Health in a Minute: Winter 2020

For Moms

 

Social Media Shuffle

Helping Your Teen Clean Up Accounts

It’s no secret that a person’s social media presence is playing an increasingly important role in first impressions. When it’s someone you just met, that’s one thing, but stakes are raised when it is an employer or college admissions officer doing the vetting. 

While certain posts or images might not reflect favorably on your teen, neither will not having a profile at all. Instead of taking everything down, try helping your teen audit their accounts and remove anything that might not paint them in their best light. 

Start by searching your teen’s name online to see what comes up. Delete any negative posts, and ask other people to take down any posts or images that are under their control. At a minimum, untag your teen in any questionable content, and update their privacy settings. 

Consider deleting any content that includes a complaint or posts that come across as provocative, discriminatory, cynical, sarcastic, or mean. While it’s perfectly fine for your teen’s accounts to have some selfies, the poses and quantity shouldn’t leave your teen coming across as self-absorbed, immature, or unprofessional. 

Finally, remind your teen that it’s never too late to start curating or sharing content about issues and topics that they find interesting and are passionate about!

 

 

colorful crayons

A Mom’s Guide to Surviving Chickenpox

Common and contagious, chickenpox is an uncomfortable virus that frequently affects children. What sometimes starts as a fever, loss of appetite, and headache can quickly turn into a series of itchy blisters and eventually scabs. While there’s not much you can do to speed up the healing process, there are some measures you can take to make sure your little one is as comfortable as possible. 

  • Give your child lukewarm baths regularly. Adding colloidal oatmeal, which is available at most drug stores, can also help relieve some of the itch. 
  • Apply topical ointment, such as calamine lotion, petroleum jelly, or another fragrance-free, anti-itch lotion.
  • Use non-aspirin medications, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, to relieve your child’s fever.
  • Keep your child’s fingernails trimmed short to help prevent skin infections or scarring caused by scratching, and use socks or mittens if needed. 
  • Try distracting your child from discomfort and itchiness with coloring books, building forts, watching movies, or anything else they enjoy.
  • Dress your child in loose-fitting clothing, which is less likely to aggravate blisters.  
  • Consider over-the-counter oral antihistamines to further relieve itchiness. 
  • Try to keep your child eating well and consuming plenty of fluids. 

 

For the Whole Family

 

Illustration of little boy watering the Christmas tree

 

Curating a Harmless Holiday Look

The holiday season is finally here, and it’s easy to put safety on the back burner as you make sure your home is ready for festivities. Take these precautions this winter to make sure the holidays are delightful, not dangerous.

  • Keep your tree hydrated and away from heat sources.
  • If you prefer artificial decorations, look for fire-resistant labels.
  • Work as a team, especially with tasks such as hanging lights.
  • Make sure your lights don’t contain frayed wires, broken sockets, or loose
    connections, and opt for LEDs when possible.
  • Turn off all lights before going to bed, or better yet, put them on a timer.
  • Ensure all candles have a sturdy base.
  • Use unbreakable or shatterproof ornaments.
  • Avoid decorations that look like fake food or candy if you have young children.
  • Keep poisonous plants, such as poinsettias, out of reach of children and pets.
  • Use heavy-duty extension cords, and avoid overloading them. 
  • Keep indoor lights away from drapes, furniture, and carpet. 
  • Be mindful of power lines when placing outdoor decorations.

 

fruits and vegetables

 

Flu Fighting Foods

 

Seasonal celebrations are just around the corner, but unfortunately, so is flu season. Smart lifestyle choices can go a long way in making sure you stay healthy, and a proper diet is key to boosting your immune system. Don’t wait until you’re already sick to have a mealtime makeover. Enact changes now for a better chance at avoiding the flu altogether. 

Prioritize eating real foods over taking supplements.

Instead of taking vitamin C, eat an orange to get added benefits from its host of magnesium, potassium, folate, vitamin B6, and antioxidant-rich flavonoids.

Eat your fruits and vegetables.

Many people tend to eat fewer fruits and vegetables in the winter. Flip the script and make sure you’re working to get adequate vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. Incorporate juices, soups, and frozen produce into your diet in order to get the recommended serving of fruits and vegetables.

Consume healthy proteins and whole grains.

A balanced diet of lean meat, dairy, eggs, fish, and legumes provides your body with the amino acids it needs to build components of your immune system. Lean meats can also help avoid zinc and iron deficiency, which can affect your immune system. 

 

 

For Her

 

clipboard checklist illustration

 

Goal Setting 101

Whether you’re trying to master a musical instrument, learn a language, or hone your financial finesse, setting goals is important. Setting SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely) goals is a great place to start, but here are some more tips to help you accomplish whatever you set out to do. 

  • Take some time to ask yourself why your goals are important to you, not just the ‘what’ and ‘how.’
  • State your goals with a positive tone.
  • Focus more on the process than on the outcome.
  • Regularly reflect on what you’ve done right so far and forgive yourself for any
    slip-ups.
  • Take time to visualize what life will look like when you meet your goal. 
  • Once you have a vision in place, write down related words or post pictures where you will see them to help keep yourself motivated. 
  • Don’t forget to reward yourself throughout the process as you make progress. 
  • Always review and reassess your goals to make sure no adjustments are necessary. 

 

woman pouring tea into a cup

 

What’s Your Cup of Tea?

Over the years, tea has been consumed for a variety of reasons and across a variety of cultures. Most teas fall into four basic types – green, black, oolong, and white – each with a unique level of oxidation and its own set of health benefits. 

Green tea is one of the most popular teas, and some studies have shown it to have a positive impact on cholesterol, heart disease, and blood pressure. There is even limited evidence that suggests it may have anti-cancer properties and can prevent tooth decay.

Black tea, whether it be Darjeeling, Chai, or Earl Grey, contains plant compounds that act as antioxidants. It also contains many of the same properties as green tea and thus has similar benefits. 

Oolong tea, along with green tea, has a reputation for being helpful with weight loss and fat reduction, and some studies have shown it has cholesterol- and triglyceride-lowering properties. 

White tea, on the other hand, is thought to have the most antioxidant power out of all of the teas while also offering the smallest amount of caffeine, making it a great choice for those looking to reduce their caffeine intake. 

In addition to these varietals, herbal teas utilize fruits and herbs and come in a whole host of flavors.

 

 

For Him

 

illustration of a man lifting weights

 

Finding Your Fitness

How to Safely Start Exercising Again

Whether you’ve had an injury or have just been in a slump, kick-starting a neglected exercise routine can be easier said than done. When motivation strikes, you may be tempted to pick up where you left off, but this increases the risk for injury. 

The key to returning to a fitness routine without any setbacks is to push your body enough that it’s gradually challenged but not stressed. But how do you know what’s enough and what’s too much? 

Experts suggest starting with 20-60 minutes of continuous aerobic activity three to five days a week, with roughly 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise worked in. After two to five weeks at this level, you can increase both the intensity and duration of your workouts. 

When it comes to strength or weight training, your body needs to be able to handle its built-in load before you go piling on more weight. Try doing exercises such as squats, push-ups, and lunges, and start with a few sets of 12 to 15 reps. Over the span of several weeks, work to add resistance until your muscles begin to fatigue. 

Make sure that you’re also taking the time to stretch and strengthen your muscles, and don’t forget that all good workout regimens include periods of rest and recovery. 

 

 

older man reading a book alone on the couch

 

Go It Alone

If you’re someone who has ever feared being alone, you’re not the only one. One study found that participants would rather complete a mundane task or even shock themselves rather than spend 6 to 15 minutes alone in a room with nothing to do. 

But being alone isn’t a bad thing, and it doesn’t equate to loneliness. In fact, being alone can help you find out what your interests are and make them a priority. It can also boost your creativity, improve your relationships, and make you more productive and empathetic. 

The key to benefiting from alone time is being able to tell when it has a positive effect on your well-being versus when it turns negative. Being alone becomes detrimental when you feel isolated despite wanting social connection or if it feels like punishment. 

In general, solitude can be beneficial when it’s voluntary and you feel good about spending time alone. As long as you are still maintaining positive relationships and can return to social groups at your leisure, being alone is nothing to fear!