Guest blog: How to Perk up Your Perspective in Your Senior Years


-by Jason Lewis

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How to Perk up Your Perspective in Your Senior Years

Growing older can be challenging.  When age is taking a toll and changes come along that you never expected, sometimes it can feel as if the ground is shifting under your feet.  Thankfully, you can bring everything back into focus with a handful of well-chosen lifestyle decisions.

Activity for ability

With the changes that accompany aging, many seniors tend to become less active.  Unfortunately, being sedentary can complicate things, especially long-term.  In order to remain independent, it’s best to keep your body as strong and able as possible.  The positive effects are so profound, some experts even equate exercise with medicine for aging bodies.  Being fit can help ward of many health conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease.

Due to weather, difficulty with driving, and other factors, many seniors are reluctant to get out and about to get moving, but you don’t need to join a gym to stay active.  Instead, consider putting together a space at home where you can grab a workout at your convenience.  Maybe you have a spare bedroom or den that could be converted.  If space is tight, you can put furniture and other belongings in storage while you figure out what you want to do with it.  Use a search tool to find a nearby unit; for instance, River Campus Storage has 5’ x 5’ units available for $48, right in Rochester, so it’s an affordable resolution.

Do some decluttering

After clearing away space for your home gym, consider doing some decluttering throughout your home.  Clutter can mean tripping hazards as you grow older.  Daily Caring points out seniors are at increased risk for falls due to reduced strength, waning eyesight, poor balance, and lost flexibility.  On top of making it easier to get around your home, there are some surprising mental health benefits from decluttering, such as lowered anxiety levels, improved ability to focus, better productivity, and reduced stress.  Also, often lurking in clutter is an abundance of dust and germs, so tidying up can decrease troubles like allergies and illnesses.

Paring down can be challenging for seniors, especially if you have a lot of sentimental belongings.  Take your time, and choose a decluttering method that feels right for you, like filling one trash bag a day with items to donate to charity, or spending just five minutes at a time on decluttering.  In order to be able to focus your energy on paring down, think about hiring a housecleaning service for awhile.  That way when you’re stirring up dust and debris as you work, you won’t get bogged down with the housekeeping part of things.  The cost for hiring a cleaning service ranges from $60 to $340, with the national average coming in at $160.  While it might feel like a luxury, this could lead to a regular service that frees up your time and energy for more enticing activities.

Visit new places

Getting your home in order is a wonderful thing and it can make you much more comfortable being there.  However, it’s also important for seniors to try a change of scenery.  Orbitz cites research showing traveling can be a boost to your mental health.  It’s a chance to reframe your outlook, keep you from falling into a rut, and can even reduce your risk for depression.  Traveling is good for brain health because it challenges you to think differently and prompts you to use various parts of your brain.  It can also help you feel more positive, more relaxed, less stressed, and be more productive.

Of course, one important detail holds many seniors back from traveling: money.  Consider checking into your community for senior travel clubs.  It’s a great way to meet other seniors, keeping you socially active and connected, and some clubs focus on particular interests.  There are groups for women, or budget-oriented ones, or you can start your own club.  To give you an idea of costs, charter bus services run anywhere from $1,200 to $2,500 a day, which can easily be split among a large group.

As you strive to enjoy your golden years, a few simple changes can help you feel more grounded.  Consider being more active, decluttering, and enjoying a little travel.  Making a few different choices can go a long way toward helping you perk up your perspective on life!

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Guest Blog: 10 Benefits of Regularly Visiting the Dentist


by Harper Reid

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Image Source: Pixabay

Twice a year. This is the recommended number of times that you should be visiting the dentist according to most dental experts. This number may even be higher for some at-risk people, such as smokers, diabetics, pregnant women and those who are currently suffering from gum disease or have a tendency to get cavities, infections or a build-up of plaque.

Most people are familiar with the benefits of brushing their teeth twice a day, yet many people baulk at the idea of going to the dentist. So why are these regular dentist visits so important?

  • Education

Regular dental check-ups are the ideal opportunity to learn about proper oral care and have your questions answered, such as the difference between the many types of toothpaste on the market. Dentists are a far more reliable source than generic websites, and they will be able to provide up-to-date information and advice on how best to maintain healthy teeth and gums.

  • Increase the health of your mouth

One of the main benefits of visiting the dentist regularly is that he will check your teeth, tongue, gums and mouth for any issues. Identifying and remedying any dental issues quickly and as early as possible decreases the likelihood of developing serious oral health problems and ensures that your mouth is as healthy as possible.

  • Remove the build-up of plaque and tartar

Plaque and tartar are the root cause of many dental problems, which can be avoided by regular cleaning at the dentist. Plaque hardens and becomes tartar if not removed. This can lead to cavities, irritation and the potential for gum disease to develop. Tartar cannot be easily removed by standard brushing. However, the dentist has special tools to remove this build-up in a process called “scaling”.

  • Reduce cavities

Cavities are not only painful, but they can lead to complications and develop into serious health issues. For example, life-threatening septicaemia can occur when infection from untreated cavities is transferred into the bloodstream.

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Image Source: MaxPixel

  • Reduce risk of gingivitis

Gingivitis is a gum disease caused by the build-up of plaque and poor dental hygiene, highlighting the importance of teeth cleaning. Gingivitis can cause irritation, bleeding and inflammation of the gums. This can potentially result in tooth-loss or other serious issues including periodontal disease that can destroy both gums and bone.

  • Reduce inflammation

Your dentist can help reduce any inflammation before it becomes a serious health issue. Inflammation increases your vulnerability to disease that may be the underlying cause of many chronic health issues. It has even been linked to premature ageing.

  • Prevent tooth decay and tooth loss

The poster child for the importance of regular dental visits, tooth decay and tooth loss can both cause you pain and cost you money in the long run. The early detection of oral issues will help to prevent the complete loss of your teeth and reduces the likelihood of requiring dentures or dental implants in the future.

  • Screen for oral cancers

The early identification and treatment of oral cancer may save your life. Regular examinations will ensure that your gums and surrounding tissues are healthy and that there are no cancerous tissues present.

 

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Image Source: Unsplash

 

  • Create a better smile

The dentist will often polish your teeth, removing any surface stains and enhancing your already beautiful smile. For severe staining, you may have the option of veneers, which are an ultra-thin porcelain or composite resin shell that is fixed to the tooth, or you could undergo a teeth whitening procedure. You can also discuss the possibility of other dental procedures, such as dental restoration or straightening if desired.

  • Promote good overall health

Improving your overall health is one of the benefits of stronger teeth. A healthy mouth decreases the amount of harmful bacteria you swallow. A healthy mouth also allows you to eat (and enjoy!) the food that is necessary to keep you happy, healthy, energetic and able to enjoy life to the fullest.

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A grin spreads across Harper’s face when she wakes up, even on Mondays, because she loves her job! Spending hours engrossed in creative writing is her dream come true. Over the years, she has worked with numerous lovely blogs and has also written for local sites such as Working In NZ. Harper shares her published work on WordPress.

Guest Blog: 4 Surprising Health Benefits of a Clean Home


by Brad Krause

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Photo by Pexels

Even though you may not enjoy the act of cleaning, most people still enjoy living in a clean home. In fact, research shows that living in a clean, organized space can heavily influence both our mental and physical health. For example, piles of laundry can make us feel claustrophobic. Cluttered desks and surfaces can make us feel stress and anxiety. Allergens and pollutants whirling around our indoor air can impair our lung and heart health both in the short-term and long-term.

Do you want to feel healthier in your home? It’s not always easy to establish new cleaning habits, but these four benefits might be surprising, and they can help make cleaning more simple and effective.

Better sleep

A clean and organized home can have a direct impact on the quality of your sleep. Mentally, our consciousness is often weighed down by unfinished business, which is hard to shake if you have piles of laundry or stacks of mail staring at you as you try to fall asleep. Physically, you sleep better because a clean home has fewer allergens such as dust mites, pollen and dander that often interrupt breathing at night — sometimes without us even knowing.  Clean your indoor air by changing your air filter every month if you have severe allergies, vacuuming daily if you have pets and purchasing an air purifier. This appliance can improve the air quality of your home by removing particles that make up dust, dander, dust mites, pollen and other bacteria in your air. If you have live with a smoker or have a wood-burning stove in your home, an air purifier is a must for reducing indoor secondhand and thirdhand smoke and other toxins, which can lead to respiratory problems. When searching for an air purifier, you can review this guide to make a budget-friendly choice for your home.

Calmer and more relaxed

When you are surrounded by clutter, you feel cluttered. When the clutter starts to pile up even higher, it can be harder to get motivated to make change. That’s when it’s time to find the Zen in cleaning. Change your perception so the act of cleaning elicits a soothing, serene state of mind. To avoid still feeling overwhelmed, it’s important to start small. Pick one room or even a corner in a room to clear and organize. Not only will cleaning help you feel calmer and more relaxed, but it also keeps you productive and gives you a warm feeling of accomplishment.

Believe it or not, cleaning makes you happy! Yes, the daily chores you tend to dread will actually, over time, elevate your mood, improve your outlook and give you more reasons to smile. First, cleaning gives you a sense of newness— a fresh start you can feel every day. Secondly, a clean home is one filled with fewer distractions, so you can focus on finishing that exciting bestseller, painting a landscape of your last vacation or training for that upcoming 5k race. In other words, when you take the time to clean, you actually free up more time for yourself.

Healthier lifestyle choices

When you live and breathe in a cleaner space, your healthy environment begins to trickle into other areas of your life. Research shows that people who live in cleaner homes tend to have healthier diets, exercise more, smoke less or not at all and maintain their hobbies. When you eliminate the allergens in your air, you are getting cleaner oxygen that you transform into physical energy to devote to exercise. When you spend more time doing activities you enjoy, you feel less stressed and are better able to adapt to change. When you look at it this way, it’s easy to see how the act of cleaning improves your health, as well as how living in a cleaner space opens you up to cleaner living.

Cleaning hardly tops anyone’s idea of a fun time. In fact, many see it as a necessary evil. But if you make strides to change your perspective and your habits, you will start to see and feel the benefits of a clean home.

 

Guest Blog: Self-Care: A Priceless Gift For You


by Brad Krause

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Who doesn’t appreciate an hour—or two—to relax and let your mind wander, indulge in a good book or your favorite TV show or chill in a hammock guilt-free? Alas, with all of life’s demands, whether it’s your job, family and other responsibilities, we tend to cancel or put off those activities that give us time to recharge. But self-care is critical for maintaining good mental, physical and emotional health.

Why?

Self-care helps you to stay connected with yourself and remind you of your self-worth, produce positive feelings, boost self-confidence and self-esteem. When you take time to take care of yourself, you’re setting a good example for your family while reminding them that your needs are important, too.

Self-care staves off stress that stems from working too much; contrary to popular belief, workaholism is not a virtue. Workaholism leads to mistakes, decreased productivity and utter exhaustion. Overworking becomes a slippery slope that can invite serious health issues including anxiety and depression, insomnia and heart disease.

Self-care prevents burnout from too much work, too many demands on your time and too many areas in which it’s all too easy to spread yourself too thin. When you’ve pushed yourself beyond that proverbial breaking point, you’re simply going through the motions and, let’s face it—everything suffers. Plus, taking that step back and physically taking a break, can often lead to a breakthrough. In fact, science has proven that taking breaks—and ensuring that you’re getting consistently restful sleep—will enhance your performance.

Self-care habits like taking breaks from work—eating lunch with a colleague or taking a stroll during a break—improve energy levels and your mood. Mobile technology makes it all too easy for us to stay connected 24-7, so make a conscious effort to unplug and set boundaries between work and personal time.

How to start

Whether you’re trying to cultivate a new self-care routine or looking for other ways to increase your mental and physical mojo, check out this list of stress management hacks. Try them out and tweak as you need, because it’s not a one-size-fits-all proposition:

Schedule time to exercise. Put it in your calendar like your kids’ activities and work meetings. If it’s already part of your daily routine, you’re more likely to follow through. Need help with accountability? Join the gym or a class with a friend or two. Too busy to hit the gym? Download  self-care apps, which will give you suggestions to get your move on—even if you only have five minutes to spare.

Eat well. It’s way too easy to hit the drive-through or grab a slice of leftover pizza. Instead, use your Crockpot or instant pot for easy meal cooking. Take a few hours on the weekend or a weeknight to plan and prep meals for a week or a month. If you find yourself reaching for comfort foods because they taste good (and they make you feel good), think about changing how you eat, too. Are you reaching for a box of cookies to reward yourself for a rough day, or consuming too many carbs at dinner because you skipped breakfast and lunch? Check out these suggestions on how to eat well.

Practice mindfulness to manage stress and help your body to relax. Think about it: What do we do, daily, to maintain our psychological health? During the day, take a minute to look at a picture or listen to a song that makes you happy and recharges your batteries. Take a stroll around the block, electronics-free, to feel the sunshine and connect with nature.

These resources from the Positive Psychology Program include worksheets and exercises to build mindfulness, including the self-compassion pause, self-inquiry meditation, five senses exercise, and mini-mindfulness exercises. Deep breathing techniques are another good way to reduce stress by turning off the chemicals your body releases when the fight or flight response activates.

Change your perspective

Value yourself—guilt-free. Prioritizing and taking care of yourself improves all aspects of your life. As you’re evaluating where and how to prioritize your self-care, also think about your social, financial, and workspace needs, too.

Photo Credit: pixabay.com

Guest blog: Reach Your Better Self: A Self-Improvement Guide for 2018


By Jennifer Scott

CaptureDon’t fall into the trap of thinking that the better version of yourself is unattainable, out of reach, or a fantasy. You can improve yourself and reach your potential. It is not impossible or far-fetched. Begin by caring for yourself and achieving balance in various aspects of your life.
According to Psychology Today, a concept known as self-love is important to living well. It affects the way you see the world and how you cope with the world’s challenges. The state of loving oneself involves engaging in actions that support physical, emotional, and spiritual health. Caring for oneself is vital when setting and achieving personal and professional goals.

Physical Health

Exercise
Find a kind of exercise or sport that appeals to your personality, lifestyle, and schedule. Look into a variety of options and stay open to new opportunities:
Gym membership. Join a traditional gym and commit to a certain schedule per week. This is a great way to begin if you haven’t exercised in some time because you can go at your own pace.

Try a new sport. Find out if your local recreation center has adult sports teams you can join. Joining a team sport can not only provide some fun social interaction in a new setting, but it helps people commit to schedule.

Try out a class. There are many schools and academies in your area that offer free classes to try out their programs. Sign up for a free dance class, martial arts lesson, or yoga session. Trying it out beforehand will give you a taste of what to expect.

LiveScience recommends starting off slow and gradually working your way up. Make sure to be honest about your current fitness level to avoid injury, and set goals for yourself to stay motivated.

Loving yourself also means staying away from behavior and substances that harm you. Exercise has recently emerged as a great companion to addiction recovery. The National Institute of Health cites that aerobic exercise can help people that abuse illicit drugs. Physical activity releases endorphins in the brain which produce a “high” feeling and help in restoring a balance in the brain. It aids in promoting feelings of positivity, improved mood, and better sleep.

Change Your Fuel

Diet is key. Many people often cite a lack of time as an impediment to eating better. However, establishing good eating habits and avoiding fast food doesn’t have to be that difficult. All it takes is a little organization and a nutritional plan:

  • Meal planning: Take one day a week for bulk cooking, and freeze portions that you can eat throughout the week. Make sure your meals are well balanced with protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats.
  • Plan trips to the store: Do not shop while hungry. Plan your grocery trips, follow the list based on your meal plans, and do not buy junk food or sugary stuff.
  • Eat anti-inflammatory foods: Inflammation is a generator of pain, infections, injuries, and bad moods. Eat a diet high in Omega 3 fatty acids to ward off inflammation and stay away from refined carbohydrates like french fries.

Follow Your Passions

The source of many people’s unhappiness often stems from a sense of unfulfillment. People give up on their passions for a variety of reasons. Generally people who pursue their hobbies and passions are happier and more productive. So don’t be afraid to pursue the hobby that keeps you happy and engaged.

Little Acts of Self-Love

A big part of caring for yourself is to spoil yourself when you achieve a goal or are successful in a particular area of your life. Treat yourself to a massage, visit a spa, or update your wardrobe. Small little acts of kindness toward yourself keep you motivated by providing positive reinforcement that keeps you disciplined and focused.
The best version of you is waiting to be be unleashed. Write down your goals and commit to them on paper. As you cross things off your list, you’ll find yourself feeling empowered and confident to take anything on. This year, reach your better self through a little self-care, discipline, and consistency.
Photo Credit: Pixabay

Guest blog: Hobbies for Health and Happiness


Hobbies: for Health and Happiness

By Jennifer Scott

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Photo Credit: Pixabay.com

 Being well means more than eating the right foods and working out three times a week. Whole health comes, in part, from simply taking the time to do the things we love. Participating in hobbies offers numerous mental, physical, and social benefits that can’t be accomplished doing the things you’re obligated to. Huff Post contributor Alan Kohll reports that leisure activities can even boost your job performance and keep your heart in tip-top shape.

Hobbies boost labor and school performance

While painting a picture isn’t quite the same as relaxing on the beach for a week, engaging in a hobby has a similar effect on the brain. Taking the time to relax doing something you love helps your body – and mind – reboot. Trying something new has the additional benefit of challenging your brain, which forces you to learn something new. And as with vacationing, taking a mini break by participating in organized fun may boost your performance at work and at school. A 2016 study published in the Public Library of Science found that students regularly involved in after-school hobbies (art, team sports, individual sports) were more than twice as likely to demonstrate above-average academic achievement. Inc. reports the effects are similar in adults. Employees involved in creative pursuits tend to perform up to 30% better in the workplace than their do-nothing-but-rest coworkers.

Hobbies improve mental health

Dr. Mark D. Parisi, a psychologist based out of Chicago, is an advocate of hobbies in the treatment of mental health disorders. Dr. Parisi notes that hobbies provide a host of benefits where it comes to mental health. These include stress reduction, mood improvement, an opportunity to forge new friendships through positive social interactions, and better long- and short-term memory. Hobbies are additionally associated with feeling happy, which can have a profound effect on those suffering from depression.

Best hobbies for overall health

There is really no bad hobby. But, there are a few that offer more positive benefits than others.

  • Dancing combines both physical activity and mental stimulation. People who dance must learn to coordinate their movements to music and/or their partner’s actions.
  • You don’t have to have a culinary degree in order to enjoy time spent in the kitchen. From learning how to make the perfect poached egg to composing a nutritionally-balanced weekly meal plan, cooking and baking are activities that engage the mind while producing tangible results from your efforts.
  • Not only does garden soil contain microbes that have a significant effect on your mood, but growing your own garden can boost your self-esteem by allowing you the opportunity to nurture something from nothing.
  • There is something satisfying about planning a trip and watching your expectations come to life at each destination. Immersion in new cultures will help you shift your perspective and possibly discover something new about yourself.
  • Playing music. While learning a new instrument as an adult may seem like a daunting task, there is evidence to prove that it’s an undertaking worth the effort. Live Science recently reported that something as simple as plucking out a few chords can reduce the signs of depression and anxiety while decreasing heart rate and lowering blood pressure.

Safety first

Regardless of which hobby you choose, don’t get so involved that you put yourself at risk. Your safety and that of those around you should be your number one priority. For instance, if you are cooking, make sure to have a functional fire alarm; when gardening, take care using electric or gas-powered tools. And, as with any new exercise routine, ease into dancing, running, jogging, and other physical activities or you’ll risk muscle strain or more significant injuries. Remember, the point of a hobby is to reduce stress – not add to it by watching hospital bills mount up.

The Psychological State of an Egg


hbfchicken-farmmichael-george-4I am fascinated with the idea behind cage free eggs. Just to explain a little further, it’s not the egg that is supposed to be cage free because obviously it is caged within its own shell, but we’re talking about the chicken that was roaming freely in the farm or whatever amount of space that does not constitute a cage. The importance of this process is for the chicken to be in a healthy state of mind when it lays an egg which in turn will be in a healthy state of mind.

They say you are what you eat, so you want to make sure that the egg you’re about to devour or subject to boiling or frying, perhaps scramble altogether, or maybe mix it with  other ingredients that would change and erase any traces of its existence,  is a healthy egg with no psychological issues.

— Raghid Khalil