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Archive for November, 2010

Shop Till You Drop?

Trying to find that perfect gift for the mom who has everything or the spouse who refuses to offer suggestions? Hoping you can find the best deals on the electronics bulging from the seams of your teen’s list? Need to buy all the trimmings for the perfect home cooked meal?

Before all this craziness causes major bah humbugness, step back a minute and reevaluate your to-do list. We have this great invention, although I don’t think Al Gore can take full credit, but that’s another story, and you should be utilizing it—the web. Online shopping in many cases trumps the in store experience. You can find more variety and better deals. And you can shop till you drop right from the comfort of your own home.

And did I mention deals. You can go to sites like Real Simple and access coupon codes for some of your favorite stores. You can also find coupon and promo codes online—Twitter and Facebook offer amazing promotions. Most times this will save you from 5 – 15% on purchases. During the peak holiday times, many online retailers offer free shipping too.

If you don’t have the time or energy to get those gifts shipped out, you can have them gift-wrapped, including a personalized message or card, and shipped direct from the online store. The store sends you a tracking number for your purchases, notifying you as soon as your order has been shipped. You can then go to UPS or Fed Ex and see the actual delivery time and date.

You can also have the people on your holiday gift list make their own wish lists on their favorite shopping sites. They can email you the link, and you won’t need to worry about finding the perfect gift. Of course some people prefer gift cards to their favorite stores, and that works out for you, because it’s easy, no-hassle shopping. You can have them mailed or sent via email as a virtual gift card with a holiday message included.

Yep, it’s just that easy. Now sip that eggnog, take a bite of fruitcake and let your fingers do the walking, I mean shopping.

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Are you already feeling the pain from constant holiday travel? Sprinting through airports? Tackling the mall at peak hours? Driving and crying from fatigue and body aches? Are your dogs really barking now? Well take a break from the hustle and bustle, unleash those puppies, and read on for fast relief.

Unless you think there’s a chance you may show up on the next edition of TMZ, don’t wear uncomfortable shoes to catch your flight. You put a lot of wear and tear on your feet, legs and back while running through the airport and sitting for long hours on cramped flights. Don a track suit, jogging pants or a comfy pair of jeans and slip into a pair of flip flops or tennis shoes. Leave the strappy heels and knee-high boots for getting your groove on at holiday parties.

The same goes for those never-ending mall excursions. If you leave work and drop by the mall, stash a pair of comfortable shoes in your car to slip into before spending hours on your feet. And take intermittent breaks to refuel. Get off your feet for twenty minutes every two hours—enjoy a Starbucks or an Aunt Annes pretzel.

And speaking of food, if you volunteered to be the Iron Chef of the holidays, nominate a few other family members as kitchen assistants, taking some of the pressure off the cooker. Between Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Christmas, you’ll spend endless hours on your feet cleaning, preparing, and cooking. Little ones too welcome the chance to take part in the preparations—setting the table, cleaning vegetables, and putting ice in glasses. Here’s a holiday secret, consider it an early gift: no one will know if you allow a local grocery store or restaurant to help out with the meal as well. Not everything needs to be homemade. If you disagree, then ask who would like to bake the desserts or bring the green bean casserole.

Now it’s a family affair, everyone involved, and you have more time to relax and enjoy those closest to you. After all, that’s what the holidays are all about.

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We all know that journaling helps with emotional health. It’s good to write down your feelings, getting in touch with your deepest, most private self. And while we agree that journaling inspires our emotional well-being, we believe journaling can also improve physical well-being.

If you are experiencing discomfort or pain in certain parts of your body, journaling is an effective way to maintain a record of these concerns. When it’s time to see a medical professional, you can provide the key to your physical problems by sharing your journal.

Doctors have an easier time diagnosing a patient’s health issues with a medical “record” already in place. You can participate in finding the best treatment and understanding the changes in your body. Your journal allows you the opportunity to actively participate in your own health and healing.

Never thought about keeping a Wellness Journal? It’s common for people to keep a food journal when first beginning a diet or a fitness journal to document exercise habits and routines. These journals track the good and bad days, helping individuals find balance. It makes it easier to analyze why certain times of the day cause cravings or produce exhaustion. You begin to see a pattern developing, and that’s where you can tweak what’s not working, fine-tuning a plan for success.

A wellness journal works the same way. Before the doctor diagnosed me with high blood pressure last year, I couldn’t figure out why I continually suffered from severe headaches at certain times of the day. I started keeping a journal of the days I had headaches, making notes on activities, foods, other body aches, and stressors. It didn’t take long to notice a pattern: my most stress filled days provoked major migraines and strenuous exercise left me nauseous and dizzy. Every question my doctor asked I was able to easily answer because of my journaling. She didn’t even hesitate before offering her diagnosis. Once I started the medication, I noticed immediate changes.

Why not give a try? There are a variety of choices for choosing a journal. You can use a day planner or calendar, a small notebook to carry around with you, an actual fitness journal, a diary, or a plain journal with or without lines. These days everyone carries journals—bookstores, gift shops, office supply stores, and specialty stores. And of course, you have the option of creating an online journal, which can be (personal or private) or a journal on your personal computer. Start writing your way to better health.

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Do you think you may have Fibromyalgia?

Diagnosis can be challenging. You need to document your symptoms and discuss with your doctor or a medical professional. Fibromyalgia is characterized by chronic, widespread pain and fatigue in the muscles, joints, ligaments, and tendons. As well, multiple tender points on the neck, shoulders, back, hips, arms and legs may hurt in response to touch or pressure. Other symptoms include sleep disturbance, morning stiffness, headaches, numbness or tingling of the extremities, and restless leg syndrome.

The causes of Fibromyalgia are not well understood. Some doctors and researchers believe chemical changes in the brain cause Fibromyalgia. Others believe stress, infection, or injury may be the cause. Still, some researchers think abnormal sleep is the cause and not merely a symptom. Fibromyalgia is commonly seen in patients with other diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and Lupus. According to the NIH (National Institutes of Health) it is most common in middle-aged women.

You can lessen the effects of Fibromyalgia pain by improving your lifestyle. Small changes like getting enough rest, 7-8 hours each night, and performing daily exercise, at least 30 minutes three days per week, provide your body with some relief. And because Fibromyalgia is believed to be closely linked with stress, it can make a big impact on your mental and physical well-being to lessen stress in your daily life as much as possible. Take time out of your day to relax and unwind.

If you think you may have Fibromyalgia, you should see a medical professional immediately. Fibromyalgia does not have to control your life. Learn more at NIH.gov.

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