Sleep Strategy: Tips to Help Seniors Get the Sleep They Need

The need for restful sleep increases as you grow older, but
just getting to sleep can be a challenge for many seniors, who often nod off
during the day. Seven to nine hours of sleep is
recommended, but a litany of physical problems, from hormonal imbalances to
chronic joint pain, can make it very difficult for many older adults to get the
restful, restorative sleep they need. As such, it may be necessary to take a
strategic approach aimed at preparing both mind and body for bed rather than
simply lying down and hoping for the best night after night. Here are a few
helpful tips to consider:

Relax in the bath

Nothing’s quite as relaxing as a good soak in a warm bath. Warm water gets your
body working for you by forcing your body temperature to drop when you get out
of the tub, which slows the heart rate and causes you to feel tired. You’ll
also feel relaxed and soothed in both body and mind and better prepared for
bed. Try lighting some candles and adding aromatic bath salts to the bath
water; anything that helps you relax and wind down is going to be beneficial.

Wind down

It’s
hard to make the transition to bed if you’ve been active and have an elevated
heart rate. You need time to calm down and relax before hitting the sack;
otherwise, it can take a long time to nod off, if you’re able to sleep at all.
Establish a “wind-down” routine that you’ll follow each night. Shut off all electronic devices, including the
television, smartphone and computer an hour or so before going to bed. Take
time to read a book, listen to some relaxing music or clear your mind by
meditating for a while. Anything that helps you unwind will be helpful.

Transform your bedroom

A busy and disordered sleep environment is a common
problem among people with insomnia or other sleep disorders. You need a space
that’s conducive to sleep, which means your bedroom should be for sleep alone,
a place bathed in soft light, cool (about 60-67 degrees) and free of distractions – no
television or other screens left turned on. If you’re sensitive to noise, turn
a fan on low to create a relaxing
white noise
(and to cool off the room), or utilize a
white noise app on your smartphone. Your bed clothing and sheets should be made
of light, breathable fabric.

No more napping

This can be a tough one for many seniors. An afternoon nap
can be refreshing and may be necessary for some elderly individuals for health
reasons. If you’re able, eliminate napping during the day so that you feel
sleepy in the evening. Your goal should be to get at least seven hours of sleep
a night, and it should be uninterrupted, which is difficult to accomplish if
you’ve slept during the day.

Eliminate stimulants

It’s tempting to have a tasty cup of coffee or tea at night
before going to bed, but the caffeine they contain is a powerful stimulant that elevates
the heart rate and revs up the metabolism. Avoid using products that contain
nicotine, and pass on that second piece of after-dinner cake, since sugar can also make it difficult to
wind down at night.

Healthy habits

Exercise is important for elderly individuals and can help
make it easier to sleep at night. Maintaining a healthy diet is also important,
so emphasize vegetables, fruit, protein and whole grain foods, and cut out
processed foods and items that are heavy with sodium and sugar. Beware of fruit
juices that are loaded with sugar and choose healthy foods for snacking, such
as raisins, grapes and nuts without salt.

Get
tested

If you’ve improved your sleep hygiene habits but still
aren’t able to catch a solid night of ZZZs every night, you may want to get
tested for a sleep disorder, such as periodic limb movement, sleep apnea, or
restless leg syndrome. These conditions can be common in the elderly, so it’s
important to get them addressed. Medicare may even pay for a sleep test if it’s deemed
“medically necessary,” and if you’re diagnosed with sleep apnea, could cover
three months or more of your expenses for CPAP therapy, meaning you could
finally find your way to consistent, healthy sleep.

Getting
a good night’s sleep can be difficult for older adults. It’s necessary to take
special steps to prepare your body and sleep environment to help you get to
sleep without difficulty and get the healthful rest your mind and body need.
Focus on exercise, a healthy diet and smart, thoughtful actions every evening
before bedtime.

3 Important Ways Sleep Affects Your Health (And Your Weight)

Are you feeling sleepy this summer? That’s good because you should! The
longer days filled with fresh air and activities in the warm sun keep your feet
moving and your heart pumping. All this summertime fun also helps you sleep
better and burns calories in the process. Find out how sleep affects your
well-being and your weight!

Why Do We Need Sleep?

Sleep plays a big part in your life, affecting you mentally, emotionally,
and physically. Sleep keeps your mind and body healthy by recharging you for
the next day. It also increases metabolism, prevents memory loss, lowers stress
levels, boosts your mood, enhances your performance and functionality, and
promotes overall health by decreasing health conditions such as diabetes and
high blood pressure.

Are You Getting Enough Sleep?

A recent study by The National Sleep Foundation (NSF)
found that most Americans are not getting enough sleep, and are even sleep
deprived. With the hectic demands and distractions of modern life, it is
especially important to get the recommended hours of sleep every night. And so,
the NSF created new guidelines
for a good night’s rest
, broken down by age group as follows:

•Newborns (0-3 months): 14-17 hours each day (previously
12-18)
•Infants (4-11 months): 12-15 hours (previously 14-15)
•Toddlers (1-2 years): 11-14 hours (previously 12-14)
•Preschoolers (3-5): 10-13 hours (previously 11-13)
•School-age children (6-13): 9-11 hours (previously 10-11)
•Teenagers (14-17): 8-10 hours (previously 8.5-9.5)
•Younger adults (18-25): 7-9 hours (new age category)
•Adults (26-64): Sleep range did not change and remains 7-9
hours
•Older adults (65+): 7-8 hours (new age category)

Too Much Or Too Little Is Trouble

Be careful, too much of anything can be a bad thing — and that goes for
sleeping too! Oversleeping can cause you to become groggy, dehydrated, and
unmotivated. Under sleeping can cause more stress, bad decisions and
impulsiveness (especially with food), and slows your metabolism which leads to
weight gain. It’s important to find the right balance for yourself.

Sleep More To Burn More

Being deprived of sleep can lower your metabolism, while increasing your
stress, hunger, and comfort food cravings. The American
Journal of Clinical Nutrition
found that people increased late-night
snacking (of energy-dense, high-carb snacks) when they were sleep deprived.
Even more, not getting enough sleep can influence you to eat larger portions
more often to compensate. Sleep deprivation interferes with your body’s
metabolism to process foods into energy from your bloodstream, so it becomes
stored as extra fat instead — the total “lose-lose” situation.

Tips And Tricks For A Terrific Slumber

Cut out caffeine, alcohol, and sugar during the last few
hours before going to bed. It will help you fall asleep easier and for longer
periods of time.

Turn off electronics like laptops and cell phones at
least an hour before going to bed, as the screens emit light which can make it
harder to fall asleep, and keep your mind racing instead of winding down.

Stick to a regular bedtime schedule that will keep your
inner clock in check every day.

• Turn out the lights. It signals your brain to naturally relax.

Start a bedtime ritual such as taking a bath or reading
to help you get calm and peaceful.

It’s true — you can burn more calories by simply sleeping them away. Make sure you are getting the right amount of sleep to improve your health and well-being on mental, emotional, and physical levels.

5 Summer Cocktails That Are Actually Good For You

In the summertime, healthy and hydrated go hand-in-hand.
There are more fresh fruits and vegetables readily available, and our diets
naturally improve during the summer months because it’s easier to make healthy
choices. We also increase our water intake to counteract the heat of the sun.
But at the end of a long day — or while relaxing on vacation — we may want
something more than plain water to sip on while sitting on the deck or hanging
out by the pool. Can we hydrate and be healthy while enjoying a summer
cocktail? Of course we can! Incorporating fresh fruits and vegetables in our
summer cocktails is not only refreshing, but it cuts calories and provides
nutrition our bodies need. Use this list to get creative with your summer
cocktails, and enjoy delicious health benefits at the same time. I’ll drink to
that!

#1 Sangria
Sangria, a cocktail from Spain and Portugal,
is refreshing and can be a smart option this summer if you’re careful about
what you’re adding to the pitcher. Using red wine as your base provides
antioxidants that can help prevent heart disease. Opt out of the simple syrup
and replace it with a flavored sparkling water that has no added sugar. Add
plenty of fresh fruit to boost your Vitamin C and fiber.

#2 Spiked Lemonade and Limeade
Spiked or not, lemonades and limeades are the go-to beverage of the summer.
Make it an adult version by adding a splash of vodka to your glass. To cut
calories, sweeten your lemonade or limeades with agave nectar instead of table
sugar or simple syrup. Don’t be afraid to mix new flavors with this drink.
Cucumber and mint in lemonade and cherries in limeade are winning combinations.

#3 Wine Spritzer
Some people love nothing more than a glass of perfectly chilled white wine in
the heat of summer. Lighten this cocktail by pouring a half glass of wine and
filling the rest with club soda or sparkling water. Depending on the type of
white wine, several slices of fresh peaches or strawberries make the perfect
healthy garnish for this beverage.

#4 Garden Fresh Bloody Mary
Use tomatoes from your local farmer’s market as the base, instead of pre-made mixes that are loaded with sodium. To boost the flavor in your Bloody Mary, try adding jalapenos to the tomato puree. These spicy peppers not only add flavor, but the heat will encourage you to savor your beverage instead of gulping it.

#5 Lighter Classics
Piña coladas and margaritas may be your favorite summer cocktails, but it can
be hard to enjoy one when you know the calorie count. On average, piña coladas
have 378 calories and margaritas have 280 calories. But you can still enjoy the
flavors of your favorites if you alter the ingredients and avoid high calorie
mixers. When making a piña colada, use light cream of coconut instead of the
full-fat one, and only use about a tablespoon, replacing the rest with
sparkling water. Get back to basics with a classic margarita. Fresh lime,
triple sec and tequila are all you need instead of those sickly sweet margarita
mixes. For some flair, try adding different fresh fruits or vegetables to find
your personal margarita flavor.

Wanting to look and feel our best while enjoying an adult beverage is
possible. Take advantage of the summer bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables to
not only make healthier summer cocktails to sip, but to also inspire a new
favorite that shows off your creative side. Drink to your health and remember….
it’s five o’clock somewhere! Cheers!

How Self-Help Can Reduce Your Pain and Improve Your Life

A diagnosis of chronic pain can leave you
feeling helpless. You might feel like you’re at the mercy of your body, with
little you can do about it outside of the doctor’s office. While conventional
treatments like medication and physical therapy are an important part of any
chronic pain management plan, there’s also a lot you can do at home to minimize
your pain and improve your life.

If conventional treatments have been working
for you, you might wonder why you should bother with at-home remedies at all.
However, while many people rely on pharmaceutical treatments to ease their
everyday pain, these therapies come with significant drawbacks:

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or
    NSAIDS, include common over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen, aspirin,
    and naproxen. When taken regularly, NSAIDs can lead to ulcers, kidney damage,
    and high blood pressure, among other side effects.
  • Acetaminophen, which includes Tylenol, is a
    non-aspirin pain reliever. It relieves pain but doesn’t reduce inflammation.
    While it’s considered one of the safest over-the-counter pain relievers for long-term use,
    there is a risk of liver damage.
  • Opioid painkillers, like hydrocodone,
    oxycodone, and tramadol, can be effective at treating certain kinds of chronic
    pain. However, they also carry a risk of dependence and addiction, especially
    if taking more than prescribed or continuing medication when it’s no longer
    needed. Patients must be diligent about following their doctor’s instructions
    and staying aware of the warning signs of a prescription
    drug problem.

While you don’t need to rule out medication
completely if it’s effective for you, it shouldn’t be the first line of defense
in a pain management strategy. Instead, focus on creating a lifestyle that
minimizes your pain. What that looks like will differ from person to person,
but there are a few key areas every chronic pain sufferer should consider:

  1. Diet: While research into the connection between nutrition and chronic pain is still in its infancy, there’s evidence to support the idea that diet contributes to inflammation & pain, as well as diseases like obesity and diabetes that may be comorbid with chronic pain. Furthermore, bad bacteria harbored in your gut can cause inflammation. Cutting out processed foods &reducing meat consumption in favor of a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, fiber, and essential fatty acids could ease pain symptoms over time. You can reduce inflammation & improve your gut health by eating foods that are rich in probiotics—yogurt & sauerkraut—and prebiotics—bananas & raw garlic—all of which contain good bacteria for your gut.
  2. Exercise: It’s hard to exercise when you’re in pain, and some days it’s downright impossible. However, despite the temporary relief of rest, inactivity makes symptoms worse over time. Chronic pain sufferers should incorporate a mix of cardiovascular, strength-building, and range-of-motion exercise into their fitness plan in order to improve the body’s strength and function and relieve pain symptoms. Review any fitness regimen with your doctor to prevent accidental injury.
  3. Sleep: Pain affects your ability to sleep well, and poor sleep aggravates your pain, creating a vicious cycle that devastates your well-being. Upgrade your mattress and pillows to minimize pain (pillows for back pain are available online for $19.87), incorporate practices like meditation and breathing exercises into your bedtime routine, and practice good sleep hygiene to maximize the quality of your rest.
  4. Home: If everyday tasks around the house aggravate your chronic pain, it’s time to change that. Locate frequently used items in places you don’t have to stoop or reach to access, rearrange so you can meet most of your needs on the ground level, and invest in remodeling to add home features that make life more convenient, like an entry ramp or arthritis-friendly hardware. You can hire a local handyman if you need help with these projects.

Living with chronic pain doesn’t have to mean suffering in silence. Take an active role in your own pain management by talking with your doctor and physical therapist about what you can do at home to relieve symptoms and pursue a pain-free life. In Toms River, this will generally cost between $208 and $656, depending on the amount of work that needs to be done.   

Image via Unsplash

You’ve lost the weight…now the hard work really starts

Ok, so you’re down to your goal
weight.  Now, the next and most difficult step is maintaining it.  A
diet is a temporary and goal defined mission; maintaining your weight is an
infinite life style.

Researchers have found that there
are three main ways that help keep the pounds off.

  1. Remind yourself why you need to control your weight
  2. Reward yourself for sticking to a diet and exercise
    plan
  3. Regularly exercise with a combination of cardio and
    weight lifting

Planning meals ahead of time is
extremely important to your success with keeping your goal weight. If you’ve
had weight-loss success, you know how important this task is. If you are not
home, do not skip meals or snack from a vending machine. Plan your meals based
on where you’ll be that day.

If traveling, make sure you know
which restaurants have healthy options or pack a cooler so you have what you
need.  Keep it balanced with protein, fat and carbohydrates.

Eat small portions of 6 or 7 meals a
day.  This also maintains blood sugar levels, which curbs hunger and keeps
your metabolism working efficiently.

Reward your efforts when worthy.
Staying healthy takes focus and discipline, but should not be stressful.
Sometimes you just want that scoop of ice cream or piece of cake, right? As
long as you are happy with your progress, go for it. And most importantly,
understand the value of moderation.

Schedule time just for yourself
several days every week. Unless you block off time on your calendar just for
you throughout the week, you may find yourself struggling to find time for
exercise. Workouts should be as much of a routine as your lunch break.

Three weekly strength training and
two to three cardio sessions will help maintain your muscle while burning fat
and keep you healthy.

Surround yourself with healthy
people. If anyone is pulling you down and off track, get them involved in their
own health and nutrition. Get out and meet people who have healthy
interests. Perhaps join a fitness blog. This will support positive choices
and you will get results.

Know what your body can tolerate
without sabotaging your efforts. So enjoy your new body while understanding
what it takes to keep it.

Good luck in your new lifestyle…

Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

7 Top Secrets to Get Rid of Stubborn Fat

Dr. Sean Daneshmand has been nominated as a “Top Doctor in San Diego” as published in San Diego Magazine continuously since 2008-2018. 

We know how frustrating it can be trying to get rid of stubborn fat, but there are things you can do to increase fat burning in areas that are known to be tricky – like belly fat, underarms, flanks, butt, etc. If you find that regular exercise and dieting are not enough to get you that perfect figure, try combining several fat-burning methods so your efforts don’t go to waste. Here are 7 top secrets to get rid of stubborn fat:

  • Scan nutrition facts for artificial ingredients

Processed foods are the worst when it comes to gaining weight – or more specifically, trying to get rid of excess weight. Beverages that contain a high amount of processed sugars and artificial sweeteners are just as bad as eating chips and other deep-fried snacks. Some research suggests that artificial sweeteners actually make it more difficult to lose weight and one of the reasons attributed to this is the effect fake sugar has on metabolism. Sweeteners interfere with metabolic function and this can make regular weight methods ineffective, at least when it comes to losing stubborn fat.

Another way that sweeteners mess up our weight loss efforts is by changing the way we use our taste buds; so food that we previously found sweet becomes less tasty because we have been accustomed to highly refined sugars.

  • Drink green tea

Green tea contains high amounts of antioxidants – which your body needs to get rid of toxins and to boost the immune system. Green tea also contains caffeine, which, as you know, improves metabolic function. If you’re looking to swap out fruit juice or your regular beverage for something healthier and more exotic, try green tea – there are many different tastes and combinations, but all of it essentially comes from herbal extracts.

  • Dig into high-protein foods

Eat foods that are rich in proteins, that way, your body can build more muscle and increase energy use. Protein won’t make you gain weight; instead, it will boost your metabolic rate and also act as the fuel that muscles need to stay active and burn fat. To keep your protein levels high, eat more eggs, beans, oats, dairy, white meats, and don’t forget to include healthy fats like avocado and salmon.

  • Boost fiber intake

Fiber is extremely important in weight loss and getting enough of it in your diet can help you bust out of a workout plateau. Soluble fiber improves the digestive process, so eating enough of it means that your body is able to get more nutrients from food, eliminate waste more easily, and reduce the amount of cholesterol in your system. Furthermore, fiber also helps reduce instances of bloating and constipation, both of which occur when the digestive system is disrupted.

Another way that fiber can help you get rid of weight is by suppressing hunger. This happens because fiber is very slow to digest, and that leaves you full for longer. You can get fiber from foods like lentils, pea risotto, or banana-walnut bran muffin.

  • Get your shut-eye

We know that sleep plays a part in weight management but what you may not know is that getting enough quality sleep enables the body to regulate hunger hormones in a way that reduces visceral fat. For the best results, sleep the recommended 7-8 hours every night and keep the room completely dark to improve quality of sleep. Avoid watching TV or using the computer right before bed, and maintain a regular sleeping pattern. In the long term, quality sleep will go a long way in keeping you healthy.

  • Address portion control

Do you pile food on your plate like it’s your last meal on earth? Portion size is a major reason for gaining weight and a lot of times we ignore the size of the food on the plate but it has a big impact on your ability to lose weight. There’s plenty of research that shows how portion size impacts weight loss. According to one UK study about portion size and weight loss, reducing portion size (not what you eat) can lead to reduction of visceral fat by up to 14 percent over a period six weeks.

  • Cut out booze

Alcohol contains a surprisingly high amount of calories. A
beer for instance, will give you  about
150 calories, which, if you consider your own drinking habits, can lead to
weight gain and make that gut almost impossible to get rid of. This is not
healthy calories we’re talking about here; alcohol contains zero nutrients – so
whatever calories you get are packed as fat. The only exception here is wine,
which does boost cardiovascular health.

Cutting out alcohol will improve your results in the gym and
make it possible to lose visceral fat without even changing your current diet. Drop
alcohol from your lifestyle and drink more water instead; and watch as the
weight comes off.

What Is CBD? What You Need to Know About Cannabidiol, its Benefits, and its Safety

Recently, there’s been a lot of talk about
cannabidiol — more commonly referred to as CBD or CBD oil. Although technically
discovered in the 1940s, CBD has recently become popular as all kinds of people
tout its benefits. As with any “new” item on the market, having a lot of
information available means there is also a lot of disinformation floating
around. Here’s what you need to know about CBD before making a decision on
whether it’s right for you or your kids.

What Is
CBD?

To put it succinctly, CBD is one of many
compounds (cannabinoids) present in cannabis
sativa,
otherwise known as marijuana (or hemp). However, the most important
distinction between CBD and marijuana’s more famous compound — THC — is that
CBD does not have psychotropic effects. In other words, it doesn’t get you
high. So, what does it do then? Well, according
to proponents
, CBD can help people treat and/or manage a
variety of ailments and health concerns (mental and physical). CBD is the
compound, while CBD oil is the end result of extracting CBD and infusing it in
a neutral oil.

For more on the basics of CBD, check out this overview from Remedy Review —
it’ll help to answer additional questions you may have. It’s important to have
all the facts before you or anyone you care for considers using CBD oil.

Really?
It Doesn’t Get You High?

No. You’d need enough CBD to fill a bathtub to
give you any psychoactive effects. The most “euphoria” CBD can give you is
similar to what you feel after exercise (a runner’s high). On the other hand,
CBD users report that it is more useful as a relaxant.

What
Are the Benefits?

The short answer: it depends. The long answer
is that there are plenty of users, researchers, and doctors who will report myriad positive benefits — but
harnessing the power of pure CBD (as opposed to the power of marijuana on the
whole) is new. We are still figuring out its effects.

But as Greatist points out, due to the FDA
approval of a particular medication containing CBD, we know for a fact that it
helps with epilepsy — specifically pediatric epilepsy. The following potential
benefits have been supported anecdotally or in limited research:

  • Anxiety relief
  • Help with depression
  • PTSD management
  • Pain relief
  • Nausea relief
  • Improved skin
  • Heart and brain health
  • Help during substance abuse
    recovery

Is It
Safe?

Once again, research into CBD is in a nascent stage (furthermore,
research into marijuana, in general, is hampered by governmental restrictions).
This means we don’t yet know everything there is to know about CBD’s effects.
CBD derivatives are safe enough to gain FDA approval in
some seizure drugs, but that doesn’t mean you can give it to your child. Signs
point to it being safe (the World Health Organization has recently claimed as much), but you
should consult your doctor before using CBD oil on yourself or your children.

Finally,
Is It legal?

Due to conflicting regulations on the state
and federal levels, this question can be complicated. For the most part, as of
this writing, CBD oil should be fully legal in all US
states except for Idaho, Nebraska, and South Dakota.

Marijuana has been used in a medicinal capacity for centuries,
and its recent legalization in many places has made it even more popular. CBD
offers many of the same health benefits without the high. Because of this, many
are hailing it as a “wonder drug” of sorts for people of all ages. While it is
certainly promising, the research is not yet conclusive. Do your own research,
learn as much as you can, and talk to people you trust before making any decisions.

Photo by Rick Proctor on Unsplash

What is your New Year’s Resolution for 2019?

Every year most of us will make a New Year resolution with the best intentions of sticking with them throughout the New Year.  Unfortunately, in most cases, these resolutions quickly fail.  Then when they fail, we feel horrible and tend to beat ourselves up.  Well, there’s no need to do that.  Here are a few bullet points that can help you keep your resolutions this year.

  • Be realistic with your goals: Don’t set yourself up for
    failure.  You are probably not going to go to the gym every day for
    the entire year, or you’re probably not going to lose three dress sizes in
    the next three months.  Instead, set realistic goals.  Start out
    by losing your first 2 pounds the first month, and then 1 pound a month
    thereafter until you’ve reached your goal.  If you look at your goals
    this way, the resolution doesn’t look nearly as big and overwhelming.
  • Think in baby steps: Let’s face it, you’re not going to
    suddenly stop smoking, eating or biting your nails all at once. 
    These bad habits take time to break.  Instead of going “cold turkey”,
    try saying, “I will cut my cigarette smoking in half by February 1st
    or “I will only bite my nails on my right hand for a week, then cut it
    down to four nails, then three, then two”.
  • Offer yourself incentives: Reward yourself when you’ve
    reached that small goal.  So, if you were successful in not having a
    cigarette for a three hours, reward yourself with something you like, like
    a new pair of shoes or a new purse.  It’s important to remember that
    you shouldn’t reward yourself with a cigarette because you didn’t have one
    for three whole hours!  That would be contrary to the goal.
  • Pick a buddy: It’s always fun to work out or diet with
    a friend.  Having a buddy share your goals is always a good support
    system for you and for your buddy.   And words of encouragement
    from your buddy can also be uplifting and positive.
  • Be tough:  Don’t beat yourself up.  Have you
    ever heard of the saying, “two steps forward, one step back”?  If you
    decide to cheat and have that second cookie or piece of cake, it’s
    alright.  Don’t let the bad feeling spiral into a circle of feeling defeated
    and depressed.  Just pick yourself up and say, “ok, I had a little
    slip which is ok and not a big deal”.  Then look forward and get back
    on track.

I hope these pointers have encouraged you to make the right choices.  Good luck and happy New Year’s Resolutions!

Practicing Self-Care During A Job Search

Photo via Pixabay by Free-Photos

Experiencing a change in your job situation can be difficult, to say the least. Many people suffer from depression or sadness after losing a job, regardless of whether it was on their terms. And it’s not unusual to experience stress and anxiety when having to figure out what the next move will be or planning your finances. The process of applying for jobs, setting up interviews, and going through training can be over whelming, so it’s important to learn how to practice self-care during it all. This can mean anything from preparing for interviews to getting in daily exercise in order to reduce stress.

Fortunately, there are any number of ways you can practice self-care. Think about how you can incorporate these practices into your daily routine, and combine them with your preparations for landing your dream job. Taking care of yourself both mentally and physically is the best way to reduce stress during this time, but it can also help you find the perfect gig.

Keep reading for some great tips on how to get started.

Take care of your body

Some people experience a lack of sleep and an inability to eat a well-balanced diet when they’re feeling stressed or anxious, so it’s important to do all you can to prevent this during the job search process. Daily exercise can be hugely beneficial when you’re unable to sleep, helping you feel tired at the end of the day and elevating your mood and ability to cope with anxiety. And eating right can keep you from feeling bad or getting sick, which is why you don’t want to skip meals. Even if you only have something small, it’s important for your body to eat breakfast and lunch every day.

Ask for some help

It can be helpful to get some assistance when it comes to putting together a resume, setting up interviews and keeping your schedule organized, and preparing for interviews. Ask a friend or loved one to help by holding a mock interview at home, or to help you update your resume in order to impress potential employers. Ask for them to be brutally honest so you can lock down the best looking resume and the best interview attitude.

Practice the interview

 It’s important to practice the interviewprocess; this will help you prepare so you’ll be confident while talking to a potential employer, and it can help lower stress and anxiety. Look up some common interview questions and think about what your answers will be. Keep in mind that it’s also a good idea to do a little research on the company so you’ll sound informed during the interview. Find out how long they’ve been around, how many people they employ, and what their company goals are.

Buy some new clothes

New clothing can help boost your confidence, and when it comes to finding things to wear for your interview or new job, it can also help you get into the role and enjoy yourself. Do a little research to figure out what kinds of outfits are best for the job you want — every company is different when it comes to their dress code, after all — and think about what you might want to wear for interviews.  Look online for some great deals, and stick mostly to classic pieces so you’ll get more life out of them.

Practicing self-care during a job search can help you reduce stress and anxiety, which in turn can help you get through the process more smoothly. Talk to your friends and family about how they can help,and make time for yourself every day in order to relax. With a little preparation and some good planning, you can take care of yourself during the search for a new job and prevent stress and burnout.

Girl Power: Easy Ways to Sneak Health and Wellness Into Your Daily Grind

Photo by Pixabay

Women are busy individuals. Whether you are balancing work, family, school, or a combination of the three, your plate always seems to stay full. A packed schedule and laundry list of responsibilities don’t make for a lot of time to focus on your overall wellness, but there are several simple ways you can sneak some health into your daily grind.

Get Plenty of Rest

Sleep is another way your body gets the fuel it needs to power through those busy days. No matter how busy you are, do your best to get on a sleep schedule. Start by honing in on your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle, known as your circadian rhythm. Find a bedtime that works for you but also allows you to get the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep each night. If the bedtime you choose is earlier than you’ve been going to bed, slowly ease into it by going to bed 15 minutes earlier until you reach your desired time. Also, make sure your bedroom is set up for optimal sleep by blocking out light, turning the air down to stay cool, and using a sound machine to relax and block out noise. Keep tabs on any pain or discomfort you feel as you try to fall asleep, as it might be time to replace your pillows. There are plenty of options (memory foam, latex, down, etc.) to meet your preferences such as firmness, filling, and ventilation, so shop around online. If it’s been a while since you purchased a new mattress (say, more than five years), now might be the time to replace it as well.

Prep for the Week

We tend to tell ourselves that we are going to try to eat better this week, but when you are in a rush, you opt for the convenience of fast food rather than a nutritious home-cooked meal. To stay on track, use a portion of Sunday to meal prep. Make it less of a headache by creating a grocery list that is sorted by aisles so you don’t waste hours in the store or become tempted to stray from the list. Stock up on fruits, veggies, and protein that you can cut/prepare and freeze. Search for recipes online; there are plenty of nutritious and delicious recipes, including protein bowls, salad jars, and smoothie bags. You can also prepare portion-controlled snacks for the week. These can come in handy when your stomach starts rumbling mid-afternoon, and it can help fight the urge to hit the vending machine for a quick and easy fix.

Fuel Your Body

Eating right requires that you fuel your body, but empty calories are lurking everywhere – even in foods that seem healthy such as fruit juice. What are empty calories? According to Healthline, “When it comes to food, empty means that that food contains little or no essential vitamins or minerals,” so essentially these calories offer no nutritional value. It can be hard to put down the ice cream, but try to reach for foods packed with vitamins, minerals, and nutrients such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, legumes, and low-fat dairy. If you aren’t sure just how many calories you are consuming and whether you are meeting your daily nutritional goals, download a calorie-counting app such as MyFitnessPal to see a visual representation of your eating habits so that you can make adjustments if needed.

Squeeze in Exercise

You already know how important exercise is, but squeezing it into a busy schedule makes it easier said than done. Try to schedule workout days into your week, whether it is a quick gym session or a walk around the neighborhood. Sneak exercise into your day too by taking the stairs whenever possible, parking in the back of the lot, and making use of every possible moment to get some steps in such as while on the phone, on your lunch break, or between commercials when you are catching up on your favorite show. Also, you can pick up some affordable exercise equipment to help create a small, personal home gym. If it helps, think of exercise as an important meeting that you have to keep.

Life stays busy, but that’s not a reason to let your health fall by the wayside. Find ways to incorporate wellness into your busy schedule. It might take some getting used to, but your body will thank you for it in the long run.