Wednesday, January 13, 2016

"Happy" New Year?

Happy New Year! For reasons that are not always apparent, you may sometimes feel a little down or fatigued. The cause, or combination of causes, may be anything from a recent emotional upset or a major change in your life to a stressful period of time in your life. Sometimes, a mixture of emotions may sneak up on you when you least expect it. Even enjoyable activities can be stressful and demanding. Research indicates that maintaining good health throughout stressful times is directly linked to a positive attitude. To keep a positive flow of energy in your life, try these simple strategies. Improving your mood need not be time consuming or expensive – learn to appreciate simple pleasures, such as a matinee movie or a long chat with a friend can do wonders to brighten your day. Make sure you are well rested. According to the National Institute on Aging, an estimated 30 percent of middle aged Americans don’t get enough sleep. Factors that can help you get a good night’s sleep are sticking to a regular bedtime, sleeping in a cool and dark room and avoiding stimulants such as caffeine after mid-afternoon. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise each day. Moderate exercise is an activity that leaves you feeling warm, but still able to talk. And don’t forget routine activities like mopping the floor and raking leaves are considered moderate exercise. Music has the ability to alter your mood. If you want to relax, listen to slow, soothing classical music. To energize yourself, pick something that is faster such as jazz or pop. Or consider making your own music by playing a musical instrument. Taking up a new hobby provides you with feelings, which can improve your sense of well being. Bringing a little creativity into your life can mean something as simple as trying a new recipe or a more involved project like woodworking or landscaping. The important thing is to develop a new interest. By making a difference in the lives of others and becoming active, you generate positive feelings in your own life. Volunteering will fill your heart and let goodness shine in your life. Studies show that people who volunteer as little as two hours per week improve their own health. Worries drift away when you focus on others. Try one of these strategies to distract your attention from the hectic pace of life around you and restore the energy you need to live a full life. If the new year is a time for you to reflect and want to make a change in your life – it is as good a time as any to try something new!

New Year, New Resolve

New Years means resolutions! The top 10 New Years resolutions are: o Lose weight o Getting organized o Spend less, save more o Enjoy life to the fullest o Staying fit and healthy o Learn something exciting o Quit smoking o Help others in their dreams o Fall in love o Spend more time with family If you want help tackling number one above – let’s think about making simple changes to what you eat and your level of activity. I also offer the following healthy eating tips for people age 65 and older: Drink plenty of liquids: With age, you may lose some of your sense of thirst. Drink water often. Low-fat or fat-free milk or 100% juice may also help you stay hydrated. Limit beverages that have lots of added sugar or salt. Make eating a social event: Meals are more enjoyable when you eat with others. Invite a friend to join you or take part in a potluck. Join our senior center or your place of worship for a meal with others. There are many ways to make mealtime pleasing. Plan healthy meals: Find sensible, flexible ways to choose and prepare tasty meals so you can eat foods you need. National Institute on Aging has advice on what to eat, how much to eat, which foods to choose based on the dietary guidelines. Know how much to eat: Learn to recognize how much to eat so you can control portion size. When eating out, pack part of your meal to eat later. One restaurant portion is often enough for two meals or more. Vary your vegetables: Include a variety of different colored vegetables to brighten your plate. Most vegetables are a low calorie source of nutrients. Vegetables are also a good source of fiber. Eat for your teeth and gums: Many people find that their teeth and gums change as they age. People with dental problems sometimes find it difficult to chew firm fruits and vegetables, or meats. Don’t miss out on needed nutrients. Eating softer foods can help. Use herbs and spices: foods may seem to lose their flavor as you age. If favorite dishes taste different, it may not be the cook! Maybe your sense of smell, sense of taste, or both have changed. Medicines may also change how foods taste. Add flavors to your meals with herbs and spices. Keep food safe: Don’t take a chance with your health. A food related illness can be life threatening for an older person. Throw out food that might not be safe. Avoid certain foods that are always risky for an older person, such as unpasteurized dairy. Other foods may be harmful when they are raw or under-cooked, such as eggs, fish, shellfish or poultry. Read the Nutrition label: Make the right choices when buying food. Pay attention to important nutrients to know fats, sodium, and other items on the label. Ask your doctor if there are ingredients you might need to limit.