Tag Archives: self-care

Exercise – the Depression Eliminator!

There is no medication that can compare to exercise for combatting depression symptoms.

Many divorced women in their 50’s spiral into mild depression as their unhealthy and inaccurate self-talk gets them believing that their future is bleak, particularly as it relates to relationships, finances, and making progress on long-time goals. 

To relieve the numerous debilitating symptoms of depression (see below), many turn to doctors, who are all too quick to prescribe medication.  However, what if there is a better, long-lasting remedy?  Well, I’m here to tell you that there is, and, it’s also free!  It is exercise!   

According to Mind Pump Media, studies show that exercise, in the long-term, proves to be the far superior remedy for depression symptoms. 

Exercise and anti-depressants both can immediately alleviate symptoms.  However, as time continues, exercise results get better, while anti-depressants actually lose their impact.   This is because the body adapts to the medication, similar to caffeine or other drugs, so more is needed for similar results.  On the flip side, as a person continues with consistent exercise, not only does the body becomes stronger, but mental and psychological health also improve due to increased energy and improved sleep – and sleep has a significant impact on mental state!   In addition, the increased level of endorphins in the bloodstream naturally makes us happier and more capable of handling stressful situations! 

There is no medication that can compare to exercise for combatting depression symptoms.  If you find yourself spiraling into a depressed state, make exercise a regular part of your routine.  If you have not been one to exercise previously, start slow and be consistent.  The results will be amazing!  You will feel stronger (inside and out) and better about your body image.  You will also feel more mentally clear and creative, your confidence will improve, and you will know you’re capable of achieving the new goals you have for the next chapter of your life!     

Depression definition and symptoms (source:  Mayo Clinic)

Note:  Clinical depression requires a medical diagnosis, defined as the persistent feeling of sadness or loss of interest.  It can lead to a range of behavioral and physical symptoms, including changes in sleep, appetite, energy level, concentration, and/or self-esteem. Depression can also be associated with thoughts of suicide.

People may experience:

  • Mood: anxiety, apathy, hopelessness, loss of interest in activities, mood swings, or sadness
  • Behavioral:  agitation, excessive crying, irritability, restlessness, or social isolation
  • Sleep:  early awakening, excess sleepiness, insomnia, or restless sleep
  • Weight:  weight can or loss due to excessive hunger, fatigue, or loss of appetite
  • Cognitive:  lack of concentration, slowness in activity, or thoughts of suicide

Prevent Osteoporosis!

Osteoporosis literally means ‘bones with holes’. It occurs when bones lose minerals such as calcium more quickly than the body can replace them. Bones become less dense, lose strength and break more easily.

Most people don’t realize they have osteoporosis until a fracture happens, as there are usually no signs or symptoms. This is why osteoporosis is often called the ‘silent disease’.

Osteoporosis and bone growth

Bone is formed by specialized cells. It is constantly being broken down and renewed. It is living tissue that needs exercise to gain strength, similar to muscle. 

In the early years of life, more bone is made than is broken down, resulting in bone growth. By the end of your teens, bone growth has been completed and by about 25 to 30 years of age, peak bone mass is achieved.

Sex hormones, such as oestrogen and testosterone, have a fundamental role in maintaining bone strength. The fall in oestrogen that occurs during menopause results in accelerated bone loss. During the first five years after menopause, the average woman loses up to 10 per cent of total bone mass. 

Fractures of the spine caused by osteoporosis can lead to pain, loss of height and changes in posture, such as the ‘dowager’s hump’. This hump is caused when spinal fractures are compressed due to the force of gravity, resulting in an abnormal bending forward of the spine called kyphosis.

Symptoms & diagnosis of osteoporosis

Osteoporosis causes no specific pain or symptoms. However, it does increase the risk of serious or debilitating fractures. If you think you may be at risk of developing osteoporosis, see your doctor.

The most reliable way to diagnose osteoporosis is with a bone density scan which is usually done at the hip. Talk to your doctor about having this done.

Risk factors for osteoporosis

  • inadequate amounts of dietary calcium and vitamin D
  • cigarette smoking
  • alcohol intake of more than two standard drinks per day
  • caffeine intake of more than three cups of coffee or equivalent per day
  • long-term use of medication such as corticosteroids for rheumatoid arthritis, asthma and other conditions.

Prevention of osteoporosis

From a young age you can take steps to prevent osteoporosis:

  • have a healthy and varied diet with plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and calcium rich foods
  • do regular weight-bearing and strength-training activities.

Calcium-rich diet and osteoporosis

Enjoying a healthy, balanced diet with a variety of foods and an adequate intake of calcium is a vital step to building and maintaining strong, healthy bones. If there is not enough calcium in the blood, your body will take calcium from your bones. Making sure you have enough calcium in your diet is an important way to preserve your bone density. 

It is recommended that the average Australian adult consumes 1,000 mg of calcium per day. Postmenopausal women and men aged over 70 years are recommended to have 1,300 mg of calcium per day. Children, depending on their age, will need up to 1,300 mg of calcium per day.

Dairy foods have the highest levels of calcium, but there are many other sources of calcium, including sardines, spinach and almonds. If you are unable to get enough calcium from your diet alone, you may need to talk to a health professional about calcium supplements.

Vitamin D and osteoporosis

Vitamin D and calcium promote bone density. Vitamin D is important because it helps your body absorb the calcium in your diet. We obtain most of our vitamin D from the sun, and there are recommendations for the amount of safe sun exposure for sufficient vitamin D production, depending on your skin type, geographical location in Australia and the season. 

Vitamin D can also be found in small quantities in foods such as: 

  • fatty fish (salmon, herring, mackerel)
  • liver
  • eggs
  • fortified foods such as low-fat milks and margarine.

For most people, it is unlikely that adequate quantities of vitamin D will be obtained through diet alone. Talk with your health professional about vitamin D supplements if you are concerned that you are not getting enough vitamin D.

Exercise to prevent osteoporosis

Weight-bearing exercise encourages bone density and improves balance so falls are reduced. It does not treat established osteoporosis. Consult your doctor before starting a new exercise program, especially if you have been sedentary, are over 75 years of age or have a medical condition.

General recommendations include: 

  • Choose weight-bearing activities such as brisk walking, jogging, tennis, netball or dance. While non-weight-bearing exercises, such as swimming and cycling, are excellent for other health benefits, they do not promote bone growth.
  • Include some high-impact exercise into your routine, such as jumping and rope skipping. Consult your health professional – high-impact exercise may not be suitable if you have joint problems, another medical condition or are unfit.
  • Strength training (or resistance training) is also an important exercise for bone health. It involves resistance being applied to a muscle to develop and maintain muscular strength, muscular endurance and muscle mass. Importantly for osteoporosis prevention and management, strength training can maintain, or even improve, bone mineral density. Be guided by a health or fitness professional (such as an exercise physiologist) who can recommend specific exercises and techniques. 
  • Activities that promote muscle strength, balance and coordination – such as tai chiPilates and gentle yoga – are also important, as they can help to prevent falls by improving your balance, muscle strength and posture.
  • A mixture of weight-bearing and strength-training sessions throughout the week is ideal. Aim for 30 to 40 minutes, four to six times a week. Exercise for bone growth needs to be regular and have variety.

Lifestyle changes to protect against osteoporosis

Be guided by your doctor, but general recommendations for lifestyle changes may include: 

  • stop smoking – smokers have lower bone density than non-smokers
  • get some sun – exposure of some skin to the sun needs to occur on most days of the week to allow enough vitamin D production (but keep in mind the recommendations for sun exposure and skin cancer prevention)
  • drink alcohol in moderation, if at all – excessive alcohol consumption increases the risk of osteoporosis. Drink no more than two standard drinks per day and have at least two alcohol-free days per week
  • limit caffeinated drinks – excessive caffeine can affect the amount of calcium that our body absorbs. Drink no more than two to three cups per day of cola, tea or coffee.

**Source: Better Health Channel

Want to Re-Create Your Life After Divorce? Get SLEEP!!

You may be trying to beat the clock, stay-up late, and be productive, but in the end, sleep deprivation will greatly undermine your progress.  Below are the top negative effects from the lack of adequate sleep – defined as at least 7 hours per night.    

  1. Impaired concentration and cognitive abilities.

Sleep is important for various aspects of brain function.  When you lack sleep, your concentration and decision-making skills diminish. On the flip-side, adequate sleep has been shown to improve problem-solving skills and enhance memory.

2. Lowered physical performance.

Studies have shown that poor sleep reduces fine motor skills, reaction time, problem solving skills, and muscular strength and endurance.

3. May weaken your heart.

Numerous studies suggest that lack of sleep and low-quality sleep may increase your risk of developing heart disease and high blood pressure.

4. Increased risk of type 2 diabetes.

Sleeping less hours per night is associated with a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance – which is when your body cannot use insulin properly.  In addition, lack of sleep causes behavioral changes, including poor decision making regarding what foods you are eating and how much – which also increases diabetes risk.

5. Higher depression, isolation and lower social interactions.

Mental health concerns, such as depression, are strongly linked to poor sleep quality.  Sleep loss also reduces your ability to regulate emotions and interact socially. When we’re tired, we have a harder time controlling emotional outbursts and behavior in front of others. Tiredness may also affect our ability to respond to humor and show empathy.  In addition, people who are chronically sleep-deprived are more likely to withdraw from social events and experience loneliness.

6. Lowers immunity.

Lack of sleep has been shown to impair immune function.  In one study, participants who slept fewer than 5 hours per night were 4.5 times more likely to develop a cold compared than who slept more than 7 hours. Those who slept 5–6 hours were 4 times more likely.  Data also suggests that proper sleep may improve your body’s antibody responses to vaccines.

7. Poor sleep is linked to increased inflammation.

Poor sleep can have a major effect on inflammation in the body.  Sleep loss is known to activate inflammatory signaling pathways and lead to higher levels of inflammation, which, over time can cause the development of many chronic conditions, including obesity, heart disease, certain types of cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease.  

8. Lack of sleep can be dangerous.

Not getting enough sleep can be dangerous for yourself and others.  When we’re tired, our focus, reflexes, and reaction time decreases. In fact, being severely sleep-deprived is comparable to having consumed excess alcohol.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 25 people have fallen asleep while driving, and most of the time this is a result of sleeping less than 6 hours a night.  In addition to increased risks associated with driving, lack of sleep may also increase the risk of workplace injury and errors.

9. Weight gain and higher BMI.

Studies shows that a lack of sleep is associated with a greater risk of weight gain and a higher body mass index (BMI). This is because sleep deprivation increases ghrelin – the hunger hormone and decreases leptin – the hormone that makes us feel full, therefore, we feel hungrier and overeat.  In addition, to compensate for less sleep and energy, your body craves foods that are higher in sugar and fat, due to their higher calorie content.  To make matters worse, when you are tired, you are less motivated to hit the gym, go for a walk, or do any physical activity.

The bottom line is that lack of sleep is associated with many negative health effects, including increased risk of heart disease, depression, weight gain, inflammation, and illness.  Though individual needs vary, most research suggests that you should get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night for optimal health.

When you do get your adequate hours of sleep per night, your brain is more clear and you are focused and creative.  Therefore, start prioritizing and scheduling your sleep, and you’ll be amazed that you actually become more effective and productive! 

Over 50? Make Smart Nutrition Choices!

  • Want a simple recipe to help fight aging? The ingredients are easy to find. The right mix of nutrients, and regular exercise, will help you to feel and look your best.

When you eat right, you’ll help get your weight under control, keep your bones strong, and prevent heart disease. It’s all about making smart choices.

Nutrition Basics

Boost Calcium & Vitamin D: This means three to four 8-ounce servings of low-fat dairy every day. If you are lactose-intolerant, eat hard cheese, or yogurt, canned salmon, broccoli, and legumes. You can also eat or drink that have these nutrients added, such as orange juice. You could also take calcium supplements. Always seek your doctor’s advice, including a bloodwork analysis, before taking any supplements.

Eat More Fruits, Veggies, Whole Grains, & Legumes: These will give you plenty of disease-fighting antioxidants. Focus on variety every day, including vegetables with different colors.

Get Plenty of Fiber:  Good sources include legumes, whole wheat pasta, breads, and cereals, oatmeal, brown rice, popcorn, and fresh fruits and vegetables.

Take a Daily Multivitamin: It can fill gaps in your nutrition. Again, obtain your doctor’s advice to ensure you are taking a vitamin appropriate for you. at lean proteins. Try foods such as skinless chicken, fatty fish like salmon (with omega-3 fats), and vegetable protein, including soy.

Cut Down on Salt: Too much salt is linked to high blood pressure. The recently-published 2015 Dietary Guidelines once again remind everyone to limit salt to 2,300 milligrams a day.

Choose Fats Wisely: Avoid trans-fats and limit saturated fats, often included in butter, margarine, processed foods, desserts, and doughnuts. “Good fats” can be found in olive oil, and some, but not all, vegetable oils, as well as in foods, such as nuts and seeds, avocados, salmon, and tuna.

Curb the Sweets: Limit sugary drinks and desserts and sweetened dairy products. They can be loaded with calories and have little nutrition.

source: WebMD

7 Days of High Protein Fruit Smoothies

Links to purchase delicious Orgain Organic Protein Powder:

Vanilla Bean: https://www.amazon.com/Orgain-Organic-Protein-Powder-Vanilla/dp/B00J074W7Q/ref=sr_1_6?crid=2FCFX4YPLF1EL&keywords=orgain&qid=1647201716&rdc=1&sprefix=orgain%2Caps%2C71&sr=8-6

Creamy Chocolate Fudge: https://www.amazon.com/Orgain-Organic-Protein-Powder-Chocolate/dp/B00J074W94/ref=sr_1_5?crid=2FCFX4YPLF1EL&keywords=orgain&qid=1647201716&rdc=1&sprefix=orgain%2Caps%2C71&sr=8-5