

By Anna Rhoads, Education & Outreach Program Assistant

The holidays are upon us. This time of year can feel as if we have a million things on our to-do lists. By making self-care a priority on your holiday to-do list, you can feel less overwhelmed by the holidays. When you take good care of yourself you are less likely to become sick and can have more energy to be with your loved ones.

I always feel my best after a good workout. Exercise doesn’t need to feel like a chore if you have a fun fitness routine. Take a walk or bike ride on the Chehalis Western Trail, shake off stress at a Zumba class (many gyms offer Zumba and other cardio-based dance classes), or do a half an hour of gentle yoga in your living room (you can find hundreds of free yoga videos on YouTube). Have family visiting for the holidays? Have them join in on the fun by organizing a game of touch football or Capture the Flag in the backyard. You’ll create a new holiday tradition and get a workout in!

Eat well and drink in moderation
As a self proclaimed foodie, it’s not surprising that food is one of my favorite parts about the holidays. It is easy to indulge in all the classics (any garlic mashed potato lovers out there?) and to pile a plate with sweet treats for dessert. Remember to indulge in moderation. If you are going to a holiday potluck, bring a healthy dish to share. Be aware of liquid calories in holiday drinks, including alcoholic beverages. Eating food that is healthy and nutrient rich can help you have more energy to go do things with family and friends.

Volunteer in the community
Giving back to an organization or cause that you care about can improve your mood and lift your spirits. There are many organizations that would love volunteers during and after the holiday season. Check out to find a local volunteer program that is a good fit for you. In fact, Thurston County  Healthy Homes Program is seeking volunteers to start after the New Year.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Have a million and one things you need accomplish before the in-laws arrive tomorrow? Are you in charge of cooking Christmas dinner and have guests coming with a multitude of dietary restrictions? One of the best ways to handle stressful scenarios is to ask for help. Delegate household chores to family and ask guests to bring a holiday dish to share at dinner. With a team of helpers, you will likely feel less stressed about what you need to get done. Remember that everything doesn’t need to be perfect, it’s a time for fun and togetherness!