Category Archives: Healthy Living

5 minutes Daily Program to Stress Management

We all have this favorite expression when it comes to being stressed out, and I wouldn’t bother naming all of them since it may also vary in different languages. But when it comes down to it, I think that it is how we work or even relax, for that matter that triggers stress. Ever been stressed even when you’re well relaxed and bored? I know I have.

Since Error! Hyperlink reference not valid. is unavoidable in life, it is important to find ways to decrease and prevent stressful incidents and decrease negative reactions to stress. Here are some of the things that can be done by just remembering it, since life is basically a routine to follow like brushing your teeth or eating breakfast. You can do a few of them in a longer span of time, but as they say– every minute counts.

Managing Time

Time management skills can allow you more time with your family and friends and possibly increase your performance and productivity. This will help reduce your stress.

To improve your time management:

  • Save time by focusing and concentrating, delegating, and scheduling time for yourself.
  • Keep a record of how you spend your time, including work, family, and leisure time.
  • Prioritize your time by rating tasks by importance and urgency. Redirect your time to those activities that are important and meaningful to you.
  • Manage your commitments by not over- or undercommitting. Don’t commit to what is not important to you.
  • Deal with procrastination by using a day planner, breaking large projects into smaller ones, and setting short-term deadlines.
  • Examine your beliefs to reduce conflict between what you believe and what your life is like.

Build Healthy Coping Strategies

It is important that you identify your coping strategies. One way to do this is by recording the stressful event, your reaction, and how you cope in a stress journal. With this information, you can work to change unhealthy coping strategies into healthy ones-those that help you focus on the positive and what you can change or control in your life.

Lifestyle

Some behaviors and lifestyle choices affect your stress level. They may not cause stress directly, but they can interfere with the ways your body seeks relief from stress. Try to:

  • Balance personal, work, and family needs and obligations.
  • Have a sense of purpose in life.
  • Get enough sleep, since your body recovers from the stresses of the day while you are sleeping.
  • Eat a balanced diet for a nutritional defense against stress.
  • Get moderate exercise throughout the week.
  • Limit your consumption of alcohol.
  • Don’t smoke.

Social Support

Social support is a major factor in how we experience stress. Social support is the positive support you receive from family, friends, and the community. It is the knowledge that you are cared for, loved, esteemed, and valued. More and more research indicates a strong relationship between social support and better mental and physical health.

Change the Way You Think

When an event triggers negative thoughts, you may experience fear, insecurity, anxiety, depression, rage, guilt, and a sense of worthlessness or powerlessness. These emotions trigger the body’s stress, just as an actual threat does. Dealing with your negative thoughts and how you see things can help reduce stress.

  • Thought-stopping helps you stop a negative thought to help eliminate stress.
  • Disproving irrational thoughts helps you to avoid exaggerating the negative thought, anticipating the worst, and interpreting an event incorrectly.
  • Problem solving helps you identify all aspects of a stressful event and find ways to deal with it.
  • Changing your communication style helps you communicate in a way that makes your views known without making others feel put down, hostile, or intimidated. This reduces the stress that comes from poor communication. Use the assertiveness ladder to improve your communication style.

Treating Children Cold Symptoms

As parents, we never want to see our children sick. It’s often painful for us to see our children in discomfort and it’s also difficult to comfort them when they don’t understand why they’re sick. Sickness leads to bad moods and cranky kids, which in turn leave parents frustrated and often the whole family gets stressed out when sickness invades the home.
Our first response is usually to find a medicine that will cure the illness. But along with curing whatever ails your child, there are certain dangers associated with medicines, both prescription and over the counter (OTC). This guide will help you decide if medicine is even a necessary treatment, safety tips to ensure your child gets the correct dosage, natural remedies, tips for when to seek medical attention, and questions you need to ask your pediatrician.

Cold Symptoms: Does Your Child Need Medicine?

What do you do when your child comes home from school sniffling? Or has a nagging cough? Or has a slight fever? Do you run right to the store to get some cough and cold medicine?

Many OTC medicines treat the symptoms only, rather than the illness itself, so you should determine just how uncomfortable your child is before doling out the medicine. Medicines are most effective against severe symptoms rather than minor symptoms. A slight case of the sniffles doesn’t require medicine but severe congestion can benefit from a decongestant. Use simple common sense or call your pediatrician to determine the severity of your child’s symptoms.
Also take your child’s age into consideration when determining if she needs medicine. Infant OTC medicines have been deemed unreliable for treating symptoms. Children under the age of 2 risk the possibility of severe, life-threatening side effects from some OTC medicines and the FDA is currently reviewing the guidelines for toddlers.

Considering that these medicines are all man-made and full of chemicals, do we really want our children ingesting medicines that might cause them harm, especially if they don’t really need it? If there’s any question about the effectiveness, why risk the possible side-effects?

Childhood Obesity is on the Rise

Over the years overweight and obesity rates have been on the rise among children and adults. In fact, the numbers are alarming, with almost 15 percent of children aged 10 to 17 years old are considered overweight. Currently 55 percent of adults in the United States are classified as either overweight or obese. In the simplest form obesity is a result of an imbalance between the calories a person consumes of food and the calories a person burns throughout the day. The affects of childhood obesity are more serious than some may think:

  1. Overweight children are more likely to become overweight adults.
  2. Children that are overweight are at risk for adult-onset such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease.
  3. Bone and joint problems.
  4. Restless or disordered sleep patterns.
  5. Liver and gall bladder disease.
  6. Shortness of breath.
  7. At higher risk factors for cardiovascular disease including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and abnormal glucose tolerance.
  8. Developing mental health problems.

The effects are more than just physical. Overweight youth often face social discrimination, such as teasing and exclusion, by their peers. Studies have also shown that overweight children are more likely to be diagnosed with mental health disorders, like depression. Low self esteem is also a major concern of children that are overweight. Low self esteem leads to higher rates of loneliness, sadness, and nervousness. Children are more likely to smoke and drink as a result.

Combating childhood obesity needs to start at home. Children spend a considerable amount of time with the fancy technical gadgets we have all grown so accustom too. One study suggests that time spent watching TV, DVDs, videos, and movies averaged over 3 hours per day for children 10 to 17 years of age. Interestingly enough this co-insides with the increasing number of children that are overweight or obese. Adults are just as guilty… many spend all day sitting at work then come home and watch TV in efforts to relax from a hard day. To top it off the nutritional choices we make aren’t always the best. We have fast food and other high caloric foods, with low nutritional value, that complicate matters even more.

Help Children Develop Healthy Eating Habits

The best way to help children develop healthy eating habits is to practice them yourself and as a family. There is no great secret to healthy eating. Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits along with whole grain products. Include low-fat milk and dairy products. Choose lean meats, poultry, fish, and beans for protein. Serve reasonable sized portions, drink plenty of water, limit high sugar foods and beverages and saturated fats. Remember that by making small changes everyday you can improve the quality of life for the whole family.

Help Children Get Active

Another part of balancing calories is to get physically active and avoid too much sedentary time. Regular physical activity has many health benefits such as; helping manage weight, increases self-esteem, reduces stress, decreases blood pressure, and strengthens bones. Children should participate in at least 60 minutes of moderate physical activity most days of the week.

The biggest influence on your children’s lives are you (parents). It is up to you to make the necessary changes in your life in order to teach your children to make the same changes. Be a positive role model and avoid negative statements about food, weight, body size and shape. Offer your family healthy and nutritious meals and snacks and participate in regular physical activity together. Eating healthy and getting the right amount of exercise is a family activity which will benefit everyone. Take it one step at a time and allow enough time for the changes to become a routine, then adapt additional changes.

Four Unique Relaxation Tips for Parents

Nothing can prepare a person for parenthood. The lifestyle and energy shift and awesome responsibility brings with it an entire set of stresses, headaches, distractions, and reasons for sleepless nights and exhausting days. But those are typically symptoms of good parenting, because unless you are living that kind of selfless existence as a parent the chances are good that you aren’t doing everything you should to love, protect, educate, nurture, and befriend your child. The problem is that in order to keep giving of ourselves, it is important to make sure that we, too, are nurtured. Otherwise anyone will become depleted if all they do is serve others without end. To give, in other words, it is important to also receive. One of the biggest and most vital gift a parent needs to give himself or herself is good old-fashioned relaxation or comfortable, easy-going “down time.”

Here are four tips for finding the relaxation you seek:

  1. Schedule Mini-Breaks – Every hour, take a three minute break. Stop everything, put on the iPod earphones, and just get lost in a favorite song. Step outside and count clouds, or just go rinse your face in cool water. Interrupting the chaos with a few moment of calm can do wonders.
  2. Stay Healthy – Eating well, drinking plenty of water, and getting even a few minutes of intentional exercise – not just the kind you get chasing kids around the playground – all help the body and mind to unload stress. Your brain releases uplifting endorphins and other chemicals, too, to help you feel better and have more energy.
  3. Invest in Your Relaxation – When you have reached your limit, pay someone to clean the house just once. Hire a sitter and go out for the evening. Or just buy a pair of good earplugs and use them to preserve your sanity whenever the kids are shrieking nonstop. By giving little gifts of relaxation to yourself you have more energy to give your children.
  4. Remember to Breathe – One of the easiest things to do to relax, and one of the easiest to forget, is to just close your eyes and take ten deep breathes. Visualize all your anxiety leaving you on the exhale, and slowly empty your mind and then inhale again. Hey, they teach this stuff to Navy SEALS and cage fighters. So give it a try to combat some stress at home.

There are many conventional strategies for relaxation, of course, and if you get a chance to escape to the beach or have a night out with your grown-up friends then seize the opportunity and relish it while it lasts. But what many parents really want is tips and techniques for creating some sustainable relaxation, or for creating relaxing experiences within the fleeting moments of an otherwise hectic day. Follow these tips and you should find more of those mini-relaxation moments in life. Together they add up to some significant comfort and relief from stress.

Combating Parental Stress

Parents in today’s society have their work cut out for them. “To Do” lists seem to be longer than the piece of paper they are printed on, they are working longer hours, and commuting longer distances just to ensure that there is food on the table and a roof over their heads. Tack on the kid’s lives, the after school activities, sports, and everything else – life can become stressful. For single parents this can be even more so.

Parental Stress is a Major Issue

  • Facing major life events such as divorce, death, and midlife crisis.
  • Finding good childcare and being reassured that your children are well cared for when they are not with you.
  • Financial worries lead to a lot of stress for parents – paying bills, money for college, and providing help to other family members.
  • Fear of losing their job or being laid off from work.
  • Facing health problems as they get older is also a concern for many.

As a parent do you feel like you are trying to do too much in a single day? We think things such as technology and fast food help us but in reality we think we need to do more and more because of them. Instead of using the extra time these things provide we try and cram more things to do in.

When you don’t pay enough attention to your physical and mental health you put yourself at risk for developing stress related problems such as; chronic fatigue, depression, and tension headaches. Since your child’s emotional well-being is strongly linked to your own then this will directly affect your children. You are your child’s primary role model and they are watching you to see how you cope with the ups and downs of life and how you manage stress. If you manage it well you will not only feel better but you will also be teaching your kids how to manage stress in their lives.

How Can Parents Manage Stress

Making friends and build strong social networks. Look to your friends to talk to and fill emotional needs. Being friends with other parents with kids the same age as yours can also have benefits such as carpooling to and from activities.

Priorities! Make sure you set your daily chores in order of importance. Not everything has to be done “TODAY”.

You need to take time out for yourself. This can be difficult however, it is a must. A warm bath or shower, take a nap, read a book, or go for a walk. The goal is to do things that will help energize you. Getting rundown is not good for you physically or mentally.

The day can pass quickly and it is hard to fit time in for yourself but if you don’t and you start to feel depressed and frustrated you may get over-stressed. If this is happening you can bet your children are picking up on it too. Call a timeout on yourself and address the stress!

Smoking Can Cost You Your Children

Over the years it is obvious that there is serious health effects associated with smoking. We are seeing business’s ban smoking, new laws and regulations, tobacco is highly taxed, the health of Americans are a major concern as smoking kills over half a million people each year. Many of which are non-smokers.

Even if you are a parent that smokes you want to protect your children from the harmful effects of smoking but you don’t have to smoke around them to cause them harm. Secondhand smoke sticks to your clothes, hair, furniture, car upholstery, and so on. There are over 4,000 chemicals in secondhand smoke and smoking residue potentially could be a health risk.

Direct secondhand smoke can cause children to suffer bronchitis, pneumonia, ear infections and more severe asthma attacks. Thousands of children are hospitalized each year because of secondhand smoke. Children will have to deal with these things for the rest of their lives.

The developing lungs of young children are severely affected by exposure to secondhand smoke for several reasons including that children are still developing physically, have higher breathing rates than adults, and have little control over their indoor environments. Children exposed to secondhand smoke, such as those with smoking mothers, run the greatest risk of damaging health effects.

Because of these things the child custody courts are getting more and more vocal about this very issue. Nearly half of the states in the US have ruled that whether a parent smokes should be taken into consideration when determining child custody. In some cases parents have lost visitation and had their custody agreements modified because they exposed their children to secondhand smoke.

“The controversy over whether smokers damage the health of people they live with has found its way into child custody cases — and that’s bad news for smokers.” Wall Street Journal

We want to teach our children and look after them the best we can but we can’t do it if we don’t live it. Parenting by example is just that… we live what we teach and we put our children first. Whether you choose to quit smoking or not is clearly up to you but you must know that there will be consequences for your actions in ways you never imagined. Why not seize this opportunity to learn more about quitting smoking and visit. SmokeFree.gov

Food Safety Starts at the Store

Many people think that preventing food borne illness starts at home when in fact it should be taken into consideration, at the source, when shopping for groceries. According to the CDC, food borne ailments cause about 325,000 hospitalizations and 5,200 deaths in the US each year.

Here are some simple things that you can do to help prevent food borne illnesses when shopping for your groceries.

  • Is the store you are shopping at clean? – The store should look and smell clean and if you see any food handling practices that don’t appear to be right don’t take the chance and report it to the manager.
  • Separate certain foods. – As you make your way through the store you should keep your foods separate from one another. For example don’t place your meats on your vegetables. When selecting meats it is also a good idea to use plastic bags to prevent their juices from leaking out. Some stores even have hand sanitizer in the meat section for you to use after selecting your meats.
  • Inspect cans and jars. – Don’t purchase cans that are dented or bulging and watch out for glass containers if they appear cracked or their lids are bulging or loose. Check those seals for tampering.
  • Check frozen foods. – Of course you don’t want to buy anything that is opened or crushed but you also want to make sure that you don’t buy any frozen food that is above the frost line in the stores freezer. Check for signs of frost or ice crystals, this could mean that the food in the package has been thawed and refrozen or been stored for a long time.
  • Select your fresh foods and perishable items last. – These products are the most sensitive and you want to keep them cool as long as possible so wait until the end of your shopping to add them to your cart.
  • Check your eggs carefully.- When buying eggs you want to open the container and make sure that they are clean and damage free. They should also be kept refrigerated.
  • Don’t dilly dally getting home. – You need to get home in a reasonable amount of time so your perishable items do not begin to spoil. Experts say that the “2 hour rule” because after that harmful bacterial can multiply into the danger zone. Even when you get home don’t leave perishable items out on the counter for very long. If the temperature is 90 degrees or above cut that rule in half. If it will take more than an hour to get the food home than bring a long an ice cooler to keep perishable items cold.

Food satety is important for protecting you and your family and there are many things you can do to help prevent getting ill. These are simple steps to put into practice and it is always better to be safe than sorry.