Health

NB Pure illustration by Heather Skovlund (Photo by Engin Akyurt from Pexels) for 360 Magazine

Summer Tips for Melanoma Prevention

Protect yourself from melanoma without becoming deficient in vitamin D

By Leah Johnston, RDN

Don’t be so quick to overlook concerns around melanoma just because it’s often viewed as preventable. Melanoma is one of the most common cancers and the deadliest form of skin cancer. However, there is a conflict between how we prevent melanoma and how we ensure we are getting enough vitamin D. Sun exposure is the main source of this essential vitamin, but it’s also the primary culprit in the formation of melanoma. With May being Melanoma Awareness Month, it’s time to take notice and learn how we can protect our skin while still absorbing enough vitamin D.

The Stats

Cases of melanoma have been rising over the last few decades, especially among young adults, as it’s the most commonly diagnosed cancer among people aged 25 to 29. According to the Melanoma Research Alliance, one person dies from melanoma every hour of every day. The American Cancer Society reports that the risk for getting melanoma is approximately 2.6% (1 in 38) for whites, 0.1% (1 in 1,000) for Blacks, and 0.6% (1 in 167) for Hispanics. While fair skin poses a higher risk, darker complexions are also at risk.

How Melanoma forms

Melanocytes are cells that produce melanin and give skin its brown or tan color. It’s when melanocytes start to grow out of control on the skin’s top layer that cancer can develop and then spread to other parts of the body. Usually appearing as a brown or black spot or mole, melanoma is most commonly found on the chest and back for men and legs for women. It’s best not to ignore any irregular spots you may find on your skin because this cancer can also appear in other colors or patterns. Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun or tanning beds can damage DNA in cells and significantly increase the risk of melanoma. Early detection is important for effective treatment.

Tips for melanoma prevention:

  • Use a broad-spectrum SPF sunscreen all year when outdoors. This will help protect against sun damage, which can occur even when the sun might be hiding behind a cloud.
  • Limit sun exposure during the middle of the day when the UV rays are at their peak. Instead, plan outdoor time for the morning or later afternoon to lessen the risk. 
  • Opt for a spray tan over laying out by the pool. If you love to have a tan, spray tans are a safer option and will help protect the longevity of your skin.
  • Schedule annual skin exams with a dermatologist. This is especially important if you have fair skin or immediate family members who have had melanoma, such as a parent or sibling.

The importance of Vitamin D

What doesn’t vitamin D do? Known as the sunshine vitamin, the human body absorbs an inactive form of vitamin D from the sun, food, or supplements and converts it into an active form of vitamin that it can use. In its active form, vitamin D plays many roles in the body.

Bone Health: Vitamin D and calcium work together to maintain bone health and density. Calcium cannot be absorbed into bones without the help of vitamin D. A vitamin D deficiency can result in bone softening, known as osteomalacia, and muscle weakness. Osteoporosis can also be associated with vitamin D deficiency due to the lack of calcium absorption. Both osteoporosis and melanoma affect older adults making it essential to couple melanoma prevention strategies with vitamin D supplementation.

Immunity: Recently, researchers have been investigating a possible link between vitamin D deficiency and the severity of COVID-19 symptoms. While this research is still in its infancy, scientists have been finding that low vitamin D status may result in the increased severity of symptoms and higher mortality rate. More research is needed in this area.

Inflammation: Research has shown an association between vitamin D status and inflammation-related autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, inflammatory bowel disease, and type 1 diabetes. Vitamin D also helps to regulate insulin levels for diabetes management.

Depression: People with depression are more likely to have low vitamin D levels. A 2011 study found that women who ate more foods rich in vitamin D had a lower risk of depression than women who got less vitamin D in their diets. Vitamin D has also demonstrated the ability to improve the symptoms of depression.

The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for vitamin D is 15 mcg (600 IU) for most children and adults up to the age of 70, according to the National Institutes of Health. Adults who over 70 need 20 mcg (800 IU) daily.

Tips for getting enough Vitamin D:

  • Get outside but be strategic. As previously discussed, the best time to be in the sun is in the morning or later afternoon. Plan your days to limit your exposure to the midday sun.
  • Add at least one vitamin D rich food into your daily diet. These may include fortified dairy and non-dairy beverages such as milk or orange juice, fortified cereals, salmon (wild caught contains more than farmed), sardines, and egg yolks. Wild mushrooms or those that have been treated with UV light are a good plant source of the vitamin. 
  • Take a daily Vitamin D supplement. This may be particularly important if you live in regions of the world that are further from the equator, such as the Midwest. If you struggle to remember or don’t enjoy taking pills, NB Pure has a Vitamin D3 supplement in the form of a spray for the utmost convenience.
  • Have your doctor check your vitamin D levels at least once a year. Getting an annual physical is important for your long-term health. Ask your doctor to make sure they check your vitamin D levels at that visit.

The sun may be the main reason for the increasing rates of melanoma, but it’s also our number one source of vitamin D. It is possible to protect yourself from developing melanoma and ensure that you are obtaining ample amounts of vitamin D to prevent the consequences of a deficiency.

Mental Health Awareness illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Mental Health Awareness

Many people, including children and adults across diversity backgrounds, can struggle with social, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral health. These challenges can be situational, present for a season of life, or be a struggle across a lifetime. The symptoms may also turn on and turn off, be persistent every day, or resolve just to pop back up again.

Even though having complications with mental or behavioral health is common, it does not necessarily mean a person is functioning at their best or the symptoms should be left unaddressed. Early intervention can be more effective, than the choice to put off addressing a mental health concern for another time.

Awareness of mental health signs and symptoms are important. The first step is recognizing when we need support. Let’s set aside labels such as depression, anxiety, addictive behaviors, and disorders for a moment. Instead, let’s consider observations. Below is a clustered list of commonly experienced struggles we can lookout for to monitor our mental health:

Socially

  • Noticing a pattern of withdrawing or avoiding friends, family, or activities
  • Having interpersonal conflicts with friends, family, colleagues, neighbors, or even strangers
  • Having a difficult time understanding and/or relating to others or common life scenarios
  • Feeling disconnected from others or struggling to get close to others
  • Feeling lost about knowing who you are

Emotionally

  • Experiencing sadness, despair, distress, prolonged sorrow
  • You or others noticing changes in your mood from high to low
  • Enduring excessive worry, fears, or discomfort with the unknown
  • Experiencing extreme guilt, self-blame, or negative self-talk
  • Having bouts with excessive or persistent anger

Cognitive/Thinking

  • Noticing thought patterns that are confused, conflicted, indecisive, repetitive, or forgetful
  • Having a lowered ability begin or maintain focus
  • You or others noticing a disconnect between your thoughts and the world around you
  • Feeling fearful such as paranoia
  • Having repeat unpleasant or worrisome thoughts or images
  • Hearing, seeing, or feeling something that is not truly there
  • Thoughts of hurting or killing yourself or someone else

Behavioral

  • Having a reduced ability to cope or resolve daily living complications or stress
  • Struggling with adjustment to life changes
  • Experiencing problems related to alcohol, tobacco, and/or legal or illegal substances
  • Noticing changes in eating habits such as too much, too little, overly focused on eating
  • Observing patterns of overexercise
  • Changes in sex drive
  • Having episodes of violence towards others, yourself, animals, or objects
  • Challenges with impulsive decisions or risk taking

Physical

  • Seeing trends in energy level such as significant tiredness or grand amount of energy
  • Struggles falling asleep, staying asleep, waking up, or low quality of sleep
  • Having physical symptoms such as stomach pain, back pain, headaches, heart pounding, shortness of breath, or other unexplained physical symptoms
  • Experiencing medical providers do not take your symptoms seriously enough

Experiencing one or a few of these symptoms at one time may be a part of life based on the amount of lemons life just handed you. However, there may be a mental health concern worth seeking proper care for if you experience one or more of these symptoms for a short or an extended period of time. Due note, some symptoms are more serious than others, such as harm to yourself or someone else, that should not be ignored and need care immediately.

Another element we can use to monitor our mental health is awareness of how our mental health symptoms interact with our daily lives. Sometimes mental health struggles can become disruptive to daily life such as negatively impacting relationships with others, how you think or feel internally about yourself, employment, housing, finances, and/or legal issues. Other symptoms are manageable and do not cause a large disruption; however, beware some symptoms can fly under the radar, but that does not necessarily indicate all is well.

If you are unsure if you are experiencing mental health concerns and would like a better understanding, then consider completing a screener. Mental Health America provides a free, quick, screening tool that provides mental health you can use to make decisions about next steps for care. The results can also be used to start the initial discussion with a mental health provider.

There is hope! In most circumstances, symptoms can be managed, reduced in intensity, and relief increased when working with a mental health provider. There are various forms of care, and you can find the right fit for you such as talk based therapy in-person or online, activity-based therapy, and collaboration with medical providers for mediation as needed.

If you are ready to take the next step, then there are multiple resources available to help you find the right provider. In emergency situations such as thoughts of harming yourself or someone else as well as severe mental illness, then calling 9-1-1, going to a local emergency room, or contacting the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) or using live chat on Suicide Prevention Lifeline  may be the best routes.

In non-emergency situations there are options such as contacting a primary care provider for a referral, reaching out to loved ones, connecting to your religious or spiritual community, or finding a professional provider. Below is a list of resources for locating a provider in your area:

Mental health is just like it sounds….health. It can be scary or there can be a stigma to seek out care. However, removing the stigma, overcoming fear, seeking care, and taking steps to improving life takes courage. But you are worth it, and you deserve a better tomorrow.

Michelle Perepiczka, PhD, LPC (CO), LMHC (NY), RPT-S, NCC

Core Faculty

University of Phoenix

College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Child illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Child Friendly Faith Project

Child Advocacy Group Highlights Abuse in Religious Institutions for Child Abuse Prevention Month

With National Child Abuse Prevention Month underway, the Child-Friendly Faith Project (CFFP), a national nonprofit that educates the public about religiously enabled child maltreatment, is raising awareness of crimes against children perpetrated in religious institutions.

The CFFP is also drawing attention to a dangerous court decision that could prevent abusive institutions from being held accountable and offering a valuable resource to parents and guardians to help them determine whether they should enroll or continue to enroll their children in certain religious institutions.

The little-known ecclesiastical abstention doctrine (EAD) guides courts in deciding First Amendment, religious matters. While historically the EAD has been raised in cases relating to claims of wrongful termination, in recent years religious schools facing lawsuits involving allegations of child harm have pushed courts to interpret the EAD very broadly to get cases dismissed. In one recent case, the Episcopal School of Dallas was permitted to ignore its own legal contracts with parents and the emotional harm suffered by a child never came to light.

Given this alarming legal precedent, parents and guardians of children who have been harmed by private institutions could lose their right to seek relief in court, while the institutions might never be held accountable.

Parents who have children enrolled in private, faith-based schools (or are considering enrolling them) should be aware of the potential harm posed by the EAD. With this in mind, CFFP’s campaign is offering parents valuable tips on how to determine whether they should enroll (or continue to enroll) their children in private, faith-based schools:

  • Determine whether the institution your child is enrolled in (or might be enrolled in) could claim to be faith-based. Some private schools have stretched the meaning of “faith-based” as a way to be shielded by the EAD in court. Even if an institution seems to operate in a way that appears secular, as long as a facility, school, program, or daycare operation can claim that it has some sort of faith-based or spiritual component, it could convince a court that it should be protected by the EAD and cannot be sued for child abuse or neglect.
  • Read the school’s contract carefully. Many schools specify in their contracts how legal issues must be resolved. For example, some require parents to agree to mediation. It’s important to know what legal recourses you’re agreeing to. However, be aware that if a case goes to court, the EAD does have the potential to make contracts of religious school’s moot.
  • Ask to see a school’s child-abuse prevention policies & procedures. Those that take abuse seriously and proactively develop and enforce comprehensive abuse-prevention policies are usually open to making these policies available and may even post them on their websites.
  • Research whether the school has a history of abuse allegations. Conduct an online search using the name of the institution and words such as “lawsuit,” “sued,” and “abuse” to determine if it has been accused of abuse or of covering up cases in the past. Be extremely wary if you find a pattern of abuse allegations, even if you do not find information about final court decisions.
  • Explore the educational programs of secular private or public schools. Children can receive a high-quality education and experience at many different types of schools. Consider the offerings of private secular schools or public schools, which would be unable to raise the EAD in court.

Recent abuse cases

The CFFP has previously exposed issues of religious institutional child abuse and offered support to survivors and affected families. An example is its efforts to make public the decades-long, egregious abuses perpetrated at Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch. Recently, other cases have also made the news:

  • Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) — Last February, the SBC’s executive committee voted to expel two member churches for employing pastors who were convicted sex offenders. One pastor, who had been with his church since 2014, had pleaded guilty to two counts of statutory rape of a minor in the 1990s. The other pastor led his church since 2018, despite having been on Florida’s sex offender registry since 1993. In 2019, the SBC published a report on preventing and responding to cases of sexual abuse and later launched its “Caring Well Challenge” that calls on all SBC churches to adopt the report’s recommendations. Unfortunately, the program is voluntary.
  • Circle of Hope Girls Ranch — The owners and operators of this faith-based boarding school in Missouri face more than 100 criminal charges of sexual, physical and mental abuse of girls in their care. Their arrests came after their estranged daughter, Amanda Householder, posted social media videos of former residents talking about the abuse they endured. In an interview with a Missouri TV station, Householder said that victims had been speaking out since 2007. “Why did it take ten years for anyone to do anything?” she asked.

A dangerous court decision

While it’s heartening that these cases are receiving public attention, it is possible that they, and many more like them, could be dismissed thanks to a legal precedent set by a Texas appellate court in 2018. The case involved the Episcopal School of Dallas which invoked a common-law doctrine known as the “ecclesiastical abstention doctrine” (EAD). The EAD provides guidance to courts when weighing in on First-Amendment, religious matters. However, in the Dallas case, in which a father alleged that his son had been wrongfully expelled and in violation of school policy, it was applied very broadly and used to shield the school from being sued.

In another case involving Trinity Episcopal School in Galveston, Texas, a district court, in recognizing the EAD, threw out a lawsuit filed by a mother whose son had endured repeated racist bullying by other students. The mother wanted the school to hold the perpetrators accountable after the school had only demanded a written apology and suspended them for one day. Despite emotional trauma suffered by the victim, the judge agreed with the school’s claim that a court should not “intrude upon a religious institution’s management of its internal affairs and governance.”

“The EAD allows courts to prioritize a religious institution’s desire for secrecy and avoidance of accountability over the wellbeing of children,” said CFFP founder Janet Heimlich. “In cases in which organizations invoke the EAD, the public may never learn what abusive or neglectful actions took place, and parents may unwittingly enroll their children in those schools.”

To schedule an interview with a representative of the CFFP, an affected parent or a survivor of religious institutional child abuse, contact Jeff Salzgeber  through email or (512) 743-2659 cell.

The Child-Friendly Faith Project (CFFP) is a national, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that seeks to end religious child maltreatment by raising awareness of this issue through educational programs that benefit the general public, survivors, professionals, and faith communities.

Eyelinerz illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Importance of Eye Contact

THE ALL-IMPORTANT SUBJECT OF MAINTAINING EYE CONTACT DURING VIRTUAL CONVERSATIONS AND PRESENTATIONS

Did you know that we have oxytocin receptors in our eyes? When we make eye contact with someone (researchers say about 30 seconds of maintained connection should do it), the receptors tell the brain to produce the hormone, which travels through the body, hits the internal organs, and ends in the heart. Each time the eye contact is maintained, the reaction repeats. The result? Our breath and heart rate slow down, we feel calmer, we feel… happy. Even better, research shows that this effect is achieved when we make eye contact virtually as well as in person.

The Dangers of Losing Human Connection

Connecting with others doesn’t just make us happy, it can apparently also make us better people. In one study, researchers found that individuals who felt connected to others were more likely to want to volunteer in their community or do kindness for strangers. Researchers are now trying to determine how our wellbeing and connection to others is being impacted by spending so much time distanced from our social groups.

Some studies seem grim. One extensive study out of the UK analyzed over 80 research articles on loneliness indicates that as children experience increasing levels of loneliness due to being away from school and friends, they’re at increasing risk of depression and anxiety.

But the good news is that we are getting really creative (and effective) at keeping our human connection going despite the social distancing.

Connecting Creatively

For children navigating distance learning and time away from friends, doctors from the University of Michigan encouraged parents to see this time as an opportunity to teach children new skills that focus on kindness, resilience, and flexibility, while reminding parents that children are incredibly resilient as long as they are in a supportive and loving environment.

Kids can find social connections in lots of creative ways, from Zoom playdates to video game challenges with friends’ half-way around the world.

Technology also helps adults maintain — or form — meaningful connections. More than ever, meeting online is leading to meaningful, romantic relationships despite (or maybe because of?) couples waiting longer to meet in-person. Apparently, flirting via video chat is incredibly effective, despite the fact that you’re never quite really looking each other in the eye.

We are also connecting deeper with our coworkers, as Zoom happy hours have brought socializing into our homes, making for more relaxed conversations. There’s something about seeing your colleagues sipping seltzers from their kid’s playroom that really ups the camaraderie.

Connecting Effectively

Research has shown that the key to virtual connection is the same as it is in person — eye contact. Now we just need to get better at forming that connection during video calls.

The best way to do this is to look into the camera intermittently as you would someone’s eyes when meeting in person. I know, easier said than done! Our instinct is to look at the person’s face on the screen. But one solution to make maintaining eye contact with a camera more natural is having a tool like Eyelinez around your lens. The fun designs will grab your attention and remind you to keep looking into the lens.

What Are Eyelinez?

Maintaining proper eye contact with a camera is not a new challenge.  In fact, the challenge has existed ever since anyone had to stare into a cold dark camera as if they were engaging with a smiling human.  An “eyeline” is where the speaker is looking and Eyelinez is the solution to enable you to maintain a natural and engaging eyeline with the camera.

Dog and child illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Backyarding Trends

The TurfMutt Foundation Predicts “Backyarding” To Become Permanent Trend

“Backyarding,” the new trend to move many indoor activities–from working in an office or classroom to dining and recreation–to the great outdoors, is growing. Under pandemic conditions, yards and other managed landscapes became a safe haven for social gatherings, celebrating milestones/holidays, working, studying, playing, exercising, relaxing.  
 
“Your own backyard is nearly limitless with possibilities, and homeowners got really creative as they expanded and enjoyed their yards over the last year,” said Kris Kiser, President & CEO of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) and the TurfMutt Foundation. “We predict, long after the COVID-19 pandemic passes, our yards will become an even greater part of our lives. The notion of ‘backyarding’ is here to stay.” 
 
In 2020, home improvements – many of them in the backyard – skyrocketed. So did the demand for outdoor power equipment as homeowners invested in making their outdoor spaces fabulous, functional and flourishing. Overall, shipments of outdoor power equipment increased 16 percent in 2020.
 
“Expect people to continue to invest in their outdoor life this coming spring,” said Kiser. “Many homeowners who put time and effort into their landscapes last year will be rewarded when that yard comes back to life this spring. But, even if you did little last year, it’s never too late to start – just start.”  
 
Here are some ways to bring more “backyarding” into your life:  
 
1.    Invest in your yard. Design a dream lawn and garden. Consider its purpose. Don’t design just for aesthetics. Do you have kids and pets who need a place to play? Will you be hosting safe gatherings? Do you need a place for rest and relaxation and/or games and recreation?
 
2.    Get the whole family involved. Create a game or a friendly competition with your family to help identify all the ways you can move your indoor life to the great outdoors – and right out your backdoor. Can you take office calls and video meetings to the patio or porch? Can your kids do their online learning outdoors? How often can you take dining outside? Keeping safety in mind, can you gather outdoors for family celebrations, birthdays, graduations and reunions? 
 
3.    Plant something—as early as you can. (Or plant more). Adding trees, bushes, grass and flowering plants is a good yard investment, but they often take time to grow. Plant as early as recommended so you can enjoy the benefits faster.  Just remember “right plant, right place.”  Location, maintenance, sunlight and watering needs should all be considered, as well as your climate zone.
 
4.    Stretch winter-weary muscles. Take workouts, yoga classes and meditation sessions outdoors. You also can let off some steam by mowing the grass, trimming the hedges, or edging the lawn. Working in the yard not only helps our living landscapes look better and stay healthy, it also gives us a sense of accomplishment and control in trying times. 
 
5.    Plan a staycation. A makeshift “resort” or vacation spot could be just out your back door. Pitch a tent, build a campfire, hang a sheet between trees to make a movie screen, set up games – these are just a few ideas to make the backyard a vacation spot. 
 
6. “Level up” nature care. Add flowering plants, trees and shrubs to give wildlife and pollinators food and shelter. Your yard is part of the larger ecosystem, so check your climate zone for landscaping options that support your birds, bees, butterflies and other wildlife. Don’t forget to take time to just sit and drink it in, observing the wildlife and nature around you.
 
Research shows simply spending time in nature – which starts in your backyard – is good for reducing stress, boosting heart health, boosting Vitamin D levels, and enhancing memory.  Thanks to the family yard, the health and well-being benefits of being outside are just a few steps away.
 
To learn more, go to TurfMutt

Health image by Nicole Salazar for use by 360 Magazine

HOW TO START 2021 STRONGER, HEALTHIER AND FITTER

Kent Bradley, MD, Herbalife Nutrition Chief Health and Nutrition Officer

2020 was a year like no other. Driven by a global pandemic, many of us experienced more time at home sheltering with family. Baking became a hobby and working out at the gym was limited. Because of this, many of us gained weight and fell off our health goals as we shifted priorities and gave ourselves forgiveness in a challenging year. Good health is a combination of physical and mental health, which is greatly strengthened by nutrition and exercise, sleep, and connections with others. By making a few small adjustments to your life, you can be more vigorous in 2021 and ready for any future challenges.

Fuel with food

Most people know that healthy eating helps us maintain a healthy weight. But what Is often overlooked are the additional benefits of eating a well-balanced diet. A diet that provides good nutrition means getting the necessary nutrients, the vitamins and minerals along with the macronutrients, to help your body work its best. From improving your emotional wellbeing to maintaining the body’s systems to reducing food sources of heart-threatening bad cholesterol, the advantages of eating healthy are manifold. Most of us start the new year with goals, including eating better, but we often fall off our plans as the year progresses. As a health professional, I have found that many people benefit from eating healthy and losing weight when they are part of a community, all working, collaborating, and supporting one another. While many of these groups are unable to meet in person, they have blossomed online, and the camaraderie has been shown to help healthy weight loss and meet nutritional goals.

Focus on overall wellbeing

Eating healthy is a must – but so is having a balanced lifestyle. To keep stress at bay, look at all aspects to improve your wellness. If you are not eating a nutrient rich diet, be sure to supplement – and remember that hydration is an important aspect of balanced nutrition. Exercise will also improve your overall health; and may improve your sleep quality.

Mental health also plays into our wellbeing – with stress being a contributing factor in conditions from heart disease to obesity. According to WebMD, 75% to 90% of all doctor’s office visits are for stress-related ailments and complaints, including headaches, high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes, skin conditions, asthma, arthritis, depression, and anxiety. There are wonderful new apps like Headspace and Calm that can help you navigate several stress-inducing scenarios.  Remember that if you are already suffering these or other medical conditions, reducing stress remains important, but you should seek medical treatment.

For overall wellbeing set a daily routine that includes nutrition, exercise, sleep and mental breaks.

Stay connected

One of the insights that 2020 taught us was how much we crave connection. Isolation has led to higher rates of depression. Multiple studies have shown that social connection “can lower anxiety and depression, help us regulate our emotions, lead to higher self-esteem and empathy, and improve our immune systems.” While the beginning of 2021 will still have its challenges in this department, try picking up the phone more often, try write good old-fashioned letters and cards, and plan for late-year meetups and vacations. There is light at the end of the isolation tunnel.

Reinvest time in things you enjoy – or find new things

Participating in activities we enjoy gives our brain a boost – and learning new things impacts our overall brain health. It can be hard to find time to do something we want, but it benefits us to prioritize it. So, get out and garden, volunteer for a meaningful cause, take a dance class this summer or learn a new language to prepare for a future trip you have always wanted to take.  I have personally undertaken all of these in my own personal quest to tap into a source of joy of new experiences.  Keeping your mind busy and finding hobbies may protect you from that dreaded stress.

While 2020 brought many challenges, there is hope as we take control of our choices and stay connected with a healthy supportive community.   So, let us embrace the future and our opportunity to go into it strong and healthy. Here’s to a happier, healthier and better new year.

Children traveling illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Luxury Travel Safety Study

MEDJET AND WORTH MEDIA RELEASE RESULTS OF LUXURY TRAVEL SAFETY STUDY

Poll Reveals “Massive Misconceptions Among Business and Leisure Travelers of All Ages as to: If, When and How They’re Protected.”

A new study from Medjet, the industry leader in air medical transport and travel security memberships for travelers, and WORTH Media, a leading financial, wealth management and lifestyle media company, finds that a major segment of today’s luxury travel market – both business and leisure – continues to be ill-informed about travel insurance, medical evacuation and personal protection.

The most recent Medjet/WORTH Media poll, which builds on a study originally conducted pre-COVID-19 in fall 2019, was completed in early 2021 to more accurately gauge travelers’ sentiments after such a tumultuous year for the global travel industry. Both times, the results illustrated a significant lack of awareness in regard to travel insurance and medical evacuation coverage, even more so during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new poll results show that very few travelers plan on sitting this year out; when asked when they would feel ready to travel again, travelers’ responses were as follows:

  • 17.5% are already traveling
  • 15.83% plan on traveling within the next three months
  • 54.17% plan on traveling between 4-12 months from now
  • 12.5% plan on traveling 1+ year from now/are not sure

“The results of both polls are very much in line with what we’ve found in our own anecdotal research and decades of experience as leaders in the field of air medical transport and crisis response,” says Mike Hallman, President & CEO of Medjet, “that there are massive misconceptions among business and leisure travelers of all ages as to: If, when and how they are protected.”

In 2020, 85% of respondents felt they knew about the “same or less” about medevac coverage due to the pandemic. 64% of travelers felt they should know more.

The fall 2019 poll results, even without the threat of COVID-19, showed overwhelmingly that illness was a top traveler concern, and if hospitalized overseas, people would prefer to get home to their own hospital for treatment and recovery. Therefore, continuing to educate people as to the where travel insurance’s medevac coverage leaves off, and transport memberships like Medjet pick up, remain important. 


Both studies targeted professionals across the country whose household’s net worth was valued at $1,000,000 and above. The original Medjet/WORTH poll assessed travelers’ understanding of their health, travel or business insurance coverages, and credit card travel program benefits, finding that nearly two-thirds of respondents who reported being “concerned about their health while traveling” were unaware of the inclusions (and perhaps more importantly exclusions) in their plans or benefits packages. Some of the study’s major findings include:

  • Only 35% of travelers who reported being concerned about their health and well-being while traveling were aware that their health, travel or business insurance, or credit card travel benefits, could ONLY get them to the “nearest acceptable facility.” 65% mistakenly believed their coverage would automatically get them all the way to a hospital at home, or were not sure.
  • While illness and injury were top concerns for travelers, only 34% of business travelers concerned about their health had ever looked into the conditions of their company’s travel and medical evacuation policies.
  • Of those with corporate coverage, one in three respondents (33%) expected that, one way or another, their company would get them home if they became ill or were hospitalized while traveling. “For many companies, that means footing a $30,000 – $180,000 out-of-pocket bill, or potentially falling short on employee ‘duty of care’ expectations,” noted Hallman, “which can present a significant financial and legal risk to an organization.”
  • Of those who reported being self-employed and traveling for business frequently, 77% reported never purchasing travel insurance.
  • Younger respondents proved even less knowledgeable about what their health and travel insurance, or credit card travel benefits would do for them if they needed a medical evacuation; 86% believed it would transport them back to their hospital at home or were unsure.

“The greatest misconception among high-net-worth travelers is that, in the unforeseen event they were to end up hospitalized while out of town – be it in Peoria or Paraguay – they believe their basic travel coverage through a company plan, travel insurance or credit card would get them home,” said Hallman. “More often than not, that is not the case, which is why we see so many stories in the news about travelers stuck abroad, and why so many individuals, families, corporations and organizations (like the NFL) enroll in our membership program.”

“On the bright side,” said Hallman, “we found that 86% of business travelers were interested in purchasing additional medical evacuation coverage that got them all the way home, and 68% of business travelers were interested in purchasing travel security coverage in addition to the coverage offered by their company. So, it looks like there’s plenty of continued growth to look forward to here at Medjet!”

For more information about Medjet, please visit the Medjet website.

Dog illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Backyarding is Here to Stay

Backyarding is Here to Stay & It Has a Purpose. What’s Yours? 

By Kris Kiser, President & CEO of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute

What once only happened indoors now happens outdoors. It’s called “backyarding,” and it’s a trend that’s here to stay. From office work to working out, from eating to entertaining, if these activities were once typically held inside a home or office, they are now being brought to the great outdoors.

Simply think back over the last year and recount the number of times your backyard has taken center stage in your everyday life. The family yard became the safe and purposeful space where we could gather and recharge. Spending time outdoors is great for your physical and mental health, and our backyards are the bridge between indoor and outdoor living.

The backyard is nearly limitless with possibilities, and you can get really creative in how you expand and enjoy your yard. But before you get to work in your yard, you must first identity what type of “backyarder” you are. Then, you can keep that idea in mind to create a more purposeful outdoor space that is customized to your family’s needs.

Here are just a few of the backyarding personality types. Which one(s) are you?

Entertainer Extraordinaire
Your backyard was the neighborhood hot spot long before the pandemic made that trend posh. Family milestones, birthdays, graduations, reunions, socially distanced BBQs – your yard is *the* place to gather. Your yard is set up for success with patio furniture, fire pit, yard games, plenty of outdoor seating, string lights, and maybe even an outdoor kitchen.  The family yard and community park are five-star event spaces that are always easy to book!  

Environmentalist
You know that nature starts in your own backyard and that taking small steps in your yard can make a big impact on climate change. As the proverbial Robin to your yard’s Batman, you embrace your role in supporting the superhero powers of your living landscape. Those include capturing and filtering rainwater, producing oxygen, and absorbing carbon, just to name a few. 

Expert Landscaper
Your yard makes neighbors green with envy. You know how to maintain a healthy living landscape all year long, and you have the latest outdoor power equipment to make even big jobs easier. Your idea of a good time? Spending the weekend doing yardwork. You love the sense of accomplishment that comes from working in your yard, and friends can count on you for advice about their own living landscapes.

Horticulturist
The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map is bookmarked on your browser because putting the right plant in the right place is the living landscape Golden Rule you live by. You consider location, maintenance, sunlight and watering requirements, as well as your climate zone and lifestyle needs, before you even think about sticking your shovel in the dirt.

Kid Zone Creator
You know the safest place for your kids to be is in your own backyard, and you work hard to create an outdoor fun zone they will never want to leave. A flat area of sturdy turfgrass to play sports and pitch a tent? Check. Treehouse? Check. Zipline strung safely between backyard trees? Check. An elevated garden where kids can help grow the family’s meals? Check. Natural playscapes, like a patch of sand bordered by rocks and log stump seating? Check. “Fun” is your middle name, and you are winning at this game.

Nature Lover
No binging Netflix for you. You subscribe to “Nature TV” and prefer to spend your free time watching the birds, bats, butterflies and other wildlife that count on your yard for food and shelter. You cultivate a living landscape that supports a rich biodiversity with butterfly bushes, flowering plants, water sources, and trees and shrubs with nooks for nesting and food.  

Pet Pamperer
Your focus is on Fido, and you take cues from your four-legged friends about how to purpose your backyard. You’ve planted sturdy turfgrass like Buffalo or Bermuda that can stand up to pet play, and you’ve used soft foliage to create a natural barricade between “off limits” areas and the rest of the lawn. Trees and shrubs are strategically planted for shade, and you’ve even set up a shallow water feature to help your pup cool off on hot days. For you, planting with purpose means keeping toxic plants out of the picture. (For a complete list, visit ASPCA’s list of non-toxic and toxic plants.

Work (and learn!) from Home Warrior 
You don’t need to turn to technology to create a virtual backdrop for your video calls. The natural setting created by your yard’s trees, flowers, bushes and other plants is your go-to video call background. Your kids aren’t doing in-person school? No problem. Your backyard or neighborhood park is a living laboratory for learning that supports outdoor learning, even when school isn’t in session. Your kids take online classes under the shade of a tree. Do homework at a patio or picnic table. Brush up on STEM education by planting and studying flowers, bug hunting, and weather watching.

Zen Master
Enjoying your morning coffee on the balcony as songbirds serenade you. Meditating under the shade of a tree. De-stressing by swinging in a backyard hammock. Taking a break from your busy day to feel the sun on your face and the breeze in your hair. Your backyard is your sacred space for rest, relaxation, and rejuvenation. It’s the best “green spa” in town. You know that spending time outside is good for your health and well-being and that, thanks to your yard, these benefits are only steps away.

Setting the stage for backyarding. One final and important note to backyarders of all kinds. Creating a yard that supports all of the aspects of your family’s outdoor lifestyle means taking stock of what you might need to care for your lawn. Take an inventory of your outdoor power equipment to make sure you are prepared. Then, get out there and create your canvas for even more backyard memory-making.

To learn more about creating the yard of your dreams, visit TurfMutt.

LaJune illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

LaJune Performs LIVE!

*360 MAGAZINE Presents @IamLaJune ‘Mind’ LIVE Performance via 360TV on YouTube

Hip-Hop songstress LaJune resurrects with new music YA, off her new project Insecure. Available now at iamlajune.com and all streaming platforms. The follow up to Go girl off her debut EP entitled Body. June’s new track is reminiscent of iconic Timbaland and Neptunes tracks. Ears aroused from the beginning, base transitions crescendo in the background of the melodic hook. A true “Party & Bullshit” vibe, witty and wise with her pen combined with textured tones proves she’s far from insecure.

The title of her 2nd EP takes a glimpse at the structure, mind and soul this new artist is comfortable with exploring. Taking her artistry to the next degree, the first female established into 106 & Park Freestyle Friday hall of fame. No stranger to the stage, showcasing her talents opening for R&B legend Joe, Touch ME Tease ME Case and Grammy-winning singer Chrisette Michele.

Set to release her third EP Mind at the top of the New Year. The follow-up to her Insure EP released summer of 2020. A trilogy of transparency reflecting the mind, body and soul expected of a budding artist. Timing is everything, and at 12:21 am Lajune will release her 2nd video to date entitled “What you got”. 

To commemorate the conjunction of the two largest planets Jupiter X Saturn; in Aquarius on 12/21 which seemingly occurs every 200 years. A representation of the planets appearing to touch. Instigating a new cycle, a shift in power and alignment. A befitting release is relevant to an artist who is aware of herself and her destiny. The visual treatment takes you on a  journey of consciousness and self-reflection. If 2020 ironically hasn’t questioned us what you got? 

Cinematography by Tukes productions and directed by Ameer Copper the visual journey depicts the conflict of the higher and lower self. The duality portrayed with care but not to shy away from the harsh realities. Far from second-guessing, Lajune exudes confidence and strength. The opening scene draws you into Lajune’s environment, digesting the recent televised injustices of African Americans. Sporting custom designs of AOHSOA derived from stylist/designer Armon and beauty provided by Tykima

Her performance scene allows a glimpse of the artist’s personality, overflowing with animation. “Life is for the lesson” is an understatement considering the year, LaJune challenges her audience to be equipped with awareness; encouraging mental health and celebratory culture. Therefore the leap to a higher vibration through her thought-provoking in-your-face lyrical content proves this arises toes no lines. 

Challenging social norms without judgment, the Vh100 podcast host exhibits her acting chops in the interrogation scene with actor Jim Shearer. Be sure to check out the BTS of “What you got “ by Amenze Victor for a closer look at the highly anticipated project and artist who needs no explanation.

About LaJune

Currently, she is the Co-host to VH1’s podcast V100 devoted to discussing Pop culture and more. Stick shifting her career, LaJune navigates the release of a new project and motherhood. A year in the making, time only knows the length it takes a Rose to bloom.

As of late, LaJune teamed up with Armon Hayes for creative direction and visuals shot by artist Tony Anderson. Inspired by her love for the hit HBO series Insecure now in its 4th season staring and created by Issa Rae. Join LaJune on her musical journey, an independent artist who’s talent refuses to be shut-in.

LaJune,   360 magazine
Morray illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

2021 BREAKOUT ARTIST MORRAY

2021 BREAKOUT ARTIST MORRAY SIGNS TO INTERSCOPE RECORDS IN PARTNERSHIP WITH MOE SHALIZI’S PICK SIX RECORDS

Morray’s Hit Single “Quicksand” Surpasses 50 Million Views on YouTube “Big Decisions” And “Switched Up” Continue His Harmonic Rise

The wins continue in 2021 for North Carolina’s Morray. After achieving a stunning rise in notoriety thanks to his hit single “Quicksand,” the artist has officially signed to Interscope through music executive Moe Shalizi and his Pick Six label.

“Morray is an undeniable talent with an infectious energy,” says Interscope Geffen A&M CEO, John Janick. “We couldn’t be more excited to partner with Moe & his incredible team at Pick Six for what’s to come.”  Morray shares the same excitement noting, “It’s just so dope to be on a winning team with pic six and to add a powerhouse like interscope to the mix is just an amazing blessing.” Moe Shalizi adds, “There was so much synergy between our side and interscope that it just felt right, we are really excited to be working with John Janick and the rest of the team”

Since breaking through rap’s ceiling with the harmonious “Quicksand” in October 2020, Morray gained fans from all over hip-hop including Drake, fellow Fayetteville icon J. Cole and North Carolina native Da Baby. He also received a nod from Jay-Z when “Quicksand” was added to Jay’s “2020 Vision Under COVID-19” playlist. “We are very impressed with what Morray & Pick Six have been able to accomplish over the last year and are thrilled to be their partners on this journey,” expresses Nicole Wyskoarko, EVP/Co-Head of A&R at Interscope Geffen A&M.

Soon after “Quicksand,” he released a series of four songs that fleshed out his complex backstory. On “Switched Up” and “Low Key,” he reflects his hardened past. On “Dreamland,” he remembers an impoverished childhood defined by crashing at motels and friends’ houses (“some carpet ‘cause it’s better than the pavement”) and holidays and birthdays gone by with no gifts. On “Big Decisions,” his first release of 2021, he ruminates on his responsibilities as a breadwinner for his family and a role model for his community.

Morray has found a significant audience on YouTube in particular—each song was released alongside a music video that eclipsed one million views within a matter of days. Born Morae Ruffin, Morray made his public singing debut at age 4, when his mother and grandmother called on him in church to bless the congregation with a rendition of his favorite song, “I Believe I Can Fly.” He would later serve as the lead singer of his church choir. He’s worked nearly every job imaginable just to make ends meet—from fast food to construction, calling centers and even driving uber until he found his voice in music. Through his honest and vivid storytelling and emotional recordings he began the process of creating his songbook that included “Quicksand.” The first time I heard Quicksand I knew Morray was a global superstar in the making,” says Baroline, VP of A&R at Interscope. “I’m excited for the world to get to know him and hear what he’s been working on.”

His songs are as honest as they are catchy. And though he’s become a hometown hero in Fayetteville, the deep sense of struggle he evokes in his music gives it a universal appeal. “I’m speaking for every person that has real emotions,” he said. “I’m speaking to everyone that has a heart. Every song that you hear from me is a real feeling. I want people to cry with me. I want people to grow with me. I want people to understand where we’ve come from, and that we can always make it out of everything.”  

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