Winter means shorter daylight hours, along with colder temperatures. While extremes depend upon what area of the country you live in, that change can be a bear for those craving longer, sunlit days to extend activities into the evening. Those “winter blues” can start to creep in early, with feelings of wanting to hibernate until spring. They can also make you feel cranky, moody, unfocused, and craving carbs.
A CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) sampling of five to 17 year-olds showed that almost 60 percent of children that were overweight had at least one risk factor for heart disease, and 25 percent had two or more risk factors.
Often we think of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as it relates to soldiers in combat. (According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 11 to 20 percent of veterans who served in the most recent operations in Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from PTSD any given year.) But PTSD isn’t only a remnant from war; the condition can wage a battle within anyone, at any age as a result of a recent or past traumatic event.
In the beloved Peanuts comic strip, even moody Lucy got it right when she said, “Happiness is a warm puppy.” Why? Because research shows that dogs (as well as cats) are proven effective stress relievers that can provide therapeutic, emotional support on a daily basis, or in trying times.
Holiday time often veers us toward excess. From food to gifts, the pressure to purchase is all around us, whether it’s hyped in the media (Black Friday and Cyber Monday) or in the stores themselves (who among us hasn’t been assaulted by the “Fragrance Police”?).
Everyone gets “down” or “blue” at one time or another. Life happens — and so do life’s daily stresses. Maybe it’s a break-up, or loss of a beloved pet. Perhaps it’s a financial issue or other frustration keeping you from taking that long-awaited vacation. It could just be a “bad day” when nothing goes right.
Substance use and mental illness can be uncomfortable topics to discuss. That’s why National Recovery Month is a great way to get the conversation going. Millions of people across the nation have turned their lives around with treatment, and that’s not something to hide.
It’s easy to drop the ball on good health from time to time. The good news is that each day offers a fresh start, so time to “spot-check” where you stand with your overall fitness – especially with flu season just around the corner:
There is always dialogue about increasing and maintaining physical activity for better overall health. Staying active, plus a healthy diet; a good night’s sleep; less stress; a go-to support system of family and friends; more work-life balance; avoiding excess alcohol (no more than a daily glass of red wine or less); and not smoking, with a dash of all of the other preventive measures (inclusive of consulting your doctor), equals the right recipe for staying on track to becoming fit. And if you’ve got an existing condition like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or obesity (as well as diabetes), it’s time to gain and maintain control of those loose cannons as well, to reduce risks of heart disease, heart attack, or stroke down the road.