Winter Weather Affects the Body and Mind

Depression can hit when Vitamin D levels drop. Image courtesy of: http://shcwomenshealth.blogspot.com/2014/11/sad-seasonal-affective-disorder.html.

Depression can hit when Vitamin D levels drop. Image courtesy of: http://shcwomenshealth.blogspot.com/2014/11/sad-seasonal-affective-disorder.html.

 

 

Not all of us are lucky enough to live in a sunny, warm climate. For some,when winter hits, the snowfall inhibits our desire to leave the house. Yet, it may not be as simple as the lack of motivation. The bitter cold and dreary days can cause a myriad of issues in the body and mind.

 

The Body

Indoor Air Quality and Heat

Since most of us keep our windows shut and stay indoors with a furnace running during the winter, our air quality isn’t all that great. Just think of all the germs of sneezes staying put with nowhere to escape.

The heat from furnaces coupled with the lack of moisture in the air during winter spells out trouble for our bodies. Allergies surface from dust within furnace air ducts.

Skin tends to dry out, which moisturizers can help. Staying hydrated will help limit sore throats from forced hot air units. Sometimes humidifiers can help, but cool mist ones are safest with children in the house. Yet, too much moisture in air can cause mold = more allergy problems.

Lacking a Gift from the Sun

The lack of Vitamin D can cause havoc to the body. A 2007 Harvard article suggests “…vitamin D may have an important role in many aspects of human health, from bone fractures to prostate cancer, cardiovascular disease, neuromuscular problems, and diabetes.”

Besides the natural way we tend to absorb Vitamin D (through sunlight), changes in diet using fortified foods, or taking supplements will help. The most common population who run low on Vitamin D: People over 50, those taking certain medications, or those who generally do not go outside or when they do – they use sunscreen regularly.

A Double -Edged Sword

One doesn’t have to compromise their skin protection in order to get enough Vitamin D. Being aware of your susceptibility is half the battle.

Harvard Health Newsletter states “It doesn’t take much, but people living north of the 37-degree-latitude line — roughly the imaginary line between Philadelphia and San Francisco — can’t get enough UVB in winter to do the trick.”

Taking supplements or regularly eating shell fish, tuna, halibut, or salmon can help versus exposing your skin to harmful rays.

Your Mind

Although you may feel the bitter cold is responsible for your mood, Vitamin D deficiency may be the culprit. Seasonal depression (SAD) can happen most often in winter and many don’t realize the lack of vitamin D (absorbed into our body by sunlight) can effect a frame of mind. A 2014 study shows the link between SAD and Vitamin deficiency.

If you’ve become isolated because of weather conditions or your area is generally low on sunlight, you may need a Sanity Tool Kit.

Some Suggestions for Your Sanity Tool Kit:

A Light box
Vitamin D supplements
At least one friend you can call/text that raises your mood
Your area’s Mental Health Hotline number (if you don’t have a therapist)
Distractions: The computer, gaming system, books, puzzles, etc.
A diary

Obviously, a person needs to become aware of their own cycle of moods and talk to professionals about changes associated with low sunlight. Keeping a diary will help twofold: it will allow someone to freely share their thoughts/feelings, which is cathartic in itself.  Secondly, it can give a clear record of the correlation between weather patterns and mood changes.

*Always check with your doctor before taking any supplement, since they can cause problems with medications you’re already taking or for clarification on how much you personally need to take. Everyone is different and Vitamin D taken in large doses can cause more health problems and even death, if not taken properly.

If you or a loved one is suffering from depression, seek out help. Talk to your doctor who can guide you in the right direction or if in an emergency, call your area’s Mental Health Hotline.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Health, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lower Fuel Prices Will Only Offer Savings at the Pump

Oil plummeting may seem on the surface - good for the consumer. Image courtesy of Market Realist.

Oil plummeting may seem on the surface – good for the consumer. Image courtesy of Market Realist.

 

Even though oil barrel prices have dropped almost 50 percent since June, consumers may not reap the benefits as one might think.

Although paying less at the pump allows for more cash in your wallet for the present time, companies are already talking about layoffs because of the overstock in our reserves.

Finch Ratings and other economic experts suggest the slump in prices can be quite detrimental to state systems that have been existing on budgets derived from oil sales.

What This Means for The People

Continue reading

Posted in Politics, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Pass on the kindness with #wrapitupred

No matter where you live – pass on the kindness. I helped make this commercial with the film crew in Canada over Thanksgiving.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Shopping for Less Can mean More

The best gifts cannot be bought. Image courtesy of One Love for Chi.

The best gifts cannot be bought. Image courtesy of One Love for Chi.

During the holiday season, as you hustle through stores to find that perfect gift, perhaps you should take a moment to look at your list again and remember what Christmas is all about.

Communicating

Instead of buying those video games and other electronic goodies, how about buying a board game that compels your loved ones to interact with other humans? The Walking Dead (rated #1 show), is a big favorite for many. The trivia game for the show is available several places for under $10, but their human interactions while they’ll be playing is priceless.

Human interaction is key to empathy and doctors are suggesting that families learn to “unplug” for such health benefits as lowering blood pressures. With the rise of electronic device use, the National Institute of Technology has statistical data suggesting the importance of unplugging and separating work interactions and home.

Giving the Gift that Makes Memories

If a trivia game isn’t your family or friend’s forte, how about other things that feed their soul? Five Below offers meditation mats, arts and crafts kits (besides the gazillion other neat hobby items that help a creative mind thrive – all under $5.

You Don’t Have to Go Broke

Meaningful items don’t have to cost a lot. Care baskets made up of your loved one’s favorite baked treats, homemade liqueurs, or other supplies can keep your budget in check.

If you’re stumped for ideas, simple check out Pinterest, or look up “gifts to make” in a search engine. Because it is not how much you spend – but how much love and consideration went into your gift. Happy Holidays!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

10 Scary Movies that Changed us Forever

Image screenshot of the movie Psycho (1960), Alfred Hitchcock

Screenshot from the 1960’s movie Psycho, by Alfred Hitchcock.

With over 45 years of scary movies under my belt, I can honestly say there have been a few that have forever changed the way I interact with the world today.

With Halloween only a few weeks away, I thought I’d give my readers an opportunity to hunt down some of the most psychologically damaging movies that occurred in my life.

To see what effect those thousands of movies have done to my creativity, check out my sister site: Frugal Frights and Delights.

The countdown is created with the least damaging at number 10, to the most damaging to the psyche at number one.

Number 10: Village of the Damned(1960)

Think about government cover-ups, genetic testing, and tainted water from industrial accidents. Add in overzealous fertility and this movie doesn’t seem too far fetched. The children’s glowing eyes and calm yet destructive nature are enough to freak anyone out -especially when we see blond twins, triplets, and so on.

Number 9: The Last House on the Left(1972)

As teens we have all innocently told our parents we were heading to the movies(or concert) and went somewhere else. Never did we learn our lesson better when watching this. As parents, we can relate to the nightmare the parents in the story endured. To make matters worse, it mentioned how the movie was based on a true-life experience.

Number 8: Halloween

It was bad enough when parents would warn us about the dangers of eating candy before they checked it. After seeing this one, you’ll never quite feel safe trick or treating again – especially while walking past bushes. You’ll always be looking for what lurks in the shadows.

Number 7: Child’s Play

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Disconnected When Connected: The Trending Lack of Empathy

Taking time to communicate face to face will help people empathize. Image courtesy of Stanford D. School at FlickrCC.

Taking time to communicate face to face will help people empathize. Image courtesy of Stanford D. School at FlickrCC.

Many of us in our younger years would laugh when we heard an ” old-timer” say: In my day, people cared about each other and we had each other’s back. When we needed  a cup of sugar, we could just run over to the neighbors and borrow one.

Today, most of us wouldn’t even think about running next door to our neighbor to borrow an egg or a cup of sugar – we’d run to the store instead. Why? It’s probably because there are so many people who do not wish to know their neighbor, let alone offer any goodwill toward them.

According to a  2010 study published in the Scientific American, empathy levels between college students have declined over the past thirty years and the last ten years had shown the greatest decline.

Desensitization

Some would say it is the “hardening” of society that has perpetuated the lack of empathy. Movie ratings that were once rated X (for example The Midnight Cowboy) are now being re-rated at a lower acceptable rating.

This is called Ratings Creep and according to a Harvard School of Public Health study, it is an actual real occurrence and not just a perception.

The Digital Age

Some people would suggest people are communicating less in person and more with digital devices – leaving everyone disconnected when connected. It has become commonplace for people to look at their cellphones more than each other at the dinner table. Texting has become an easier solution instead of confronting the harder subjects face to face.

We can not empathize with a text message that does not have the nuances of body language. We can not hope to feel anything holding a cold piece of hardware, instead of giving a person a hug.

Where Are We Heading?

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tracking Devices and the Law

Are you being track right now? Image courtesy of Lars Kristian Flem on Flickrcc.

Are you being track right now? Image courtesy of Lars Kristian Flem on Flickrcc.

Over the course of several years, there have been a plethora of stories about the U.S. government taking allowances to track people in various ways. They use license plate tagging, email archiving, and more. The government can have this freedom because of a few reasons – including The Patriot Act.

A More Concerning Point

Even the government has a certain accountability for their tracking and local/state police officials have to get a warrant in order to electronically track a citizen’s movements. Yet, were you aware there are no laws in place that protect a citizen from tracking another citizen on their own? Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment