Guest blog: Small, Budget-Friendly Changes That Can Make a Big Difference in Your Health


— by Jennifer McGregor

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Photo by Pexels

Making your health a priority doesn’t mean you have to run a marathon, eat nothing but vegetables, or make other drastic changes to your lifestyle. In fact, drastic changes — regardless of how healthy — could do the opposite. For example, think about how many times you have jumped on the bandwagon of the latest fad diet. You probably lost some weight rather quickly, but it’s unlikely the weight stayed off. That’s because those diets require you to make immediate, unsustainable changes to the way you eat. In order to make healthy habits that stick, you have to make slow, gradual changes that add into your life as opposed to adding on

Are you among the many people looking to incorporate some healthy habits into your everyday activities? It’s not as hard as you might think! Here are suggestions for small changes that can add up to a big impact — but won’t add up to costs!

Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness means focusing on the present moment, instead of worrying about something in the past — that you cannot change — or fixating on the future — that you cannot predict. When you find yourself trapped in the past or the future, find a quiet spot to close your eyes and listen to your breath. When thoughts intrude on your solitude, acknowledge them, but don’t follow them. This will come in handy for those moments when you feel guilty for eating that extra cookie or frustrated when the scale isn’t falling fast enough. If you’re having trouble grasping the art of mindfulness, there are several free smartphone apps that can aid you in the process.

Smile Big 

Good oral hygiene can impact both your physical and mental health in subtle and not-so-subtle ways. Visiting the dentist twice a year for check-ups and cleanings can help prevent diseases like periodontitis and gingivitis. But good oral health also plays a part in preventing illness in other parts of your body, too, like diabetes and heart disease. And, believe it or not, mental health is linked to oral health, too! If you are confident in your smile, you will smile and laugh more often. If you’ve been avoiding the dentist or need to find a new one, look to your dental coverage for direction and couple with an online search to find a dentist in your neighborhood. What’s more, by staying on top of cleaning and checkups, you’ll prevent serious — and costly — dental problems from developing down the road. 

Get on a Mat

Yoga is one of the most beneficial ways to boost mental and physical health. You can go to a class at a studio or at the gym, but you can also practice at home, too. You don’t need fancy clothes or gear — if you can breathe then you are already practicing yoga! Start simple with a 15-minute energizing routine in the morning or deep, relaxing stretches in the evening. Try to work your way up to a full 60-minute practice. Yoga is also a great healthy bonding activity to do with your kids — naturally bendy in mind and body— at home, in a class or at the park. If you’re unsure about poses, there are a lot of quality, free instructional videos online.

Of course, the one piece of equipment you might need to get started is pretty straightforward: a yoga mat. Fortunately, you can affordable yoga mats at a number of retailers, and using promo codes and coupons at stores such as Dicks Sports Goods can help you save money.

Cut Out One Food Vice

Healthy eating should be a journey. Start small and simple — and only make one change at a time. For example, you can stop putting sugar in your coffee or eat a salad before every meal. It helps to log your current food habits before you make changes so you know what you’re dealing with. For instance, you may think you only have one or two sodas a day, but after you log your food for a week you could see that the reality — at least on some days — is very different. Cutting out soda entirely at first may be too challenging, but cutting out soda at dinner could be an effective way to ease yourself into a soda-free life — and it can also help you add a few more dollars into your household budget at the same time! If you want to take on bigger diet changes, think about talking to your doctor about your plans. Since he or she knows your biggest health concerns, you’ll get good insight that you might miss on your own.

Make “Me” Time

Self-care is another angle for improving health and reducing stress. Self-care might seem selfish for someone with a busy schedule — school, work or kids will always have to come first. But carving out 15 to 30 minutes every day for yourself can do wonders for helping you manage stress and prevent burnout. If you’re always putting your own needs on the back burner, you’ll eventually have nothing to give. Self-care doesn’t have to be a big event (though it can be and that’s okay). Wake up 10 minutes earlier and enjoy a cup of coffee in silence. Take a bubble bath with music and a book at the end of the day. Walk in the sunshine and listen to your favorite podcast during your lunch break. Prioritize things that make you happy, so you are better able to spread happiness to others. Here’s the best part: Setting aside a little time for yourself doesn’t require you to spend any money whatsoever if you don’t want to!

Healthy habits don’t have to be major changes in order to be life-changing. You want to make your effort stick so that these changes turn into habits, which simply turn into the way you live. Find joy in making healthy, budget-minded decisions by thinking about the short-term and long-term benefits, both for you and your family.


About the author:

Jennifer McGregor co-created Public Health Library to write about health and wellness topics. She is a pre-med student who aims to make it easier for people to find high-quality health info in one place.

Guest blog: Top 3 Easy Ways to Clean Your House


— by Ellen Biggs

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Cleaning is like a herculean task for most of us. However, you can’t avoid this task for too long. Most of us dread cleaning because it costs us a lot of time and energy. How about if we can finish this task within a couple of hours?

A Simple tip to remember is clean your ceiling first, then the furniture, appliances, and then finally clean the floor.

Here are some easy ways to clean your house:

Be Prepared

Keep your cleaning agents and solutions ready, before you start cleaning your house.

  • Prepare solutions of an equal mix of water and vinegar
  • baking soda
  • lemon
  • toothbrush
  • cleaning scrubs
  • brushes
  • sponges
  • Microfiber duster
  • Newspaper
  • Liquid detergent
  • Broom
  • Disinfectant

Keep these things ready and handy. So that you don’t spend time searching for these cleaning instruments.

Keep a timer to clean each room

Create a schedule to clean each room. Each bedroom should not take more than 10 minutes.

  • Bedroom – Remove cobwebs from the ceiling, arrange your wardrobe, and wipe furniture with a microfiber cloth. Remove clutter, rearrange your nightstand and bookshelf. Remove the old bed sheets and replace with a new one. Spray some baking soda over the mattress and rug. Then vacuum the rug and the rest of the bedroom.
  • Bathroom – Each bathroom should not take more than 10 minutes. Start with spraying toilet cleaner in your toilet and on the bathroom floor. Once you brush and clean the flush and the floor, spray some disinfectant to get rid of germs.
  • Clean your living room in 10 minutes – Dust ceiling fan and light and wipe with a clean cloth. Clean your windows and blinds. Clean the furniture, carpets, and rug with the vacuum cleaner.
  • Cleaning the kitchen – Cleaning your kitchen should be within 15 minutes. All dishes should be in the dishwasher for cleaning, then clean the kitchen counters and cabinets, wipe all the appliances, and then finally clean the stove.

Floor cleaning

Once you have cleaned all the rooms, start with cleaning the floor. Vacuum the floor and remove any pet hair from the corners of the room. If you are looking for a cheap but high-quality vacuum cleaner then check the gtech multi mk2 review. Finally, mop the floor and leave it for drying. If you would like some fragrance in the house, spray some room freshener of your choice.

Now, you are done with cleaning your house. And finally, it is time to clean your cleaning brushes, mop, bucket, vacuum cleaner and all the instruments you used to clean the house. Dip all the instruments in hot water. After half an hour, just wash them in liquid detergent. Lastly, dip them in disinfectant and leave it in the sun for drying. Remove the dust bag from the vacuum cleaner and remove all the dust that has been collected in the dust bag. Clean your vacuum cleaner and put it back in its place.

It’s time to pamper yourself after the task of cleaning. Take a hot shower and pour yourself a hot tea, coffee or wine. Relax and enjoy time with family or just all by yourself.

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!

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: Tips For Building A Healthier, Happier Life After A Major Move


By Jennifer Scott

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Big changes in life can bring on stress and anxiety, even if the changes are for the best. Major life transitions like moving may related to a new job, relocating to be close to family, or ending a stressful or toxic relationship. Even if there are some negative components to the big changes ahead, this can be a great opportunity to embrace new, positive habits and take steps to ensure that your home is a healthy, happy, and stress-free one.

Flexibility and activity can make transitions less stressful

No matter how hard you work at anticipating issues related to a major life transition, hiccups are bound to pop up. Forbes notes that it is important to remain as flexible
as possible heading into big changes and allow yourself some grace when things feel difficult. Planning ahead and anticipating issues can go a long way toward ensuring a smooth transition, but it can become quite stressful if you do not allow for some changes
in plans along the way.

One great way to reduce stress and adjust to big transitions is to make an effort to incorporate regular exercise throughout the process. Colorado State University’s College of Health & Human Services details that exercise is essential in reducing issues related to depression, addiction, and stress. Adjusting to a new home can be taxing, but the need for physical activity can be a great excuse to get out and explore your new area. You’ll make new connections, discover new places nearby, and reap the benefits of exercise all at the same time.

Embrace strategies for clearing your mind to reduce stress

Creating a happy and stress-free home may sound like an impossible task when you are in the midst of major life transitions. However, taking a few minutes a day for yourself where you focus on positive actions can lead to lasting healthy, positive habits. For example, meditation can be a valuable outlet for relieving stress and developing coping mechanisms for leading a happier life.

Reader’s Digest indicates that the majority of people who try meditation see a reduction in their stress levels and many also see improvements in their relationships and overall wellbeing. Getting up a few minutes earlier in the morning to start the day off with some simple meditation techniques can set a peaceful tone for the day and many people find it helpful to create a special spot or nook in their home specifically for this self care time.

Focus on clearing out clutter to create a healthy environment

Apartment Therapy shares some simple suggestions that can pack a significant punch in creating healthy habits to make your home a positive place. Rather than rush around amid chaos before rushing out the door, take a few minutes to put everything in its place, make the bed, and so on. The minimal effort this takes on a regular basis will bring about calm and reduce your stress.

Mother Earth Living reinforces the idea that reducing clutter can help to make a home a stress-free and happy one. If you are facing a big move, as overwhelming as it may be, take the time at your old place to pare down and clear out what you don’t truly need. As you embrace your new home, remember that oftentimes less is more and keeping things open and clutter-free in your new space has a big impact on reducing stress.

There is no doubt that major life transitions like moving can escalate issues related to addiction, stress and depression. At the same time, a change like this provides the perfect opportunity to ditch bad habits and embrace new ones. Look for opportunities to clear out unwanted clutter and issues of anxiety when you move by keeping things clean and making time for self care activities like exercise and meditation. Build up the positives associated with your big change and embrace the fresh start ahead that can set you up for a happier, healthier life.

[Image via Pixabay]

New and Improved


tablets-309742_640I went to the pharmacy the other day to buy the usual brand of medicine for my cold and flu.

As I was checking out the isle, I noticed this medicine, which is what I was looking for, it’s as if it’s pulling all attention towards it. There was a perfect square around it of empty spots, in other words there were no other drugs adjacent to it from all directions; and there it was levitating almost, and there was this big sign pointing at it “New and Improved”.

Wowsers, I was so excited about it. I grabbed the box and took it to the pharmacist to inquire about the new improvements as there was that one line on there that mentioned the only active ingredient, followed by a two by two table for directions based on age: 1 tablet if under 12 and 2 tablets if over the age of 12.

Everything seemed exactly the same as the original one, but when I asked the pharmacist he graciously explained: “oh, the pharmaceutical company added a tiny booklet in the box because they didn’t have enough space to include the additional 30 warnings on the existing label. It is a state of the art with double glossed paper. They wanted to add some gruesome images but instead at the bottom of the booklet they put a link to the warning’s website, where your eyes can feast on all sorts of images. But hey, if you come back next month they will be reissuing the Cadillac of this medicine. It will come with a thumb drive that has a screen saver that will display all the warnings in close to 50 slides. Not only that but you would also be able to register the drug online after you purchase it and they would send you a DVD with complete simulation of all the warnings, walking you through the steps from A-Z. It will feel so realistic that you would cry at the end of each section.”

So there you have it, the new and improved indeed.

 — Raghid Khalil