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Tips to Stay Healthy, Happy and Stress Free this Holiday Season

 

Christmas Woman

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, or so the song says, but it’s also one of the busiest. The holiday season is when we typically over commit ourselves with parties, family outings, and shopping. Add in the other everyday activities that still carry on and you’ve got yourself an overloaded timetable.

When time gets tight, and something has to get dropped from the schedule, many of us drop the self care routines and practices that we’ve cultivated all the rest of the year. But they don’t have to!

Watch what you eat and drink

Whether it’s the spread at your company event or the crazy good baking at your mother in law’s house, it’s hard to resist all the great tasting treats that crop up during the holiday season. There’s no reason why you can’t indulge in some of your sweet and savory favorites, but just make sure that instead of piling your plate with all the goodies, you take small portions of several things and load up on the veggies, salad and other healthier alternatives.

Another area where we tend to overindulge at this time of year is in the drinks department. A glass of wine is fine. Two glasses of wine, a vodka cooler and a rum and eggnog? Not so much. Take care to alternate drinks with water so that you stay hydrated and don’t end up overdoing it.

Stock the freezer with healthy meals

Everyone’s over extended during the holiday season, and most of us prefer to spend our time shopping, decorating, or visiting with friends and family. Reduce stress by being proactive! Several weeks ahead of time, cook meals intended  for the freezer. You’ll be glad you did when you can pop one of the meals into the oven or microwave and turn your attention instead to something fun!

Christmas Gifts

Throw Perfection Out The Door!

Stop obsessing over doing it all. The world is not going to come to an end if the house is a little cluttered or dinner is on the table a few minutes late. Focus your time on the people you enjoy spending time with.  Don’t sweat the small stuff and your holiday will be much more enjoyable!

Set A Spending Budget

The holiday season and spending go hand-in-hand. Between buying gifts for your children, spouse, and relatives, you can easily drop hundreds of dollars over the next few weeks. Set a budget and stick to it so you are not stressing about your finances over the holidays. Also consider that it’s not necessary to give gifts to everyone you know or are related to. Limit gifting to those that are closest to you and bake holiday cookies for those you’d like to acknowledge or thank.

Stay active

Just because you don’t have the time to get in your usual ten mile run during this time of year doesn’t mean you can’t do a lot to stay active. You just have to think strategically: walk to work or at the mall (before you start your shopping); take the stairs at the office; skip the third office lunch of the week and get out for some fresh air. A lot of shorter activities still add up keeping your activity level up. If you can, start your day dressed in active wear so that your workout is wherever and whenever you can fit it in without getting your party clothes all sweaty!

Holiday Stress

Minimize the stress

Trying to do it all and be everywhere during the holiday season just isn’t possible and it leads to a lot of stress. Choose the events that you will RSVP “yes” to with care. Make sure that family events are not stacked one on top of the other, particularly if you have to travel to get to them. The holiday season is a busy time on the roads and in the air, so leave yourself some extra breathing room in your travel time, to avoid the stress of feeling like you’re always late.

Keep Daily Rituals

It you have a daily ritual of doing yoga or catching up on the news with a cup of coffee each morning, continue that activity throughout the holiday season. Our everyday practices help calm and center us.

Shift your focus

We tend to think of holiday family time as sitting around a table or hanging around in the kitchen, drinks and nibbles in hand. But maybe it’s time to set up some new traditions that take everyone outside and doing some different. Like what? How about going caroling? Or sledding, if snow permits? How about a long walk in the woods or an outdoor fire pit to enjoy? Shifting your focus from food to quality time spent together is what the holiday season is all about!

smiling family with gifts at home

About the author:

Rachel Tabbouche is a health and wellness expert and the founder of UnderCoverWaterWear sun protective on the go wear, swimwear, and UCFit fitness wear. Visit UnderCoverWaterWear online at www.undercoverwaterwear.com or on Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest or Instagram.

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GHC launch campaign to save lives

 

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The Global Hygiene Council recently released a report which revealed that within the next year more than 3 million children under 5 will die as a result of an infectious disease.

These are shocking figures, and the GHC have taken steps to raise awareness worldwide in an effort to reduce unnecessary deaths with their new ‘Small Steps for Big Change’ campaign.

Each year a million children die from pneumonia, and a further 700k from diarrhoea. All it takes are a few steps to ensure that we prevent illness caused by infections, and the GHC have released a video highlighting five steps which can make a huge difference.

 

The plan has been developed by global GHC experts, and goes into detail regarding very simple efforts we can make which can prevent spreading viruses. Small steps such as regularly washing hands and cleaning frequently touched surfaces make all the difference – viruses can survive for up to 48 hours if not hygienically cleaned.

Chair of the GHC and an infectious disease expert, Professor John Oxford said “It is unacceptable that largely preventable infections such as diarrhoea are still one of the biggest killers of children globally. Handwashing with soap has been shown to reduce diarrhoeal deaths by 50% and by developing this 5-step plan, we want to deliver a clear and consistent message about how small changes in hygiene practices could have a big impact on the health and well-being of children around the world.”

If we can all follow the campaigns five steps we can help to reduce unnecessary illness and the need to use antibiotics, which experts predict will be the cause of 10 million deaths by 2050 due to resistance.

Check out the video for the five steps, and for more information visit the Global Hygiene Council’s website.

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*I have partnered with GHC and received compensation to bring you this information. The opinions expressed are that of the author and do not necessarily represent my own. 

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Soap that grows on trees? Learn more about Tree to Tub

 

tree-to-tub-products

When it comes to my family, the quality of products that I use, and the foods that I have available for them, is very important to me. I try my best to use only the healthiest, most natural products whenever possible.

I have always been cautious about the things I use around my family. It wasn’t until our cat devloped severe asthma did I realize just how every single product can have an adverse effect including candles, air fresheners and cleaning products.

These days I always make sure to read the lable befor purchasing a new product. I am also concientious about purchasing “better for you” products for our home.

Here is an interesting thought… soap growing on trees?

I thought that sounded odd too, that is until I learned more about a product called “soapberry.”  Soapberry is an exotic fruit that when rubbed, produces a gentle, nourishing lather. Soapberry is an ancient fruit that hails from India and Taiwan.

soapberries

For centuries, the berry has been hidden in Ayurvedic herbal tradition as a nourishing remedial for an
assortment of skin and hair conditions. Since then, its benefits have been scientifically validated.

A new natural beauty brand debuted this month world wide. The brand is called Tree to Tub.

Founded in San Francisco, California in 2015, Tree To Tub is an organic body care company focused on
providing the most gentle body care solutions found through nature’s most nourishing botanicals. The brand
works directly with farming communities and eco-reserves in rural Taiwan to sustainably harvest the wild
soapberries that form the base of their ultra-gentle cleansing products. Free of harmful chemicals, Tree To
Tub’s products are organic, cruelty free, vegan, fair trade, and eco-friendly.

Tree to Tub offers consumers ultra-gentle, organic body care products featuring the brand’s unique ingredient, the
soapberry.

As you probably know, millions of tons of surfactants are produced annually; most are synthetic, many are known
toxins. These man-made substancesends up in a lot of products that we all use daily like body wash and shampoo.

This makes me wonder… back in the day (late 1800’s, early 1900’s), did they use products that were made with a lot of man-made ingredients and chemicals? Chances are they weren’t. So why did we have to resort to such things in our modern world, especially knowing how harmful such ingredients are?

Tree To Tub is turning the body care industry on its head by replacing these chemicals with the gentle, nourishing lather of the soapberry.

“The soapberry’s natural antibacterial property makes it the ideal alternative to synthetic soap,” says
Jessica Rubino, Personal Care Director at NewHope Media, “It’s the most revolutionary idea that I’ve
heard in years!”

Check out the comparison between products made with soapberries (to form lather) compared to traditional hair cleansing products.

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The brand launch is taking place on Indiegogo, the global platform for entrepreneurs to bring their ideas to
life. The brand was personally scouted by Sandy Diao, Director at Indiegogo, who believes the young beauty
brand can bring about revolutionary change in the encumbered body care industry.

“Tree to Tub is introducing the most advanced beauty ingredient from nature. The soapberry cleans
my skin and scalp without drying or irritating it,” says Sandy, “I’m glad it’s starting here on Indiegogo.”
Skinny Ms. is proud of offer an exclusive 50%-off pre-sale discount for this brand new collection including:

  • Soapberry Facial Cleanser: a one-step wonder, this ultra-gentle cleanser wipes away grime and
    makeup while repairing dry and irritated skin with organic acai, aloe vera and chamomile.
  • Soapberry Body Wash: a cleansing massage for even the most delicate skin, this body wash locks in
    moisture for flawlessly health skin, powered by organic shea butter, cucumber and aloe vera.
  • Soapberry Shampoo: this color-safe, ultra-gentle shampoo restores hair to a magnificent shine and
    luster with a nourishing combination of organic olive leaf, gotu kola leaf, and chamomile.
  • Argan Oil Conditioner: an intensively hydrating conditioner that restores vibrant life to damaged
    hair and soothes dry, itchy scalps with organic pomegranate, shea butter, and coconut oil.
  • Shea Butter Body Lotion: this deeply moisturizing oasis repairs dry, damaged skin with a quickabsorb,
    non-greasy formula combining organic cocoa butter, aloe vera, and colloidal oatmeal.

If you would like to check out these products for yourself, visit Skinny Ms.’s unique campaign link or visit the brand’s official website, TreetoTub.com.

I was sent a few products to try out for myself – Soapberry for Body (bodywash) and Soapberry for Lather (shampoo).

products

I love the shampoo! It’s scented with peppermint which really wakes you up when you breath in the alluring scent.

I have long, thick, course hair. I was worried that the product wouldn’t clean my hair as well as traditional shampoos – but it does. Not only does it was well it is also easy enough to rinse out completely.

The body wash is scented with Lavender (another favorite fragrance of mine). It feels nice on the skin. It washes on and rinses off easily and leave your skin feeling refreshed and clean.

I was also sent some actual soapberries, which can be used in your washing machine. I haven’t used them yet, only because we share the washers and dryers with 9 other units in our condo building. We want to make sure that it’s not going to mess anything up. I was thinking of trying them out when hand washing delicate items first and see how it goes. I’ll update this post when I have had the opportunity to try them out.

So far I am enjoying the products I was sent to review. I also like that they are a “better for you” option, free from toxins, chemicals and man-made ingredients.

Check out their Indigogo page for more information. The brand also set up a special discount page for She Scribes readers. CLICK HERE for your special discount page. The discount is $10 off their five piece collection.

Tree to Tub can also be found on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

What do you think about Tree to Tub? Do you like the idea of using a natural ingredient compared to man-made ones? Do you think you’ll check out the brand and maybe try out the products? Feel free to share your thoughts. I always love to hear from readers.

ttt

Kimberly

*I have partnered with Tree to Tub to bring you this information. I have also received free products to review. Although compensated the opinion expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.

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5 Ways To Support The Bereaved During The Holidays

 

depression, teen depression, pain, suffering, tunnel

Grief at holiday time can be the most difficult grief of all.

Someone mourning the loss of a loved one may struggle to join in the merriment, be overcome by memories of holidays past or try to block out or avoid the celebrations altogether.

It’s natural that friends and family want to step in to provide love and support, but just how you do that is important, says Lynda Cheldelin Fell (www.LyndaFell.com), an emotional healing expert and creator of the “Grief Diaries” series of books.

“Don’t think that you need to fill the person’s every moment with holiday festivities,” Cheldelin Fell says. “Grieving can be both physically and emotionally exhausting. They simply may not have the energy to handle all that celebrating.”

Cheldelin Fell speaks from experience. She was inspired to help others through life’s roughest moments after her 15-year-old daughter Aly died in a car accident in 2009. In 2015, Cheldelin Fell launched the “Grief Diaries,” a 16-volume series of books filled with true stories by people who have experienced loss and heartache, and want to offer comfort and hope to those facing similar challenges.

Fell says that, during the holiday season, you can best provide support to the bereaved if you:

Don’t force your agenda on them. Allow the bereaved to set the tone for how they wish to cope with the holidays. Honor their choices. Whether they wish to maintain their normal holiday routine, leave town or ignore the holidays entirely, resist the urge to pressure them to handle the holidays your way.

Don’t avoid them. Your absence will be noticed more than you think. If the griever asks to be left alone, honor their wishes if it’s safe to do so. Otherwise, include them in the festivities and treat them as you would any other significantly injured guest: with kindness, compassion and gentleness.

Don’t pretend nothing has happened in their life. That only creates the elephant in the room, and invalidates their sorrow. “But don’t awkwardly coddle them either,” Cheldelin Fell says. Again, simply treat them with kindness, compassion, and gentleness while reminding yourself that you can’t fix their pain.

Invite them to help you serve meals at local shelters. Serving those who are less fortunate, Cheldelin Fell says, is a wonderful reminder that we aren’t alone in our struggles.

Remember to take care of yourself. If you live or work with the bereaved, their sorrow can quickly deplete your own happiness. Give yourself permission to take time to enjoy the festivities. If you live with the griever, then carve out ways that allow you to celebrate in private. Even small ways can help, such as indulging in a favorite holiday treat or enjoying a night out with friends.

“If you think you can’t make much of a difference, I always like to remind people how the power of one moment can change someone’s world,” Cheldelin Fell says. “One smile can change a person’s mood. One hug can change their day. That’s everything to someone in mourning.”

Depression

About Lynda Cheldelin Fell

Lynda Cheldelin Fell (www.LyndaFell.com) is an emotional healing expert, award-winning author, and a pioneering visionary dedicated to shedding compelling insight on relevant issues. She is the creator of Grief Diaries, a 5-star book series now over 450 writers strong, and is passionate about empowering people from all walks of life to raise awareness by sharing their own extraordinary journeys through sensitive societal topics including loss, eating disorders, mental illness, rape, domestic violence, and more. 

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Eating for Your Sight: Five Foods for Healthy Eyes

 

Eye

We’ve all heard the old saying “you are what you eat.” But what you might not know is that the foods we consume affect all areas of our bodies, even our eyes. The health experts at Envolve, an integrated healthcare company, are pleased to share five delicious tips on how small changes in your diet can promote healthy eyes.

Eat a Vegetable Medley. For good vision, consumption of vitamin A is essential. You can find this important vitamin in brightly colored vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, corn, bell peppers and tomatoes. Vitamin A contains carotenoids, which are thought to lower the risk of several eye diseases and help prevent night blindness.

Go Green. Vegetables like spinach, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and kale are dark greens that contain the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin. According to various studies, when consumed in large amounts, those two antioxidants can lower the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration.

Look to the Ocean. Fatty fish, including salmon, sardines, mackerel, tuna and herring, is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids support cell membranes, which help protect retinas and slow down cataracts and macular degeneration. Not a fan of fish or seafood? Incorporate fish oil supplement capsules into your diet to still reap the benefits of omega-3.

Make Meals Berry Yummy. To reduce the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts, considering eating more oranges, lemons, berries and grapefruit. Citrus fruits and berries have high quantities of vitamin C, which is linked to healthier blood vessels, including those in eyes.

Have a Sunny Side (Up). Celebrate brunch by cracking open some eggs for lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamin A and zinc, which reduce the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts. The vitamin A can also provide protection against dry eyes and night blindness.

Healthy Food

About the author:

Envolve, Inc.™ is a family of health solutions, working together to make healthcare simpler, more effective and more accessible for everyone. As an agent for change in healthcare, Envolve is committed to transforming the health of the community, one person at a time. For more information, please visit our website www.envolvehealth.com.

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Having trouble coping when the clocks “Fall Back?” You may have Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

 

Alarm Clock

The clocks “fall back” today, November 6, 2016, which means that there will be less day light. Many people chalk up feeling blue in winter as simply a fact of cold weather and lack of sunshine. But 4 to 6 percent of people may have a winter depression which is clinically referred to as Seasonal Affective Disorder.  Another 10 to 20 percent may have mild SAD. SAD is four times more common in women than in men. Although some children and teenagers get SAD, it usually doesn’t start in people younger than age 20. Your chance of getting SAD goes down as you get older. SAD is also more common the farther north you go. For example, it’s seven times more common in Washington State than in Florida. Dr. Sanam Hafeez is a neuro-Psychologist in NYC (Manhattan and Forest Hills, Queens), and treats patients in her practice who display and express mood changes once October rolls around.

Dr. Hafeez explains that, “In most cases, seasonal affective disorder symptoms appear during late fall or early winter and go away during the sunnier days of spring and summer. However, some people with the opposite pattern have symptoms that begin in spring or summer. In either case, symptoms may start out mild and become more severe as the season progresses.”

The following are symptoms to look for to see if you are suffering from SAD;

  • Depression
  • Hopelessness
  • Anxiety
  • Loss of energy
  • Heavy, “leaden” feeling in the arms or legs
  • Social withdrawal
  • Oversleeping
  • Loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Appetite changes, especially a craving for foods high in carbohydrates
  • Weight gain
  • Difficulty concentrating

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How is SAD treated?

Many people with SAD will find that their symptoms respond to a very specific treatment called bright light therapy. For people who are not severely depressed and are unable—or unwilling—to use antidepressant medications, light therapy may be the best initial treatment option says Dr. Hafeez.

Light therapy consists of regular, daily exposure to a “light box,” which artificially simulates high-intensity sunlight. Practically, this means that a person will spend approximately 30 minutes sitting in front of this device shortly after they awaken in the morning. If patients do not improve, a second exposure of 20-30 minutes may be added in the early afternoon.  Treatment usually continues from the time of year that a person’s symptoms begin, such as in fall, on a daily basis throughout the winter months. Because light boxes are created to provide a specific type of light, they are expensive and may not be covered by insurance. Unfortunately, having lots of lamps in one’s house and spending extra time outside is not as effective as this more expensive treatment.

Dr. Hafeez states that, “Side effects of light therapy are uncommon and usually reversible when the intensity of light therapy is decreased. The most commonly experienced side effects include irritability, eyestrain, headaches, nausea and fatigue.”

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Scientific studies have shown light therapy to be very effective when compared to placebo and as effective as antidepressants in many cases of non-severe SAD. Light therapy may also work faster than antidepressants for some people with notable effects beginning with in a few days of starting treatment. Other people may find that it takes a few weeks for light therapy to work, which can also be the case for most people who take antidepressant medications. Although not explicitly recommended, some people may elect for treatment with both light therapy and antidepressant medications.  The combination of these treatments may be synergistic and a more robust way to address the symptoms of SAD.

In her practice Dr. Hafeez has found that antidepressant medications have been useful in treating people with SAD. Of the antidepressants, fluoxetine (Prozac) and bupropion (Wellbutrin) have been studied in the treatment of SAD and shown to be effective. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved these medications for treatment of major depressive disorder.  Dr. Hafeez cautions that, “Any person considering treatment with an antidepressant medication should discuss the benefits and risks of treatment with their doctors.”

Individuals with a predisposition to bipolar disorder should be more cautious in approaching treatment for SAD and depression in general. Light therapy, like antidepressant therapy has been associated with increased risk of experiencing a manic episode. The specifics of this are beyond the scope of this review and again, should be discussed with one’s doctors.

Finally, a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise, a good diet and a strong social network, is also likely to help you cope with SAD.

Fall

About the author:

Dr. Sanam Hafeez is a New York City based Neuropsychologist and School Psychologist.  She is also the founder and director of Comprehensive Consultation Psychological Services, P.C She is currently a teaching faculty member at Columbia University.

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