HOW TO AVOID HOLIDAY REGRETS

Everyone looks forward to the holiday season.  But when it’s over we may feel a post season slump.  Things didn’t go as well as expected, and it’s partly our own fault.  Here’s how to avoid holiday regrets:

Do you control your appetite or does it control you?  The holidays start on Thanksgiving and don’t end until Jan 2.  Now is the time for some preventive maintenance.  Start downsizing your body before the holidays even begin. This gives you some leeway if you eat too much pecan pie and stuffing.

One way to control your weight is to ignore those first signs of hunger. Don’t head for the frig as soon as you feel your stomach gnawing or growling.  Drink a glass of water.   Do some exercises–anything to get your mind on something else. And on the big day, try to avoid second servings.

Here are five ways to avoid holiday regrets.
TOO MUCH ALCOHOL CAN TRIGGER FAMILY FEUDS AT HOLIDAY GATHERINGS.

Alcohol and  relatives don’t  always mix.  Not everyone likes their in laws.  If you’re a never Trumper, someone in the family probably likes him.  Family gatherings are fertile grounds for disagreements over just about anything. The choice of restaurant, a loan that wasn’t paid back, grandpa’s will.  The list goes on and on.  You try to bite your tongue most of the time, but an extra glass of wine or a double scotch is apt to loosen it. .  And before you know it, you’ve said something nasty  and you can’t take it back. Know your limits.  Don’t let too much alcohol ruin family harmony and leave you feeling ashamed of yourself.

It’s fine to give expensive presents if you can afford them.  But don’t overspend. Who wants to be paying off Christmas bills at Easter time?

Don’t feel you must go home for Christmas. Ice and snow usually create hazardous conditions at least once during the season.  No family wants to get a call that their loved ones have been in an accident. You can always celebrate a few days later when the roads have cleared.

Stay home if you’re sick.  Don’ t push yourself  to attend social gatherings or go to work.  If you feel  you’re coming down with something, you’re probably contagious.  A bad virus infection can turn into pneumonia if you don’t stay in bed until you’re well.    For your own sake, and the wellness of others,  take care of yourself until you’re feeling healthy again.

Here’s hoping your holidays are full of happy memories, and no regrets!

HOW TO PLAN YOUR FLU SHOT

“Side effects are rare, and are mild if they occur.”  That’s what the printout they hand you after a flu shot says.  This gives you a guilt trip if you admit that the shots usually make you kinda sick.  Before retirement, my husband and I used to scoff at people who complained about bad reactions to the flu vaccine.  But something happens to your immune system after 80.  And yes, the flu shots do have side effects now. Still , you must have them, so here’s how to plan your flu shot.

TIMING IS EVERYTHING WHEN PLANNING FOR A FLU SHOT.

First, we always wait until November 1st.   Pharmacies and grocery stores  start advertising free flu shots  in September.  But since the shots are  only effective for three months, that would leave you vulnerable once again around the holidays.  Bummer! Can you get a second flu shot?  No way.  It’s not recommended and your insurance won’t pay for it.   The shots don’t reach peak effectiveness until two weeks after you get them, so timing is everything. If you aren’t doing anything much over the holidays, you might even wait until December, so that you have full protection in the coldest winter months.

Now comes the important part of your flu shot plan.  Before you get the shot, choose a week where you have few scheduled  club meetings, bridge games or social events.  No doctor’s appointments or  places where you need to be.  If you don’t get sick, you can go on as usual.  But this way, you won’t have to miss out on an activity  just because you are having some side effects.

Finally, if you do feel “off,” take it easy.  You may feel extra tired.  Or have sore muscles.  Maybe you’ll  have an upset stomach or diarrhea.  Sometimes, you can’t put your finger on what’s wrong, you just know you aren’t feeling too well.  Don’t run five miles or swim laps in a cool swimming pool. Settle down with a good book. You will probably feel better in a few days, but it may  take about a week before you’re back to your old self again.

If all goes well, a little discomfort will pay off.  You won’t get the flu this winter.  And if you do, it won’t be your fault for not getting a flu shot.

DEADLY DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME

Last night, we turned back the clocks, and everything is back to normal.  Don’t you wish we could get rid of daylight savings time?  People wouldn’t have to spend the late spring and early fall driving to work or school in the dark.  It’s time to abolish deadly daylight savings time once and for all.

Daylight savings time can be hazardous to your health
Children shouldn’t have to walk to school or wait for the bus in the dark.

Yanking little children out of bed  for school when it’s pitch black outside is borderline  child abuse.  It’s not natural at all.  In fact, some school districts have decided to reschedule class times to start at 9 a.m. Recently, in Indiana, three children in the same family were killed as they ran for the school bus.  It was so dark that the oncoming driver didn’t realize she was passing a school bus.  Unfortunately, she was convicted of murder  and now sits in prison.  All of which could have been avoided if it hadn’t been for daylight savings time .

Yes, it will get dark earlier in the afternoon, now. But by that time, we’ve been awake for hours and can easily handle the darkness.  A groggy person stumbling out of bed isn’t in shape to drive or walk to school or work when they can’t see where they’re going.

Worse yet, changing the time disrupts our body clocks, and can have more serious consequences.  The first week after we change the clocks in the spring results in more car accidents, workplace injuries,  and suicides.

According to a study at the University of Colorado, the risk of heart attack increases by 25% when we lose an hour of sleep.   Another study by the American Academy of Neurology suggested that turning the clock behind or ahead an hour increases the risk of stroke.

Who likes daylight savings time the most?  Small  business owners and retailers.    The Chamber of Commerce has been the biggest supporter of daylight savings time in the USA.  The Chamber realizes that if you give people more sunlight at the end of the day, they’ll stop and shop on their way home.  Golfers also love daylight savings time—but how many people play golf?

The truth is, the public is being hoodwinked by those who want to make more money and play more golf.  It’s time to do away with deadly daylight savings time.

HOW ABOUT THOSE APPLES?

Do you believe an apple a day keeps the doctor away?  It’s not a new idea.  The proverb  came into usage at the end of the 19th century. It  was based on an original Welch rhyme,  “Eat an apple on going to bed and you’ll keep the doctor from earning his bread.”  But is there any truth in that advice?  How about those apples?

An apple a day keeps the pharmacist away
Eating an apple a day has been proven to reduce the use of prescription drugs.

Nutritionists have done several studies to evaluate the merits of apple consumption.. And they’ve concluded  that eating one apple a day doesn’t necessarily save on doctor bills.  However, they did find  that eating an apple a day reduces  the use of prescription drugs. Their overall conclusion  was that apple eaters “were somewhat more likely to avoid prescription medication use than non-apple eaters.” In other words, an apple a day keeps the pharmacist away.

According to HealthLine, The benefits of apple eating are as follows:

  1. Apples are nutritious
  2. They may be good for weight loss
  3. Apples may be good for your heart
  4. They may help control diabetes
  5. They have a prebiotic effect and promote good gut bacteria
  6. Substances in apples may prevent cancer
  7. Apples have compounds that may fight asthma
  8. They may be good for bone health
  9. Apples may protect the stomach against injury from non steroid anti- inflammatory drugs like aspirin
  10. Apples may help protect your brain

It’s important that you eat the skin of the apple.  By  peeling apples,  you miss out on powerful nutritional benefits.. According to the Unite States Department of Agriculture,  one medium (three-inch-diameter) unpeeled apple has nearly double the fiber, 25 percent more potassium and 40 more vitamin A – just to choose a few important nutrients.

The grocery stores now have many varieties of apples to suit every taste.  I prefer the tartness of McIntosh and Jonathans, while you may like the sweeter varieties.  Apples are  nutritious, inexpensive,  and make a delicious between meal snack.

How about those apples?

ARE YOU WEARING TOO MUCH PERFUME?

Back in the fifties, my two sisters and I shared a precious bottle of Chantilly Lace perfume.  My Dad had lost the sight in one eye, and also his accounting job.  Money was scarce, and all of us worked part time to keep things going.  But being teenagers, we still managed to have a social life.  We rolled our  hair up on bobby socks to make it wavy,  and wore lipstick.  And when we had a date, we  dabbed a bit of Chantilly Lace behind our ears and on our wrists.  The perfume was only meant to be detected by someone who got close—like a boy who was kissing you goodnight.  You weren’t supposed to reek,  as many  do today.   Are you wearing too much perfume?

When I was in college, a boyfriend in the service sent me a bottle of Joy perfume that he’d bought in Japan.  It was potent stuff.  But even though I had it all to myself, I was careful not to overdo it. Why?  What’s wrong with dousing yourself in fragrance?

Well, mainly, because many people are allergic  to any kind of fragrance.  I’m not sure when my allergies  began.  But sometime in my mid  thirties, I couldn’t walk past the cosmetic counter of any department store without sneezing.  I hated that, because I knew what it meant.  I was developing an allergy to perfume.  Just when I could afford Chanel #5,  my sinuses began to rebel.

Many people are allergic to perfume
Many people are extremely sensitive to fragrances.

If I’m in the middle of a cold, or during allergy season, it get’s worse.  Today was a case in point.  We haven’t had a killing frost, so the pollen count is still high.  Even with antihistamines,  I need  a Kleenex on hand at all times.   We were at brunch in a local restaurant, when I started to sneeze.  I could smell the approaching woman before I could see her.   She was middle aged and well dressed.  The woman seemed  oblivious to the fact  that her overdose of perfume made   me sneeze, or might be giving someone a headache. Although studies have, shown that people who wear too much perfume may be depressed ,  she seemed to be enjoying herself.

It’s the same at the local swim pool.  There’s always a least one swimmer who exudes a strong  fragrance.  There’s a sign asking  people not to wear perfume, but it is ignored by those who prefer to navigate through life  in a bubble of Musk.    Sometimes, I feel the urge to say something to the fragrance offender, but I can’t think of a way to do it without sounding like a crabby old lady.  And so, I swim away, or suffer in silence.

Are you wearing too much perfume? .

WARNING: ONE THING MAY RUIN SLEEP

The “twilight years”, when people grow old, is supposed to be a time of peace.  Our worries are over, kids grown, and we can relax, enjoy life.  Why, then, do most elderly people have trouble falling to sleep? We’re told to go out in the sunlight and get more exercise.  Avoid caffeine and alcohol, and take magnesium.  But what if these things don’t work?  Warning: one thing may ruin your sleep.

Even after retirement, I didn’t have problems falling to sleep.    But that  changed when we stopped going South last winter.  We looked for something to get us though the long winter nights.  Our grown children had been talking about Netflix for years, so we decided to bite the bullet and  embrace technology.  We, too, could binge on  House of Cards and Ranch on those long, cold evenings.  Instead of  yearning for spring, we would liven up the season with some great television shows.  And that’s when I began to lie awake long after I’d gone to bed.  

At first, I resigned myself to my fate.    The experts said it was normal. The elderly have trouble getting to sleep and staying asleep, and that’s the way it was going to be. The sleeplessness  continued even when spring arrived. and during the long hot summer,.

And then, last week, I stumbled across a story about “blue light,’ and what it does to our sleep patterns. According the the National Academy of Sciences, “the use of a light emitting electronic devise…before bedtime prolongs the time it takes to fall asleep…suppresses melatonin*, reduces the amount and delays the timing of REM sleep, and reduces alertness the following morning.”

For the first 30 years of my life , children went to bed after dark, while  grownups listened to the radio, watched black and white TV and read books. No one had ever heard of blue light..  Then along came television and e mail and i phones.

TV emits blue light, blocks the prodution of melatonin, and may keep you awake
Watching television two hours before bedtime could keep you from falling asleep promptly

And now, our new habit of watching Netflix before going to bed was exposing me to hours of blue light , and keeping me awake.   Computers also emit blue light, so I would have had the same problem if I’d been online for the same amount of time.

Last week,   I found glasses on the internet that block UV light,  and promptly ordered some.   Since they hadn’t arrived, , I put on a pair of sunglasses while watching television.  Within an hour, I  felt groggy and struggled to stay awake.  By the time our programs were over, I stumbled into bed, and fell asleep within minutes.

I’m hoping my new UV blocking glasses will have the same effect as the sunglasses.  There is plenty of evidence that blue light affects when our bodies create melatonin.  So,  if you watch television a couple of hours before bedtime, these glasses might help stop you from staying up later than you want.

There are many factors that affect the quality of your sleep, but blue light may be one of them.

*Melatonin is a hormone that plays a role in sleep. The production and release of melatonin in the brain increases when it’s dark, and decreases when it’s light.

SMOKIN’ MAMA’S NOT HOT

The lovely park near me has no sign that bans smoking. And yet, you seldom see people smoking there. Perhaps that’s because walkers and nature lovers also tend to be health conscious individuals.  But as I walked home  on Labor Day, a car exiting the park caught my eye.  First, I saw a young child in the front seat.  As the car stopped to wait for traffic, the female driver  lit up a cigarette and puffed away. , I guess she didn’t know that  smokin’ mamas are not hot.

What is wrong with that scenario?  Let’s give the mom some credit.  She  made the effort to take her child to the park.  Maybe they spent some time on the playground, or even had a little picnic in a quiet place under a tree.  It was a good day.  She was a good mother.   Let’a assume she didn’t smoke publicly in the park for whatever reason.  Why, then, couldn’t she control the urge once she and her daughter were confined in that small space?

Actually, it would have been better for the child if she had smoked while outside, on the playground.  At least the smoke would have dissipated before reaching the child’s lungs.  By waiting to smoke in the car, she was exposing her child to far more secondhand smoke.

Is  smoking with children considered  child abuse?    Some physicians believe that it is.  A few states ban  smoking in a private car with a minor.    They are: . They are  Arkansas, California, Louisiana, Maine, Oregon, Utah, Vermont and Virginia  Also,. Puerto Rico.   What’s the matter with my state of Indiana, which has one of the highest smoking rates in the nation?

It is considered child abuse to smoke in a car with a young child
SOME STATES HAVE LEGISLATION BANNING SMOKING IN A CAR WITH A CHILD

Scientific research over the last decade has  shown that second hand smoke  may cause several diseases in children, include asthma and pneumonia. Exposure to secondhand smoke is not simply a nuisance; it is deadly.  .Second hand smoke is a major cause of sudden infant death syndrome and may cause lung cancer and heart attacks with repeated exposure.   No safe level of exposure exists.

In cases where a child suffers from asthma and other second hand smoke induced diseases the legal system has begun to initiate  court-ordered termination of parental rights, changes in custody status, and other actions.   

Most of us are hesitant to intervene when we see a stranger smoking while with a child  .  After all, they know it’s wrong, but are doing it anyway.   Okay, I won’t say anything, but I can certainly frown and show my disgust.   Smokin’ mamas are definitely not hot.