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Smoking cigarettes is a powerful addiction. If you have tried to quit in the past, you know how difficult it can be. Quitting the habit for good will have a positive effect on your health and well being for life.
Stopping smoking requires desire, determination and commitment. You can be successful when you know what to expect and create a game plan to combat the physical and psychological side effects. Here are just a few tips to assist you:
• Design a personal game plan. This may include quitting cold turkey, gradually decreasing the amount of nicotine over a period of time or speak to your physician regarding medications.
• Stay active. By exercising regularly and moderately you will keep yourself distracted and occupied. This will also boost your motivation to engage in a healthier non-smoking lifestyle.
• Drink a lot of liquids, especially water. This will help flush the toxins from your body, minimize withdrawal symptoms and help the cravings pass sooner. Try herbal teas or fruit juices. Limit coffee, soft drinks, and alcohol, these may activate cravings associated with previous smoking habits.
• Keep snacks on hand as an oral substitute. Carrots, celery sticks, gum, mints and sunflower seeds are good choices.
• Keep your mind busy. When cravings hit, do something else immediately, such as talking to someone, listen to music, read a book, watch a funny movie or take slow deep breaths.
• Change your habits. Eat breakfast in a different place, brush your teeth immediately after eating or take a different route to work. Most importantly avoid places you associate with smoking.
• Remind yourself every day why you are quitting smoking and write down all the reasons. Stay strong and don't compromise.
• Rely on friends, family and support groups for help. Let others around you know that you are serious about quitting and that you require their support and assistance.
Low back problems are not restricted to manual material handling tasks. Sedentary work environments requiring a prolonged, static sitting posture also contributes to low back problems. They are largely due to a loss of lordotic curvature in the spine and at the same time increasing in disc pressure when the pelvis rotates backward and the lumbar spine and torso rotate forward.
A chair with backrest inclination angle between 110° to 120° and a proper lumbar support will result in the transfer of the body weight to the backrest and a reduced disc pressure. Moreover, properly adjusted seat height and adequate leg space can all help reduce back stress. Furthermore, sedentary workers should not adopt a static sitting posture for a long period of time. They should take breaks to stand up and walk around to improve blood circulation.
Gardening can be a great way to enjoy the outdoors, get physical activity, beautify the community, and grow nutritious fruits and vegetables. Whether you are a beginner or expert gardener, health and safety are always important. Below are some tips to help keep you safe and healthy so that you can enjoy the beauty and bounty gardening can bring.
Dress to protect.
Gear up to protect yourself from lawn and garden pests, harmful chemicals, sharp or motorized equipment, insects, and harmful rays of too much sun.
• Wear sturdy shoes, and long pants when using lawn mowers and other machinery.
• Protect your hearing when using machinery. If you have to raise your voice to talk to someone who is an arm's length away, the noise can be potentially harmful to your hearing.
• Wear gloves to lower the risk for skin irritations, cuts, and certain contaminants.
• Protect yourself from diseases caused by mosquitoes and ticks. Use insect repellent containing DEET. Wear long-sleeved shirts, and pants tucked in your socks. You may also want to wear high rubber boots since ticks are usually located close to the ground.
• Lower your risk for sunburn and skin cancer. Wear long sleeves, wide-brimmed hats, sun shades, and sunscreen with sun protective factor (SPF) 15 or higher.
Put safety first.
Powered and unpowered tools and equipment can cause serious injury. Limit distractions, use chemicals and equipment properly, and be aware of hazards to lower your risk for injury.
• Follow instructions and warning labels on chemicals and lawn and garden equipment.
• Make sure equipment is working properly.
• Sharpen tools carefully.
• Keep harmful chemicals, tools, and equipment out of children's reach.
Enjoy the benefits of physical activity.
Gardening is an excellent way to get physical activity. Active people are less likely than inactive people to be obese or have high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, heart disease, stroke, depression, colon cancer, and premature death.
• Be active for at least 2½ hours a week. Include activities that raise your breathing and heart rates and that strengthen your muscles. You can burn 150 calories by gardening (standing) for approximately 30-45 minutes. Help kids and teens be active for at least 1 hour a day.
• If you have been inactive, start out with just a few minutes of physical activity each day. Gradually build up time and intensity.
• Vary your gardening activities to keep your interest and to broaden the range of benefits.
Page Located on the Web at http://www.cdc.gov/family/gardening/
Severe allergic reactions (e.g. anaphylactic reaction) occur when the body's immune system strongly reacts to a particular allergenic protein or irritant. These reactions may be caused by food, insect stings and medications. When a reaction is triggered, onset of symptoms may develop quickly.
Common symptoms of anaphylaxis include:
• low blood pressure, dizziness, sweating, or fainting
• nausea, cramping, diarrhea, or vomiting
• swelling of the face and throat
• wheezing or difficulty breathing
Sometimes, anaphylaxis can cause other symptoms as well. These include:
• chest pain
Substances most frequently associated with food allergies and allergic-type reactions include eggs, milk, mustard, peanuts, seafood (including fish, crustaceans and shellfish), sulphites, sesame, soy, tree nuts, and wheat and other cereal grains containing gluten.
Severe reactions are usually treated with an injection of epinephrine (adrenalin), antihistamines and/or steroids. Those known to have reactions should carry an EpiPen®, a device that allows you to give yourself an injection of adrenalin quickly.
If you or any member of your family has had a severe allergic reaction, you should take the following steps to minimize your risk of a reaction.
1. Know what foods or other factors trigger a reaction and avoid them.
2. When eating away from home, ask what is in the food you are to be served. When in doubt, do not eat the food.
3. Learn to read the nutritional/ingredient labels on foods to avoid even trace amounts of foods to which you are allergic. Contact food manufacturers if you have doubts about a particular food.
4. If your family members are subject to severe allergic reactions, train them to read labels and ask questions before eating foods.
5. Always carry an EpiPen® and know how to use it. If it is your family members who are affected, teach them how to use it.
6. Use the EpiPen® at the earliest sign of a reaction. Practice using the EpiPen® every few months and teach other family members as well.
7. Always wear a Medic Alert identifier, so that in case of an accident, others know about your allergies and reactions.
8. If you or your child are having a serious allergic reaction, go to your nearest Emergency Department, or dial 911 for instructions.
For more information:
2005 Sheppard Avenue East
Toronto, ON M2J 5B4
Telephone: (416) 785-5666
Source: Health Canada – date modified October 24, 2008
The death of a loved one or of a significant person in one’s life can bring on many symptoms that leave individuals feeling many different reactions. An emotional reaction to a death can bring on symptoms of depression that can be debilitating.
Kubler-Ross coined the five stages of grief to help normalize people’s experience of loss: They are: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. Most people experience these stages in the 2 to 5 years following the loss of a significant person in their lives. Depending on the type of relationship with the deceased, some may experience guilt and regret for what they perceive as not having done for that person.
Many people find that keeping busy and getting back to work helps to distract them from their grief. However those who are grieving need to allow themselves space and time to grieve. Reaching out for support through bereavement counseling may help survivors feel that they are not alone.
Grief counseling is available in the community and can be accessed by contacting your Employee Assistance Program, or Bereaved Families of Ontario which has various chapters and can be found on the internet.
Resource / Reference - "On Grief and Grieving" by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and David Kessler; Scribner, New York, 2005
March is Nutrition Month and we all know that healthy eating starts at the grocery store but how many of us struggle at the grocery store?
According to a Dieticians of Canada study, 63% of Canadians struggle with making healthier food choices in the grocery store at least half the time they shop; more than one third struggle at least 75% of the time. Here are some tips that can help when strolling though the grocery store aisles:
1) Plan before going to the store – decide what foods you will be making throughout the week and only buy those items.
2) Fill your cart with whole foods (fresh fruit, veggies, meats, etc.) and skip processed foods full of sugar and sodium.
3) Read the labels, if the ingredients listed are not recognizable or you cannot pronounce them, put the item back and look for a less processed option.
4) Prepare more meals from scratch. It does not have to be complicated; grocery stores have made convenience foods such as pre-cut veggies, to-go salads, ready cooked unprocessed meats, etc.
5) Cook in bulk and freeze portions for the nights you do not have time to cook from scratch.
6) Eat breakfast – think of buying higher protein options instead of processed cereals and breads. An egg white omelette with fresh veggies, protein shake with fruits, etc. will provide the nutrition you need in the morning and last until that mid-morning snack!
7) Buy only what you need – break up bunches of bananas, buy half dozen eggs, freeze extra portions of meat, etc.
8) Watch out for coupons, it is only a deal if you actually need that item.
Adapted from the Dieticians of Canada “Best Food Forward” Campaign 2013.
Colorectal cancer is the second most common cause of cancer deaths among men and women in Canada (Canadian Cancer Statistics 2011). Colorectal cancer grows very slowly. and usually doesn’t cause any symptoms in the early stages. There are tests that can check your colon for signs of cancer before you have any symptoms or even before the cancer starts to grow. Take the first step and talk to your doctor about colon cancer screening.
The exact causes of colorectal cancer are not known. However, studies show that the following risk factors increase a person’s chances of developing colorectal cancer and they have been divided into two main categories: those risk factors that you cannot change and those that are lifestyle-related and therefore subject to change/alteration.
What increases my risk for colorectal cancer?
• Age 50 or over
• Personal history of colorectal polyps or cancer
• Personal history of inflammatory bowel disease
• Family history of colorectal cancer
• Inherited syndromes
• African American ethnicity
• Jews of Eastern European descent
• Personal history of other cancers
• High fat, low fibre diet
• Physical inactivity
• Type II Diabetes
• Excessive alcohol consumption
Six ways to keep your colon healthy!
1. Eat well.
2. Be active.
3. Don’t smoke.
4. Cut down on alcohol consumption.
5. Talk to your doctor.
6. Get checked.
Listening is an essential part of communication, and it is different from hearing. Being a good and patient listener helps you not only solve many problems at work or home, but also to see the world through the eyes of others, thereby opening your understanding and enhancing your capacity for empathy.
Tips on being a good listener:
1. Place yourself in the other person's shoes. It is often too easy to wonder about how what the other person is telling you is impacting you. Active listening is not about inward thinking. Instead, you must look at the problems from the other person's perspective and actively try to see his or her point of view. It is not a good idea to consider yourself to be smarter than the speaker and assume that if you would have been in his or her shoes, you would have seen your way through the problem much faster. Remember you have two ears and one mouth for a reason.
2. Create a conducive physical and mental space. Remove all distractions. Give all of your attention. Turn off cell phones. It may be easiest to arrange to talk somewhere that distractions will not occur. Quiet your mind and open yourself to whatever the person might have to say.
3. Stop talking and try to be silent. It might sound obvious and trite, but one of the biggest obstacles to listening, for many people, is resisting the impulse thoughts.
4. Follow and encourage the speaker with body language. Nodding your head will indicate you hear what the speaker is saying, and will encourage them to continue. Adopting body postures, positions and movements that are similar to the speaker (called mirroring) will allow the speaker to relax and open up more.
5. Practice the empathetic sounding back technique. At appropriate intervals during the conversation, it is helpful to "summarize and restate" and/or "repeat and encourage" the main points.
6. Do not interrupt with what you feel or think about the topic being discussed. Wait for another person to ask your opinion before interrupting the flow of discussion. Active listening requires the listener to shelve his or her own opinions temporarily, and await appropriate breaks in the conversation for summarizing. Abstain from giving direct advice.
7. Ask meaningful and empowering questions. Do not seek to probe or make the other person defensive. Rather, aim to use questions as a means by which the speaker can begin to reach his or her own conclusions about the concerns or issues being raised.
8. Wait for the person to open up. In the process of encouraging a constructive response, an active listener must continue to be patient and let the speaker acquire his or her full flow of thoughts, feelings, and ideas. Keep yourself in his or her shoes and try to estimate why he or she is in such a situation.
9. Try to reassure the speaker that all is well. Whatever the conclusion of the conversation, let the speaker know that you have been happy to listen and to be a sounding board. Make it clear that you are open to further discussion if need be, but that you will not pressure him or her at all.
As days get shorter and the temperature drops, it's not uncommon for the winter blues to set in. All you want to do is stay in, curl into a ball, and eat. These tips, however, will help brighten things up!
1. Have your bedroom lights turn on a half hour before you're supposed to wake up. One of the symptoms of winter blues is increased difficulty getting up in the morning, even if you've had plenty of sleep. Plugging a bright, fluorescent lamp into a timer and having it turn on before your alarm goes off will help simulate an artificial dawn.
2. Expose yourself to sunlight as early in the morning as you can. You want to maximize the number of hours you experience daylight. Wake up early, and lift the curtains or go outside as soon as you get out of bed.
3. Exercise. Did you know that one hour of aerobic exercise outside (even when it's cloudy) has the same therapeutic effects as 2.5 hours of light treatment indoors? This is because it raises serotonin levels, which tend to get low when you have the winter blues.
4. Take a multivitamin containing vitamin D-3 daily. Vitamin D is created by the sun's rays on the skin, and therefore declines during the winter. Although studies on the effect of vitamin D supplements on seasonal depression have come up with varied results a good multivitamin will also help with energy levels.
5. Dress for the cold. Many people say they hate winter simply because they're cold all the time. If this applies to you, then re-examine your wardrobe and make sure you're appropriately dressed. Make sure your hands, feet and head are kept warm. Long underwear can also work warming wonders.
Accept the season!!! Even though winter may not seem so terrific, it brings a lot of things. The joy of the holiday season is carried throughout the winter. Many television shows only come on between the Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox. Sports such as basketball are often only played November - March. Sledding, snowball fights, snowmen, hot chocolate, blue jeans, and roaring fires simply aren't the same in the starching heat of August. Keep a positive attitude, and the cold months will fly by.
Planning a workout routine is easy but what is difficult is its execution. How many times have you discontinued your exercise regimen? Or how easily do you forget about your resolution of regular exercise? A workout plan can only be successful if you stay focused, determined, and motivated towards your target. Here are a few simple tips that may help you to stick to your exercise routine:
1. Work out with a partner
It is easier to be punctual and motivated if you exercise along with your spouse, friend, or trainer. In this way there are less chances of skipping out of routine due to mere laziness or lame excuses. Working out in groups is also fun and a good way to spend quality time. This reduces the stress associated with daily workout plans.
2. Set a goal
Setting up an exercise goal can keep you more focused. You can start with small targets and then move to bigger goals. Do not strain yourself too much from the beginning as this will reduce your interest. So, you can start with a daily exercise routine of 20 minutes which can be increased to 40 minutes gradually in few weeks.
3. Start with the basics
Begin with the most simple and easy exercises. This will warm up your body and prepare it for enduring sturdy exercises later. You can increase the intensity gradually with time.
4. Make it exciting
Do not take workouts a daily chore. Assume it to be a recreational activity which you are doing for fun and benefits. Buy a new pair of clothes and shoes for your exercise or gym classes. The excitement of using the new products will motivate you toward your goal.
5. Stay in momentum
If you have missed your exercise for a few days due to illness, vacation or office trip, then do not give up. Get back into the momentum as quickly as possible and set up your new goals. The more you stay away from it, the tougher it is to get back on track.
6. Make the whole process enjoyable
Just don’t go on the whole regimen monotonously. This way you will soon be fed up of the daily routine. Make the workout more enjoyable. Be creative in your approach. You can listen to your favorite music or download an audio-book on your podcast. Do something different in every few days to keep you rejuvenated. Like you can go for swimming, hiking, cycling, aerobics or any other physical activity you like.
7. Be flexible in your approach
Sometimes, it becomes difficult to follow the schedule. You may not be able to workout in the morning. But you don’t need to avoid exercise altogether that day. Try to be flexible and accommodate the time for exercise in the evening.
8. Get adequate sleep
Most people skip their daily workout routine due to sleepiness. So, it is important for you to sleep and wake up at the appropriate time. Even when you are very tired just try out some easy warm ups that day. It will be helpful in re-energizing you.
9. Eat healthy
To stay on a daily routine of exercise, it’s essential for you to take a healthy diet. It is recommended not to workout after a heavy meal or empty stomach. Eat something before exercising. Food rich in protein and carbohydrates can be beneficial. You can go for apples, bananas, oats, or a vegetable sandwich.
10. Appreciate and reward yourself
After achieving your daily goals, appreciate your achievement. This will keep you motivated. Monitor the changes or the benefits the regimen has bestowed upon you. You can reward yourself with a leisure time of 15 minutes after the workout. You can sip a cup of hot tea, drink a glass of juice and have a cold showerhttp://www.diyhealth.com/entry/10-tips-for-a-regular-fitness-regimen/