126 articles Articles posted in Health

How to Cope with the Winter Months

How to Cope with the Winter MonthsPhoto by freestocks.org on Unsplash

I don’t know if it’s because I was born in June, but I am definitely a summer person. The longer days make me feel energised and I’m never happier than when the sun is shining. I always joke to the kids that I’m solar powered, but I think there’s a little bit of truth to it. When autumn and winter roll around, I tend to retreat from the world a bit, which isn’t always healthy for me, physically or mentally.

This year, I’ve decided to try to do things differently, and I’m putting together a plan of action for keeping myself from slipping into unhealthy habits, and I thought I’d share some of them with you today:

Healthier Sleep Habits

I have a terrible habit of hibernating when the nights get longer, which means sticking my pyjamas on almost as soon as we get home from the school run, and doing way too much dozing on the sofa. I’m planning to have a set bedtime so that I get a proper 8 hours a night, and I’ll be cutting back on the coffee. I’ll definitely drift off easier with Snooze, a non-caffeinated drink designed for bedtime.

Eat Well

Our dinners are always different in winter – gone are salads and cold food and in come stews, casseroles and other warming slow-cooker suppers. As well as avaoiding junk, I’ll be making sure we get a good variety of different veg in our diets to make sure our iron and vitamin levels stay up.

Exercise

The motivation to exercise doesn’t come easily to me, and it’s always worse on cold or rainy days, but Maureen still needs to be walked even when the weather is bad. Instead of doing one long, epic walk a day, I’ll break it up into two smaller walks so that she and I are still getting plenty of time outside but it doesn’t feel like so much of a slog as doing it all at once!

Stay Hydrated

I’m very guilty of forgetting to drink water in the winter. I drink loads in the summer because I’m hot and get thirsty, but I do tend to forget when it’s cold outside. We’ve just got a fridge with a water dispenser, so I’m hoping that this will help me to remember to drink more. Dehydration can cause muscle cramps, headache, lightheadedness, sleepiness and a lack of tear production. When the eyes stop producing tears, they are no longer properly lubricated, which can lead to dry eye, eye strain and vision problems.

Take a Multivitamin

We always strive for a balanced diet, but getting plenty of vitamins and monerals is especially important in winter, not least of all to bolster your immune system against nasty winter viruses. Make sure you get one which contains zinc and vitamin D as these are often the ones which are most depleted during the winter months. Viruses, such as the common cold, are more likely to strike during the winter months so zinc’s immune system support can decrease your risk of being struck down with the illness.

Hair – Five Ways to Care for Your Mane

How to Care for your HairPhoto by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

For a lot of us, our mop is something we take for granted. It’s there, on the tops of our heads, an we don’t think about it much beyond washing it and getting it cut occasionally. However, for some people, hair can be a problematic issue and it can cause problem with self esteem. With that in mind, I’ve put together a few tips for things that you can do to look after your mane, to keep it in tip-top condition:

Invest in Good Products

You might be tempted to go for the cheapest shampoo and conditioner you can find, and you wouldn’t be alone in this, but investing in good quality products like Nanogen hair products will help to ensure you’re not using unneccessary chemicals which could damage your hair in the long run. The issue with cheaper products is that they may leave your locks in worse condition due to harmful chemicals that strip the hair of its natural oils.

Use Protection

There are so many things that damage your hair on a day to day basis, from the UV rays of the sun to your hair straighteners, so using some form of protection is essential. Get yourself a heat protection spray for use before styling your ‘do, and find a good UV protection product for daily use. The absolute best way to protect your hair from the sun, besides completely avoiding it, is by wearing a hat or cap.

Think About Brushing

While we were once advised to do the whole “100 strokes before bedtime” thing, the current wosdom suggests that you should be brushing your hair twice a day, once in the morning and once before bed. This prevents matting and keeps the natural oils of your head distributed evenly through your hair. You should also buy a good brush – a mixture of mylon and boar bristles is currently thought to be the best combination to keep your hair strong and healthy.

Treat Yourself to Weekly Treatments

If style your hair with heat, you will already know the benefits of using deep hydrating treatments to replenish any lost moisture. The same effect can also be achieved by using an oil high in vitamin E, such as olive or avocado oil. To get the best results, gently warm the oil in a pan on a low heat and apply to your whole head. Wrap in a warm towel and wash out after fourth five minutes. The heated oil allows it to be more easily absorbed into the cuticle, boosting its effective qualities.

Turn the Shower Down

Rinsing your head with cold water helps with closing your cuticle after your hair is washed. Open cuticle is good while shampooing or conditioning your hair but after you’re done, you want to seal the cuticle. This way, your hair doesn’t get damaged too easily. If you use cold water for your final rinse then there’s a much better chance that your tresses will stay shiny, healthy and frizz-free for a longer period of time.

5 Ways to Keep Your Brain Sharp

5 Ways to Keep Your Brain SharpI don’t know about you, but I feel that with each child I’ve produced, a little bit more of my brain has dissolved. That’s not to blame the kids, but I used to be sharp as a tack and it feels like years of sleep deprivation, remembering 101 appointments and events, plus a healthy dose of kids TV has turned my brain to mush. I struggle to concentrate on basic stuff these days and recently it’s been bothering me. I’ve been trying to find mew ways to keep my brain active – here are a few things I’ve come up with:

Typing Games

Because of my job, I do a fair bit of typing and my typing speed as massively improved over the years. However, I do most of it on autopilot, without actually thinking too hard about it. However, when I play a typing game, my fingers move over the keyboard but I have to think a lot harder about the connection between what my eyes are seeing and what my hands are doing, which seems to give my brain a real jolt.

Learn Something

While I’m not in a positon to study formally at the moment (that OU degree is still out there, unfinished!), I try to learn just one new thing each day. Even if it’s looking up the definition of a word or Googling something about a person or a place, storing new data is one of the best ways to keep your brain fresh.

Grab a Coffee

This one was MUSIC TO MY EARS when I found this out – studies suggests a caffeine habit may protect the brain! According to several studies, two to four cups a day may decrease the incidence of Alzheimer’s by 30 to 60 percent. It is unclear whether the benefits come from caffeine or the antioxidants found in coffee and tea, but either way, I am FULLY on board!

Challenge Yourself

I think one of the reasons my brain is feeling dormant is because I don’t challenge myself enough. My life, relatively speaking, is too easy, and like any other muscle in your body, the brain needs regular challenges to help it to stay on top of it’s game. Choose an extra hard crossword or bingewatch some University Challenge as a starting point.

SLEEEEP

Another suggestion that I like the sound of is making sure you get enough sleep. A lack of sleep can cause a real brain fog which makes it easy to function on any normal level. When we don’t sleep proteins build up in the brain which literally make it hard to think and learn new things. Sleep hygeine is important too – try to make sure the room is dark and resist the urge to use your phone too clase to bedtime.

Things to Avoid Doing in Rehab

Group therapy in rehabChecking into a rehabilitation centre takes courage, as you’re signing yourself up for a month of intense, structured suffering in order to overcome your addiction. However, there are various approaches you can take to rehab, some of which will make it easier and some that will make it harder. Here’s what not to do in rehab if you want to make it as easy as possible for yourself.

Fighting Routine

Your time in most rehab centers, like this Orange County rehab, will be highly structured and your daily routine will follow a tight schedule. This is designed to bring some organization and control back into your life, but it can be difficult to adhere to when you’re used to life on the outside. Don’t fight against this routine as it will help you to get to where you need to be.

Your routine will include regular meals, which you need to eat rather than refuse. What you eat has a big impact on your mental health and energy levels and can therefore play an important role in your recovery. You will also be asked to partake in exercise classes which you also need to join in with.

These will help you to develop a healthy lifestyle, and exercise releases endorphins so it will help you to organise your thoughts and maintain a positive outlook, which could act as an alternative solution to substance abuse. Eminem famously replaced prescription medication with exercise post rehabilitation and has now overcome his addiction.

Not Attending Therapy

Your daily routine in rehab will also include therapy, both group and individual sessions. Therapy can be frightening for those who have been trying to mask their difficulties with intoxicants for a long time, but they are a crucial part of your recovery. Individual therapy sessions will be tailored to your specific experiences and will help you to understand why you might have turned to addiction, and how else you could manage these issues in a different way, so it’s important to open up and not run away from them.

Group therapy sessions can be even more intimidating, but they will help you to deal with symptoms of withdrawal. They also give you the opportunity to speak with other addicts, bond over your shared experiences, and create a support network for your post rehab life. Make sure you attend and contribute to these sessions as you will benefit hugely from them.

Keeping A Closed Mind

Part of the initial struggle of attending rehab is accepting that you are an addict, that you may have underlying issues that have contributed towards that, and that you can do what it takes to recover. A big part of a successful rehabilitation experience is opening your mind to these possibilities in order to learn and grow from them, as well as taking on board advice and recommendations from the professionals.

It would be fruitless to take the leap and check into rehab if you are not prepared to approach it with an open mind. Their aim is to break down and rebuild the negative thought cycles that have resulted in addiction, so you need to have faith in their approach and that you will succeed. This includes accepting a routine, attending therapy sessions, and attending alternative therapy classes such as exercise class. For more advice on addiction, for example how to help a loved one who is suffering from it, visit mumstheword.me.

5 Tips for Getting a Stairlift on a Budget

It can be a huge worry if you have an elderly parent or relative who is starting to have mobility difficulties and is struggling with their stairs. Getting a stairlift installed could enable them to use their stairs safely again, without the risk of injuring themselves in a fall. However, although buying a stairlift can work out significantly cheaper than moving house or having building work done to adapt the ground floor, the price can still be daunting for people on a low income. Here are some ideas on how to make getting a stairlift more affordable.

1. Consider a Reconditioned Stairlift

Purchasing a reconditioned stairlift can be a much cheaper option than buying a brand new one. Reconditioned stairlifts are second-hand models that have been pre-owned by someone else and then refurbished to ensure they are in full working order. Many stairlift companies sell reconditioned straight and curved stairlifts at a significant discount. With this option you can save money but still get the benefits of a guarantee and professional installation on a new track. A word of caution though – be wary of buying a used stairlift from a private seller, as you will have no guarantee it is safe to use.

2. Look at VAT Relief

Older people aged over 60 can get a stairlift at a reduced rate of 5% VAT (compared to the standard rate of 20%). This can help lower the price. If the person who needs the stairlift meets HMRC’s criteria of being “chronically sick or disabled” and is buying it for their own personal use they may be eligible to pay no VAT at all (0%). To benefit from this saving, it is important to ask the stairlift supplier for a “User VAT Declaration” form before making your payment, to make sure they apply the zero rating.

3. See if You Can Get a Disabled Facilities Grant

Disabled Facilities Grants (DFGs) are means-tested grants for home adaptations that are provided by local councils in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The amount of money that the stairlift user might get as a grant towards the cost of a stairlift will depend on their household income and savings. Not everyone will qualify for a DFG and you will need to contact your relative’s council to apply. If they live in a rental property, they can request that their landlord applies on their behalf. Bear in mind there are certain conditions to being awarded a DFG and it can take several months to find out if your application has been approved or not.

4. Investigate Financial Assistance from Charities

Another source of financial aid that you may be available to your relative is a grant from a charitable organisation. Turn2us is a nationwide charity that can check which welfare benefits your relative is entitled to and help find any grants they are eligible for to finance a stairlift. There is a useful Grants Search tool on their website. Other charities that can help those in financial need include Independence at Home and the ACT Foundation, so you may also want to contact them for advice.

5. Consider Renting a Stairlift

In some situations, it can be more economical to rent a stairlift rather than buy one. Several companies offer rental stairlifts for which the user is charged a monthly fee. It really depends on your circumstances as to whether hiring a stairlift is a cost-effective option. Generally, renting a stairlift only works out cheaper if the user will only require a stairlift for a short time, such as during recovery from an operation or illness.

A stairlift can make a big difference to a user’s independence by enabling them to move freely between the floors of their home and keeping them safe on the stairs. As you can see, there are various ways to reduce the cost of installing a stairlift for people on a tight budget. If you’re concerned about an elderly relative struggling with the stairs, it is worth exploring all the options to see if a stairlift is an affordable solution.

5 Habits To Change For A Healthier Summer

With summer almost here, it’s all about spending time with family and friends, enjoying the sunshine, going out for trips to the seaside and having as much fun as you can. However, 2019 should be the year you aim to be at your very healtiest, so here are a few tips to help you have a healthy Summer.

Photo by Oleksandr Pidvalnyi from Pexels

Touch everything once

This means that instead of doing the cooking and leaving the washing up in the sink until later, do it right then, right there, and it’s done, meaning you have more time to do other things, things you really want to do. Use the frying pan – clean the frying pan – touch everything once! By putting things off, you’re cluttering up your mind with things ‘to do’ raising your stress levels and worrying about things that don’t need to be thought about at all. Or perhaps you’ve got clothes to put away, you’ve taken the clean clothes upstairs and left it on the bed to do later….STOP!! Do it now, and then it’s done so you can go and play with the kids, make yourself a lovely home cooked meal or go on a trip out somewhere.

Quit smoking

Something most smokers aim to do at some point but keep putting off to another time. By stopping smoking you will not only be saving yourself money, but you’ll also feel better within yourself, you’ll smell better and reduces the chance of you getting smokers likes – https://www.siobeauty.com/blogs/news/smokers-lines has a few tips to help get rid of any that may already be in place.

Sleep

Although making sure you have 8 hours sleep a night is important, sleeping in until lunchtime at the weekend isn’t healthy and such a waste of life! By getting to sleep at a decent time, it means you get more out of the day – time to go out with friends, see family or have some ‘you’ time. Turn off your phone an hour before you go to bed and don’t watch tv, try reading a book instead to help your brain switch off.

Take-Aways

Ditch the takeaways and junk food. One ‘simple’ and quick way to make yourself so much healthier this Summer. Most of the time, takeaways don’t fill you up for long anyway and won’t taste as great as you think they will.

Hydration

Did you know the average female should be drinking at least 2 litres of water a day to maintain their bodies an in hotter weather, it should be even more than this. However, on average in the UK we aren’t drinking anywhere near what we should be. This will lead to headaches and sun-stroke early on, but more importantly, this could lead to further and more serious problems. So make sure you drink plenty of water throughout the day. Also, one thing to note is NEVER to drink water that has been left out in the sunshine in a plastic bottle as the heat from the sun can mean some of the chemicals in the plastic disperse into your water.

 

How to Make Your Teeth Last

If you have kids, you might be already teaching them about the importance of looking after their dental hygiene, and take them for checkups. Unfortunately, when we get busier and our daily schedules change, our oral hygiene routine will change. Neglecting your teeth can cost you a fortune, so it is important that you choose long lasting solutions and focus on prevention first. Below you will find a few tips on how to look after your family’s oral hygiene at every age.

Image via PxHere

Regular Routine

From an early age, you should teach your kids to brush their teeth every morning and night, as a minimum. Even if they are going for a school trip or on a sleepover, you will need to ensure that you are checking on them and remind them to look after their teeth. Every habit takes long weeks, if not months to stick, so it is important that you are taking responsibility for providing the right guidance to your kids.

Choosing The Right Brush and Toothpaste

It is not enough to just brush regularly; you might want to ask your dentist which brush and toothpaste to use. You might have teeth that are too close, or suffer from infections, bone issues that will prevent you from making the most out of a regular dental routine. If your teeth get stained or you suffer from plaque, you might need a special treatment and a hygienic intervention.

Flossing

Many people underestimate the importance of flossing. It might be making your oral hygiene routine a few seconds longer, but it is definitely less painful than a descaling treatment or a bleeding gum or tooth. You will, however, need to find the right type of dental floss, and your dentist can certainly help you with choosing one.

Early Orthodontics Assessments

If you want your kids to have a perfect smile, you might want to get them to have a dental assessment and a referral to the orthodontics clinic. Under a certain age, the treatment is free or pretty cheap, and there is nothing more valuable you can give your kids than the confidence to smile. If you miss the opportunity, you will never forgive yourself.

Long Term Solutions

Image via Health.mil

It is also crucial that you focus on the long term solutions. For example, you might get a denture for cheap, and it will be OK for a while, but maintaining it will be hard, not to mention the lack of comfort. Instead, you can get some strong and long lasting dental implants that will last for decades and feel like you haven’t even broken a tooth at all. If your child breaks a front tooth, you don’t want them to live with it for the rest of their lives: get  a professional technician to restore their smile.

If you want your teeth to last for a lifetime, you will need to make the most out of the checkups and preventive measures. It is your responsibility to teach your kids how to look after their teeth.

 

The Importance of Family Dental Hygiene

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Just recently, all four of us had our yearly check up at the dentist. Husband and I were given the thumbs up by our dentist, who said we’re obviously taking good care of our teeth and practising proper dental hygiene, but he had a few notes for the girls.

Sausage needed to include her gums when she’s brushing, because her gums bled slightly when the dentist prodded at them (something they don’t want to see) and BB was told she’s doing a good job but she needed to make sure she’s including her whole mouth when she brushes, not just at the front. He also said it would be a good idea to visit an orthodontic clinic in the net few months as Sausage is getting to the age where a decision about braces can be made.

A lot of people don’t realise, but poor dental hygiene can actually lead to a whole load of other health problems, not all of which will be in your mouth – it can even put you at risk of a heart attack. Here are some serious health problems, from the NHS website, which can start with poor dental hygiene:

  • Gum disease dangers

    Gum disease is an infection of the tissues that support the teeth. It’s mainly caused by bacteria from plaque build-up. In some people who are susceptible to gum disease, the body over-reacts to the bacteria around the gums and causes too much inflammation. In others, the inflammation doesn’t clear up properly. The result of the intense gum inflammation is that it also affects the bloodstream, and is believed to slowly damage blood vessels in the heart and brain over a long period of time.

    What’s the damage?

    Gum disease has been linked to a variety of other health problems, including:

    • heart disease and heart attacks
    • diabetes and its control
    • stroke
    • rheumatoid arthritis

    Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter, explains: “The link between oral health and overall body health is well documented and backed by robust scientific evidence. Despite this, only 1 in 6 people realises that people with gum disease may have an increased risk of stroke or diabetes. And only 1 in 3 is aware of the heart disease link.”

So how do we get kids to take their dental health seriously? Obviously we don’t want to scare them with tales of heart disease and diabetes, but impressing upon them how important it is to keep their mouths in good shape can be the difference between a life of good health and serious ongoing issues. 

Start As You Mean to Go On

Establishing a good routine from an early age is essential to getting kids to see tooth brushing as part of their daily activities. You can start brushing teeth as soon as they erupt, using a special baby toothbrush with no paste. Help them to make a game of brushing by doing it to music and letting baby have a go of doing it themselves. If they see tooth brushing as fun, they’re far more likely to want to do it.

Get An App

There are loads of apps out there which have built-in timers to ensure kids brush for the correct amount of time and also often have fun songs or animations which your kids can brush along with. Have a look in your device’s app store to find one suitable for you.

Offer a Reward

Giving your child a reward for brushing should be a regular item in a parent’s arsenal, but the reward that works best will depend on your child’s age and interests. Someone under the age of eight, for example, may be receptive to a funny bedtime story before lights out – but only after he brushes. For an older child, a good reward might be letting him watch an episode of a favourite TV show between brushing and bed.

Remember, good dental hygiene doesn’t just happen in the bathroom – what they eat and drink can also be a contributing factor. People are mostly aware that fizzy drinks and sugary sweets are an issue, but a lot of people fail to remember that fruit and milk also have high sugar and acid contents, which can also attack the enamel of teeth.

If your kids eat fruit or drink milk, make sure they clean their teeth afterwards and try to give only water before bed as the lack of saliva  in the mouth during sleep means that it’s even easier for the tooth decay to occur.

3 Reasons to Treat Yourself like You’re Someone Worth Taking Care Of

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We all grow up watching some pretty optimistic cartoons, hearing some pretty optimistic bedtime stories, and believing that our lives should be great, joyful adventures. And of course, they should be, and can be.

The sad thing, however, is that many of us become disheartened along the way due to struggles with hardships of various sorts.

What makes things worse, is the fact that we’re often so hard and callous towards ourselves even in the midst of all that sorrow and uncertainty.

You’d think we’d give ourselves a break, and set ourselves up with Tempur Mattresses and aromatic candles in order to help take the edge off and get some much-needed rest when things are rough. But many of us do the opposite, and beat ourselves up in addition to whatever life might be throwing at us.

Here are some reasons why it’s essential that you treat yourself like someone worth taking care of, instead.

Because you’re not “perfect the way you are”, but you’ve got something in you that is great and that deserves nurturing

One significant reason why people often fail to treat themselves with the care and respect they deserve, is because they feel that to do so would be to accept the idea that they are “perfect the way they are.”

That “perfect the way you are” line is often used by well-meaning people to boost our confidence, and help us see ourselves in a better light. But it very often backfires and irritates the people it’s applied to, because the truth is that no one is “perfect” the way they are. We are all human, and there’s always room for improvement.

Instead of telling yourself that you’re “perfect” as you are, tell yourself that there is something in you that is great and that deserves to be brought forth and nurtured. Because there really is.

Because to live a fulfilling and empowered life, you need to “work with” yourself, rather than trying to “dominate” yourself

Societies tend, sooner or later, to rebel when oppressed by brutal dictators. And so too will the different parts of your psyche “rebel” if you tyrannise yourself.

In order to live a fulfilling and empowered life, you need to “work with” yourself rather than trying to “dominate” yourself.

In other words, there’s a reason why, when it’s time to work, you may not feel like it. That reason is that part of your subconscious mind views work as suffering, and is concerned. The key is to gain the trust of that part of yourself by providing balance and compassion. By trying to “crush” it instead, you only throw yourself into further inner turmoil and anxiety.

Because you represent an endless pool of potential, and you can be and do so much if you only believe in yourself

Everyone represents an essentially endless pool of potential. That is to say, if your whole life was directed mindfully towards certain aims, you could achieve just about anything, either directly or indirectly.

The thing about potential is that it can be squandered. All you have to do to fail to meet your potential is to sit around, and not do anything. Then, the years will pass you by, and on your deathbed, you will realise that you missed your chances.

Treating yourself with respect and care, and constantly motivating and encouraging yourself forward, is the only way to maximise the expression of your potential, and to do great things with your life. So, why not set out on that path?

How To Help A Loved One Suffering From Addiction

Addiction affects friends, families and loved ones. Knowing how to help the person addicted can be quite a struggle. It’s hard to know when to get help, how to get help and how to approach the person. Helping an addictive loved one get help can mean the difference between life and death.

Knowing the signs and symptoms of addiction is important when deciding if it’s time to approach a loved one about their problem. When their abuse starts to interfere with their daily life, causes memory loss and they have accidents, it’s time to talk to them. They may not realize their is a real problem or might not want to admit it. A loved one on the outside of the issue can give them the perspective they need to know it’s time to get help. Addiction isn’t just about an event that happens once or twice. If they get drunk and stumble in causing a stir once in a year, they might have just had a bad night. Watch for patterns over a period of time. They may try to hide it or say they only drink socially. Note a difference in their physical statute and/or their behavior when you believe they are inebriated.

Trust

It’s hard to trust an addicted person many times. They may have let you down due to their addiction even if it isn’t in their control. You have to step back and realize it’s more important for them to trust you than for you to let your hurt take over. Don’t nag or lecture them about the addiction. You want them to be able to talk openly about the problem and vent about it to you. They may swear up and down they can change, but an addicted person will not change until they are forced to face the consequences of their actions. It can be hard to trust them due to this fact, but you have to trust they will listen and get help when you approach them about their issues.

Compassion

It’s important to help your loved one by using compassion. The thing they most need is someone that listens and understands. Many times the addicted person feels as if someone is suffering with them and actually going through the process with them. This means they understand you recognize their pain and are trying to truly help. They feel heard and seen so they aren’t alone. Fighting addiction alone is crippling to many addicts. They know someone truly cares and wants to help them without criticizing them through the whole journey. They may understand you have no clue about addiction and what it does to their mind, but they also understand you’re trying to step in their shoes and won’t let them fail.

Communicate

Keep all lines of communication open and free of judgement. You need to learn more from the person about their addiction daily and let them vent about their frustrations. They may feel like a failure or feel they cannot be helped. Listen to them and be open with your concerns as well. Don’t lecture them about their addiction, but be a listening ear offering positive words. This will help them as they go into recovery knowing someone is on their side.