Americans are known for working hard, but many of us work so hard we’ve forgotten how to relax. In 2013, 42 percent of Americans didn’t take all the vacation days they had earned, according to the American Travel Association’s Project Time Off report. In 2015, this number rose to 55 percent. On average, workers only took 16.2 days of vacation, down from an average of 20 days in 1993. Business owners get even less vacation time, with 49 percent planning to take fewer than three days off during the holiday season in 2016, and 70 percent working on Thanksgiving. But taking time off is essential to maintain good health, avoid burnout and even to perform well on the job. If you’re a workaholic, here are four steps you can take to make sure you get in some time for regular rest and relaxation.
Schedule Off Days
What doesn’t get scheduled doesn’t get done — a principle that also applies to vacation time. One of the biggest keys to getting away from work is committing to taking time off and actually scheduling down time.
Scheduling down time can include taking mini-breaks during the day, such as standing up to stretch every hour. It can include scheduling time each evening to watch TV or read a book. It can include making a commitment not to work on Saturdays or Sundays. And it can include scheduling a vacation for a week or two each year. Spending a week at the beach with a YETI cooler filled with your favorite beverage can help you get your mind off work and de-stress so that you come back to work relaxed and refreshed.
Stay on a Regular Sleep Schedule
Scheduling down time should include getting enough sleep. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults should get at least 7 hours of sleep, with 7 to 9 hours of sleep recommended for younger adults aged 18 to 25, 7 to 8 hours for adults 26 to 64, and 7 to 9 for adults 65 and over. But one in three adults don’t get enough sleep every night on a regular basis, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Make a commitment to getting enough sleep and take the necessary steps to follow through. If you have trouble falling asleep, you may need to take steps such as getting a more comfortable bed or seeing your healthcare provider. Going to bed at a regular time and establishing a routine to wind down before bed, such as reading a book, can make it easier for you to fall asleep on schedule.
Establish an Exercise Routine
Getting enough exercise is another important part of getting away from work. Just as most Americans don’t get enough sleep, most of us don’t get enough exercise, either. Health experts recommend that adults should get at least 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise or one hour and 15 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity each week, along with muscle-strengthening exercises such as weightlifting or push-ups twice a week. But four in five adults fall short of these numbers, according to the CDC. Make a commitment to fitting exercise into your schedule, and block out time to put your exercise plan into action.
Have a Hobby
Having a hobby that you enjoy can help motivate you to take a break from work and get some relaxation in. Hobbies can include physical activities such as running, playing basketball or practicing yoga. Hobbies can also include creative activities such as drawing or playing a musical instrument. Other hobbies include watching movies, reading books, playing video games or playing cards. Find one or more hobbies that you enjoy that you can use to get away from work and enjoy life.
According to research from Gallup, only 1 in 3 Americans actually prepare a detailed household budget. Meanwhile, only 30 percent of Americans prepare a long-term financial plan outlining their savings and investment goals in detail.
Preparing and planning a budget is the first step toward financial health and stability. But, a budget is only worth its value on paper if you commit to it. Unfortunately, there are plenty of reasons — or excuses — that keeps people from committing to their financial goals. Here are five of the leading budget breakers and how to avoid them.
Spending Money Irrationally
Rethink your spending by committing to actually tracking every penny you spend. Packs of gum, your morning coffee run and grabbing a magazine at the subway station all start to add up. Soon, those unconscious — and unintentional — spends will begin to cut into your carefully crafted budget. Keep tabs on everything you spend with a spreadsheet or app like Evernote to jot down all your purchases. Train yourself to pause and think about if that splurge is really worth it or if it’s an indulgence you can do without.
Forgoing Routine Car Maintenance
Everyone knows an emergency fund is key to maintaining a healthy budget. But ongoing maintenance and repairs are often an afterthought that can break your budget. According to TheBalance.com, 1 percent of the purchase price of your home should be set aside for routine maintenance costs.
But that doesn’t account for car repairs. Auto Traders suggests saving around $500 for a $10,000 car, or $1,500 for a $30,000 car. These costs could come out of your budgeted emergency fund. Remember to always invest in quality car tires with a reputation for long-lasting durability, which will offset the costs of ongoing repairs and replacements.
Overspending on Conveniences
Overspending on food is a common problem for budget watchers. It’s all too easy to zip through the drive-thru or throw random groceries into the cart instead of carefully thinking through the purchase and using coupons. Plan ahead to curb your convenience addiction and cut your food budget. An app like Food on the Table can create meal plans based on your family’s food preferences and then match items that are on sale at your local grocery store.
Choosing Expensive Entertainment
The cost of movie tickets, snacks and evenings out are budget killers. But it doesn’t mean you have to sit around at home and read a book. Get rid of cable and stream movies and shows from a service like Netflix or Amazon Prime. You could also check out your local library’s supply of rentable DVDs and CDs to sponsor your next movie night. And for local events, scour local websites to bookmark free days at the museum, movie nights in the park, or downtown wine tastings and festivals.
Spending Money Recklessly
Believe it or not, people often bust their budget because of emotional spending. A bad day at work, fight with a loved one or productivity slump can result in heading to the mall or favorite online shopping outlet. Stop the cycle by focusing instead on self-care. Take a walk, call a friend or surround yourself with favorite books and movies to better soothe yourself. The sooner you put your wallet aside when you’re next upset ane emotional, the sooner you’ll stay on track and stabilize your budget.
Adopting a dog is a fantastic choice. Not only do you get a wonderful companion, but you also rescue a dog from an uncertain fate and provide a loving home instead. However, adopting a dog is not without its challenges. You don’t know what the dog may have experienced, and you may have to help the dog overcome a lot of fears and anxiety.
Even if your dog had a great life before being adopted, just being in a new home is stressful enough. You need to take extra care in welcoming your dog to make the transition a smooth one and let your dog know that you are providing a safe and loving environment. Here are a few things you can do to help your adopted dog adjust to your home:
Have Treats and Toys Ready
Your adopted dog is going to have a lot of anxiety about the big changes taking place. You can immediately ease some of this anxiety by having things ready for your dog, such as a bed, a harness, a food station, treats, and some toys.
Treats and toys are especially important because they are like rewards and they make your dog feel good. Treats that contain cannabidiol (CBD), like Canna-Pet doggy biscuits, also have a medicinal effect on your dog’s anxiety. These treats not only make your dog feel warm toward you for giving them, but they also create physiological responses in your dog that reduce stress. Toys help further reduce your dog’s stress by providing opportunities to expend nervous energy through chewing, wrestling, chasing, and more. Have a variety of toys to ensure that you have something that will suit your dog’s tastes.
Spend a Few Days at Home
If you can, take a few days off work to be with your dog when you first bring him home. This will allow you to spend a lot of quality time with your dog while also helping him adjust to the new schedule and the new surroundings.
While you are home, spend a lot of time talking with your dog, playing together, petting your dog, and just being together. You can just watch TV while your dog sits next to you. The key is to get your dog used to you and feel safe around you.
It is also important that you work on house training while you are home together. Make sure you leave the house briefly during this time to give your dog a chance to practice these skills.
Provide a Crate
Putting your dog in a crate might sound like putting him in doggy jail to you. But to your dog, a crate is a safe space. Dogs are den animals, and the crate is like his own private den. Whenever your dog feels scared, stressed, or overwhelmed, he can go to the crate and feel more secure.
Leave the door to the crate open unless you are leaving the house or working on house training. Keep food and water right outside the door, as well as several toys. Your dog may also like a soft cushion or blanket inside the crate. The key is to make the crate as comfortable and inviting as possible for your dog.
Replicate Diet and Schedule
Even if you adopt your dog from a shelter, you should have some information about what kind of schedule your dog has followed and what kind of diet he has had. You may only get a few weeks’ worth of information, but that is still valuable. You want to replicate whatever your dog has been used to in the most recent past.
Feed your dog the same kind of food to start, even if you plan to change it. Do what you can to feed and walk your dog on the same schedule, as well. You can make slow changes to diet and schedule over time, but keeping them the same at first will help your dog feel more secure.
Everything is going to be new to your adopted dog. Try to limit new people, as well, so as not to overwhelm your dog any more than is necessary. Now is not the time to take your dog to the park or to show him off to all the neighbors. Now is not the time to schedule a big party or to plan a lot of play dates for your kids.
Keep things to you or your immediate family members until your dog feels more comfortable. If you have children living in the home, monitor the interactions between the children and the dog to ensure that the kids don’t poke or prod the dog and stress him out.
Adopting a dog can be wonderful for you and the dog, especially if you adopt an older dog looking for a last chance at a family. Use these tips to help your dog transition a little easier and make sure that you have a long and wonderful relationship together.
Every February, throughout National Cancer Prevention month, patients, advocates, specialists, clinics, friends and family members around the country and world raise awareness and educate others of the various treatments, diagnosis, research, care and preventative health measures related to cancer. The Mesothelioma and Asbestos Awareness Center recommends a few wellness tips of their own to remember this National Cancer Prevention Month.
Although a harsh reality, one in three women and one in two men are diagnosed with cancer each year and plenty of such cancers are even preventable including lung cancer, skin cancer, cervical cancer, oral cancer and mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma, is an aggressive cancer which affects the lining of the lungs, heart or abdomen of which approximately 3,000 new diagnoses are confirmed each year. The most common type of mesothelioma is pleural mesothelioma which forms in the lining of the lungs, peritoneal mesothelioma being the next most common type of mesothelioma which forms in the abdominal lining, followed by the rarest form, pericardial mesothelioma which develops in the lining of the heart. Mesothelioma is entirely preventable as exposure to asbestos is the only scientifically proven cause of mesothelioma. Only when ingested or when asbestos fibers become airborne and inhaled, can the fibers attach to the lining of the lungs, to develop mesothelioma between 10-15 years later.
Oral cancer includes cancers of the lips, tongue, cheeks, floor of the mouth, hard and soft palate, sinuses and throat. They can be life threatening if not diagnosed or treated early and can be definition and prevention methods. The American cancer society recommends avoiding risk factors such as tobacco and alcohol use, HPV infection and more.
Cervical Cancer Begins when cells in lining the cervix in the lower part of the uterus or womb, often referred to as the uterine cervix, grow out of control. Most cervical cancer is caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) which can be transmitted by having sexual contact with someone who has it. Cervical cancer is the “easiest” female cancer to prevent with the HPV vaccine and regular medical screening tests and follow-up appointments as it is highly curable if detected and treated early-on.
Skin cancer is known as the uncontrolled growth of abnormal skin cells. When unrepaired DNA damage to skin cells (often by ultraviolet radiation from the sun or tanning beds) is triggers mutations or genetic defects which lead to rapid skin cell multiplication and malignant tumors. The three main types of skin cancer include squamous skin cancers, basal cell skin cancer and melanomas although there are other types of skin cancer such as merkel cell carcinoma, kaposi sarcoma, cutaneous lymphoma, skin adnexal tumors and various types of sarcomas. The best way to prevent skin cancer is to avoid and protect yourself from the sun’s damaging ultraviolet rays as well as the use of indoor tanning beds and sun lamps.
Lung cancer: Lung cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in either one or both of the lungs. Such cells do not carry out the functions of normal lung cells and do not develop into healthy lung tissue, rather tumors interfering with the functioning of the lung in providing oxygen to the body via the blood. Although there is no way to prevent lung cancer, there are significant ways to reduce the risk of lung cancer. With 4% of all lung cancer diagnoses, due to asbestos exposure, preventative measures include avoiding exposure to asbestos, avoiding secondhand smoke and smoking overall, test your home for radon, avoid carcinogens in the workplace, eat a rich diet of fruits and vegetables and exercise to keep lungs strong and healthy.
Conclusion: Although these are just a few cancers, there are underlying health benefits of being informed and aware of them and how to prevent and limit the risks of each. For additional information, visit a health professional and continue to inform yourself of the many ways to prevent the risks of cancer. Most importantly, connect closely with your friends, family members and caregivers who have been touched in some way. We can all learn a little something from them, whether it’s health, wellness or inspiration related.
Recognizing how challenging it can be for some people – including busy parents! – to take the time to get a check-up, Sam’s Club just announced that it has teamed up with health technology company higi to make free, self-service health screening stations available at most Sam’s Club locations with a pharmacy (622 locations), as part of the company’s overarching commitment to making healthy living more accessible.
These screening stations are able to assess each user’s blood pressure, pulse, weight, and body mass index (BMI). Users can also track their health information over time and share it with others through higi’s online platform, which can aggregate data from over 80 health devices, activity trackers and apps.
The higi self-service stations complement the existing free health screening program that Sam’s Club offers every month from January through October to both members and the public. In fact, the higi rollout at Sam’s Club aligns with the timing of the company’s ‘Healthy at Heart’ screening, which will take place this Saturday, February 11 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at all locations with a pharmacy, while supplies last. This screening is valued at up to $150 and will include the following tests:
- Total cholesterol
- HDL (good cholesterol)
- Blood pressure
- Body Fat Percentage
- Vision (not available at all locations)
- Hearing (not available at all locations)
Loneliness and isolation are two significant issues that today’s elderly face. A healthy mind and body are not only important to us, but crucial for healthy aging, too. Here are a few things that can help ward off loneliness and isolation for your loved ones.
Ensure Transportation is Available
Many seniors aren’t able to drive, which is a major cause of social isolation. As a caregiver or family member, you can help prevent social isolation by making sure that transportation is readily available, or by giving your family member a ride when they need it.
According to data reported by A Place for Mom, an assisted living facility, people over the age of 60 who had access to a bus pass were more likely than their peers to take part in active travel, which includes walking, biking or using public transportation. This helps to increase social and physical activity. As a caregiver you can check to see what local public transportation options are offered in your area. Care.com, for example, provides a list of transportation resources in Arizona, which includes cab programs and dial-a-ride services. Search for your city and see what is available. Depending on level of mobility, setting them up with the Uber or Lyft app might be a good option for a social senior.
Suggest Senior-Friendly Activity Trackers
Fitness wearables are great for keeping track of steps and activity levels, both of which are important for seniors. Not only are these devices great for inspiring activity, these devices provide a social element, too. The Lively Wearable senior fitness tracker by GreatCall does both. It promotes a healthy and active lifestyle with its daily step count feature, and offers challenges that help to keep the mind sharp, plus it provides health tips to keep seniors engaged. In addition to its features that help users stay active, the device also has potentially life-saving features like its urgent response, non-emergency and emergency call options, each of which can alert family members. The wearable has a sleek design, is waterproof and, when worn properly around the neck in a specially-designed lanyard, can call for help when it detects that a user has fallen.
Encourage Dining with Peers
Caretakers and loved ones can fight loneliness and isolation by encouraging seniors to dine with friends, family and peers whenever possible. Eating with others is one of the most common shared social acts, whether it’s for a special occasion or just a weeknight dinner, food simply brings people together. Not only does dining with others promote social activity, it can also benefit senior health by promoting better nutrition. Opportunities for shared meals can be found at churches and senior centers, for example. Additionally, family members and caregivers can also consider hosting a family meal once a week that brings everyone together in a shared social setting, at home or at a restaurant.
There are several ways to prevent social isolation for your elderly loved ones. Whether it’s wearable tech made just for seniors or a simple, shared meal, caregivers and loved ones can help do their part to prevent loneliness.