4 Ways to Have a Healthier and Happier Holiday

‘Tis the season to overeat, overspend, and overcommit—sound familiar? Although it’s often easier said than done, there are ways to buck these trends. Focus on health and happiness—rather than the number of gifts exchanged. That can bring priceless payoffs to you and your family. Here are a few simple ideas to consider.

  1. Eat well, but don’t deprive yourself. Do you have diabetes, high blood pressure, or another health condition that requires healthy eating choices? Or are you simply among the crowd that packs on extra pounds during the holidays? If so, plan ahead.

Have one or two strategies that make it possible to enjoy yourself without hurting your health. Here are a few examples: Bring a healthy dish to share at potlucks. Go easy on the liquid calories, especially alcohol. Treat yourself, but set limits—maybe limit sweet treats to once a week.1

  1. Do some healthcare “housekeeping.” The flu or other illness is sure to put a big damper on anyone’s holiday. Take steps to make this less likely for you and those around you. Wash your hands often to help prevent the spread of germs. Get your annual vaccines, if you haven’t already.

The end of the year is also a good time to check if you need any exams and to sign up for insurance, unless you’ve done so already. Also, take advantage of family time to flesh out your family’s medical history.2,3 If you or someone you know is making multiple trips a month to pickup medication talk to our pharmacist about consolidating those trips and even set up automatic refills so your medication is always ready.

  1. Focus on experiences, not things. Studies have shown that helping others can increase your own levels of happiness. This could be anything from volunteering at a local food bank to simply picking up prescriptions for a neighbor. There is no shortage of ways to get involved during the holidays—and all year long.

Here’s another way to focus on experiences: Create your own holiday traditions. Try some caroling with your family or friends. So what if your Uncle Charles is tone deaf? Just have some fun. And there’s another bonus: singing lowers stress.4

Or maybe you’d enjoy cutting down your own tree, taking in a high school performance of the Nutcracker, or turning your holiday cards into gratitude cards. By adding personal notes that express your appreciation, you can boost your own happiness as well.4

  1. Turn down the “doer dial.” Does it feel as though everything speeds up during the holidays? That can be really stressful. This is not a race. And no matter the messages you’re receiving, you don’t need to do it all. Take breaks when you need them. (Introverts, this especially applies to you!) Put another log on the fire, take a bubble bath, snuggle up with your sweetie, or sleep in—guilt free. Remember: if you take good care of yourself, you can be more present for the people you love. And after all, isn’t that what it’s all about?

Nothing herein constitutes medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, or is a substitute for professional advice.  You should always seek the advice of your physician or other medical professional if you have questions or concerns about a medical condition.

 

 

Sources

 

  1. Huffington Post: 8 Tips for Staying Healthy and Happy During the Holidays. Available at: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/leana-wen-md/holidays-health_b_2341813.html Accessed 11-3-17.

 

  1. CDC: 12 Ways to Have a Healthy Holiday Season. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/features/healthytips/index.html Accessed 11-3-17.

 

  1. Consumer Reports: 40 Tips for healthy holidays: 40 ways to get the most out of the season. Available at https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/2012/11/happier-healthier-holidays/index.htm Accessed 11-3-17.

 

  1. Prevention: How To Have 31 Days of Healthy, Happy Holidays. Available at: https://www.prevention.com/mind-body/emotional-health/31-days-happy-healthy-stress-free-holidays Accessed 11-3-17.

 

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Kids and Sleep: How Much Is Enough?

Kids and Sleep: How Much Is Enough?

What happens when your kid doesn’t get enough sleep? Does he turn into Oscar the Grouch? Not a surprise, really. But moodiness isn’t the only downside of a lack of shuteye.

Sleep is critical for mental and physical development. In fact, a lack of sleep can lead to serious health problems such as high blood pressure, injuries, diabetes, and obesity in kids, as well as depression in teens (and adults).1,2

Sleep guidelines for kids. About a year ago, the American Academy of Pediatrics came out with new sleep guidelines for kids. In case you missed it, here’s what they now recommend:

  • Infants 4 to 12 months: 12 to 16 hours (including naps)
  • Kids 1 to 2 years: 11 to 14 hours (including naps)
  • Kids 3 to 5 years: 10 to 13 hours (including naps)
  • Kids 6 to 12 years: 9 to 12 hours
  • Teens: 8 to 10 hours1

Guidelines are more challenging to devise for infants younger than four months. That’s because there is so much variation among young infants as they begin to develop regular sleep-wake cycles. 1,2

Signs of sleeplessness. How can you tell if your child isn’t getting enough sleep? Here are some telltale signs. Your child may:

  • Have trouble waking up and getting moving within 15 minutes.
  • Sleep at least two hours longer during weekends or vacations than during the school week.
  • Fall asleep during short car trips or at school.
  • Have trouble remembering, paying attention, and learning.
  • Be irritable or hyperactive.1,3

About that hyperactivity—that’s counterintuitive and can really throw parents. When you’re tired, you probably slow down. But kids can really wind up when they haven’t gotten enough sleep, and will resist going bedtime, even if they’re bone-tired. This sign can look a lot like attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder.4

What you can do. Yes, I know: Getting kids to bed at night is easier said than done. But it’s worth the effort, because quality sleep is not a luxury. You can make a difference in a number of ways.

For example, help your child learn how to prioritize and focus on the activities he or she really enjoys—maybe not three sports all at the same time! Limit your child’s access to caffeine—remember it’s in chocolate, too. Make sure the bedroom is cool and dark. Set a regular, relaxing nighttime routine. Most important, keep TV and computers out of the bedroom, and turn off all screens at least 30 minutes before bedtime. Whether it comes from a bulb or a smartphone, light promotes wakefulness.1,2

If your child isn’t getting enough sleep, it’s also important to rule out a sleep disorder or other medical condition. Snoring can be a sign of sleep apnea in kids, not just in adults.4 I’d be glad to talk over your concerns or maybe its time to make an appointment with the pediatrician.

Nothing herein constitutes medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, or is a substitute for professional advice.  You should always seek the advice of your physician or other medical professional if you have questions or concerns about a medical condition.

 

Sources:

  1. CBSNews: “New sleep guidelines for babies, kids and teens.” Available at: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/new-sleep-guidelines-for-babies-kids-and-teens/ Accessed: 7-1-17.
  2. National Sleep Foundation: “Children and Sleep.” Available at: https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-topics/children-and-sleep Accessed 7-1-17.
  3. HealthDay: “Health Tip: Is Your Child Sleeping Enough?” Available at: https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_164509.html Accessed 7-1-17.
  4. National Sleep Foundation: “How Much Sleep Do Babies and Kids Need?” Available at: https://sleepfoundation.org/excessivesleepiness/content/how-much-sleep-do-babies-and-kids-need Accessed 7-1-17.

Why Can’t I Lose Weight?

“Why can’t I lose weight?” is a question that many of us have asked ourselves. However, effective weight loss means dealing with several variables.

  • Poor diet: Most of us eat ethnically or habitually, or follow the recommendations of the processed food and fast food industry who encourage us to eat much more than we need to and more poorly than we should. This also extends to the oversized food portions being served in the more popular restaurants.
  • Lack of exercise: The purpose of food is to provide us with the energy that we require for activitiy. If we consume more calories per day than what we expend in activity, we store the excess calories as fat. As we increase exercise, we decrease fat.
  • Lack of accountability: Successful weight loss is best accomplished by being accountable to someone
  • Failure to commit: Successful, healthy weight loss can require a commitment of six months to two years, with a LIFETIME commitment to a new healthy lifestyle to keep it off.
  • Psychological make-up: Food as a reward mechanism is common in American culture.
  • Genetic make-up: Research has found that some individuals possess a genetic profile which makes it difficult for them to lose weight. However, genes only indicate predisposition; they do not mandate outcome.
  • Hormones: There are a number of hormones that can come into play in weight loss, including thyroid hormones, adrenal hormones and dopamine. Hormones can impact metabolic rate,weight gain and food craving.

What ANY animal is designed to eat for a healthy life is known as its diet. A weight loss plan is not a diet, but a special program designed to encourage consumption of calories that are being stored in the body as fat. A weight management diet is used to retrain and recondition the body so that weight does not return. Popular weight management diets are the Mediterranean Diet, the Elimination Diet, the Gluten Free Diet and the Paleolithic Diet. Generally, a weight loss plan is used for 30 days and then followed by 30 days of a weight management diet, with the sequence repeated until the desired weight is lost. For successful weight loss, an individual cannot return to the diet that created the weight gain to begin with.

In designing your personal weight loss plan:

  • Correct all variables to insure that you have the ability to undertake a serious weight loss plan.
  • Design a nutritionally sound meal replacement weight loss plan.
  • Limit the weight loss plan to no longer than 4 weeks. Then, move on to the weight management diet for 3-4 weeks. The weight management diet will support the weight loss that occurs during the weight loss plan. Repeat this cycle until desired weight is lost.
  • To insure that your weight loss plan and your weight management diet is nutritionally sound, seek out the advice of a healthcare professional.

 

Written by: Wellness Works – Monthly Nutritional Practice www.wellnessworks.com

Pharm A Save is an authorized retailer of Wellness Works Nutritional Products. Pharmacist Recommended !

 

The Flu Vaccine – An Insurance Policy for the Whole Family

The Flu Vaccine – An Insurance Policy for the Whole Family

No, it’s not foolproof. But an annual flu vaccine is a great way to insure against the flu. The CDC recommends everyone 6 months and older get a flu vaccine each year. It’s designed to protect against the three or four flu viruses most likely to cause illness during the upcoming flu season.1

For most people, a flu vaccine can protect you throughout the flu season, which typically lasts from October to May. The best policy? Get vaccinated as soon as the vaccine becomes available, ideally in October.1

For young kids. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests the nasal spray vaccine for healthy children ages 2 through 8. For young children, it may work better than the flu shot (and be a little less scary, too). But if it’s not available early in the flu season, don’t wait. Go ahead with the flu shot.1

Remember: even healthy children are at risk of flu complications that are serious enough to land them in the hospital. Signs of pneumonia include chest pain and fast, difficult breathing. 2

If you’re pregnant.  In recent years, several studies have shown that the flu vaccine is safe and effective, no matter your stage of pregnancy. The flu shot protects both you and your baby. In fact, it is much more dangerous not to be vaccinated. In addition to pneumonia, the flu can lead to premature labor and other complications.

If you’re pregnant, just given birth, or are breast-feeding, however, don’t get the live (nasal mist) vaccine. You should have an inactivated version instead.3

If you’re over 65. As you age, the flu vaccine may not last as well as it does in younger, healthier people. If you’re over 65 or have a weaker immune system, you may not create as many antibodies. And, your antibody levels may drop more quickly.1

A recent study has found that a high-dose flu shot is more effective in seniors than the standard dose. Approved for people 65 and older, the Fluzone High-Dose vaccine contains four times as much as the standard dose. With its use, the researchers believe that about 25 percent of flu cases in seniors could be prevented.4

The CDC doesn’t recommend this vaccine for all seniors, though. Be sure to talk with your doctor or me to see if it’s right for you or someone your love.

Where to get a flu vaccine. You can always see your doctor or go to a health or student clinic. But you can also come to our pharmacy and the pharmacists can give you a flu shot. We even bill your insurance! We make it easy for you. If you have any questions about how to do this, just let me know. Walk ins are welcome.

Other ways to stay healthy—and keep others healthier—throughout flu season?

  • Wash your hands regularly.
  • Stay away from sick people—as much as possible.
  • If you come down with the flu, stay home. 1 After all, your productivity won’t matter as much if you make everyone at your workplace sick!

Nothing herein constitutes medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, or is a substitute for professional advice.  You should always seek the advice of your physician or other medical professional if you have questions or concerns about a medical condition.