Healthy Living Includes Relaxing

Relaxing as Part of Healthy Living

Healthy Living is about more than just diet and exercise. It includes emotional, cognitive, mental, and spiritual  health as well. One part of that is rest and relaxation (also known as R&R).

Relaxation is one of various approaches used to maintain cognitive health. cognitive health is the ability to keep mental capacity for problem solving and memory in top-notch shape. As we grow older, there is a tendency not to challenge the mind as much.  Part of that may be because our life experience gives us more experience to rely on. However, if we can actually “exercise” brain functions to remain more alert and functional longer, why not, right?

One way to “exercise” the brain is to solve puzzles such as Sudoku puzzles like the one below.

The concept is simple. All numbers from 1 through 9 are included in each row, each column and each outlined cube of nine squares with no duplication of a digit within any one row, any one column, or within each outlined cube of nine squares.

Solving these puzzles helps keep cobwebs from forming in the problem solving sections of the brain. You can find interactive puzzles like the one above online at various websites. There are also Sudoku puzzles in book form that you can find by many checkout stands in stores or you can order some by checking out this link.

If you know someone who is already into Sudoku, here are some great gift ideas for them!

Stress Management for Healthy Living

Stress Management for Healthy Living

One of the most important factors in long-term healthy living is learning good stress management skills.

Does anyone else find it strange that when we were little bitty, we learned to walk and talk and read and write and count and…and…tec. But no one seemed to think it is necessary to teach us skills to manage our stress?

Was it because they didn’t know how? Didn’t they think it was relevant? Did they think we wouldn’t have any stress? Were they never taught stress management skills either?

Actually, it was probably a combination of all of those things plus others.

No matter why we managed to reach the age we are without learning good skills to manage stress, it still remains that stress management can either make or break a person‘s health. We all manage our stress one way or another. It is just a matter of how healthy our choices are.

Examples of Stress Management Techniques

Some commonly used stress management techniques are ones that are not so healthy. These include smoking, drinking alcohol, using drugs (both legal and illegal). Chewing tobacco and and smoking “wacky tobacky” would be in this category, too.

Other ways to handle stress fall into behaviors such as bullying or promiscuity. Not so obvious would workaholics and micromanagers (or “control freaks”).

Some behaviors we use to cope are not necessarily unhealthy. They just are coping techniques that we have developed over the years because they seemed to worked. These include:

  • timidity
  • nervous habits such as
  • drumming fingers
  • running fingers through our hair
  • placing our tongue to one side of our mouth during a test
  • twirling hair around a finger
  • tapping a ffot

Sometimes children will pull out hair from their eyebrows or pick their nose.

Some seemingly okay behaviors can have effects on our physical health ranging from mild discomfort to severe. These would include things like the following:

  • high blood pressure
  • stomach ulcers
  • headaches
  • migraines
  • stomach aches
  • heart attacks
  • strokes
  • TIAs (mini-strokes)

What coping techniques do you think would lead to these sorts of physical outcomes?

The most likely ones in which we keep our thoughts and feelings stuffed deep inside with no way to let energyespecially negative energy out!

Healthy Ways to Cope with Stress

So what are some healthy ways to cope?

Some of the obvious ones are activities to burn off pent-up energy. Such as:

  • sports
  • other active hobbies like:
    • yard work
    • gardening
    • hiking
    • taking a walk.

There‘re more relaxing pastimes such as:

  • reading
  • bird watching
  • watching a good movie
  • getting a massage
  • meditating.

Many people deal with stress by talking a friend or a counselor about their problems.

Other people find great emotional and spiritual support through prayer, participating in worship of God or nature.

Many hobbies help to relieve stress (though I think others may actually create it…but that is for another post). To mention a few:

  • knitting
  • crocheting
  • needlepoint
  • sewing
  • fishing
  • working jigsaw puzzles or Sudoku puzzles
  • writing poetry
  • journal writing
  • storytelling.

My favorite of all of these is Sudoku.*  What is your favorite stress reliever? (Post your favorite stress management technique below.)

*As a special treat for my loyal readers (and fellow Sudoku lovers), I have opened a new section of my website. It includes Sudoku puzzles, and Sudoku coffee cups and Sudoku tee shirts and anything else Sudoku that I can locate. Please, if you know of any Sudoku gift suppliers or website owners, please post them below!

Thanks for reading.

Have an awesome day!

Ingenious Safety Device for Getting In or Out of the Car!

Ingenious Safety Device for Getting In or Out of the Car

Do you have a bad back? Bad knee? Bad hip?
Maybe you have been very ill or just had surgery? Still weak and shaky?
Do you fear you may fall or not be able to get out of the care safely?
Well, have I got good news for you!
If you have a bad back or a bad knee or arthritis in you hip, you already know how difficult it can be to move from sitting to standing anywhere. But it is particularly tricky if the car is low! And don’t even get me started on trucks an SUV’s, right? Getting into them is the problem.
What if you had a handle on the other side. You know what I mean. There is already a handle to hold onto on the door of the vehicle. What is missing is a handle to support you on the car-side as you get out. Something you can push yourself up with, right?
Well, low and behold, there is!
It is a handle that fits just perfectly into the existing door striker located on the inside of the door frame. You don’t have to worry about whether it will fit or not because it has a universal fit with no costly installation. It even comes with a built in flashlight to make it easier to be safe even at night!
Learn more at the website below (image is clickable). Get two – one for each side of the car! Or more – if you have more vehicles!

The above link takes you to the home page. Click on “Household Helpers”, then “Automotive” in the column on the left side of the page. Click on the one with the guy getting out of the car. That’s the one! Read to your heart’s content, then pick up one for yourself and one for a friend!
Your back will thank you. Your hip will thank you. Your knees will thank you, and you will be safer all around!

DIY Solar Panels – Can They Really Save You Money on Your Power Bill?

DIY Solar Panels

DIY Solar Panels – Can They Really Save You Money on Your Power Bill?

I just found the coolest Do-It-Yourself (DIY) instructions online!  It is a very detailed set of instructions on how to make your own solar panels. By making your own solar panels, you can lower your electric bill. And who doesn’t want to reduce what you pay to the power company, right?

Especially at this time of year!  Here is it in the 80s, 90s, and even over 100 some days with lows in the 70s and 80s. Humidity is close to 100% all the time.  This is NOT the time to skimp on using the air conditioner (AC)!

When that power bill arrives and it is nearly double what it was in the spring when we had neither AC nor heat on, it is a bit jarring to the senses. You know what I mean?

Here’s the thing. My husband is an excellent handyman!  He just completed a remodel of our master bathroom. It looks awesome!

Before that, he designed and built a headboard and foot board for our bed. That new bed would probably cost about $4000 or more – if you could even find a design close to it.  This is the first “real” bed we have had in 33 years of marriage.  The rest of the time the mattress and box springs just sat “naked” on those metal frames.

Before that he built a beautiful entertainment center…when the new large screen TV wouldn’t fit in the old one. Visitors to our home have asked where we bought it and are flabbergasted when we tell them who made it.

There have been numerous other projects. And he has mastered each and every one of them.

My point being – he can do really difficult things. He can:

  • design and plan the project
  • make the buy list
  • shop for best prices.

He can do just about anything. Remodeling, building, designing, landscaping, woodworking, and electrical. He can knock out walls, put down new flooring, put up ceiling fans, hang drywall, spackle and paint with the best of them.

So I am totally convinced that he can carry out a step-by-step set of instructions on how to build solar panels. These instructions include:

  • the tools needed
  • the buy list
  • exactly what to do with each and every thing on this list

to build a set of solar panels.

It’s not that we have any more electrical needs than anyone else.  It is simply that the monthly cost of electricity has gone up like everything else.  Our power bill is probably our second highest monthly bill – right behind the mortgage.  If we could reduce/eliminate it without spending an arm and a leg, it would probably be worth it, don’t you agree?

According to the video that talked about the DIY solar panels, that guy was able to cut his family’s electric bill by about $100 per month. And that was with just two solar panels.

Since it costs about $98 to make one panel that means the breakeven point for those first two panels would be two months.

Everything after that would true savings.  If a third one was added, it would likely completely eliminate the power bill most months.  Wouldn’t that be awesome!!!

Now, you see, we live in hurricane country. What that means – for those who have never had the “pleasure” – is power outages. For me the worst part of a hurricane is watching food spoil. Food spoils because the refrigerator/freezer has no power. After all, we can eat only so much food in a day, right? And the food in the freezer is all thawing at once.

It doesn’t do much good to invite the neighbors for a cookout. They are all having the same problem.

What if:

  • we had enough stored power to get through the power outage?
  • it didn’t matter how long the power was out?
  • we could still have our own solar-generated
  • we had stored power for the household.

Imagine a hot shower and a cold drink while everyone else on the street iDIY Solar Panelss still having cold showers and a lukewarm drink…not such a pretty picture, is it?

Guess it might be time to invite the neighbors to use the shower and offer them a cold drink, eh?

Anyway, I will keep you posted on my progress in getting hubby convinced that he should spend his afternoon making a solar panel…and lowering our power bill.

Check out the video I am talking about, and start saving on your power bill on your next day off:

Diabetes in 2013

Diabetes in 2013

Diabetes in 2013 is a bit different from what it was just a few decades ago. And it is light-years from what it was when I was in college studying nursing in the 1970s.

From having only two drug classes (sulfonylureas and insulin) to having six drug classes (and likely more by the time you read this) today, Diabetes care in 2013 is much different and much more targeted to the causes of high blood glucose levels.

History of Diabetes in 2013

Before the late 1990s, diabetes was diagnosed with blood tests done in a medical lab on two separate dates — usually fasting for at least 8 hours. The cut off value that indicated diabetes was 140mg/dL.  Many people (including my own daddy) walked around with blood sugar levels just below the cutoff and thought they were “fine.”

Diagnosing Diabetes in 2013

Today, the cut off is 126 mg/dL…and it only has to be ONCE.  Also new with the newly released diabetes care guidelines is the option to use the A1c test for diagnostic purposes. For diabetes to be diagnosed with the A1c test the value has to be higher than or equal to 6.5%. These cutoff point reflect the research showing a sudden increase in the occurrence of diabetic retinopathy.

In an effort to catch the disease earlier when it is easier to control, the recommended lower cut points will indeed find more people.  In turn there will be a greater need for diabetes education and support for more people with diabetes for longer periods in their lives.

Have you had your blood glucose checked in the last three years?  If you are over the age of 45, you should definitely have it check every three years or more often based on several factors.  You doctor can guide you on the frequency of screening if you do NOT currently have a diagnosis of diabetes.

If you DO have diabetes, you need to be testing at least ONCE per day.  In some situations, it may be necessary to test much more often. Again, your doctor or diabetes coach can help you sort out what is needed in your unique situation.

Take responsibility for your own health. Be proactive.

Ask for a test for diabetes the next time you see your doctor for any reason.

Visit back frequently. I will be writing on more topics to help you get and stay healthy!!!

To your health – physical, emotional, fiscal, and spiritual

Zona B. Taylor




Ladder of Health
Ladder of Health


Health” is one of those words that means different things to different people. For some people health means the absence of illness. For these folks, as long as they do not have a cold or the flu or some other diagnosable disease or ailment, they think they are “healthy.”  They are sometimes quite miserable, but still they consider themselves to have “health.”  These people tend to look at the spectrum of health on a “ill-to-not ill” continuum.

Optimum Health

I on the other hand, look at the state of health as a continuum from highest possible level of wellness “optimum health & wellness” on the top of the scale to extreme illness [perhaps ending in death] at the opposite end of the scale.  I think of it like a ladder:  Optimum health at the top and Intensive Care (just short of the morgue) at the bottom end.  The higher up the ladder, the better health, the more energy, and the more happy a person is.

The Ladder of Health

    Top Rung:    Optimal Health &Wellness
      Cell Protection

        Increased Energy

          No Symptoms

            Decreased Energy

              Pain & Fatigue

                  Diagnosed Condition

                  Serious Illness

                    Near Death/ICU

This approach to health encompasses all aspects of health.  Think about it for a minute.

If your finances are a mess, doesn’t that just drag the rest of you down, too?

If you are down and depressed, don’t you just feel tired and de-energized all over?

What if you are not eating “right”?

Do you find you feel sick or tire more easily?

If you had a fight with your best friend, do you feel less “up” than usual?

All of these will tend to knock you down a rung or two on the ladder of health.

To help you on your journey to better health, it is a good idea to start with the thing that will help you most.  If there is one thing that you think would make your life better, start there and take it one baby step at a time. I will gladly guide you and help you any way that I can.

So now it is your turn to tell me “What does health mean to you?”  Please comment below.  I will continue to write posts on topics that address ways to improve your health each day. I will also announce here blogs in other sections of that relate to specific areas of your health.

If there is something of particular interest to you, let me know. If I have any expertise in that area or can find a guest blogger on that topic, I will do so. How’s that for a deal?

To your optimum health & wellness,