When All You Can See Are Problems

There's Always a Silver Lining

 

 

Introduction

It isn’t hard to find something to be depressed about. Every day you read about murders, famine, nations ready to go to war, and of course, the current administration in Washington leaves a lot to be desired.

Hearing and reading about these things is depressing enough, but what about the problems you’re experiencing in your own life? You may have lost your job, have family problems, or bills that you can’t afford to pay.

Everyone experiences hard times, but there is often an opportunity for growth inside a problem, and hard times can often turn into bigger blessings.

You Lose Your Job

For instance, let’s say you lost your job. You may feel afraid, ashamed, and angry and want to avoid friends and neighbors who might ask you why you are now home during the day.

Now, you not only don’t have a job, but there is no money coming in, and the bill collectors may be hounding you day and night. Depending on where you live, jobs may be scarce, and to stay competitive, you may need to take a class or two for which you’ll have to pay.

Ask Yourself These Questions

Did you really enjoy that job? Maybe your boss was a jerk, or you were facing a sea of cranky commuters that got on your last nerve. Now, you are free to look for a job that is a better fit, and closer to home and you don’t have to leave at the crack of dawn to get there.

Why were you fired? Be honest with yourself. Did you really not understand the job requirements, and you asked for help but none was given? Once you work somewhere for a long period, you may have taken advantage of the job by taking a longer lunch or breaks, or turning in work late.

What Went Right?

On the positive side, you may have done your best work, but you were not adequately trained to do the job. Look for a job that you have the skillset for and stop taking advantage of your employer by slacking off. When you have your dream job it may not even seem like work because you enjoy it so much.

What Did You Learn?

It might not seem like it at the time, but there is always some nugget of wisdom you can learn that will help you on life’s journey. If you asked for help, pat yourself on the back for speaking up. You may have taken advantage of company time, but now you know that isn’t going to cut it, and you make a conscious effort to do better.

When you go through problems it may seem like you’re going to stay stuck forever. Do what you can to remedy the situation, but in the meantime do your best, and keep moving forward.

Don’t Be a Couch Potato!

Exercise at Home in Your Spare Time

There are some people that get such a good feeling from running that they will run whether it’s sunny, snowy, or rainy. However, when it’s too cold or you don’t feel safe running when it’s dark, you need an indoor workout that you feel good about.

That’s where having a treadmill comes in handy, but you may have to do your research to find a model with which you’re happy. Don’t be afraid to try out different models in your sporting goods store. This is an important purchase so take your time and ask questions if you need to.

Here are six pros and cons of exercising on a treadmill:

You Control How Long You Exercise

You can start and stop your workout any time you want. It’s also a good time to catch up on your favorite television shows. As a bonus, some newer treadmills have their own television. What could be better than that?

No Dress Code

Another advantage of running on a treadmill is you can dress in whatever you like rather than putting on a jogging suit and running shoes.

If you want to exercise without shoes or socks, practice walking on a softer surface first. Good examples are around your yard or in a local park.

Helps Build Muscle / Good Cardio Workout

It gives you a great cardio workout and your doctor has probably nagged you about getting more exercise. Exercising on a treadmill can help lower blood pressure and strengthen your heart. You may feel so good that you’ll make this part of a daily routine.

You may lose weight and build more muscle. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn, and the slimmer you look.

No Socialization

If you have been used to working out at the gym with all the other members, exercising at home can get very lonely. Maybe you’re the type that likes an exercise buddy, but unless you have more than one treadmill, your friends are not likely to join in.

Knee Pain

If you have knee pain, check with your doctor first before you start exercising on your treadmill. If you set the treadmill at a low speed you may bounce up and down more than you would on a flat surface outside. The slow motion can also increase the impact on your heel and knees.

Safety Issues

A treadmill workout is confined to a small area, so it’s easier to over-, under- or side-step and fall off the belt during a run. Most treadmills have rails that you can hang on to, and this is especially important when you’re raising or lowering your speed level.

You can’t put a price on your health. Taking care of yourself will allow you to participate in all that life has to offer.

Thanksgiving is Almost Here

5 Tips for a Safe Thanksgiving for Your Pets

Thanksgiving is next week and my menu is finally coming together. Of course yams with marshmallows, and plenty of turkey and ham are the stars of the show, and I won’t forget the delicious pumpkin or pecan pie. It makes my mouth water just thinking about it.

The same foods that you enjoy so much, could be toxic for your pets. Many foods are on the no-no list, so you need to be vigilant, but it doesn’t mean pets can’t enjoy safer Thanksgiving treats.

Here are five tips to make Thanksgiving safe for your pets:

Feed Small Bites of Turkey

Those begging eyes are hard to resist, and you can give your pets small bites of turkey. Make sure the turkey is boneless and well-cooked, so they don’t digest salmonella bacteria.

Don’t Let your Pet Lick the Dessert Bowl

You can’t celebrate Thanksgiving without dessert, at least in my opinion, but don’t let your pets stick their nose in the batter. This is particularly true if you are using raw eggs. This also applies to people and I have seen some warning signs on cookie mixes not to eat the raw dough.

Give Dog Chews instead of Turkey Bones

Dogs usually love to chew on turkey bones, but bones can splinter easily and cause blockages in the digestive system. Instead, offer bones made specifically for dogs.

Don’t Feed Foods with Nuts

Nuts are commonly used for Thanksgiving favorites such as sweet potatoes, Waldorf salad, and as a filling or garnish for holiday pies. High fat nuts such as walnuts, pecans, and almonds can cause diarrhea and vomiting in your pets.

Make a Holiday Meal for your Pets

There’s no reason for pets to miss out on all the fun and food, so take a few bites of boneless turkey, mashed and sweet potatoes and put them in a puzzle feeder. Puzzle feeders come in all shapes and sizes and it takes time to get all the food to come out. This keeps pets from gobbling food too fast, or begging at the holiday table.

Make this a holiday to remember for both you and your pets. Throw your diet out the window and enjoy all the goodies. Tomorrow you can get back on track again.

 

The Joys of Menopause

4 Essential Screenings for Better Health

 

I remember when I turned 50 that my doctor encouraged me to have a colonoscopy. That recommendation went in one ear and out the other, and after nine years of nagging, I finally gave in and it wasn’t near as bad as I thought. I had three colon polyps removed and reduced my chances of these polyps turning malignant.

As you get older, you need to be more proactive about your health. If you receive an annual physical, your doctor may suggest a few essential screenings to head off problems before they become more serious.

Here are four essential screenings for better health:

Mammogram

According to the American Cancer Society, women with average risk of breast cancer, can start receiving an annual mammogram at age 45. Once you turn 55, you can wait two years for your next mammogram. You can choose to have a mammogram yearly, but you may have to receive a referral from your doctor.

After being told for years to do a breast self-exam every month, new guidelines state that women can discontinue this practice. It’s up to you whether you want the doctor to do a breast exam.

Shingles

Once I turned 60, my doctor wanted me to receive the shingles vaccine. Shingles can occur anywhere on your body, but usually painful blisters form around one side of your torso. Shingles can also appear around your eyes.

Tetanus

My doctor didn’t recommend I get a tetanus vaccine, but since I was getting the shingles vaccine anyway, I thought why not kill two birds with one stone? Tetanus, often referred to as lock-jaw, causes your muscles to tighten, and your jaw can be so tight that you can’t open your mouth.

Vaccines are good for 10 years and it’s a big comfort to know that you won’t have to race to the emergency room every time you get a puncture on some part of your body.

DEXA

A DEXA scan uses low-energy x-rays to test bone density. If you have low bone density, you may have osteopenia, which can lead to osteoporosis. For best results, x-rays from two different sources are used.

I had the scan at least twice, but the current recommendation from the U.S. Preventative Task Force is to administer the scan to women 65 and over.

Menopause can be a pain in the neck, but it’s a perfect time to work on your health. Ask your doctor which tests you may need, and follow through. Your body will thank you.

Tired of Bras That Pinch and Gouge?

4 Good Reasons To See a Professional Bra Fitter

 

Wearing a bra is not in my top ten list of favorite things, but I am not flat-chested so I need a good support bra. It seems like I have tried them all and some were too large in the cup, too tight in the band, and underwire bras left red marks on my back and under my breasts.

It looks like I’m not the only one having bra trouble. According to Cyla Weiner, co-owner of Sylene in Chevy Chase, Md., eight out of ten women are wearing the wrong bra size.

This is where a professional bra fitter can come in handy. You can explain the styles you like, and she can recommend bras that provide maximum support but are still comfortable.

Here are four good reasons to consult with a professional bra fitter:

Precise Measurements

The bra fitter will take a measuring tape and measure you right under the bust line, and then place the tape directly over the breasts. The difference between the two determines your cup size.

Trained Professionals

You can usually find bra fitting clinics at a department store, and you can rest assured that you’re in capable hands, and working with someone who has experience with the product. This is also a good time to ask any questions.

Saves You Time

Who has time to look through every bra in the store? Your favorite bra might be in a sealed box, so it’s not like you can haul it out, take it to the fitting room, and then announce that it doesn’t fit. I can guarantee you that would not have a good outcome.

Healthier Circulation

The shape of your breasts are determined by the bras you wear. Saggy breasts can hinder circulation, so you need to be wearing the correct size bra that lifts the breasts.

Bras wear out just like any other article of clothing, so it’s a good idea to have a professional fitting every six months.

 

Are You Exhausted With Multiple Store Runs?

5 Tips To Better Meal Planning

 

There never seems to be enough time in the day to get everything done.  You want to make healthy meals for your family, but ordering a pizza or hitting the drive-thru of your favorite fast food is really tempting.

This is where some good meal preparation tips come in handy, and with a little time set aside and organization, you can prep healthy meal ingredients ahead of time and they’re ready to go when you’re ready to cook. Here are five tips to better meal planning:

Meal Planning Time Schedule

How far in advance do you want to plan your meals? This can be weekly, or monthly. Plan for dinner or all three meals and snacks.

Once you get your scheduled meals planned, you can see how much prep work you have to do. It also eliminates daily store runs where you frantically search the aisles for something tasty for dinner.

Stock Pantry Staples

What ingredients do you already have? It’s a good idea to keep some pantry staples such as rice, pasta, tomato sauce, flour, sugar, and dried beans on hand.

Stock your favorite herbs and spices, as well as olive oil, vinegar, and soy sauce. Mustard and mayo can be used for making sandwiches or preparing salads such as macaroni, potato, or chicken.

Make Freezer Packets

There are two basic elements to meal prepping: chopping vegetables and putting ingredients for meals into containers, and actually cooking some aspects of the meal and freezing them. You can do one or both of these options depending on how much time you think you will have.

Use Correct Containers

Make sure lids are air-tight to keep food fresh. Plastic is fine to use, but you should know what type of plastic you are using. Make sure they are refrigerator-, freezer-, microwave-, and dishwasher-safe first of all. Also check that the plastic containers don’t have any BPA, which can be dangerous when adding or cooking food in these containers.

Freeze casseroles in a glass dish, but if you just ate the casserole for dinner, let it cool down first or the glass may crack.

Meal Prep Ideas

If you’re making salad, put greens and veggies together in containers, and salad toppings and cheese in a separate container.

Decide what meat you want to use for multiple meals, then bake or cook it all at the same time. Do this in the oven or your slow cooker. Meat like chicken breasts, fish filets, and strips of steak work great for this.

Use these tips to help you prepare healthier meals. Your body will thank you.

 

 

 

 

Do You Feel Like You’re Going Crazy?

5 Good Tips to Find a Self-Help Group

If you’re depressed or suffering from anxiety it isn’t always easy to talk to friends and family.  In an effort to be helpful, they may try to minimize your problems and tell you to count your blessings and get over it.

This is where a self-help support group can help you put things into perspective. You feel more at ease because everyone there needs help with something. Members are encouraged to share their stories and you might find the missing pieces in your life by listening to others.

Here are five good tips to help you find the right self-help group:

What Problems Are You Dealing With?

It seems like some self-help groups try to lump many problems together. People suffering with depression will not benefit as much from a Generalized Anxiety group, and need to join others who are depressed.

Consult Your Doctor

Ask your doctor for some support groups he may know about. Your conversation is confidential, so you won’t have to worry about the doctor blabbing all over town that you are depressed and need a self-help group.

Do Your Research

Make sure you have enough information on a support group before making a decision. You don’t want to take part in a support group that you find to be uncomfortable or not helpful. Before going to your first session, try getting in touch with the coordinator and talk to him about any questions and concerns you may have.

Location of Meeting

Is the meeting near your house, or will you have to take an extra hour up the freeway, with a handful of rude drivers getting on your last nerve? This may turn out to be a convenient excuse to skip the meeting and you may feel even more depressed.

How Do You Feel Afterwards?

Did you feel more positive and that the meeting really gave you comfort and hope? If you aren’t feeling too positive after a couple of meetings, that group isn’t for you. You’re there to get better, not to get worse.

Are your symptoms improving? If you answer yes to this question, that’s great! That means the self-help group is working for you. Keep going to meetings and continue to improve.

Once you have found the right support group for you, make a commitment to attend the meetings and participate in the process. You’ll feel better and may make some new supportive friends along the way.

 

 

 

Sleeping With 6 Cats

4 Weird Ideas to Reduce Insomnia

 

If I could pick out the most annoying problem in menopause, insomnia would win the prize. In my younger years I slept eight hours every night, and woke up feeling rested and ready to face the day.

Now, I am lucky if I sleep five hours and I find myself yawning during the day and falling asleep at my desk. Since the medical establishment put a big thumbs down on HRT, I have had to play detective in my own life and I have come up with a few tips that I’d like to pass along.

Use Your Bed for Sleeping or Sex Only

It’s comfortable to kick your shoes off and lie down on the bed to read, talk or text on your phone. This isn’t the time to watch the movie “Psycho” or your favorite TV show. This encourages alertness and you’ll wake up tired and cranky the next day.

Put Pets in Their Own Beds

I feel like an expert on this one, and I once had six cats in a one bedroom studio. Guess what? All six liked to be with us in bed and one cat in particular liked to hog the pillow on my side.

If this sounds like you, it won’t be easy to get pets to sleep in their own little space, but one nifty trick is to put catnip on their beds. Dogs like to chew on bones and that can keep them occupied for a short time. Keep reinforcing these methods and soon they will become a habit.

Set Aside Worry Time

It seems like there is never a shortage of things to worry about. The more you worry, the more you keep yourself awake.  It may be helpful to set aside some worry time before you go to sleep.

Take fifteen minutes and write down everything you’re worried about. Go down the list and think of how you can solve each one. You’ll feel less stressed just getting your worries written down, and a calm mind will help you fall asleep.

Don’t Nap

There have been so many times that I have eaten a big lunch and just wanted to do a swan dive on the bed, and sleep it off for an hour or two.  Don’t make that mistake. If you’re trying to get on a strict sleep schedule of going to bed and getting up at the same time each day, a nap will disrupt the whole process.

Don’t be afraid to consult your doctor about your sleep problems. You may need medication, or be referred for a sleep study.

Finding Your Passion

Discover a Whole New You!

I was thinking this morning about my own employment history, and I performed a variety of jobs. Most were in the clerical field as a receptionist or typist, and it was a way to keep a roof over my head and the bill collectors off my back. Most of the jobs were not that enjoyable with the exceptions of working at a mortuary and a temp job where I tied ribbons on candied apples. We dressed in Wizard of Oz costumes, carried a small dog dressed like Toto, and went from office to office passing out these Halloween treats.

I was just grateful to have a job, but now people are thinking more outside the box, and want to work at something they are passionate about.  Here are four benefits of finding your passion:

Stepping Outside Your Comfort Zone

You probably have a set routine every day, but now you’ll need to be open to new opportunities and possibilities that may send you in a different direction. This is a deal-breaker for some people who decide it’s easier to stay where they are instead of trying something that may not work.

Improved Mental Health

Nothing saps your energy quicker than working a soul-sucking job in which you feel trapped. However, the excitement of finding that special passion can make you feel more energetic.  You may have to continue working at your job for a while, but now you may have new opportunities on the horizon.

Learning More About Yourself

As a life coach, I am continually amazed that so many clients don’t know what they want out of life. There are many helpful tools out there such as passion quizzes, aptitude tests, and making a list of your strong interests to see what motivates you.

Meeting Others on the Same Journey

As I have pursued my passion of writing, I have connected with others who are on the same journey. There are some people who have always known what they are passionate about, but the majority are just like you and me. It takes a voyage of self-discovery which may include prayer, a willingness to experiment, and some good old-fashioned patience.

The journey to finding your passion may be a long one and you may feel like it is never going to happen, but don’t give up. What is waiting for you on the other side will be well worth it.

Menopause Strikes Again

4 Easy Tips to Deal with Annoying Facial Hair

Boy, isn’t menopause fun? NOT!  I have three different shirts for hot flashes, and my back aches day and night. I have arthritis everywhere, and maintaining my weight is a constant battle.

Now I have noticed some stray hairs growing on my chin, and upper lips. It seems like I am constantly in front of the mirror plotting how I am going to get rid of them. At least I am not the only woman suffering.  According to the American Menopause Society, 15 percent of women who are 50 years old and above, experience these same annoying problems.

What causes hair growth on your face?  Once again, it is declining levels of estrogen and androgens during menopause. It seems like estrogen is linked to every menopause problem there is. Here are four easy tips to deal with annoying facial hair:

Tweezers

I use tweezers for my chin hairs. They are very effective and the pain involved is minimal. This method works best if you only have a small amount of hair to remove. You can buy tweezers at the store for about a dollar, but if you’re like me, you may need to tweeze on a daily basis.

Bleaching

Keep in mind that bleaching does not remove the hairs, but just makes them lighter. You can use an over-the-counter face and body cream bleach kit. It can bleach dark hairs to a light shade of blond, so they’re not as noticeable. If you’re a little squeamish, you may want to have it professionally done.

Laser

You’ll probably need a doctor’s referral to see a dermatologist. The laser damages the hair follicle, and slows down hair growth.  This treatment works better if you have dark hairs. Your insurance may consider laser treatments as cosmetic, and you may have to pay the bill out of pocket.

Prescription Cream

If you’ve tried other methods without success, you may want to ask your doctor for a prescription cream.  Vaniqua can slow the rate of hair growth, but it can take from four to eight weeks to notice improvements.

I hope these methods work for you, but you may find for your own peace of mind, that it is worth it to consult a professional, even if you have to pay the bill yourself.