Category Archives: health

How to Avoid Bug Bites

Summer time is almost here, and that means lots of time outside. Whether you are going on a camping or hiking trip, or just planting a garden in your backyard, protection against bug bites can prevent you from irritated and itchy spots on your skin.

Bug spray, such as Repel Lemon Eucalyptus or Sawyer Picaridin (safe for children), should be applied before any outdoor activity to prevent bites.

Wearing long sleeves and pants can help prevent bites. Avoid wearing bright colors that attract bugs. Don’t wear sandals.

Don’t wear perfume or scented hair or body products.

Stay away from still-standing water and remove bodies of water around your home to prevent mosquitoes laying eggs.

Use screens on open doors and windows. Use air conditioning during hot, summer days.

Taking these steps will help you spend lots of time outside this summer without pesky bugs attacking you!

Let’s Talk About Moving

Moving. I don’t mean the “get off the couch and exercise kind.” I’m talking about gathering your belongings and relocating to another house or apartment. It’s May, which means you may even have kids of a certain age who will likely be moving to or from a dorm or apartment.

Here are some tips to keep the transition stay as simple as possible.

Invest in plastic bins: Especially if you are going to be moving every year or so due to an expiring lease, these are life savers! You can fit a lot in them, you don’t have to buy new cardboard boxes every year, they are easier to carry and they are unlikely to bust open on your way to the car.

Clean AFTER you’re finished: When you move, you notice a lot of dirt you probably didn’t know was there before. It is tempting to get out the vacuum immediately to handle it right away. But keep in mind that you will likely have to clean at the end of your move regardless since you will be constantly moving furniture and tracking dirt in.

Breathe: Take things one thing at a time and start early. Moving can be stressful. Relax, manage your tasks and enjoy the process as much as possible: one room at a time.

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Is Organic Really Better?

With the increasing options at the grocery store, how do you know what to buy to get the best nutritional value for your money? A number of studies have been done on the nutritional value of organic food vs. inorganic food, so let’s break down the basics.

  • One study found a significantly higher level of antioxidants in organic foods than in conventionally grown foods. Nutrients and antioxidants are two different things and affect the body differently. However, based on their findings, these researchers declared organic food to be a more nutritious option.
  • Researchers also found higher levels of pesticides on conventionally grown foods, which they said made them more unsafe.
  • None of the studies have detected levels of pesticides or chemicals that approach anything near what would be classified as an unsafe level.
  • There is no known difference between organic and conventionally grown food with respect to nutrient content.
  • The most recent study found that organic crops are lower in protein.

As you can tell, opinions and research findings vary greatly, making it hard to feel confident in one decision on this subject. When it comes to eating healthy, ultimately the answer is to eat a balance of foods that are nutrient-rich and processed as little as possible.

Ways to Boost Creativity

Feeling tired of doing the same thing every single day? Stuck in a creativity drought? Here are a few scientifically proven ways to boost your creative juices and get out of your rut:

  1. Exercise before work.
  2. Mix up your routine.
  3. Travel abroad.
  4. Go see a movie.
  5. Take a walk outside.
  6. Paint a picture.
  7. Start an idea notebook.
  8. Listen to classical music.
  9. Do something that scares you.
  10. Stop watching TV.

Letting yourself try new things without fear of failure, mixing things up and getting out of your routine will help you become more creative. The key is that no idea or thought is out of the question. Creativity makes room for unexpected ideas and thoughts. Let go of the thought that you are not creative, because everyone has creative potential – it’s just a matter of tapping into it!

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Spring Break Skin Safety

We are getting into the early weeks in March, which can only mean one thing: Spring Break. Or, for those of us who work, a great excuse to use some of that PTO. And what better way to spend that time than somewhere warm and sunny? I’ve covered the importance of getting enough sunlight and Vitamin D, but you also don’t want too much of a good thing. Here are some tips to keep you and your skin healthy under the hot sun on your vacation:

Wear sunscreen. This is probably overused advice, but for good reason. Wearing sunscreen not only keeps you from getting painful burns, but it can also protect you from skin cancer. Using a sunblock with SPF 30 or higher may not help you tan as quickly, but you’ll thank yourself later.

Drink lots of water. When you’re having fun at the beach, it’s easy to forget about proper hydration. But under the hot sun, it is even more important to get your daily dose of H2O. This will keep you healthy and will also help to keep your skin from getting too dry. Try eating fruits such as watermelon as well for extra hydration.

Wear a hat. Make sure you keep your face protected! A pink and peeling face won’t be flattering when you return back to work. Wearing a hat can help keep that sensitive skin protected. Besides, keeping your skin healthy also helps fight signs of aging, which is something I think we can all get behind.

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Importance of Sunshine

Winter blues are a real thing. They’re not, however, always something that a little dose of Vitamin D and sunshine can’t cure. Making sure you get enough sunshine in the winter is important to living a healthy life.

Sunlight is a natural, major source of Vitamin D. Getting outside in the sun is the best way to boost your mood and receive many health benefits. This vitamin aids in calcium metabolism, fighting depression, sleeping better, and keeping your bones and eyes healthy.  Vitamin D also helps in reducing colds and flu by boosting immune support.

During the cold, winter months we spend most of our time inside and we miss out on the benefits of natural light. It is important to spend as much time as you can in the sun to keep your Vitamin D levels up.

You can also receive Vitamin D in the winter by eating foods such as salmon, eggs, cereal, red meat, or taking a supplement.

So if you’re feeling a little blue, it may be time to catch some rays.

Combating the Sedentary Work Week

We’ve all heard the excuses for a sedentary work week: There’s no time. We don’t have enough energy. Or, maybe more honestly, we simply don’t want to exercise. But studies have proven exercise is important to keeping us both happy and healthy. Here are some tips for those with desk jobs on how to get more exercise during the day.

Walk, walk, walk: If you are busy at your desk all day, it can be hard to remember to get up and move around. But taking a quick stroll around the office every hour or so can fight a sedentary work lifestyle. Walk to lunch, visit your colleagues instead of buzzing their phones, and take the stairs. It may not seem like it, but these small acts can really makes a difference.

Wake up early: It can be more difficult to convince yourself to go to the gym after a long day of work. We are tired and ready to take it easy. If you are one of those people, maybe try waking up a little earlier. Go to the gym, get a short workout in at the house or go for a walk around the neighborhood. Even though you are waking up earlier, the extra activity should improve energy levels.

Utilize weekends: On the weekends, most of us have a little more free time. Try to incorporate a little more activity on your days off! Visit the gym, go for a hike or toss a ball in the park with a friend or your kids. Working in that extra physical activity won’t feel as much like a chore when you don’t have a million other things on your to do list.

It’s Time for a Brain Break

Sometimes we need to give our minds a little break. Whether you are stressed from work or overwhelmed by life’s demands, giving your mind a break can be good for your overall health and wellbeing. Here are some suggestions to implement mental health breaks into your day.

Write down your goals. Getting your goals on to paper allows your brain to process simply. Make sure that your goals are simple, clear and achievable. Make at least one goal each day and when you accomplish it, reward yourself.

Take a walk outside. Everyone needs exercise. Taking a walk helps to clear your mind and gives you space to breathe.

Diffuse an essential oil such as lavender. Besides the pleasant aromatic touch added to the room, essential oils can lift your mood.

Listen to your favorite music. Listening to calming piano melodies can slow your brain down if you feel stressed.  If you are feeling tired, listen to some happy, upbeat tunes.

Giving your brain a break every once in a while is essential to living life to the fullest. Balancing stress levels and allowing clear thoughts can help you work best when stressful times come. Find your personal brain break and implement it into your daily routine to become a better, healthier you!

How to Stay Energized at Work

After a few weeks back at work from the holidays, it’s easy to experience a decline in energy as you get back into the swing of things. Here are some tips to stay energized and focused to get you over that slump.

1.       Take breaks. It may seem counterproductive, but taking breaks can actually improve your ability to get work done. Simply getting up and taking a walk to get some blood flowing can improve your energy levels and your quality of work as well.

2.       Be careful with caffeine. The first thing a lot of us do when we are tired at work is reach for the coffee pot. This can be effective, but it can also backfire. You might find yourself even more tired when the caffeine wears off or you could have trouble sleeping later on at night. Try limiting your coffee consumption or switching to tea as the afternoon approaches. 

3.       Stay engaged. As things pick back up at work, it can be easy to hunker down in your office and shut everyone else out in an effort to get more work done. But socializing in your office is important! It builds a stronger communal bond, breaks up the work day and allows the sharing of ideas.

Healthy Tips for Trashing Take-out

Eating healthy can feel like a chore – one a lot of us would love to avoid. But if you vowed to change your diet this year, whether your goals are to lose weight or simply improve your overall wellness, here are some tips to make your “chores” a little easier:

1.       Don’t leave behind the leftovers.

Packing a lunch for work is often a difficult task. You want to keep it healthy, but also have enough variety so that you don’t get bored and take a trip to that takeout place you love during your break. This can be easily remedied with leftovers! Simply make a little bit more food for dinner than necessary for you and your family and take the rest for lunch. That should help taper that sandwich and salad rut.

2.       Map out your meals.

Decide in advance roughly what your menu will look like for the week. It is harder to deviate from a diet when a plan is already in place and groceries are bought. Not only does this save time and effort during the work week, but it can also be a money saver. Choose recipes in which some of the ingredients overlap to cut back on food waste and your grocery bill. 

3.       Schedule shopping trips.

In the same vein as meal planning, it is also important to schedule your grocery store visits. It is best to do this on a day off or weekend. If Monday rolls around and there’s nothing healthy in the pantry to cook for dinner, it will be far too easy for you to pick up the phone to order pizza.