Wednesday, August 29, 2012

How To Increase Your Energy

Being tired in fast becoming the new 20th century disease. According to the book 'The 28Day Plan' lack of energy can be attributed to: a bad diet, overindulgence in alcohol, lack of sleep and smoking. Plus we know that stress can zap our energy and leave us feeling tired. So how can we get more energy into our life?
One of the best ways to increase your energy is to eat energy producing foods such as porridge, muesli, fish, poultry, lean lamb, bananas, dried fruit, fresh fruit, fresh vegies, baked potatoes, wholemeal foods, fresh juices, water, Soya milk, seeds and nuts. Foods to limit are coffee, tea, cows cheese, beef/pork, sugary foods, pastries, biscuits, chips, white flour foods, fizzy drinks and chocolate (oh no!).
Other tips in the 28-Day Plan book to raise and restore energy are:
(1). Hibernation-take 20 minutes a day for quiet time. Think about no one and nothing. Lie down, listen to some favourite music or close your eyes and drift off to a beautiful island.
(2). Breath-Spend 5 minutes doing some deep breathing. Sit on the floor in comfortable clothes. Close your eyes and slowly breathe in through your nose, hold for a count of five and slowly exhale to a count of 5.
(3). Laugh-Have a good belly laugh. Watch a funny video or tell a funny joke. Refer back to my last newsletter for more tips.
(4). Sleep-Most of us realise we need 8 hours of sleep for the most benefit. Some other tips are to sleep with the window slightly open (be security conscious too). Have a firm supportive mattress and sufficient pillows. Eat at least 5 hours before going to bed. Go to bed the same time each night. Relax before bed.
(5). Pamper yourself-Go out and treat yourself to a beautiful bunch of flowers (or pick some from your garden). Have a massage, give yourself a facial or bubble bath, and go out for herbal tea with a friend.
(6). Do some stretching and flexing of your body at the start of each day.
(7). Exercise for 30 minutes each day. Some exercise ideas are: walking, jogging, cycling, skipping, bouncing (trampoline), swimming, cleaning and gardening. Have a health check before starting any exercise program.
(8). Eat breakfast.
So get to it. Use this information and tips to begin putting more energy back into your day!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

How To Give Up Insomnia

I am writing this on a Sunday morning following a very restless night when sleep just didn't want to be my friend. I have suffered with insomnia for many years but, by using a combination of techniques, it is more or less under control.
Yesterday, I spent much too long working on changes to my website. I was enjoying it, so the time shot by. I ended up sending out for a big Chinese meal late in the evening. A vast quantity of spicy food was washed down with several glasses of wine. If you want to lie awake half the night, just do as I did. The remedy is simple and obvious. Time to get a grip on the lifestyle.
Self-inflicted insomnia is easily cured. What I call "real" insomnia is a beast of a much deeper hue, debilitating and much harder to defeat. Even so, it is not impossible to overcome and there is a whole range of things you can do to get the upper hand.
Here I should state that I do not pretend to have any special medical or therapeutic knowledge and I would not advise anybody to stop taking their prescribed medication. I am just sharing my experiences in the hope that they might help other people who are struggling through wakeful nights.
The following tips for getting off to sleep are pretty well known but I think they are worth repeating.
1. Keep the bedroom just for bed with no reminders of daytime activities like work or study. Decorate the room in restful colours and use soft lighting. Make sure the temperature is comfortable and the ventilation adequate. Hang curtains which are heavy enough to block out the early morning light.
3. Have a bedtime routine. This does not involve doing anything special, it is just a matter of doing the same things in the same order each night. We all have things we do regularly: empty the dishwasher, put out the cat, lock the front door, set the alarm, brush teeth etc. These routine things are our steps away from the activity of the day, towards the restful night.
4. Make a soak in a warm bath part of your nightly ritual. Adding a few drops of aromatherapy oil to the water makes it doubly relaxing, soft background music makes the experience positively decadent.
5. Don't drink alcohol late at night. A nightcap might make you feel drowsy but it will disrupt your natural sleep rhythms and exacerbate your problem.
6. A warm milky drink is the best thing to have last thing at night. (Yes, our mothers were right when they made us drink cocoa.) There are tons of instant milky drinks available and most ranges have low fat options. If you don't like this milky, chocolatey type of drink, try out herbal teas but avoid anything containing caffeine.
7. Exercise is important but should be performed several hours before bedtime otherwise the adrenaline will still be pumping around your system and keeping you awake.
What if you follow the above tips, fall peacefully asleep and then wake up three hours later, in the dark middle of the night? To me, this is the most distressing type of insomnia. I know how it feels to wake up at 2.00 am, listen to the clock chime every hour round to 7.00 am, fall asleep and be rudely awakened by the alarm at 7.30. I always feel worse after that final snatched half hour of sleep than I felt in the middle of the night and sometimes get up insanely early to avoid it. The following tips can help you get back to sleep.
1. Recognise why you are awake. If you are too hot, cold or uncomfortable in any way, fix that problem. I often wake up thirsty, so I always have a jug of water at my bedside. Sometimes a drink of water is all that's needed to get back to sleep.
2. Relax by breathing slowly and deeply and by concentrating on tensing and then relaxing every muscle in your body, one by one, starting with toes and working upwards to your head.
3. Keep a pen and paper by your bed so if you are worrying about things you have to do, you can write them down in a list. This way you can stop worrying about forgetting anything important. As you write each thing down, visualise it leaving your brain and lodging itself on paper where you will find it safely in the morning. I find this exercise helps a lot if I have things on my mind.
If all this fails, you have been awake for over half an hour and know you are in for a long wakeful night; give up, get up, go do things. You won't feel any worse and you will probably feel better. There is no point in wasting those hours just lying there worrying about insomnia. If you feel sleepy further into the night, you can always go back to bed.
I gave up insomnia by sleeping whenever I could and getting up and doing things when I was wide awake even if it was the middle of the night. I decided to sleep when I could, not worry if I woke up at strange hours and not waste time tossing and turning in search of sleep. The decision to stop worrying was the key to my recovery.
I was fortunate in that I was not tied to a 9-5 work schedule, most of my work was done at home or in the library. All I had to do was make sure I was there for my children who were all school age.
Over a few weeks I "enjoyed" a strange lifestyle. I would go to bed at my normal time, get up at any time of night when I couldn't sleep (usually between 3.00 am and 5.00 am) and read or write essays or do quiet household chores. Then I would get the children up and see that they had breakfast and got off to school. I would then, depending how I felt, carry on working or go to bed. My alarm would be set so that I did not have to worry about being asleep when the children came home from school (I never was: I think mothers have an internal alarm clock). I would sleep for as long as I needed and then get up and carry on with my day. At weekends I could sleep while the children were doing homework or out with their friends.
Gradually, my night-time sleep became longer and my spells of daytime sleep grew shorter. Without any effort or worrying, I reverted to a normal sleep pattern and resumed a conventional timetable.
Several years afterwards I came across this quotation: "If you can't sleep, then get up and do something instead of lying there and worrying. It's the worry that gets you, not the loss of sleep". -- Dale Carnegie. I couldn't have put it better myself!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

How to Avoid Becoming a Fitness Failure

When it comes to fitness, no one likes being a failure, yet more than half
of new exercisers quit their program within the first six months. With a
little help you can ensure you're not one of them. Give these ideas a try
as you begin your exercise program for the new year.
Set goals
If you don't know where you are going, how will you know when you get
there? Setting short-term and long-term goals may increase your
chance of success. Your goals must give a clear picture of the end-point
to work towards. Use the SMART model, your goal should be Specific,
Measureable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound. Without these
you'll never know if you have achieved the goal. You can't just say "lose
weight or gain energy." Instead say, "I will lose 10 pounds in 12 weeks
by doing strength training 3 times a week and cardio 3 times a week."
Go for variety
Whether you do a home workout or belong to a gym, build your routine
on cross-training to keep things fresh and interesting, and keep yourself
from developing an injury. Frequently vary the order of your exercises
and mix in dumbbells, barbells, resistance tubing, machine or body
weight exercises. Don't be afraid to take a class.
Track your progress
Write down your measurements and weight at the beginning of your
program. Keep a workout log and use it. Seeing results is a great
motivator. At least once a month, re-measure and review your log to see
advances in your aerobic fitness, strength, flexibility and body
Seek out support
A workout partner with similar goals and a positive attitude can make
your workout more fun. knowing you are accountable to another person
can be a great motivator too. So can working with a certified personal
Devise a backup plan
Time and access are the largest obstacles to fitness, and even devoted
exercisers experience lapses. Don't use these as excuses to avoid
exercise. Having some portable home workout gear like a stability ball,
resistance tubing, jump rope, and dumbbells, will allow you to work out
while traveling, at home or even at work. With limited time, focus on
movements for the largest muscle groups and superset 2 for opposing
muscle groups. A brief but intense workout can be accomplished in a
few minutes.
Just do it
While pumping iron may not be right for everyone, the idea being active
is. Find something you enjoy doing that elevates your heart rate and
challenges you most days of the week. Also pay attention to how you
feel. If you are like most people in as little as three weeks you will find
sleeping better and feeling more rested.
The information contained in this article is strictly for informational
purposes and is not intended to provide medical advice. If you are
sedentary or over 40 please get clearance from a doctor before starting
an exercise program.
You have permission to publish this article electronically,
without changes of any kind, free of charge, as long as the
bylines are included, and remain working hyperlinks. Please send
a copy of the URL where you have posted this article.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Protect Yourself and Your Loved Ones From Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon monoxide poisoning is responsible for at least 400 accidental deaths and over 5,000 people are treated in hospital emergency rooms per year.
Unfortunately, carbon monoxide poisoning is often misdiagnosed as flu, food poisoning, allergy/asthma or chronic fatigue syndrome.
Children, the elderly, individuals with respiratory problems and pets are at risk, even at low levels.
Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are; headaches, nausea, drowsiness, vomiting, tiredness, pain, cramps and sleep disturbance.
Some people experience headaches and dizziness for almost 2 years prior to carbon monoxide poisoning diagnosis.
Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that is highly toxic, making it impossible to detect with our senses.
Carbon monoxide is produced by incomplete combustion in household appliances like furnaces, boilers, water heaters, stoves, ovens, fireplaces as well as well as automobiles.
Tips to protect yourself and your loved ones:
1) Install carbon monoxide detectors in your home
2) Have your appliances (boilers, furnaces, stoves, water heater, fireplaces) checked and serviced by a reputable heating company.
Be sure they are equipped with a professional carbon monoxide analyzer.
If they tell you they don't have one, find another company!
3 Do not use unvented appliances (kerosene heaters, barbecue grilles) in the house.
4) If you have a garage that is attached to your home click here.
5) Any time you strengthen the insulation properties or add a ventilation fan you should have your appliances checked to ensure the upgrades have not compromised the ability of the appliances to safely draft the combustion products from the house.