Seasonal depression affects many of us. If you have found yourself experiencing the winter blues, try using one of the following tips to help overcome depression and restore peace and joy into your life. Here are some simple, inexpensive ideas that can help to rejuvenate your body and your mood throughout the winter season.
Even if there’s no room in the budget for going to a spa, chair and handheld massagers are available at stores like Walmart and Target that can be used in the comfort of your own living room. The next best thing to a massage is a hot bubble bath, as this helps to increase blood flow to muscles and allows you to relax. Turn on some background music. Music is the universal language of emotions and can offer a relaxing way of helping you take your mind off your worries. From timeless classics to contemporary jazz, indie to fusion, the secret is to turn the volume down so low that it is almost imperceptible. This little trick makes you focus on listening and helps silence racing thoughts.
Chronic stress can produce too much cortisol, a hormone that can ramp up appetite and lead to overeating. A simple exercise like walking just 30 minutes a day is a great way to minimize gaining weight and reduce stress.
Nap time. Too little sleep causes slowed metabolism and increased appetite, risking overeating, unhealthy food choices and inactivity. Most of us don’t get enough rest, and curling up with a good book and having some hot cider or tea before lying down can help you fall asleep faster when you are just too stressed to relax.
Keeping your expenses down is a good idea any time of the year. Studies show that financial stress is one of the main reasons adults worry. This concern can be transmitted to your kids. While most kids don’t bear the financial responsibility of their parents, they can often sense something is wrong. Drink water instead of coffee and sugary beverages. Don’t plan to make any large purchases on credit until you are out of debt. Pay yourself first, even if it’s only a dollar a week, which you should put into an account at your local credit union to avoid fees.
Take up restorative yoga, t’ai chi, or meditation. These mind body strategies incorporate improving posture, relaxing and stretching to improve balance and coordination while simultaneously decreasing stress. Take time to breathe deeply and say a prayer, or just sit down in a quiet place and simply meditate with relative peace and quiet.
Never underestimate the power of a good sex life and reconnecting with your significant other. Enough said.
Comedy is good for the soul. Whether it comes from rented movies, downloaded comedy sketches or going to improv or karaoke, a good laugh goes a long way. Consider taking your family members hiking, bicycling or skating, and keeping everyone engaged in a lighthearted physical activity. Laughter lowers stress hormones and improves blood flow, which increases your energy levels. The more energy you have, the less likely you’ll be to be overwhelmed by depression that sometimes comes with the winter season.
Melt the butter in a skillet on low heat. Add the pecans and stir them until they are covered in the butter. Add the cinnamon and chipotle powder and stir to coat. Cook the pecans, stirring occasionally, for ten minutes. Salt to taste.
This easy recipe also makes a great companion for sweet potatoes, bringing a smooth sweetness to balance out the spice and nutty flavors.
Creating a weight loss lifestyle in 2012 doesn’t have to seem like an insurmountable goal. Break down your goals into smaller, more attainable pieces that will have you creating healthy eating habits, rather than shedding pounds using crash dieting methods that won’t last.
Weight loss is an excellent resolution to have in spite of how difficult it may seem. Although there are many diets and fads that come and go, even a 10-pound weight loss can improve your health and your risk for diseases associated with obesity, like type 2 diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.
This article was written by Dr. Moshe Lewis and was featured on You Cant Outsource Weight Loss
I often encourage my patients to cook at home since it tends to be healthier, but I understand that cooking can put a lot of ware on the body, especially if you’re not using well-made equipment. I was interviewed by EverydayHealth.com for advice on the most useful cooking tools and gadgets around. With these eight cooking appliances, pain caused by working in the kitchen will be replaced by fun and pleasure.
Overwhelming and stressful feelings can sometimes burden us during the busy holidays. With to-do lists a mile long and the clock quickly winding down to the big day, and when the big guy busts through our chimneys, we often forget to take a few moments for ourselves to unwind. Seasonal depression effects many of us. Here are some simple, inexpensive ideas that can help to rejuvenate your body and your mood over the holidays.
Even if going to a spa is out of the budget, there are chair and hand held massagers available at stores like Walmart and Target that can be used in the comfort of your own living room. If it’s just too cold to go outside, the next best thing to a massage is a hot bubble bath with some soothing music in the background as helps increase the blood flow to muscles and allows you to relax. Music itself can be a relaxing way to help you take your mind off your worries as it is the universal language of life. From holiday classics to jazz, from indie to fusion, the secret is to turn the volume down so low that it is almost imperceptible. This little trick allows you to focus on listening and helps silence racing thoughts.
Chronic stress can produce too much cortisol, a hormone that can ramp up appetite and lead to overeating. A simple exercise like walking just 30 minutes a day is a great way to minimize weight gain and reduce stress simultaneously.
It’s nap time. Too little sleep causes slowed metabolism and increased appetite—risking overeating, unhealthy food choices, and inactivity. Most of us don’t get enough rest and curling up with a good book, having some hot cider or tea before lying down can help us fall asleep faster when one is just too stressed to relax.
Cutting your expenses is a good idea for any holiday season. Studies show that financial stress is one of the main reasons adults worry. This concern can be transmitted to your kids. While most kids don’t bear the financial responsibility of their parents, they can often sense something is wrong. Make holiday cards and gifts at home this year instead of buying expensive tinsel and trappings. Friends and family will find these cards and gifts more valuable than anything produced in a factory and shipped in from another country.
Take up restorative yoga, tai chi, or meditation! These mind-body strategies incorporate improving posture, relaxing and stretching to improve balance and coordination, while simultaneously decreasing stress. Take time to breathe deeply and say a prayer, or just sit down in a quiet place and simply meditate with relative peace and quiet.
Never underestimate the power of a good love life and reconnecting with your spouse. Enough said.
Comedy is good for the soul. Whether it’s rented movies, downloaded comedy sketches or even going to improv or karaoke, a good laugh goes a long way. Consider taking your kids or young family members skating, skiing, or snow boarding and keeping everyone engaged in lighthearted physical activity. Laughter lowers stress hormones and improves blood flow, which increases your energy levels. The more energy you have, the less likely you’ll be overwhelmed by depression that sometimes comes with the holidays.
This article was featured on AlwaysNewYou.com
When Jack Frost starts nipping at your nose, he might also be taking a jackhammer to your immune system. Everyone knows that winter weather is hard on your health, and the change of the season takes away easy access to health boosters like sunlight, outdoor exercise, and fresh vegetables. Add in the stress of the holiday season, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for overwhelming your immune system just in time to miss all of the festivities.
‘Tis the season for orange juice and echinacea—supermarkets and supplement stores are actively suggesting ways to give your immune system a natural boost. Researchers have been working for years to figure out which of these natural cures are best. Unfortunately, a surprising number of these immune boosters have something in common with Santa Claus—they only work because you believe in them. Here’s a guide to some of the most common natural immune strategies.
In general there are many obstacles to determine if an herbal product is effective or not. Most patients and physicians are not aware that products available under the same herbal name, for example supplements with the name Echinacea differ considerably in their composition (including different plants, e.g. Echinacea purpurea versus Echinacea angustifolia), use of variable plant parts (e.g. roots versus leaves) extraction methods (e.g. drying versus alcohol extractions) and the addition of other components. These obstacles are also seen in studies testing different things but calling it the same and then generalizing the results.
Conventional wisdom tells us that taking vitamins is good for our health. It turns out that multivitamins also affect our immune system. There is some evidence that various micronutrient deficiencies—for example, deficiencies of zinc, selenium, iron, copper, folic acid, and vitamins A, B6, C, and E—alter immune responses in animals. However, the impact of these immune system changes on the health of animals is less clear, and the effect of similar deficiencies on the human immune response has yet to be assessed. While we don’t yet know whether a multivitamin tablet can ward off a cold, it’s simply a good health practice to take vitamins, particularly in winter. Supplements can make up for the nutrition that we often get through fresh summer food, not to mention the vitamin D we get from sunlight.
Though we often call Vitamin C the gold standard immune system helper, recent reviews show us that that this may not be true unless you’re training for the annual Antarctica Marathon. A vitamin C supplement may help you to prevent illness if you’re under a significant amount of physical stress like cold exposure or extreme exercise. But even a super-dose of vitamin C won’t stop an average person from catching a cold or flu. That said, if you’ve been enjoying a daily glass of orange juice, don’t stop—new research suggests that vitamin C is an antioxidant, and plays a role in cancer prevention.
We’ve seen evidence that topical aloe vera is helpful for minor burns, wounds, or frostbite. Researchers have started paying attention to its internal and antioxidant effects as well. Although numerous claims have been published on the internet and elsewhere about aloe’s immune system benefits, no medical studies on aloe’s cold prevention properties have yet been published. Stay tuned, though. Aloe is a promising natural remedy, and plenty of new research on this plant is being published every year. Drinking aloe juice will certainly not harm your immune system, and you may find that you enjoy it.
Echinacea is one of the most common herbal health supplements for cold fighting—it has become the banner herb for winter immune boosting. On a 2009 meta-analysis (analysis of multiple studies) comparing treatment results of Echinacea with placebo, a significant effect was reported in nine comparisons, a trend in one, and no difference in six. Interestingly on another meta-analysis of 3 studies testing prevention of cold (after inoculation with the rhino-virus) found a 55% higher risk of getting the cold when Echinacea was not taken. At this point the jury is still debating this one, more to come.
Ginseng is a well-known herb used to promote health in Asian medicine. Astragalus is an herb used in Chinese medicine to help bolster the body against disease. Like many traditional Chinese medicinal herbs, ginseng and astragalus are receiving renewed attention in Western medicine. However, that attention has not yet resulted in definitive evidence that either of these herbs helps to fight colds. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) considers there have been insufficient large studies of a high enough quality to support the claims of immune boosting with ginseng. Similarly, the quality of the existing studies demonstrating the immune-stimulating properties of astragalus are poor; some suggest that astragalus may harm as much as it helps.
Garlic lovers will happily believe that it will cure anything that ails you. Medical science is showing a lot of love for the pungent bulb, as well. In laboratory tests, researchers have seen garlic work against bacteria, viruses, and fungi. However, there haven’t been enough well-designed human studies conducted to know whether this translates into human benefits.
Probiotics are good bacteria, such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, which can safely dwell in your digestive tract. Thanks to a new generation of yogurt products, it is easy to incorporate a breadth of probiotics into your diet, resulting in a multitude of digestive benefits. However, though some probiotic enthusiasts claim that these wonder bacteria can help the immune system as well, it hasn’t yet been proven that probiotics directly influence immune strength. However, good health practices tend to help the immune system indirectly; probiotics may not help you to fight a cold, but they do contribute to your overall health.
If the news about supplements has been disappointing, don’t despair. Some of the best ways to avoid winter illnesses don’t involve supplements at all. Simply making basic common-sense efforts to take care of your health will go a long way toward avoiding sickness. For example, washing your hands frequently to prevent the spread of germs will prevent illnesses before they even have a chance to tax your immune system.
Perhaps the best way boost your immunity this winter is to avoid stress in the first place. Though the holidays and New Year tend to stoke our ambitions, winter is not the best time of year to work yourself to death or take on herculean projects. So, for the sake of your health, find time to have fun. Go Christmas caroling, do a good deed or take a walk. Pay attention to your emotional wellbeing as well as your physical, and enjoy your healthiest winter yet.
Doctors offer plenty of advice to patients, but it's not often that a doctor weighs in on treatments to help a hangover. Dr. Moshe Lewis, chief of physical medicine and rehabilitation at California Pacific Medical Center, St. Luke's Campus, shared his ideas with me on how to alleviate a hangover when the spirit to imbibe overwhelms you.
Hangover PreventionDr. Lewis says he agrees with your grandma - don't get yourself into a hangover situation in the first place. Abstinence is the best prevention strategy of all. It allows you the ability to enjoy the sheer fun of being with close family and friends. Yet, the reality for some people is that the thought of socializing leads to anxiety, depression or fear. In turn, many people self-medicate with alcohol. Simple strategies aimed at reduction include setting firm limits. Substituting non-alcoholic drinks throughout the evening or arriving late to the party are worthy of consideration. However, if you find that you haven't followed Grandma's advice, Dr. Lewis has some tips to quickly get you back to the holiday festivities.
Hangover RemedyWhen you arrive home after significant drinking and want to avoid the hangover that's no-doubt coming, take two Ibuprofen tablets, drink peppermint tea and eat some carbohydrates, recommends Dr. Lewis. Alcohol reduces your sugar levels, so what you need is instant energy. Sugar replaces the energy your brain cells need in order to function properly, and most typical "hangover-cures" contain carbohydrates or sugar; this is why people find them to be effective.
Carbs, such as bread, chicken noodle soup and yogurt help by restoring the sugar levels in your body. Natural sugars, which can be found in bananas, apples and fiber bars, will give you instant energy, and they are healthy choices. Proteins, such as meat, milk and eggs, provide longer-term energy needs for your body.
Thus, Dr. Lewis suggests anything that metabolizes quickly - yup, even peanut M&Ms - to restore your sugar levels and give you the energy you need. Greasy foods, on the other hand - think burgers and cheese steak sandwiches - typically take longer to digest, which is why they are not ideal.
Remember: you're craving certain foods for a reason. Cravings reflect something that your body needs, explains Dr. Lewis. It's not a bad idea to go with what your body is asking for.
Contrary to popular belief, you should avoid too much coffee, as it can further dehydrate you.
Read this article on Yahoo! Voices.
Tomorrow, being Thanksgiving day, officially starts off the holiday season! Come Friday, I will allow myself to listen to the Christmas music that has been playing on the radio for the last month or so. It will ring in my ears for the next four weeks as I merrily bop around, vomiting Christmas Spirit upon everyone I encounter. The holidays are a joyful time for me. However, they are also a very busy time filled with parties, shopping, and gatherings. Food always accompanies these occasions and I always manage to consume much more than a comfortable portion.
This year (like I say every year), I’m not going to let myself pack on extra pounds for Christmas. What’s different? I’m prepared. Read the following tips from our expert contributor to better prepare yourself to battle the bulge over the holidays:
As the weather turns and the days grow darker earlier, it’s understandable that going out to exercise in the dark could turn into both a cold and unsafe experience. If outdoor exercise doesn’t work then bring the exercise indoors and check out the local YMCA.
This article was featured on 5Ktours.com