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!

Christmas Yard Art is Coming!

Christmas is Coming!

 

Christmas is coming in FIVE months and FIVE days until Christmas!

But who is counting, right?Christmas Day

Well, I am, obviously.

Why?

Because this year my grandbabies will be the perfect age to really make Christmas fun!  They will be four-years-old and two-years-old. Such wonderful, magical ages!

Watching their eyes light up when they see a house outlined in Christmas lights is such a joy to behold!  They are so easily transported from the North Pole at one house to Bethlehem at the next.  The transition is seamless for them.

That is why my husband and I have gradually started increasing the outdoor Christmas decorations on the house and in and around the front yard each year for the last few years. Somehow becoming grandparents was the spark we needed to light the Christmas yard art fire in our veins!

The first year I had found a candy cane at a huge discount at a previous after-Christmas sale. Using that as inspiration, I described to my husband what I wanted.  He took the description and the prototype and went out to his shop.

He figured out how many of them it would take to serve as “posts” for a Christmas “fence” made of Christmas lights. A couple of weeks later, he had designed a pattern, cut out thirty-five candy canes, and painted them red and white striped. Fortunately, we live in the Deep South so the ground was not frozen when it was time to put them in the ground.Christmas Yard Art

Setting them about twenty-four inches apart, I measured and laid them out. Hubby came along behind and pounded them into the ground. Next came the outdoor lights that we draped from one to the next. And ~ viola! ~ the front yard turned into a winter wonderland when the sun went down!

Every year since then, we have outlined the front yard with candy canes and lights.

Since then, we have added signs that line the path to the front door,

Christmas Yard Art

and a trio of angels…

Yard Art

Yard Art

 

 

 

 

This year, we plan to add a nativity scene with Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus.  I will post photos when we set up everything in November.

Since that first year, Hubby has used a pattern that we found online.  It usually takes him just a few hours to assemble the needed materials, cut out the figures, and be ready to start painting them.  He always does at least a couple of coats of paint so they will stay looking good until the twelfth day of Christmas.

 

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:

http://bit.ly/13c7guR

Is There Really A Way to Prevent A Herpes Outbreak?

 

Complete the from on the next page for Immediate Access to a Short Video with Information about Herpes:

  • Who is at most risk of catching herpes?
  • What are the symptoms of herpes?
  • Will herpes go away?
  • What can a person do to prevent future episodes of herpes outbreaks?
  • If a herpes outbreak is starting, is there anything a person can do to cut it short and speed healing?

Here’s the path to the Video showing How to Prevent Herpes Outbreaks:

Preventing Herpes Outbreaks

 

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

 

 

Nutrition Simplified – Major Nutrients

Nutrition – Major Nutrientsnutrition simpliveid - major nutrients - protein, fat, carbs

Protein – Building Blocks of Nutrition

The first major nutrient is protein. Protein provides the building blocks for your
body. Proteins in their simplest form are called amino acids. Amino acids are arranged in different ways to make different parts of the body. For example, amino acids (protein) used to make the brain and nerves are arranged differently than the ones that make up bones. Or teeth. Or hair. Or muscles. Each of these tissues and organs are made of amino acids. They are just arranged differently to make different proteins. Although protein’s primary job is to be used to build, protein can also be turned into fuel for the body…as a backup plan…in a pinch.

Fat – Nutrition for the Long Haul

The second major nutrient is fat. Fat breaks down during digestion into fatty acids. Fatty acids are used in a variety of ways in the body. Most hormones made in the body start with fatty acids. Our nerves require fatty acids to work correctly. As most of us already know, if you have more fatty acids than your body can use, the extra fat is stored in the body as fuel to be used in case of food shortage.  For fat to be used as fuel, there must be a prolonged period of demand for fuel when carbs are in short supply.

Carbs – Powerhouse of Nutrition

Carbohydrates (carbs) are the third major nutrient.  The main job of carbs is to provide fuel for the body.  The simplest form of carbohydrates is glucose (i.e. blood sugar). Glucose is the form of fuel that every cell in your body is able to use well. Some cells in the body, i.e. the brain, cannot use any other form of fuel.

You may be wondering why your body needs fuel. Your body is made up of more than three trillion cells. Each of those cells has a job description. In order to carry out its assigned tasks, each cell must have energy. That energy is provided by the food you eat.

When you eat a meal, there is a period of time following the meal when your body is very busy breaking down the food you just ate.  Once the food breaks down enough, it enters the blood stream in its simplest form. Protein as amino acids. Fat as fatty acids. Carbs as glucose.

When your body detects the rush of nutrients following a meal, your body responds to use the nutrients to the best advantage. Various hormones (including insulin) are needed for use and storage of the nutrients. If your body does not make enough insulin, or cannot use it correctly, the level of glucose in your blood rises too high and we call that “Diabetes Mellitus”.

If you are interested in finding out more about diabetes, click on the following link to begin receiving a series of lessons by email.   “I want to know more about diabetes and how to control it.

Diabetes – Is It Really What You Think It Is?

Diabetes – What Is It Anyway?

Diabetes is often misunderstood. Some people refer to diabetes as “sugar” or “sugar diabetes.” When you hear the word “sugar,” do you think of that white granular stuff that you sprinkle on your strawberries. Or use to make cookies. Or frosting. The medical term for diabetes is diabetes mellitus.

Diabetes occurs when the level of sugar in the blood is too high. The medical word for blood sugar is glucose.  Glucose is a form of fuel for the body. Just like your car, your body cannot run well without the proper fuel.

Let’s back up a little. The food you eat goes to your stomach. Digestion begins there. When the food breaks down to its simplest form, it can be used by your body. Different foods are used for different purposes in the body.  One of the uses for food is to provide fuel for your body.What Is Diabetes?

In fact, all foods have the ability to serve as fuel.  Some fuels are better suited to certain parts of your body than others. For instance, your brain can use only ONE kind of fuel, glucose. No other fuel will work for feeding your brain cells.

However, we have all heard that you “can get too much of a good thing,” right? Well, this is definitely one of those situations. You need a certain amount of glucose to keep your body healthy and working.  However, if you have too much glucose (blood sugar) floating in your blood stream, you run into trouble. That trouble is called  diabetes.

There are hormones that aid in proper use of fuel in your body. One of these hormones is called insulin. When diabetes is present, there is one of two problems with insulin. Either there is not enough insulin produced by the body. Or the body is not able to use the insulin properly.  Either way, the end result is a rise in the level of glucose in the bloodstream – especially right after eating.

The Bad News about High Blood Sugar

Too much glucose floating in your bloodstream damages the cells in your eyes, in your kidneys, and the large blood vessels of the heart and brain. The results of high blood sugar over a long time can be blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks, and strokes.

The Good News about Diabetes

Fortunately, we know that controlling the levels of glucose in the blood can lower the risks of blindness, kidney failure, heart attack and stroke. The closer the levels are to normal – the lower the risk of complications!

Learning to control your blood glucose is not as hard as it sounds. Once you know how, you can take charge of your own diabetes care most of the time. It is important that you know when to call in the professionals, though. If you can attend a class approved by the American Association of Diabetes Educators, you will learn the basics of self-care. If you need on-going encouragement and assistance in dealing with the day-to-day issues of blood sugar control, you need a diabetes coach. If your blood sugars start doing something unexpected, be sure you call your doctor or your coach.

Future Diabetes Topics

In future blogs, we will discuss more about what diabetes is and how to control diabetes. If you would like to be notified when a new blog is posted, please sign up below.