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Archive for May, 2008

When Tilly Casson returned to work after treatment for breast cancer she was constantly fatigued.

She had to work 12 hour days, including a lengthy commute, and was in bed by 8pm every night.

She knew a short nap would help her survive the day better and looked longingly at the bean bags dotted around the offices where she was working, but felt unable to use them.

Just months after returning to work Tilly, a 49-year-old IT manager was signed off sick again, this time with clinical depression.

No practical help

“I just came to a standstill and spent all my time crying,” said Tilly.

She says a lack of information about how to stagger the return to work was to blame.

Said Tilly Casson:  However sympathetic people are, there is always the thing in the back of their heads ‘what if she gets it again’.

“When I asked my oncologist and my GP if I could go back to work they just said, “when you think you can handle it, you should go back to work.”

“So I started two days a week, then three days, then four.”

“I devised the return schedule myself.  Nobody told me whether the plan I was working to was good or not.  I was increasing my time by a day every week.”

“Nobody had checked with me what my job involved and it involved a lot of travel and lugging around a lap top and working with clients.”

“I work for a small company so we have no things like human resources and things like that.”

“Although everyone was very kind, there was no practical help.

Constantly tired

“One of my biggest problems was fatigue.  After the cancer treatment you do get tired very easily.”

“Whether it is concentrating or whatever you are doing you want to say ‘let me go away and have a nap.”

“I would not have got so low and crashed so heavily if right from the start I had not been given such duff advice, if I had someone to talk to,” she said.

After her depression, Tilly was given professional help and advised to take time off. She then made a staggered return to work increasing her days very gradually.  Last month she returned to work full-time,  nearly three years after her diagnosis.

But despite her employers being supportive, Tilly does feel her having had cancer will be a bar to future employment prospects.

“I do feel my prospects are not as good because if I applied for a job, however sympathetic people are there is always the thing in the back of their heads ‘what if she gets it again.“

Returning to work

In the UK, 90,000 people of working age, like Tilly, are diagnosed with cancer each year and the numbers of people surviving and returning to work after cancer are growing.

But in a recent study, carried out by Cancer-backup, one in five cancer patients reported that their job satisfaction and career prospects deteriorated following their return to work.

Many said they did not always receive the information, advice and support they needed and some employers admitted they do not know how to best support employees who are diagnosed with cancer.

Now Macmillan’s Cancer Research Unit at the University of Manchester is aiming to help produce guidelines for employers, line managers, occupational health services and patients to ease the return to work.

“In the past a cancer diagnosis was really a devastating blow, but treatments are now very much better so the treatments have improved, but our attitudes remain much the same,” said Dr Stuart Whitaker.  

Dr Stuart Whitaker, an occupational health expert at the University of Cumbria who is working on the study, said they aimed not only to set up guidelines, but also to run trials to see whether giving structured specialist advice from occupational health aids the return to work.

He said: “The 10-year survival rate of cancer sufferers has doubled in the past 30 years and this positive trend is likely to continue in the years to come, meaning it is vital that employers and former patients are offered the correct support.

“Ultimately we hope that this study will improve education of employers, help to develop and test effective models and to allow people to make a smooth transition back into working life.

“In the past, a cancer diagnosis was really a devastating blow, but treatments are now very much better; the treatments have improved, but our attitudes remain much the same.”

(Source:  Story from BBC NEWS: http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/health/7364967.stm – Published: 2008/05/25 23:38:01 GMT)

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Give your children the right guidance in life, instil good values and encourage them to raise great and noble thoughts. Teach them to be kind, compassionate and generous along with being smart and fashionable. Teach them to love unconditionally and serve elders. Teach them to be kind to servants, and not be rude and loud mouthed to them. Teach them to appreciate the goodness in every being. Teach them never to lie. Teach them that truth is loved by God and to be truthful at all times. Teach them about God, let them know about the Heavenly Father and what He wants from them. Teach them about the law of karma. That Good begets good and bad begets bad. So that they are aware of things and the way things should be done. Teach them that the way to the Lord is through prayer and good deeds, and that one should never refrain from doing so. Teach them that they are always in God’s eyes and that nothing goes unnoticed by God the Almighty.

 

Teach them to respect you, first. Tell them what being a parent is and that every child will be a parent someday. Give them the facts about life. Teach them simple living and high thinking. Teach them that too much expenditure is not correct and that one should learn to save, and give to the needy whenever possible. Teach them that they are blessed to be born under your guidance and care and that many parents are unable to guide their children in the right direction.

 

Teach them that enjoyment in life is good but not at another’s expense. Inculcate the habit of reading in them at an early age. Teach them that books are an ocean of knowledge, which will help them to shape and mould their lives rightly. Keep a watch on what they read.

 

Guide them to take care of themselves and live rightly. Keep their eating habits healthy, by giving them enough fruits and salads. Set good examples for your children by playing a role model for them. Teach them to be alert and aware in life.

 

Also most important, give them a good knowledge about spirituality and about faith in God the Creator.  God has placed a huge responsibility of raising great kids on your head, be not failures in His eyes. Teach your children to be humble and sweet, noble and kind.  Give them various examples about the lives of God and their living, and tell them that even they have to be just like them. When you set high standards and goals for yourself, be sure that you will definitely reach somewhere close to it. Do not think small of yourself or your children.  Do not be discouraged when your efforts go unnoticed by your children or others around, there is a Great Someone who watches over your attempts and sincere efforts at all times.  And in due time will definitely pay you rich rewards.  Give them your love, time and affection.

 

Parents you are blessed to be parents, so go ahead and raise beautiful children.

 

May the Heavenly Father bless all your efforts, and may they all be fruitful.

 

Stay Happy, Peaceful and Blessed.

 

 

(Source:  By  Anju Jethwaney –  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Nubia_group)

 

 

 

 

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(1)     “If you are facing the right direction, all you have to do is keep on walking.”

          By Unknown

 

(2)     TO THE WORLD

          “To the world you may be one person; But to one person you might be the world”

          By Unknown

 

(3)     A LOST OPPORTUNITY

          “A lost opportunity to give love is a lost opportunity to receive one.”

          By Siboniso M Dlamini

 

(4)     NOT ALL SCARS SHOW

          “Not all scars show, not all wounds heal Sometimes you can’t always see the pain someone feels.”

          By Dendalani a. Machuver

 

(5)     “It’s not the way the wind blows, it’s how you set your sails.”

          By Unknown

 

(6)     QUALITY OF THE QUESTIONS WE ASK

          “One of the lessons I’ve learned is that the quality of the answers that we get in life is truly determined by the quality of the questions we ask.”
By Paul Martinelli

 

(7)     ”My mom was everything in my life. She taught me everything but didn’t teach me to be without her in this world.”
By Aarthysheela

 

(8)     “Now is the time to act and solve all problems and not to succumb to lame excuses.”

          By Brahma Kumaris

 

(9)     I STUDIED THE LIVES OF GREAT MEN AND FAMOUS WOMEN

          I studied the lives of great men and famous women, and I found that the men and women who got to the top were those who did the jobs they had in hand, with everything they had of energy and enthusiasm and hard work.”

          By Harry Truman

 

(10)   “I  stand to be guided but I will will not underduress .  It will be at my own pace.”

          By Datuk Ong Tee Keat,  Minister of Transport, Malaysia

 

(11)   “Because someone is in a white coat and using big medical instruments DOESN’T  necessary mean they’re  Right.”

          By Pop Star Kylie Minogue warning women to seek a second diagnosis opinion for the diagnosis of breast cancer on a chat show

 

(12)     The Price of Greatness is Responsibility

          “Life’s like a boom-a-rang,

          The more good you throw out,

          The more you receive in return.”

          By Winston Churchill

 

(13)   Opportunities Disguised As Impossible Situations

          “We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.”
By Charles R. Swindoll (b.1934)

 

(14)   “Be nice to people on your way up.  You might need them on the way down.”
  
By Jimmy Durante

 

(15)   MISSED BY MOST PEOPLE

          “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” 
By  Thomas Edison (1847–1931)

 

(16)   RIGHT ACTIONS ARE THE BEST APOLOGIES

          “Right actions in the future are the best apologies for bad actions in the past.”
By Tryon Edwards

 

(17)   “Our Deeds determine us as much as we determine our deeds.”

          By Goerge Eliot

 

(18)   “It’s your attitude and not your aptitude that determines your attitude.”

          By Unknown

 

(19)   All life is a chance. So take it!  The person who goes furthest is the one who is willing to do and dare.”
By Dale Carnegie

 

(20)   “The more you seek security, the less of it you have. But the more you seek opportunity, the more likely it is that you will achieve the security that you desire.”

          By Brian Tracy

 

(21)   Man is the most extraordinary

          Man is the most extraordinary computer of all.”
By John F. Kennedy

 

(22) “Your thoughts are the reflection of your decisions and your decisions are the reflection of  your Personality”
By Prita Dutta

 

(23)   SHARING YOUR KNOWLEDGE

          Sharing your knowledge with others does not make you less important.”
By Rosa Phillipos

 

(24)   It rings true that there is a very thin line between life and death; being free and being in bondage/prison likewise. The Decision you make today will land you on either side.”
By Lawale Fawale

 

(25)   The greatest part of our happiness depends on our dispositions, not our circumstances.”

          By Martha Washington

 

(26)   YOU ARE WELL EQUIPPED WITH AN INCREDIBLE POTENTIAL

          You are well equipped with an incredible potential for absorbing knowledge.  Let your imagination, the key to learning and memory, unleash that brain power and propel you along at ever-increasing speeds. It’s not an exclusive path with access granted only to those with a special gift for learning. It is, instead, available to everyone who has a brain. Anything’s possible.”
By Dominic O’Brien

 

(27)   IF WE COMMAND OUR WEALTH

          If we command our wealth, we shall be rich and free. If our wealth commands us, we are poor indeed.”
By Edmund Burke

 

(28)   WINNERS ALSO WIN

           “Winners always win and losers always Lose… the decision is yours. Where do you want to see yourself.”
By Prita Dutta

 

(29)   listen to everyone

          Listen to everyone but do what your heart says, because you are the best judge of yourself.”
By Shahid Khan, Mumbai

 

(30)   WHEN YOU STRIKE TRUTH                             

          Listen to everyone but do what your heart says, because you are the best judge of yourself.”
By Shahid Khan, Mumbai

 

(31)   Time is within your control.”

          By Luanne Oakes

 

(32)   The fact is everyone is in sales.”
  
By Jay Abraham

 

(33)   Those people blessed with the most talent don’t necessarily outperform everyone else. It’s the people with follow-through who excel.”
By Mary Kay Ash

 

 

(34)   Try for the best, at least you will get the better.”
   By Santosh Pradhan

 

(35)   It doesn’t matter where you are or your place in life. It matters how you got there and    how you keeping your place.”
  
By Dani

 

(36)   “The only way of finding the limits of the possible is by going beyond them into the impossible.”

          By Arthur C. Clarke

 

(37)   Remember that who you’re being is just as important as what you’re doing. Focus on       the attitude behind your behaviour.”
  
By Barbara “BJ” Hateley

 

(38)   It takes all sorts to make a world.”
 English Proverb

 

 

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Just making the commitment is an amazing first step. To ensure success, here are seven surprisingly simple, research-backed strategies that can help you overcome the most common roadblocks to weight loss. They’ll motivate you through the ups and downs of any new workout routine, so you’ll stick to it and reach all your fitness goals.

1. Learn what “build slowly” means

Be realistic about your abilities. Experts say to progress gradually, but most of us don’t know how to translate that into real-life terms–especially those who used to be active but have gotten out of the habit. “Formerly fit people are surprised and frustrated when they find themselves winded after a walk around the park,” says Madelyn Fernstrom, PhD, director of the Weight Management Center at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

If you haven’t worked out in years, start with a manageable goal, like 20 minutes of walking or yoga twice a week for 2 weeks. When you’re ready to progress, either bump your number of workouts to 3 a week or increase their length to 25 or 30 minutes–but don’t try both at the same time. Taking on too much too soon can leave you achy and discouraged; that’s why experts recommend you change only one thing at a time–the frequency, duration, or intensity of your workouts.

If your new cardio workout still leaves you gasping for air, don’t be afraid to slow your pace–you should be slightly breathless but able to talk. You’ll be more likely to follow your program if you exercise at a comfortable level, according to White’s research. Strength-training will get easier, too. A new study from Ohio University found that muscles adapt to resistance exercises after a mere 2 weeks.

2. Keep an activity log

Hands down, lack of time is the number one reason we struggle to keep exercising. Yet studies find we may have more time than we think. Women ages 45 to 70 spend an average of 28 hours a week in sedentary activities outside of their jobs, such as reading and Web surfing, according to a University of Oklahoma study–ample time to find at least 2 1/2 hours a week for exercise. Keep a log of everything you do for 3 days, suggests Jennifer White, PhD, an assistant professor of fitness and wellness at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Then find ways to sneak in activity. Time in front of the TV can double as a stretching session, while a cell phone headset allows you to power walk while you’re on hold with the credit card company.

3. Prepare for post-workout hunger

Exercise can boost metabolism for a few hours, but burning more calories can increase your appetite. To avoid the munchies after exercising (and eating back the calories you just burned), try to schedule workouts so that you have a meal within an hour afterward. Or save part of an earlier meal to eat during that time, says Fernstrom. Snacks combining carbohydrates and protein–like a fig bar and fat-free milk, or cantaloupe and yogurt–are best to refuel muscles and keep you from feeling ravenous later on. If you still feel hungry, wait 10 to 15 minutes before eating more to make sure you’re physically, not just mentally, hungry. Distract yourself while you wait: Keep your hands occupied by cleaning out a drawer or giving yourself a manicure.

4. Be alert to prime drop-out time

About half of new exercisers quit in the first few months, research has found. But support, either one-on-one or in a group, can keep your momentum going. “Getting help specific to your particular issues is key,” says Fernstrom. If you struggle with exercise, try finding (or even forming) a walking group at work or at your local Y. If you’re goal-focused, signing up for an event, like walking a half or full marathon, can be the carrot you need to stay on track.

5. Take breaks

Missed a workout? Don’t worry: Your waistline won’t notice. Brown University scientists found that people on a 14-week weight loss program who took occasional breaks from working out lost an average of 7 pounds–about the same amount as those who never missed a day. “Just pick up again as soon as you can,” says Fernstrom. In the long run, it’s the habit, not the individual days that matter. For help, sign up for a weekly e-mail health newsletter: People who did exercised 14% more and ate better than those who didn’t get inbox reminders, reports a University of Alberta study. (To join our free Best of Prevention Newsletter, which covers health, weight loss and fitness three times a week, go to prevention.com/newsletters.)

6. Splurge–then get up and move

One date with a pint (or even two) of ice cream won’t doom your weight loss unless you let guilt keep you off track. In fact, French researchers discovered that obese exercisers who bicycled for 45 minutes 3 hours after a high-fat meal metabolized more stored belly fat than those who cycled on an empty stomach. Although bingeing on cookies before your next workout obviously won’t help you slim down, the study is a good reminder that not all is lost when you stray from your diet–in fact, your body may even kick it up a gear to help with damage control. Instead of giving up when a celebratory dinner with friends sends your calorie count through the roof, suggest a post meal stroll or dancing. The party moves away from the table, and the evening can continue with a fun activity that helps you toward your weight loss goal.

7. Put the treadmill in a pretty room

If a workout bores you, don’t do it. “Research shows that if you enjoy an exercise, you’ll stay with it, so keep trying activities until you find something you like,” suggests White. Or jazz up a ho-hum workout with music or audio books. Just don’t try to exercise in some dark, dreary corner of the house. “So many women make the mistake of consigning the treadmill to the basement,” White says. You’ll be more likely to use exercise equipment if it’s in a pleasant space with good light and in easy reach of the radio and TV, like the family room. It’s worth investing in a home exercise space that’s both functional and attractive, whether by spending a little extra on a treadmill you won’t mind showing off or buying pretty baskets to store your workout DVDs and dumbbells.

(Source: http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/features/7-steps-to-a-better-body?page=2)

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Most of us chalk it up to having too much to do and not enough time to do it in, especially during extra-busy periods. But often the true culprits are our everyday habits: what we eat, how we sleep, and how we cope emotionally. Read on for some simple, recharging changes that can help you tackle all of the energy stealers in your life.

 

Energize Your Diet

 

Why is it that filling up on pasta or Chinese food for lunch leaves us snacky and sleepy an hour later?  Or that falling short on fluids makes us forgetful and foggy?  Fact is, eating habits play a powerful role in how well we function on every level. Below, six top fatigue-fighting nutrition strategies to chew on.

 

·         Have breakfast… even if you don’t feel hungry. You’ll be a lot perkier: Studies show that people who eat breakfast feel better both mentally and physically than those who skip their morning meal. British researchers at Cardiff University even found that spooning up a bowl of breakfast cereal every morning is associated with lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

 

·         Eat every three to four hours. Having three smallish meals and two snacks throughout the day can keep your blood sugar and energy levels stable all day long, says Roberta Anding, R.D., a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association (ADA). Note the word “smallish.” Supersized meals demand more of your energy to digest, which can leave you feeling lethargic. At each mini-meal, get a mix of carbohydrates (which the body uses for energy), protein (which helps sustain energy if needed), and healthy fats like those found in fish, nuts, and olives — these fats and protein contribute to meal satisfaction, so you don’t go hunting for sweets an hour later and wind up with a short-lived sugar high and subsequent crash. A few meal ideas: a low-fat yogurt parfait with berries and a couple of tablespoons of whole-grain granola; salmon over mixed greens with whole-grain crackers; and beef tenderloin with a baked sweet potato and asparagus.

 

·         Fill up on more fiber. Fiber has a time-releasing effect on carbs, so they enter your bloodstream at a slow and steady pace, giving your energy staying power, says Anding. When choosing your mini-meals, include fiber-filled options that add up to the daily recommended 25 to 30 grams of fiber (the average person gets only between 10 and 15 grams). Some suggestions: a bowl of raisin bran (5 grams of fiber per cup); black beans and cheese wrapped in a multigrain tortilla (beans have 7.5 grams per 1/2 cup; one tortilla has 5 grams); air-popped popcorn (3.6 grams per 3 cups); an apple with the skin (3.3 grams); and whole-wheat spaghetti (6.3 grams per cup).

 

·         Fuel your brain with omega-3s. Found in fatty fish (such as tuna and salmon), walnuts, and canola oil, these essential fatty acids play a role in keeping brain cells healthy and helping you feel mentally alert. Another potential bonus: Omega-3s encourage the body to store carbs as glycogen — the storage form of glucose (blood sugar) and the body’s main source of stored fuel — rather than as fat.

 

·         Stay hydrated. Water makes up the majority of your blood and other body fluids, and even mild dehydration can cause blood to thicken, forcing the heart to pump harder to carry blood to your cells and organs and resulting in fatigue. Also, ample fluids keep energy-fueling nutrients flowing throughout the body, says Nancy Clark, R.D., author of Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook. To gauge your hydration, Clark recommends monitoring how often you urinate. You should be going every two to four hours, and your urine should be clear or pale yellow in color. Tip: Besides drinking more, you can also consume foods that naturally contain water, such as yogurt, broccoli, carrots, and juicy fruits, like watermelons, oranges, and grapefruits.

 

·         Watch caffeine intake after noon. Typically, consuming a moderate amount of caffeine — 200 to 300 mg, the amount found in two to three cups of coffee — can make you more energetic and alert in the hours following, says Anthony L. Komaroff, M.D., a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. But when caffeine is consumed in large quantities — or anytime in the afternoon or evening — the quality of your sleep that night can take a nosedive, leaving you with heavy eyelids the next day. One caution for those who are highly sensitive to caffeine: Although switching to a decaf latte in the afternoon sounds like the answer, researchers at the University of Florida found that out of 22 decaffeinated coffee beverages tested, all but one contained some caffeine.

 

Energize Your Spirit

 

·         We’re all familiar with physical exhaustion, but mental strain — sadness, boredom, worry, anger, and general stress (the biggie) — can take an even heavier toll on vitality, completely wearing you out. Life happens, and these difficult emotions will, too. But if you react wisely, your brain and body will rebound — along with your vim and vigor.

 

·         Splash some water on your face or take a shower when you’re feeling burned-out. Some 55 percent of study participants reported using these types of “water therapy” to successfully increase their energy, according to findings in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Apparently, a little H 2 O refresher can instantly help take the edge off when you’re feeling overwhelmed.

 

·         Suit up in a “power” outfit to beat the blahs. Fight the tendency to throw on sweats when you’re feeling sluggish. Although it may seem counterintuitive to slip into the skirt you save for special occasions, it helps to look in the mirror and see an energizing image — not a deflating one that confirms and reinforces your internal state, says Alice D. Domar, Ph.D., founder and executive director of the Domar Center for Complementary Healthcare in Waltham, MA. Dressing for success will give you a big mental boost every time you catch sight of your reflection (or receive a compliment) throughout the day.

 

·         Vent your feelings. Keeping fear, anxiety, and stress pent up inside may seem like a grown-up way to deal with these emotions. But discussing negative feelings with another person can ease them far better than keeping them bottled up; by airing them, you reduce their ability to sap your stamina, says Komaroff, who is also the editor-in-chief of the Harvard Health Letter.

 

·         Turn on some tunes. Listening to music is one of the most effective ways to change a bad mood, decrease tension, and increase energy. Consider this: Runners in one study who listened to music while on the treadmill ran faster than those who jogged in silence — no matter how loud the volume or how fast the tempo, according to new findings in the journal Ergonomics. Other research suggests that music effectively distracts you from feeling fatigue. Try burning a CD of your favorite songs and playing it anytime you need a pick-me-up. (If you exercise, so much the better — but the music will move you either way.)

 

·         Let go of grudges. Nursing a grudge prompts your mind and body to react as if they’re under chronic stress, increasing your heart rate and blood pressure and potentially resulting in an impaired immune system and exhaustion over time, according to a study in the journal Psychological Science. On the other hand, practicing empathy and forgiveness after you’ve been wronged makes you feel as if you’re back in control, which keeps the body’s stress responses in check. The next time you find yourself harboring ill feelings, repeat a stress-relieving mantra to yourself, such as, “Forgiveness makes me a happier and stronger person.”

 

·         Take belly breaths. When we’re under stress, we’re prone to take “chest breaths” — short, shallow ones, says Domar. Chest breathing brings less air into the lungs and reduces the supply of energizing oxygen to the body and brain, leaving you physically and mentally drained. The goal is deep, diaphragmatic breathing — like that of a sleeping infant: When you breathe in, your belly should round and fill like a balloon; on an exhale, your belly should slowly deflate. Of course, remembering to practice deep breathing isn’t the first thing on your mind when you’re under the gun, so as a visual reminder, try posting a tranquil picture (such as a pool of water or your kids smiling) with the word “breathe” next to your computer, or anywhere you tend to feel on edge.

 

·         De-clutter a corner. Go through that teetering pile of papers or overflowing closet and clear it out. Clutter can make you feel out of control and overwhelmed, especially when you’re already feeling stressed or down. Plus, simply accomplishing a goal, no matter how seemingly minor, can be energizing, says Domar.

 

·         Do some good. Acts of altruism can lend a little pep to your step. In fact, one study in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior found that volunteer work can boost your energy in six ways: It enhances happiness, life satisfaction, self-esteem, sense of control over life, physical health, and mood. Find short- and long-term volunteer opportunities at volunteermatch.org and charityguide.org.

 

Get a Restorative Rest

 

When you have a lot to do (um…always), usually the first thing to get squeezed off your agenda is sleep. But miss out on shut-eye and your energy, positivity, productivity, and memory are sure to suffer. And nearly a quarter of American adults aren’t getting enough rest, which has led to an epidemic of daytime sleepiness, according to a poll by the National Sleep Foundation. The key to bucking this trend is to brush up on sleep hygiene. Try these steps for starters.

 

·         Cut back on TV and computer time after 8 p.m. If you’re already a night owl (you go to bed late and sleep in on weekends), the bright light emitted from television and computer screens can make falling asleep at a decent hour even harder. The reason: Light suppresses the production of melatonin, a hormone secreted at sunset that tells the brain that it’s nighttime, explains John Herman, Ph.D., director of the training program in sleep medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School at Dallas. And when melatonin levels are low, your brain is fooled into thinking that it’s still daytime — and remains raring to go. Whenever possible, wait until the next morning to tune in and/or log on. If you must use light-emitting technology at night, try to turn it off an hour or two before hitting the sack.

 

·         Hide your alarm clock. Watching the clock to see how long it’s taking you to drift off or how much time you have left before your alarm goes off can result in a poor night’s sleep, says Kelly A. Carden, M.D., medical director of the Sleep Health Center Affiliated with Hallmark Health at Medford in Medford, MA. This hyper-vigilance keeps the brain awake and alert and prevents you from slipping into deep, restorative sleep. The easy fix: Set your alarm clock, then either face the numbers away from you or put it on the floor, in a drawer, or across the room.

 

·         Give your pet his own separate sleeping space. At night, pets snore, jiggle their tags, move around a lot, and even hog the covers and bed space. It’s no wonder that 53 percent of pet owners who sleep with their pets in the bedroom have some type of disrupted sleep every night, according to a study from the Mayo Clinic Sleep Disorders Center in Rochester, MN. Consider relocating your furry friend’s sleeping quarters to another area, even if it’s just his own bed in your bedroom.

 

·         Lower the thermostat. For a good night’s sleep, make sure your room is comfortably cool — enough so that you need a light blanket. This ensures that your environment is in sync with your body’s internal temperature, which naturally drops during the night, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Studies suggest the ideal sleeping temperature is between 54 and 75 degrees; anything cooler or warmer may cause you to wake up.

 

·         Skip the nightcap. Alcohol depresses the nervous system — the system of cells, tissues, nerves, and organs that controls the body’s responses to internal and external stimuli. So while sipping a glass of wine before bed may help you nod off, the sedative effects wear off as your body metabolizes the alcohol, which may cause you to wake up in the middle of the night and have trouble falling back to sleep. Alcohol has also been shown to interfere with the body’s natural 24-hour biorhythms, causing blood pressure to rise and heart rate to race at night when it’s normally calm and relaxed. You don’t have to give up that evening cocktail entirely to achieve sound sleep — just try to avoid alcohol within two to three hours of bedtime.

 

·         Get your exercise. While scientists don’t yet understand why, aerobic exercise has been proved to help you fall asleep faster at bedtime, spend more hours in deep sleep, and wake up less often throughout the night, says Komaroff. At the same time, vigorous exercise can act like a stimulant (which is a great daytime energizer), so schedule your workouts in the morning or afternoon, when you need a boost the most.

 

·         Follow the 15-minute rule. If you can’t fall asleep, or if you wake up and can’t get back to sleep within about 15 minutes, get out of bed and do something relaxing that will help clear your head, such as reading, meditating, or knitting (but not watching TV or surfing the Web). Then, once you feel sleepy again, go back to bed. If you stay put and fret about being awake, you’ll only make yourself more anxious — and less likely to catch the z’s you need.

 

·         Write down your worries. During the day, jot down any stressors that are weighing on you, says Carden. Then, do some mental problem-solving before your head hits the pillow — or, if you’re falling short on solutions, tuck your list away and resolve to brainstorm ideas during your morning shower or commute to work. Just knowing you’ve established a plan for tackling your to-do’s will make you feel like you’ve made some progress, allowing you to relax, drift off — and wake up the next morning ready to take on the day.

(Source:  http://www.webmd.com/balance/features/your-guide-to-never-feeling-tired-again)

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Mary Helped Out As Much As She Could

My story is about my mother, who passed away six years ago after a 10 year struggle with Alzheimer’s. My father was her primary caregiver; however, I lived nearby and helped out as much as I could.  The story I wrote, “Stories of Home,” reflects on what I learned from that experience.

 

The author’s story originally appeared in Hungryhearts, a newsletter published by the Office of Spiritual Formation of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), a ministry of the General Assembly Council.

Stories of Home

 

Caring for someone who had always cared for me was hard to accept. Some part of me was ripped apart as I watched the daily losses Mom suffered as she slowly slipped away. Yet, as devastating as Alzheimer’s is, our family somehow managed to grasp every bit of life, every bit of hope, and every bit of love that was possible. Of course, there were times when I would have preferred to remove myself from the chaos around me. Days when I simply did not want to walk into my parents’ house because I didn’t know what to expect on the other side of the door. Or maybe it was because I did know what to expect on the other side of the door that made turning around and walking away so appealing. What kept me from turning around and going back to a house where no one had Alzheimer’s? Why didn’t I hide out in a place where conversations made sense and things seemed normal? What gave me the strength on those days when I thought I had none? It was the stories that held me up. Stories I had heard all my life. Stories of home

 

Now I’ve always loved stories, and I’m even known as the unofficial family historian, the keeper and teller of stories, the one you could always count on to remember that it was a blueberry milkshake we had at the Howard Johnson’s in Wytheville, Virginia, 35 years ago. I was the one who listened with fascination as my parents told what it was like growing up during the Depression, what life was like in the days when people owned radios and not televisions, when homes had only one telephone and it was black and attached to a cord. I loved the stories I heard about my mother, back when her name was Margaret Billinghurst, long before she was Margaret Shull, and even longer still before her name became Mom. And I still remember the day my mother handed me a stack of faded letters to read, letters she had kept tucked away in a box in the corner of her dresser. They were the letters my father had written her in the early days of their courtship. For hours, I poured over them, one after another, as the opening chapters of the story of Margaret and Peter unfolded before my eyes.

 

Yet as fascinating as these stories may be, they come with no guarantees of how they will turn out, no revelation of what might lie ahead. Some stories are easy, some hard. Some we have to live with for a while, allowing them both time and room to settle. And then there are those stories that never seem to settle. But none are without purpose. Those stories, at their very best, have given me deep and strong roots, plus wide and clear perspectives. As I lived through those 10 years of my mother’s gradual descent and inevitable death to Alzheimer’s, the stories were a reminder of what was real, what was truth, what mattered. And it was through the remembering of these stories that I came to understand where I was supposed to be. My stories kept me home.

 

How strange that it took a disease known for robbing memories to bring so many to mind. As I watched my father care for my mother, I would remember hearing of how he and his sisters took care of their dying father. Dad would go to work, then go to his parents’ house and help take care of his father before finally going home to his own family. Years later, when it was his wife who was ill and needed the care, my father’s insistence and determination to be there for her didn’t come as much of a surprise to me.  Every day he spent caring for her he counted as a blessing. He was just doing what he had always done. That was the lesson learned, the value passed down, the truth for me. Family was important. Taking care of one another was important. Being there was important. Presence mattered. 

 

Sitting with my mother at the piano, I would play her favourites. Some days the music would spark a memory and she would sing along. But more often than not, she would just smile. Watching her smile, I would recall all those piano lessons my mother insisted I take, all the practicing she made me do. She said one day I would thank her. And she was right. I did thank her. We shared music until the end.

And we shared memories, too. I just had to look at my mother to remember how much we did together. How we’d take the bus from Grandma’s house to downtown and then go on to the A&P for groceries, to one bakery shop for rye bread, and to another one for the cheesecake. We’d stop for a bite to eat at the luncheonette, next door to the Buster Brown shoe store. Sitting at the lunch counter, I’d swing round and round on those chrome swivel chairs as I waited for my hamburger and real soda-fountain cherry coke to arrive. So when my father said that he was glad I loved my mother so much that I would care for her the way I did, all that went through my mind was, “What else would I have done?” All I was doing was what Mom would have done. I learned what I needed to do from a lifetime of watching her.

 

Family Presence, Commitment, Love.  That is what I learned from our family’s stories whether it was about a mother who cut crusts off sandwiches and made special casseroles “just because,” or a dad who cleared his work schedule so we could make a promised trip to see Abraham Lincoln’s birthplace, or a brother who let me be his co-pilot as we’d go to Mars and beyond in our imaginary spaceship. 

 

But stories come with an obligation. And the obligation is that we need to remember them, listen to them, learn from them, passed them on. One of my favourite biblical stories is a story about the importance of stories. After the Israelites finally crossed over the Jordan, God told Joshua to take twelve stones out from the river and lay them down where they set camp. The stones were to be a reminder to the Israelites of how the waters of the Jordan were cut off, allowing them safe passage across. But it wasn’t a story meant only place just for them. It was a story meant for their children, and their children’s children as well. They were given the story so they would never forget how God provided for them (Joshua 4:1–7). Our stories are like that as well. They remind us of what we need to know, and if we listen, they will show us what we need to do.

 

Alzheimer’s made me listen to my stories. And my stories told me to stay where I was and to plant myself in the midst of a new story, one definitely affected by Alzheimer’s, but ultimately never stopped by it. Sometimes it takes staying where you are, regardless of how unpleasant or sad that place might be, in order to find out that your story is stronger than anything that might try to come in its way to stop it. Stronger because it is so intricately connected to God’s story, the story of God’s amazing and overwhelming love for us. For me, it took staying to discover that even in the midst of Alzheimer’s, even in the midst of death itself, a family was still being shaped and a story was still being told. It took staying to discover that sadness and joy can stand side by side. It took staying to see that tears and laughter, anger and acceptance both have their place. It took staying for me to see that you can grasp hope in the midst of despair, and even life in the face of death. It took staying for me to experience the breadth and length and height and depth of love. 

 

If I had gone away, if I had not made myself available, I might have shed less tears, but I wouldn’t have the memory of one particular evening that took months before my mother died. I walked into the house as I had done so many times before, and said “Hi, Mom . . . Hi, Dad” as I had done so many times before. I walked into the family room, kissed my dad, then walked over to my mom, gave her a big “Hi, Mom” and bent down to kiss her, just as I had done so many times before. But this evening, this one evening, she did more than just smile back and give me a little kiss. This evening, for the first time in a very long time, she clapped her hands and said, “Mary.” And then she smiled and that was it. Not another word. Just  Mary.  It was the last time I would ever hear my mother call out my name. Mary. How wonderful it sounded to my ears! And as gut-wrenching as it felt years before when Mom didn’t recognize me, it was somehow assuaged by how exhilarating this felt. She called out my name. And that moment lifted me higher than you could imagine. Never would I have thought that there would come a day when something as simple as that would mean so much. 

 

So when I felt exhausted, when I thought I could not go on, when the sadness became too much, I remembered the stories. I remembered that once upon a time my mother made a special heart-shaped casserole just for me.

 

(Source:  http://www.alz.org/living_with_alzheimers_13342.asp)

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The Twenty/20 Match Has Taught Us Many Things…

 

§  One has to go berserk with calculated risks.

§  Try for massive runs right from the word go.

§  The poor spirited who brood over previous failures cannot go on.

§  Those who accept the challenging runs are able to chase it well.

§  The will to excel & win instead of anger & jealousy is the best way to surge.

§  Small differences in fielding, batting and balling result into big differences.

§  Error in judgment are due to low motivation & enthusiasm & lead to failure.

§  A single over can make all the difference.

§  A great deal of little hits by a team can over power big hits by few.

§  The winning team are always those who believe in continuous improvement.

§  Possibilitarians land up as winners.

§  One has to win the self to win the outside.

 

 

(Source:  By Ajit Kaikini – A motivational speaker who inspires his participants to Better their Best!)

 

 

 

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