Smart Idea – 11 Great Ideas to Alleviate the Winter Blues

Right now the weather outside is frightful. For those of us that can’t wait for spring, we have put together a couple of things that everyone can try to get past the winter blues. The next eleven ideas can help make your winter a brighter color instead of the many shades of blue!

1.) Practice eating smarter

Here are three ways to start.

Avoid candy and carbohydrates.

Limit Caffeine intake

Try mood lifting foods

Foods that are good to lift moods include: Oats, spinach, fish, lentils, coconut, bananas and of course, Chocolate. I read an article called Foods to boost your mood naturally. We liked it because we found that we were already eating most of the foods on the list.

I stay away from most caffeine, but I do drink a lot of both caffeinated and caffeine free tea (teas, as it turns out, also helps to boost your mood). But, I hope my intake is still much lower than the average person.

Saffron is a spice that can help with mood enhancement. I looked in our spice drawer and could not find it. My husband said it was a little expensive for our food budget, so we do not have any. But with all the other options that we have in the food area, I think we are doing pretty good!

2.) Go Outside

With exercising outside you have the advantage of being in natural light. Natural light is a mood enhancer. Being outside will make you feel much better. Also breathing in fresh air can chase your blues away. If there is a park nearby in your neighborhood, it is a great place to walk.

Take your canine companion outside. Walking and playing with your dog is a no brainer. Of course this will make you feel better. Isn’t just about everything better with your dog!

3.) Get moving and Exercise

As mentioned in an earlier post this year about New Year Resolutions, one of my goals is to exercise daily. A great side effect of daily activity is a better overall mood. Feeling more energized helps some individuals chase off the blues. I walk/jog around our RV in a large oval pattern daily. Where we are as of now, I am privileged to see a 180 degree view of mountains that look close enough to touch (But they are at least 3 miles away). Even when it is colder outside I look forward to getting outside and seeing the surrounding mountains.

4.) Stay Social and Connected

I have heard that going out and getting together with friends have a positive affect on mood. This is great if you are living close to friends and family. I am a couple states away from everyone I know, and I am just making new friends, so to stay social and connected (other than text messaging) I am writing letters. Completely old school (pen and paper). This is how I’m staying social and connected. Hearing about how the people I do not get to see everyday is doing will definitely keep me cheered.

5.) Take up a hobby

There are several cheap and fun hobbies available for all to take on in the winter months. So many to choose from, and all of them can help you take on the winter blues. The following are just a few to help you narrow down the field.

Painting

Reading

Drawing

Dancing

Cooking

Volunteering

I dance (much to my husbands dismay) almost anytime I hear music. I can’t help it. I want to move! Dancing has been shown to not only boost your mood but also has shown good mental health improvements.

One of my goals for 2017 is to increase the number of books I read this year. I’m starting out conservative, but when it’s cold outside reading is a great way to not only get away but help keep the blues away.

Volunteering helps to improve mood, because helping others makes us feel better. Today there are so many places and reasons to volunteer that it is easier than ever to get out there. It will get you out of your house. Find what speaks to your heart. What makes you want to give your time and knowledge? Volunteering can be a great experience for those who choose to.

Any of the other ideas can lift moods in the winter season. See which speaks to you. You may find that you love your new hobby!

6.) Try a New Recipe: Take a new spin on an old tradition

If you love to cook, this idea is for you. With the internet available to almost everyone, you can type in anything and get a hundred results. For Hot Cocoa, I got six great websites. All with about twenty different ways to make this traditional winter treat. Some with less sugar, some with gingerbread, some with extra spices. Instead of taking out the powder packet, try making it from scratch and searching for one that appeals to you.

I often go to Foodnetwork and All Recipes, to find a new recipe (for my husband to try). I didn’t know there were so many ways to make hot cocoa. Think of other traditional recipes, like gingerbread and fruitcake.

7.) Start a Winter Project

A very common winter project people take on is painting a room. There is a correlation between mood and colors. The colors you see can enhance your mood. If you are aiming for a calming atmosphere, Blue is a good choice. Now your only issue may be what shade of blue will be the perfect for you. If you want to be more energized, Reds and Violets are for your project. If you need a happiness boost, Yellows and Greens!

If painting a room isn’t for you, you could just paint for artistic sake. Painting can also help make people feel better, I want to say in winter, but this is true all year round. LOL

Another winter project idea is to start a herb garden. This will help if you also have a goal of eating healthier. Fresh herbs are great to make your foods taste better and be healthier.If you have a small herb garden, you may be more likely to try new recipes.Also bringing the outdoors inside when you can’t get out will help you have a better mood.

8.) Keep a sleep schedule

Keeping a consistent sleep schedule can help you feel better. All of our bodies have a need for a consistent cycle. Getting enough sleep helps us to regulate not only mood but also our emotions. For most adults, we do best on 7-9 hours of sleep and 15-17 hours of wakefulness. That is hard to achieve in winter, that is where keeping a sleep schedule comes into play. One idea to help you get up and not continue to sleep since the sun hasn’t risen yet, is to turn on a bright light as soon as your alarm goes off.

For me personally, once I’m up (because my husband is always up before me) I make the bed. It makes it harder for me to get beck into the warm bed. Then I leave the bedroom. Everything today is portable, making it easier to attempt to do things in the warm bedroom. These two are very simple but they help us.

9.) Listen to Upbeat and Cheery Music

According to bustle.com, Having a great playlist will help push the blues out the door. They suggest listening to music you know and love. Having a nostalgic list to listen to can remind you of good feelings from your past. Three key ideas for happy music include: Positive, Fast and Beat Heavy music.

10.) Make Staying in an Event

If you find it uncomfortably cold outside even when you are bundled tightly, perhaps staying in is for you. But don’t just stay in, make staying in an event for you.

Snuggle up in a great, favorite blanket

Read a book that interests you.

Use you tube to find a video of a crackling fire to set a warm mood

This can make staying inside perfect for you. You do not need to read a book, you can look outside your window if you have a beautiful scene (mountains, trees, the sky, anything reflecting nature). You can also use this time to meditate and reflect. Sometimes that makes me feel better when the blues grab me.

11.) Make your environment Bright

As mentioned before with a winter project, you can paint in great bright colors, a room that you spend a majority of your time. If that does not help, most people also invest in a light box. Because of the shortened days and longer nights of winter, most of us wake up and go to sleep in the dark. Having a light box has been proven to alleviate some symptoms of winter blues.

Conclusion

We hope these eleven ideas help if you are having winter blues. These ideas may be helpful for most with winter blues. They may not be as helpful for those with Depression. If you are concerned you may have Depression, please talk to your doctor and discuss your options.

How do you chase away the winter blues? Do you have any other ideas that was not covered? Leave a comment below and let us know. Share with your friends!

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You Should Know – How to Find Quality Caregivers for Residential Care Homes

It can be sometimes difficult to find quality caregivers for residential care homes, also called personal care homes. A quality caregiver should be someone who provides daily activities for the residents, show initiative and quick response, demonstrate sound judgement and provide confident care.

Hiring a caregiver at times can be a little overwhelming. There are many issues to consider before opening the classifieds, calling caregiver agencies, and searching the Internet for independent contractors. Since this is stepping into unknown territory, it’s a good idea to leverage word of mouth referrals from family members and friends. Knowing what to do, how to do it, and when to do it is a huge part of finding a quality caregivers for residential care homes. With that said, here are three suggestions to help find quality caregivers for a residential care homes.

Caregiver Agencies – Hiring caregiver agencies can be expensive, but a lot of them are bonded and insured. It is important to ask the agency if they provide employees to do the work. Some agencies recruit caregivers looking for work from a referral list and do not perform background checks before hiring them. Reputable agencies ensure their caregivers pass criminal background checks, screening for communicable diseases, and are trained in CPR and first aid. However, if the caregiver does not work out, you can request a replacement. Also, agency CNAs may have nurses assigned to the residential care home to ensure that policies and procedures are being followed. Remember, you are hiring quality caregivers for a 24/7 operation. Bottom line, it takes money, time, and energy to provide consistent, high-quality care to your residents. It should not be something you enter into lightly.

Independent Contractor – This may be more affordable, but be careful! Find out if the caregiver has a current certified nursing assistant license. This will ensure the person can provide basic care for your residents. Also, perform a criminal background check and verify the caregiver’s references. If everything seems legitimate, ask family members to sit in during the interview to confirm they feel comfortable with this person before caring for your special loved one. One thing you can do is call CNA schools to get staff members. CNA schools are always looking to place their qualified students in externships, temporary and permanent jobs.

In-Home Respite Care Services – It is vitally important to take care of yourself as you take care of your residents and loved ones. Plan your relief by assessing your needs. Some of these might include personal free time during the day to run errands, transporting residents, or daily activities (e.g., cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc.). Some caregiver agencies offer this service to provide temporary or regular support to caregivers that work a 24/7 schedule. Other forms of nonmedical respite breaks can be provided by family, friends, neighbors and volunteers from local retirement groups. Also consider college-bound students that need to fulfill community service hours, faith-based and non-profit organizations to cover short, nonmedical in-home intervals.

Do You Want the Best Caregivers? – Are you comfortable with the people representing your brand? Are these people exceeding your expectations when it comes to implementing your systems, policies and procedures? Do you feel confident that your residents are receiving the best 24/7 care possible every single day? Now that you know how to find a quality caregiver, when are you going to spend the time, money, and energy to do it? Who is responsible to ensure that your residents are receiving the highest standard of care? Each caregiver has a lasting impact on your business, your residents, and your bottom line. Pick and choose wisely.

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You Should Know – 4 Reasons to Take Probiotics

If you are someone who is interested in maximizing your health, one thing you might be considering is your intake of probiotics. These healthy bacteria live in the stomach and help keep your immune system strong, promote optimal digestion, and keep your entire body working in proper order.

While everyone needs to be consuming a healthy dose of probiotics on a regular basis, there are particular times when you need to increase your dose.

Let’s take a closer look at the main times when serving yourself a little extra dose of probiotics is a wise move…

1. When You Are Ill. Because probiotics play a vital role in keeping your immune system in top shape, it is important you focus on consuming these probiotics when you are struggling with your health.

If you are currently ill, an extra dose can give you the power your body needs to fend off whatever it is fighting: helping you get back to optimal health. When you have a common cold or the flu, as well as when you are struggling with a health issue, an additional dose could be helpful.

2. After You Have Completed The Prescribed Antibiotics. While you are sick and need antibiotics, they can be useful. What they won’t be good for is your gut health. Antibiotics will kill any harmful bacteria currently residing in your system. However, they will also take out all the “good” bacteria.

Serving yourself an extra dose of probiotics during this time can help bring your gut environment back to optimal, ensuring your immune system stays strong.

3. Before And During Travel. The next time it is a smart move to add a few extra probiotics to your daily menu is before and during travel. Before travel, the goal is to make your immune system as healthy as possible, which will help fend off any viruses present in the area you are going.

During the traveling period, taking the probiotics will help keep your system as healthy as possible, and help you avoid any digestive woes that may occur due to eating foods, not your typical dining choices. If you are all about trying local cuisine when you travel, your taste buds may enjoy this, but your stomach may feel otherwise. Using a probiotic may help prevent unwanted issues from occurring.

4. Throughout Pregnancy. Finally, the last time to make sure a probiotic is present in your life is throughout pregnancy. Keeping your body extra healthy at this point is important, and a good quality probiotic may help to reduce your risk of suffering from birth-related complications such as Gestational diabetes.

As you can see, a probiotic is not something you want to slough off and take lightly. It is a must-have in any diet plan aiming to keep you as healthy as possible.

Although managing your disease can be very challenging, Type 2 diabetes is not a condition you must just live with. You can make simple changes to your daily routine and lower both your weight and your blood sugar levels. Hang in there, the longer you do it, the easier it gets.