6 Ways You Can Be Your Own Health Advocate

Check out this fantastic article by  Julia Merrill of befriendyourdoc.org which will motivate you to take charge of your own health!

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The word healthy is a broad term that covers a variety of topics. To ensure you are at your best, you have to be your own health advocate, and that means knowing what is going on with your health at all times. Start by considering these ways you can be your best and fight for your health.

1. Research Your Doctors

Think about the role your doctor plays and how important that is for your health. Use the weight of that role when researching new doctors. Research shows you should look into their educational background, their level of expertise, and what other patients say about them. Ask for recommendations from friends and family. That is a great place to start before you dig in deeper to learn more about the doctor’s experience.

2. Live a Healthy Lifestyle

A great way to take charge of your health is to start living a proactively healthy lifestyle. Start with eating better and getting physical exercise. If you are new on the health journey, try not to overdo it too quickly. Start by making small changes, such as eating more vegetables with every meal and going for walks. If you spend most of your time at work, get some physical activity by taking the stairs instead of the elevator. You can find small ways to incorporate activities that will keep your blood flowing.

3. Stay Organized

Keep your medical records organized by maintaining them yourself. You can use an online tool to quickly combine videos and keep all medical images in a single file by uploading them to your computer and merging them into one pdf. Then download the new file to keep on your laptop. Be sure to back the information up to a cloud-based server so you can access it from anywhere.

4. Speak Up at Appointments

Don’t be afraid to ask doctors questions, and don’t worry about whether your questions are silly. Doctors are paid to provide you with information that will benefit your health. The only way to access that information is to ask questions. This can also be a great way to vet doctors. A good doctor is happy to answer your questions and will go out of their way to provide you with answers. You don’t want a doctor that seems irritated or uncooperative when you have questions.

5. Be Vigilant About Your Medications

Take your medications exactly as prescribed. Some medicines are ineffective if you fail to finish the prescription, and some can take weeks to start working effectively. If you skip days or leave a few pills in the bottle, your medications may not work as they should.

6. Prioritize Your Mental Health

Keep in mind that mental health is just as important as physical health. Don’t be afraid to speak up if you are struggling or have questions about your mental health. Talk to your doctor about getting a referral if you need to see a mental health professional, and remember there is no shame in having mental health issues. The majority of people struggle with them at some point in life.

Part of you being your own health advocate is doing things that make you uncomfortable, such as speaking up for yourself. However, the more you do it, the easier it will become. Remember how important your health is and you will always want to fight for it.

5 Ways to Find the Upside of a Midlife Crisis

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Are you in a midlife rut? Then this fantastic article written by Camille Johnson of bereaver.com is for you!

You’re not sure what set it off, but you feel like you’re stuck in a midlife crisis. You might be unsatisfied with your job, mourning a dream you never accomplished, or feeling unfulfilled in your relationship. With the help of a trainer like Stacey Naito, you can finally start working towards the goals you previously pushed to the back burner. Furthermore, these tips will help you figure out where to live, how to outfit your home, and which lifestyle changes you should implement.

Move Somewhere New

You might feel like you can’t turn over a new leaf if you continue living in the same city. Maybe you’re looking for opportunities that aren’t available locally, or maybe you’ve trying to get out of a toxic environment. Either way, it may be time to move to a new city. If you plan to buy a home in a different area, you’ll need to research current Pennymac mortgage rates and determine which type of mortgage is right for you. Your lender can help you determine whether you would be qualified for a conventional, FHA, or VA loan.

Focus on Your Health

Perhaps you’ve noticed that you don’t feel as energetic and lively as you once did. You might assume that your mental health is suffering because you’ve reached a turning point in life – but it could be because you’ve been neglecting your physical health. You may want to invest in a few items for a basic home gym, such as an exercise mat, resistance bands, a stability ball, and dumbbells. To enhance your home cooking skills, you could pick up an immersion blender, a vegetable spiralizer, a slow cooker, and meal prep containers.

When you’re buying new products, especially ones that the whole family will use, it’s important to spend your money wisely. Therefore, before you buy anything, make sure to go over product reviews from a few unbiased sources. That way, you can feel confident in your purchases.

Write in a Journal

Writing in a journal can help you decide which steps you want to take next in life. It can be tough to choose a direction, but when you write about your feelings in your journal, you can gain some clarity. PsychCentral states that journaling can help alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression and even help people process traumatic experiences.

Prioritize Traveling

What if you feel like you need to break out of your routine for a while? You could book a trip to a destination you’ve always wanted to visit! Travel can be a boon for your mental health, and spending some time in an unfamiliar place can help you shake off feelings of stagnation. Everyday Health states that traveling can make you feel more creative, relieve your stress, and even strengthen your relationships with your family and friends back home.

Challenge Yourself

You might be experiencing a midlife crisis because you haven’t achieved some lifelong goals, and you’re wondering if you’re really capable of becoming the person you want to be. Taking on challenges – and overcoming them – can shift your mindset. Whether you want to challenge yourself physically or intellectually, now is the time to do it. From learning a new skill to volunteering in your community, there are lots of ways to challenge yourself and change for the better.

Going through a midlife crisis isn’t easy – but with the right outlook, you can make it to the other side and come out stronger. A midlife crisis can actually mark the start of an exciting new chapter. By following these tips, you can move to a welcoming place, choose the best products for your home, and focus on self-care.


Ready to focus on fitness? Start training with Stacey Naito! Check out our website today to learn more about our training services.

Is Technology the Key to Healthy Senior Living?

Image courtesy of Unsplash

By Karen Weeks

Please check out Elderwellness.net and contact her via karen@elderwellness.net

According to MarketWatch, there are over 47 million seniors in the United States, comprising approximately 14.9% of the U.S. population. Unfortunately, the majority of these people have at least one chronic health condition. On the upside, advances in technology have made it easier to manage these conditions and connect seniors with helpful resources and make sure they have access to broadband internet. Here, Dr. Stacey Naito’s Blog describes some of the latest products, gadgets, and apps that can make staying healthy easier as you grow older. 

Convenient apps can remind you to take your pills

At any age, it can be difficult to remember to take medication. This is particularly true if you have more than one prescription that you take daily. If you have trouble remembering to take your medicine, you might want to consider a medication reminder like Medisafe Medication Management.

This is a free app available for both Apple and Android, and while it can jog your memory to take your pills on time, the app also does more than that. Medisafe checks for drug interactions, connects you with coupons and even reminds you when it’s time to request a refill. 

Fitness trackers motivate you to move

Fitness trackers like FitBit and Garmin Venu are nothing new. The first Fitbit was released in 2009. At the time it was barely more than a steps tracker, but they have come a long way since then. Today, in addition to counting your steps, most fitness trackers and smartwatches detect your heartbeat, track your sleep, record your weight, and help you set health-related goals. These tools are a great way to not only make sure you stay active but also monitor changes in your health. 

Fall detectors give you peace of mind

As you age, your risk of developing osteoporosis increases. In fact, the National Osteoporosis Foundation explains 54 million Americans have low bone density or osteoporosis. Osteoporosis increases the risk of broken bones which can easily lead to a fall. Falls are serious and can lead to even more serious injuries. Falls are a serious threat to anyone, and sometimes seniors can suffer from balance issues. It’s easy to see how this can become the perfect storm for an older adult.

For those who are at risk, technology has answers in the way of fall detectors. For instance, the Lifeline fall detector can detect a fall and connect you to a central communication center. If they determine you need assistance they can call for help.

There are many other devices that can help in the event of a fall. In fact, the latest version of the Apple Watch comes equipped with fall detection. In the event of a fall, the watch will call for help and send a message with your location to your emergency contacts. 

Use online tools to book a getaway

There’s nothing quite like getting away for a short vacation or staycation to get a change of scenery. Better yet, booking a quick getaway in a vacation rental offers benefits like free wi-fi and having a fully equipped kitchen so you can cook healthy meals. Many rentals also have home gyms so you can get in a workout or two during your stay. Using a service like TurnKey is a premium choice, as you get your pick of distinctive homes, 24/7 on-call service, and other perks.

Online access to insurance helps you get the care you need

Each year, the open enrollment window for Medicare is October 15 to December 7. During this time you can choose the plan that’s right for you. The best way to get started is to visit medicare.gov. Here you can find information on how to sign up and examine your available options.

Since plans like Medicare Advantage offer things like dental and vision care, many seniors find they save money on out-of-pocket expenses by making changes in coverage. With that in mind, do some exploring to make sure you’re getting the best bang for your buck.

Your health is important, but staying on top of it doesn’t have to be complicated. With technology, it’s easy to track your health and stay active. And the best part is, many of these services are easy to use and inexpensive or free. 

Dr. Stacey Naito’s Blog is home to a wide range of lifestyle and health topics (and more!). Read more interesting articles today!

How to Achieve 5K Success – A Runner’s Guide for Beginners

Here’s another great article by Jason Lewis which will lead you to a successful 5K run!

Jason Lewis is a personal trainer, who specializes in helping senior citizens stay fit and healthy. He is also the primary caretaker of his mom after her surgery. He created StrongWell.org and enjoys curating fitness programs that cater to the needs of people over 65

Photo via Pixabay

How to Achieve 5K Success: A Runner’s Guide for Beginners

by Jason Lewis

Running is great exercise and can be a lot of fun. If you don’t typically run, jogging around the block can seem impossible, but even a beginner can train to run a 5K race in just a few months. Ready to get started! Then follow these tips to achieve 5K success.

Start off slowly

If you lead a sedentary lifestyle and rarely run, if at all, you aren’t going to be able to run a 5K next week. Start off slowly by walking every day for 30 minutes for four weeks. Then, for the next two weeks, run at least half of the time and walk the other half. Pretty soon, you’ll be able to run the whole 30 minutes.

Try Couch to 5K

If you need a detailed plan on how much to exercise each day, use a schedule like Couch to 5K, which includes a week-by-week plan that builds up gradually to get you ready to run a 5K. When training, don’t worry about your speed. Pace yourself and take walking breaks when necessary.

Team up with a friend

If you need the motivation to train and exercise, find a friend with a common goal. Pick a 5K race in your area that’s a few months away, and train together to run in the race. Having a friend for motivation and accountability can be a big help for beginners.

Use tech

Track your progress with the use of a fitness tracker or even a smartwatch. Though a smartwatch isn’t necessary, it can be extremely helpful to track your activity level. A smartwatch or fitness tracker can also work as a motivator, as well as keep you safe and healthy while running. The newest model in the Apple Watch series, for example, includes health and safety features like electrocardiogram (ECG) generation, fall detection, and emergency SOS. Additionally, some fitness trackers allow you to play music while you’re working out (you may need to purchase wireless headphones, which are available as over-the-ear or in-ear).

Don’t forget to stretch

To avoid injury and increase flexibility, stretch your major muscle groups after each run to cool down. Focus on your hamstrings, quadriceps, back, groin, and hips. Runners World offers these suggestions for post-run stretches.

Reward yourself

In the months leading up to the 5K race, set milestones in your training. Each time you reach a goal, reward yourself with something you enjoy – maybe a massage, a book, fancy coffee, or a new outfit.

Know the course

If possible, run the course (or at least map it out), so you can become familiar with the terrain, difficult areas, or places where you could get lost. Knowing the course will make you more confident on race day.

Don’t wear new shoes

Never wear a brand new pair of shoes on race day. Though you don’t want shoes with treads that are thin, you want to wear comfortable running shoes that are broken in and don’t cause blisters. If you buy new shoes weeks before the race, alternate wearing your old shoes with the new one. Studies have shown that doing this can decrease the possibility of running-related injuries.

Don’t stress about it

As race day approaches, don’t stress about how fast you want to run or other details. Your goal is to finish the race happy and healthy. Enlist a couple of friends to cheer you on. During the race, don’t push yourself too hard in the beginning and take walking breaks for a minute or two throughout the race, if needed. Run the first two-thirds of the race at a comfortable pace. And then if you have a goal of a particular time to finish, pick up your pace in the last third.

Five kilometers might not seem like much, but it’s a big deal for a beginner to finish a 5K. Celebrate your finish by going out with friends, taking a day off work, or doing something else you enjoy. Next thing you know, you’ll be training for a half-marathon.

Dr. Stacey Naito is dedicated to helping people achieve their weight loss goals through her nutrition and exercise plans. To find out more about available programs, reach out today!

How Many Plants Is Too Many?

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Copyright : Elnur Amikishiyev

 

The year 2020 seemed to blow the lid off plant addiction and hoarding.  More people than ever before have developed an obsession for houseplants, which makes sense since we have all pretty much been going stir crazy since the beginning of COVID-19 and lockdown.  It makes sense that we all turned to these beautiful, air-purifying, living things to enhance our home spaces and give us something to focus on besides our troubles.

There is a fascinating psychology behind collecting plants which differs from accumulation of inanimate collectible items.  Houseplants can have an incredibly calming, stress-reducing effect on us, and they also nicely soften the look and feel of home environments while also cleaning the air.  In addition, the rewards of watching a plant thriving under one’s care are considerable.  I know that every time one of my plants pushes out new growth, I get almost giddy with excitement.  

To be honest, I don’t even remember precisely how last year’s plant obsession really started.  I remember seeing and ordering two  Epipremnum cebu blues on May 27th, and two Zamioculcas zamiifolia ravens on Etsy on May 31st, two weeks after my father’s passing.  After that, it’s kind of a green blur.  My indoor plant count is now at 140.  That’s enough for me, because I have run out of reasonable space.

I think my dad’s death, the lockdown and hysteria surrounding COVID, my two roommates suddenly bailing on me, the loss of work, the fact that my weekly in-person visits with my mom were halted for six months, all pushed me into a very specific nesting mode.  I wanted to spruce up my place, and make it cozy and cool.  I added an outdoor fountain which immediately attracted mosquitoes during the warmer months (lesson learned, but I still have the fountain).  I added comfy pillows to all the seating in my living room and den, imparting a Bohemian vibe which I really enjoy.

After lockdown began, I had no desire to hoard things like clothing or little knick-knacks, though I know other people who began accumulating such items.  Instead, I wanted all the plants which caught my eye, living things I could nurture and watch grow, which also helped to melt away my stress. Though I am not one of those people who talks to their plants or names them (a select few have names…more on this in another post), I am aware of every single plant in my home. I know if a leaf is turning yellow, if a specimen needs to be rotated to get more even sun exposure.

So how many plants would be considered overkill?  Though I think the answer is quite subjective, there is an interesting Australian article which analyzes the optimal number of plants one should have in a room:

https://www.bhg.com.au/how-many-plants-you-need-per-room

Plants not only clean the air, they have a relaxing and calming effect on humans, so why have a limit on the number of plants to pack into a space?  My personal take on this is that I think it’s a mistake to allow one’s plant collection to overtake essential areas in a home, such as a kitchen counter, coffee table, floor space in a shower, stairs, and doorways, with the last two creating hazards since they would impede a speedy exit if a natural disaster were to occur.  It’s also a bad idea to put plants in spots where they clearly wouldn’t survive, such as a very dark room with no grow lights added.

I have my plants placed so strategically in my home that no one ever guesses that I have 140 indoor plants.  Although I fully address the light and humidity needs of all my plants, I also make sure they harmonize with the space they are in and look like they belong where they are.   I will never be one to buy a massive shelving unit or glass cabinet in which to shove my plants, because I think it looks supremely unattractive, and also ironically doesn’t showcase the plants optimally.  Whenever I see a plant person with a large shelving unit which is littered with plants, I know that the plant person is the only one who can fully appreciate all the specimens on the shelves, because they all tend to get lost in one big jumble.

I’ve heard some criticism from a couple of close friends about my plant collection, but I know that they don’t have the same mindset that someone who is into plants would have, so I’m not bothered by the snide remarks.  Ultimately, what matters is how a plant person feels about their plant collection.

My First Home Houseplant Tour – 120+ Plants!

Here is the first houseplant video tour I shot, which I did last month.  My indoor plant count was over 120, and now (I am writing this on March 23rd), I have exactly 140 indoor plants. Believe it or not (and many of my friends won’t believe me when I say this), I am for the most part done with searching for plants to add to my collection.  As I ventured into more exotic, rare, and challenging plant species, and acquired the varieties which were on my wishlist, I felt that I could finally focus on admiring what I had instead of getting myself into trouble and looking for more plants.

Besides, I am out of room.  I bet there are plant people reading that last sentence who are saying, “Nonsense! Just make room!  Take over your bookcases! Take over your counters!”  I simply can’t do that, because I have this strange built-in aversion to having anything encroaching upon functional areas of my living space.  I have a kitchen counter which I would like to keep using (but check out what I did with my kitchen counter to accommodate plants), I have a desk which needs to remain functional, and I have no intention of getting rid of my beloved books to make room for green things.

Review of Squeeze Dried’s Turmeric Citrus Drink

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https://squeezedried.com/?ref=_tVU92F1hL7pB

Those Crazy Plant People

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If someone had told me at the end of 2019 that in 2020, I would surpass the level of plant of obsession I experienced in 2000-2002, I would have argued that it would never happen.  Yet here I am, with over 100 indoor plants (119 at the time of writing this post, to be exact), still thinking about the next plant I intend to add to my wishlist.  I am in good company too, because there is massive and ever growing community of plant fanatics which is knit together by countless social media plant influencers, Facebook groups, and online plant shops.  As long as we continue to be sequestered in our homes and encouraged to continue to practice social distancing, the frenzy over hoarding plants is likely to intensify.

Plant people create plant communities inside their homes which serve as therapy and great comfort during the lockdown and social turmoil which has us roiled.  There are times when I will walk around my home, surveying the lush environment I have created, noting the character of each plant, and I honestly appreciate them all.  Then there’s the anticipation of ordering a plant online, which is akin to meeting a new potential love interest.  I can honestly say that I have become giddy after finding a coveted plant and ordering it.  And when a plant arrives in the mail, I want to open the parcel immediately, not only because I am concerned for the living thing inside the box, but I simply can’t wait to feast my eyes on the new addition to my plant collection.

Now that I am a “plant person” once again, I have picked up a tremendous amount of knowledge of nomenclature and plant care.  I have encountered a number of other plant people who could definitely be accused of being plant snobs, using terms like “etiolated” or “pubescent leaves”, and showing disgust when someone doesn’t know what they are talking about.  For the most part, though, plant people tend to be very positive, caring, and friendly.

 

 

I Think My Plants Dig Me :-)

 

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For those of you who have plants in your home, have you noticed that your plants don’t look as healthy after you return home from a trip? I have consistently noticed in the past year that whenever I go on a trip, at least one of my plants is drooping, exhibiting brown leaf edges, or some other sign of less than optimal health.  I didn’t mind it quite as much last winter, when I only had six plants inside my residence, but by my second out of town trip in September, I had over 30 plants, and wasn’t very pleased by the fact that I came home to see half a dozen droopy, sad plants.  Four of my plants swung back to perfect health within three days, while two of them ended up in the houseplant graveyard.  Thing is, I was only gone for four days, and I returned the day before my regular weekly plant watering day.

Then in November, I made another four-day trip, and by that time I had over 50 plants.  I scheduled my trip so that I would once again return home the day before my weekly plant watering/assessment day, yet I once again returned to a number of plants which were not looking very happy.  I’m thankful that they bounced back to health, but I still can’t figure out why this keeps happening.

I only devote one hour, one day per week, to assess the watering needs of my plants, water the ones which need a drink, spray orchid plant food on all my Hoyas (Hoyas love it), and rotate the pots by 90 degrees clockwise.  I don’t fuss over my plants daily like some people do, not because I don’t care about my plants, but because my plate is always so full that I avoid plants which are fussy and require that type of attention.

My den and dining area, early February 2021

 

Now that my indoor plant collection exceeds 100, I truly wonder what would  happen if I were to take a short trip out of town.  And though plants don’t have feelings per se, why is it that my plants are so much healthier and perkier when I spend more time at home?  As weird as this may sound, I’m almost convinced that plants pick up on our energies, and since I admire my now sizeable plant collection and appreciate every single specimen, I believe my plants sense that.  I know that in general, I have a very green thumb, and had discovered that talent about a quarter century ago, but my recent foray back into houseplant cultivation somehow seems different.  I feel much more connected to the plants in my home, and though I don’t talk to them, simply looking at them makes me happy.  I think they know how I feel.

I read this comment on a blog post about plants on The Smiling Gardener which I found quite interesting:

About fifty years ago as an enquiring hippy I ran atest with my wife to see if plant groth could be affected by love and hate . Four pots of garden soil had the same number of seeds sown in them and were placed together in a window and watered the same amount. The pots had either
1) no treatment
2) SM 3 seaweed liquid feed
3) Projection of love or positive feelings every time we passed
4) Projection of hate or bad mental feeligs every time we passed
Now this sounds quite unscientific and already plenty of room for doubters and skeptics to burst out laughing.

The results ?
No treatment -several seeds germinated plus a few garden weeds.
Seaweed treatment – as above but more seeds germinated and more garden weeds.
Projection of ‘love’- a veritable jungle of germination.
Projection of ‘hate’ – NOTHING germinated

Obviously no prejudiced person could even consider these results as indicative of anything but I always found them very interesting . May even try it again in different format fifty years later.

  • ron daguerre

 

Feel free to check out the links below, both of which explore the idea of whether plants have feelings.  At the very least, there is scientific evidence that plants send chemical signals to each other through the air or soil.  Could my plants be chatting it up about how groovy my home is, how the humidity and the grow lights and natural light are (hopefully) just right?

https://www.houseplantscorner.com/post/do-plants-get-lonely

https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/do-plants-have-feelings-expert-answer

 

 

 

Great Mineral Oil Free Product For Angry, Reactive Dry Skin

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Copyright : magone

 

I had spent the last two months of 2020 searching high and low for a natural, rich, mineral-free cream which I could use on my very parched, eczema-tortured skin which developed as a result of an overly aggressive CO2 laser treatment, a 2 month reaction to mineral oil, and the cold, dry winter air. After searching high and low in an effort to find a solution, I stumbled upon a product which fit the bill: Ultra Repair Cream from First Aid Beauty. From the very first application, I got INSTANT relief, and my skin drank this stuff up. I slathered it all over my neck, chest, shoulders, and forehead, and all the itchiness went away almost instantly. Ahhhhhh…

While the cream is extremely thick, almost like frosting, it absorbs quickly and beautifully, and hydrates like a dream. Another thing I appreciate is the fact that this product is fragrance free, and that there is just a nice, clean, very faint neutral scent from the ingredients themselves.

Though I suspect that I will go through the 8.8 ounce tub pretty quickly in an effort to finally heal my angry skin (my entire upper body is suffering), I think it is well worth it, especially since so few creams out there are mineral oil free, and also since this, along with only two other products I have tried (Skyn Iceland Arctic Repair Cream, and La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Baume B5 Balm), have the ability to calm my reactive skin to a point where I don’t feel like I have a million ants crawling all over me.

I will most definitely purchase this cream again. And again. This may be a new holy grail of moisturizers for me!