6 Ways To Stay Energized During the Winter Months

January 31, 2019  
Filed under Feature Stories, Health & Wellness

When it’s cold outside, and the weather is frightful, it can be truly delightful once in a while to hole up with a good book, a blanket and a cup of tea. But equally important is keeping up your energy, staying active and maintaining your mental well being through the shorter days of winter.

One of the reasons people are affected seasonally is a lack of sunlight, which not only disrupts your body’s internal clock, but impacts the levels of serotonin: the hormone which affects mood. SAD—Seasonal Affective Disorder—is a serious condition that is in fact considered to be a subtype of depression. It’s effects are wide ranging, including things like irritability, social withdrawal, difficulty with concentration, sleeping and a general feeling of lack of energy on the mild end, to serious mental health issues like suicidal thoughts, anxiety and depression.

Even if you’re not afflicted with SAD, staying active and keeping up your energy levels is a key way to deal with the long winter months. Here’s how:

Do what you usually do

It’s important to keep to your normal routines, as much as possible, despite the weather. If you’re a runner, keep running! Maybe take it to a gym treadmill on icy days, or when the temperature gauge hits a new low, but keep running! If you’re a walker, bring it indoors and take up mall walking when the roads and pathways won’t permit an outdoor jaunt. There are countless ways to alter your usual activities so that they are safe and enjoyable, even through the coldest of winter days.

And keeping to your routine has healthful benefits. Most people who have habits and routines that they stick to feel less stressed and more like they’ve accomplished something from what the brain sees as a task list. It can help to reduce anxiety and encourage a general feeling of well being.

Get some energy from nature

Communing with the great outdoors, even in less than perfect weather, can have a tremendous impact on your mood and energy levels. When you feel house / building bound, it’s harder to summon the get up and go that you need to enjoy the everyday moments. Spend a little time outside, among trees, whether that’s on a nature trail or your local park: it will remind you that there is a greater world out there and that you should enjoy every bit of it!

 

Choose the right food and drink

Fatty, salty foods, or alcohol in excess are never a good idea but even more so during the winter. You want to have stable blood sugar levels and minimal spikes from sources like caffeine, in order to stay happy and healthy. And it probably goes without saying that one too many spiked toddies may not be the best route to maintaining good health. Instead, look for vitamin rich foods:

  • Legumes and nuts – beans and lentils, all vitamin, protein and fiber rich, with just the right types of fats contained in nuts like walnuts.
  • Dark green leafy veggies – kale, spinach and the like are chock full of all the good vitamins and minerals your body craves, including iron.
  • Lean meats – turkey, chicken and pork are good options, in moderation.
  • Fish – particularly varieties with high Omega-3s, like salmon. The healthy fats are good for your brain and its chemistry.
  • Eggs – a good protein boost with a healthy dose of vitamin D.
  • Dark chocolate – if you have a sweet tooth, stick to chocolate with 70% cocoa or higher for your fix.
  • Avocados and bananas – while you might not choose to eat these together, either have a good amount of B6, the vitamin necessary to produce serotonin, which is your mood hormone.

Keep in mind too that while you might still be active, it’s possible that you are less active during the colder, winter months than in the middle of summer, so temper your usual eating habits, in line with your workouts!

Make sure you iron levels are stable

Of all the important levels to maintain in your body, iron is vital. If you’re feeling sluggish and tired, a leading culprit for many is low iron levels. Since most of us cannot get the amount of iron we need from our diet (only about 10% is absorbed that way), iron deficiency anemia is a widespread issue. Iron supplements have historically been difficult to absorb and even harder for to tolerate, but a new formulation called Active Iron can give you 138% of your daily dose, without the usual side effects. Active Iron is absorbed quickly and easily through the small intestine, thanks to new technology that binds it to whey-protein, making it easier to tolerate, even on an empty stomach.

Keep moving and dress for outdoor success

Part of enjoying the great outdoors, even in winter, is being dressed for it. If you’re warm and dry, you’ll enjoy it a lot more! Layer your clothes with a moisture wicking layer next to your skin, a layer for warmth and a third layer to block the wind and wet. In warmer weather, you can always drop a layer, but this is the best way to ensure that if you’re active outside, you won’t get cold too.


Get a little light

A little light therapy can really help deal with the general feeling of unwell that comes from a lack of daylight sunshine. Posited as a treatment for SAD, light boxes are designed to provide a replacement for sunshine, fooling your brain chemically into thinking you’ve absorbed some restorative rays. Look for a light that is designed specifically to treat SAD, if you’re looking for an effective mood booster.

You should always check in with a doctor before applying any type of therapy in your life, but most will tell you that a little light in the dark of winter can go a long way.
With all the ways that you can boost your mood and your energy through the cold winter months, there’s no reason to not enjoy them, snow and all!

Feeling Unmotivated? Remove this Word from your Vocabulary in 2019

December 13, 2018  
Filed under Feature Stories, Health & Wellness

By Carol Tuttle

 

I want you to pause for a moment and think of that thing you needed or wanted to do this year—but it’s December and you still haven’t gotten around to yet, and you keep putting off.

The idea or project is just sitting there, and the unfinished-ness of it is weighing on you. But when it actually comes down to doing it, you seem to have lost all motivation.

So how do you recover motivation to do something you think you should do?

You can start by giving up this one word in 2019—and replacing it with something much more powerful!

 

Say goodbye to the S-word

Should.

That one word can zap your motivation to do something faster than anything.

I’ve found that whenever I used the word “should” I would procrastinate and avoid the activity or project I thought I “should’ do. That’s because the word “should” in the dictionary indicates a meaning of obligation or duty.

Notice how often you might say something similar to these:

  • I should go work out.
  • I should eat healthy.
  • I should lose 10 pounds.
  • I should get out of debt.
  • I should clean that closet.
  • I should learn how to ____.

Why ‘Should’ can sabotage your success

Whatever it is for you, it might even be a necessary or good idea (organize a closet, clean out the car, take a class, plant a garden). But if you’re trying to force it, you either just won’t make the time or have the energy, or you’ll probably keep putting it off because you don’t enjoy it. Or it might be a good thing to do, but maybe not for you to do. Or maybe not at this time.

 

Get clear on what you want first

Now, for every “should” statement you say, ask yourself, “Is this what I want?” Or do you think you should do it because someone told you to or you feel under some obligation to do it? Sometimes our choices are influenced more about what others want than we want.

Although they might all be great choices, until we personally own them for ourselves we will not be motivated to follow through.

So, the first step to healthy motivation in the new year is to examine your “shoulds” and get clear on what it is YOU want.

You can also clarify what it is you want so it matches the outcome you want to create (i.e. I want to clean the closet so I can always find what I need.)

Once we claim a choice for ourselves, we then can declare them with “I am” statements.

Then replace “I should” with “I am”

  • I am working out
  • I am eating healthy.
  • I am losing 10 pounds.
  • I am debt free.
  • I am cleaning that closet.
  • I am learning how to ____.

Take your choice even higher with gratitude

An even higher vibration of belief is to act as if you have already accomplished it and imagine your success with these statements of gratitude:

  • I am grateful I choose to workout.
  • I am grateful I eat healthy.
  • I am grateful I lost 10 pounds.
  • I am grateful I am debt free .
  • I am grateful I cleaned the closet.
  • I grateful I have learned  how to ____.

This simple but powerful shift can make a world of difference!

Remember, when you declare your intentions you uplift your energy so it can support you with the motivation to do it when it is right and timely for you.

Keep Holiday Plants Looking Their Best

December 6, 2018  
Filed under Feature Stories, Home & Garden


By Melinda Myers

The holiday season has arrived.  That means you will be on the giving or receiving end of a poinsettia, Christmas cactus, cyclamen, amaryllis or other holiday plant.  Extend the beauty and longevity of these holiday beauties with proper care.

And that starts the minute you leave the florist or garden center.  Always protect your gift plants from the harsh outdoors.  Professional florists and garden center staff will provide a care tag and wrap your plants in a plastic or paper sleeve.

Remove the wrap as soon as you arrive home. This is especially important when caring for poinsettias. The upturned leaves emit ethylene, a ripening hormone, that can shorten the longevity of your poinsettia’s colorful display.

Rewrap your holiday plant anytime you move it outdoors and never leave it sitting in a cold car while running errands. A chilled plant looks fine until it thaws. By the next day the plant turns grayish-green, wilts and may die.  Not such a nice gift after all.

Once your plant arrives home, place it in a cool, brightly lit location.  The cool temperatures and indirect light help the blooms last longer.  Avoid drafts of hot and cold air.  These can dry or chill the plant, resulting in leaf and blossom drop.  Fold down the foil wrap to allow sunlight to reach all the leaves.

Keep the soil moist, like a damp sponge, but not wet. A quick touch of the top inch or two of soil will let you know when it is time to water. Water thoroughly whenever the top few inches of soil are crumbly and just slightly moist.

Pour out any water that collects in the foil, basket, decorative pot or saucer. Or place pebbles in the bottom of the container or saucer to elevate the plant above any sitting water.

Plant your amaryllis bulb in a container that is slightly larger than the bulb and has drainage holes. Set the bulb in a well-drained potting mix with 1/3 of the pointed end exposed. Water the potting mix thoroughly and place the container in a cool sunny location. Continue to water thoroughly, but only often enough to keep the soil barely moist.

Or go soilless. Place several inches of pebbles in the bottom of a glass vase or watertight container. Cover the pebbles with water. Set the bulb on top of the pebbles, adding more stones around the bulb to hold it in place.  Leave the top one third of the bulb exposed. Add water as needed to maintain the water level just below the bulb.

Now relax and wait the month or more needed for your amaryllis bulb to wake up and start growing.  Water more often once sprouts appear.

Keep your floral display looking its best by removing spent flowers from azaleas, Christmas cactus, cyclamen and kalanchoes. This keeps the plant looking fresh and often encourages more blooms. Remove the true flowers, those yellow knobs in the center of the colorful leaves of the poinsettia. This extends the longevity and beauty of the poinsettia plant.

And once the holidays are past, keep enjoying these plants through the gray days of winter. Move the plants to a sunny window, fertilize with a dilute solution of complete or flowering plant fertilizer and water as needed.

Add some artificial berries, cut flowers in water picks or silk blooms to replace the faded flowers. Use colorful stakes or natural twigs for added beauty and to support floppy leaves and stems.

Be sure to add a few holiday plants to this year’s gift list. They’re guaranteed to brighten everyone’s holiday celebrations.

When did I become a ma’am? Turning 50.

August 6, 2018  
Filed under Feature Stories

By Karen Sturtevant

 

 

As I approach the half-century mark, I can’t help but spend a bit of time reflecting on my experiences of wandering along my life’s path. My, how time does indeed fly. A coworker recently remarked, “The days go slow, but the years pass so quickly.” She was right.

 

If we are parents, one way we mark the passage of time is when we marvel at our offspring remembering their first steps and day one of kindergarten then wondering how she got from there to a college campus in a blink of an eye. My six-foot tall, handsome nephew, Ben, starts university in the fall.  To me, he will always be the three-year-old tiny toddler. We count our wedding anniversaries (or divorces), the number of years we’ve lived in the same house, decades of employment, therapy and diets, career changes, gaining of friends, passing of family.

 

I’m finding that things once thought silly and stupid are now acceptable. When did that shift happen? Programmed radio stations have changed from rock to talk. An exciting Saturday night means cuddling up with my rescue pup and reading a good book. Who needs to go out? I pay more attention to remedies for achy joints and Sunday Morning commentaries. And, when did that age spot appear? It looks like Mickey Mouse ears. Bird watching was for old people, but I now notice the songbirds in the morning and saw an owl take flight just the other day. By the way, when did the print on everything get so small?

 

When I was a growing up, middle age meant being a gray-haired grandmother with apron fastened and lard at the ready just in case a batch of homemade donuts were needed. Fifty was frumpy. Fifty was, well, old. If 40 is the new 30, is 50 the new 40? Does it all really matter anyway? Full disclosure: I wear an apron (with cute images of coco and cappuccino in fancy cups.)

 

The world is a different place than it was when my grandmother and mother turned 50. We are more skeptical, less trusting. Our schedules are stacked; our eyes heavy. We’re pulled this way and that and find it hard to say no. At this age, if we’re on the right track, we have evolved as individuals, as citizens of the world. We’re more concerned with happenings in the Middle-East than with what shoes go with what scarf. We watch our 401(K) balance with the same intensity we once used in obsessing over celebrity gossip. We know that beauty magazines make us feel ugly and the new mascara being peddled by the latest Barbie doll won’t fix our real-life problems. We pay attention to supermarket flyers, stock up on bulk sugar and glass cleaner and make room for extra paper towels because they were ‘on sale.’ Instead of stepping on the overturned alien-looking beetle, I now right it and watch as it goes on its merry way.  We pretend we know how our new laptop and smartphone work. We have privileged person’s problems, and aren’t we fortunate for that?

 

Recently a trip to my post office box yielded a surprise of sorts…I was approved for membership in the AARP! The letter was accompanied with an embossed name card of my very own. Was I ready to admit this was the year I turn 50? My social media newsfeed now tempts me with eye creams and skin tightening ointments. The checkout person now calls me, ‘ma’am.’ Me, a ma’am?

 

When I was younger I often thought it took a confident woman to go out in the world with no make-up, hair piled in a messy rat’s nest and attire fit more for the dump than public scrutiny. On any given day, when social norms don’t deem it necessary for matching earrings and belt, I am comfortable in ripped jeans, oversized sweatshirts and sport wild, askew hair. Ironed pants not necessary. Matching socks be dammed. At almost-50 those unwritten rules are no longer are priority to me, naps and good coffee are.

 

What is important is not the newest green accessory or coolest e-gadget (although nice) but the way we treat one another, the lens in which we see the differences, the possibilities of each person, each situation. I like to think I am a better and caring person in my older todays than my younger yesterdays. I am surely not the superhero my dog thinks I am, but I’m trying. Imagine a world where respect, honesty, and manners were the rules (think Dennis-the-Menace-days) not exceptions. That’s the place I wish for in my next 50 years.

 

Whether a person leans far left or is flung right, deep down, when the multiple layers that make our complexities are peeled back, we have commonalities: to be heard, respected, valued, safe, loved. At five or 50, we share more traits than we realize. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could embrace and appreciate one another rather than warring in hopes of being the last one standing and dying with the most toys?

As I power walk toward the next half of the century mark, I hope I will continue to grow into a person who sees the light in others, stifles judgment and gives the benefit of the doubt. It’s an everyday challenge, but I think I’m up to it. After all, I am a member of the AARP and have the card to prove it, even if it is being used as a bookmark for those wild Saturday nights.

 

 

Where to Retire

June 14, 2018  
Filed under Aging Parents, Feature Stories

And Things to Consider When Deciding

By Melissa Erickson

In addition to being a huge financial decision, retirement is not only a question of when, but where. Careful consideration and weighing all the factors are imperative to avoid a costly mistake. Read more

More than ‘downsizing’

June 14, 2018  
Filed under Feature Stories, Home & Garden

By Melissa Erickson

Explore ‘rightsizing” to find your perfect home.

After the kids move out on their own, many adults consider downsizing to a new home, possibly moving to the city or to a beach town away from it all. Why downsize, though, when the better option is to rightsize? Read more

Keeping Your Relationship Hot After 50!

October 19, 2017  
Filed under Aging Parents, Feature Stories

The day I met the first senior referred to me by a local doctor, she timidly opened the door to my boutique and stage-whispered, “Is anybody in here, dear?” And thus began my work as a clinical sexologist with the most underserved yet largest buying demographic in the United States — baby boomers.

According to AARP, 10,000 baby boomers turn 65 every day in the United States. In my work as a clinical sexologist, I had an excruciating lack of understanding of the sexual needs and often complex issues facing post-menopausal women in our society. I, like so many other pre-menopausal women I work with, incorrectly assumed that most doctors speak candidly to their senior patients regarding what to expect when menopause hits. Imagine my tremendous shock when I heard that fewer than 10 percent of doctors invite a conversation about sexual function either during or after physical exams. What I have learned is that senior women are suffering in ways that younger women need not worry about. Common issues including painful intercourse, atrophy and the lack of moisture that normally plague women once estrogen is scarce are now compounded by experiences with radiation, chemotherapy and medications for overall health, leaving women bewildered and seeking answers. Read more

There’s an App for That

October 19, 2017  
Filed under Feature Stories

Hunting has gone hi-tech. While the thrill of the hunt is a primitive pleasure, advancements in technology allow for better precision and efficiency. Look no further than your own smartphone.Here are some smartphone applications that will enhance any hunt. All are available on both Apple and Android phones. You don’t need all the apps, so consider how you would like to develop your hunt before choosing. Read more

Tips for Preventing Robo Calls

May 15, 2017  
Filed under Feature Stories, News

RobotBy Justin Lavelle

In today’s landscape, it is not uncommon to receive multiple robocalls a week on both your landline and your cell phone, even though you’ve registered your phone numbers with the Do Not Call Registry. They’re offering everything from lower credit card rates to free vacations and medical alert devices. It’s not only annoying, but some of these calls come with a high probability of scam. Robocalls can be scams run by con artists who are trying to trick you out of your money and they simply ignore the law. Here are tips for putting an end to robocalls:

Read more

The Dahlia Bequest

May 15, 2017  
Filed under Feature Stories, Home & Garden

Photo by Fred Kenney

Photo by Fred Kenney

By Fred Kenney

When my father-in-law passed too soon in 2015, he left many legacies.  I experience his faith when I’m with his wife of 60 years and with his daughter, my wife. I hear his passion for a good debate or deep conversation when I’m with his son.  I see his enthusiasm for a great book, love of an adventure and appetite for good food in my kids. And for me, his love of gardening is alive and well when I sink my hands into the dirt each spring to replant his dahlia bulbs.   Read more

Next Page »