Survive the Stress of a Short Work Week

Three-day weekends are awesome, but here’s the downside: You have to get five days of work done in four. That can send your stress levels soaring. Here aSurvive Stress of a Short Work Weekre some tips to help you reduce your stress levels during a short work week:

  • Start early. Go in an hour early on your first day back and catch up prior to the actual start of the day. Review projects that need immediate attention and start sorting through your overstuffed inbox. Don’t expect to get caught up in a single day. Trying to tackle everything all at once will leave you feeling stressed and overwhelmed. Prioritize what really needs to get done right away.
  • Evaluate your email. Reading all of your email first thing in the morning is only going to bog you down. Instead, deal with the most important ones first. Separate the things that can wait for a few days. This will relieve some of your first-day-back workload and stress.
  • Take short breaks. Stay energized and productive by taking short breaks throughout the day to stand up, stretch, breathe deeply and shake off the accumulating tension. Take a 10-15 minute break every few hours to recharge and avoid the temptation to work through lunch.
  • Share your stories. This might seem counter-productive, but it actually helps! Share stories and photos of your cookout or weekend getaway with your co-workers around the coffee machine. Even if you have a million things to do, remembering all of the fun you over the weekend will remind you why you work hard everyday. Use one of your weekend photos as your desktop background or keep a souvenir on your desk to help you out if you’re feeling stressed about catching up.
  • Resume all your routines. Even though it’s a short work week, stay on your routine schedule as much as possible. Have a healthy lunch at the usual time. Avoid the vending machine. Go to the gym after work. Routines help reduce stress levels.

Did you know? Everyone dreads Monday mornings, but researchers say that the most stressful day of the week for many office workers is actually Tuesday. More people work through lunch on Tuesdays than other day of the week, and one in five leave the office late.

6 Labor Day Driving Tips

Labor Day Driving TipsApproximately 400 people will be killed and an additional 42,300 will be injured in car crashes over Labor Day holiday weekend. If you’re headed home from a weekend getaway, use caution when driving Monday.

  • Perform a pre-trip inspection. The last thing you want to do on Labor Day is break down. Check your tire pressure, wipers and fluids before hitting the road. Carry a first-aid kit, a bottle of water and some energy bars in case something happens and you’re stranded for some time. If your car doesn’t yet contain jumper cables, a jack, a spare tire, and flares, use Labor Day travel as an opportunity to supply it with these items.
  • Review your route. Program your GPS or use a map to plan your way home. Check online for road closures and detours. Search for alternatives or plan for additional driving time. Let at least one person know the route you’re taking, when you’re leaving and when you expect to arrive.
  • Leave early. The hours between 4 PM and 10 PM on Labor Day are the worst possible times to get on the road. Give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination safely. Observe speed limits and use caution when driving in bad weather.
  • Buckle up. Safety belts save lives. Make sure all passengers are buckled up and children are in properly installed safety seats appropriate for their size.
  • Pay attention. Distracted driving is a leading cause of crashes. Looking away for even two seconds doubles your chances of being in an accident. Turn off your cell phone while driving. Pull over if you need to call or text someone. Steer clear of eating while driving. If you get sleepy, stop at a rest stop. Step out of your car and walk around or stretch.
  • Don’t drink and drive. The police will be out in full force looking for impaired drivers. Even if you’re only on the road to go to a party today, make arrangements for a designated driver or a taxi if you plan on drinking. Someone dies in a drunk driving crash every 51 minutes, on average. Over the Labor Day weekend, that statistic jumps to one every 34 minutes.

 

 

8 Ways to Lighten Up a Labor Day Cookout

Lighten Up a Labor Day CookoutYou’ve worked hard all summer long to stay in shape, and you don’t want to compromise your waistline now. If you’re going to a cookout this holiday weekend, here are some steps to help you make healthy choices:

  1. Plan ahead. Make sure you have a healthy snack before going to any social gathering. When you’re less hungry, you’re more likely to make better dietary choices. Don’t skip breakfast and lunch before an evening event. You may think you’re saving calories, but in reality you’re setting yourself up to overeat because you’re starving.
  2. Contribute to the cookout. Worried there won’t be anything healthy to choose from? Bring along one of your healthy summertime favorites.
  3. Survey the selection. Once you arrive at the cookout, do a lap around the food table and size up the choices. Determine which foods look the healthiest, which ones are worth the indulgence and which ones you can skip.
  4. Choose a lean entrée. Instead of high-fat hamburgers and hot dogs, choose lower-fat proteins such as chicken or fish.
  5. Be smart with salads. Avoid potato and macaroni salads. They are loaded with saturated fats, carbs and starches. Instead, eat plenty of green salad with a couple of tablespoons of dressing, preferably one that’s lower in fat.
  6. Avoid alcohol and sugary drinks. Alcohol, soda and juice beverages are filled with empty calories that can quickly ruin your healthy eating efforts. Pick water or other calorie-free options that will keep you hydrated and away from unwanted calories. If you’re going to drink alcohol, stick with wine, light beer or a spritzer style drink. Limit yourself to 1-2 drinks.
  7. Make a good dessert decision. On a hot day, who wants a rich dessert? Instead of ice cream, cookies or cake, choose one of the delicious fruits that are plentiful this time of year, such as watermelon, berries and pineapple.
  8. Finish with some fitness. After the meal is done and the dishes are put away, get a little exercise. Toss a football with the kids. Rally the adults to play horseshoes, volleyball or some other outdoor game. Bring along some music and get everyone to dance.

Playing with Fire: 7 Tips to Keep Kids Safe while Grilling

7 Tips to Keep Kids Safe While GrillingLabor Day is the third largest cookout event of the year in the U.S. (behind 4th of July and Memorial Day). To keep this holiday and any other grilling day safe for children, follow these safety tips:

  • Establish a 3-foot ‘kid-free zone’ around your grill. Draw a border on the pavement using sidewalk chalk. Tell your kids and their friends that only adults are allowed inside the circle when grilling.
  • Protect against bumps and cuts. Grills are bulky machines mostly made of metal. Tissue wounds are the second most common injury for children, after burns. Be aware of sharp edges or corners that a child could bump into. Cover any part of the grill that seems particularly sharp with a piece of masking tape.
  • Grill outside only. Never grill in a screened porch, tent, garage or any enclosed area because carbon monoxide may accumulate and poison you and those around you. Keep your grill on a flat surface at least 10 feet well away from house siding, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
  • Never leave your grill unattended once it’s been lit. Talk to your children about what can happen when the grill is lit and hot. Point out that other parts of the grill, in addition to the cooking surface, also get very hot. Many burns occur when children touch the lid or sides of the grill.
  • Cook food thoroughly. Keep children and adults safe from food poisoning. Use a food thermometer to ensure foods are cooked thoroughly and free from any harmful bacteria. Hamburgers should be cooked to 160°F. Chicken should be cooked to at least 165°F. When taking food off the grill, use a clean platter. Don’t put cooked food on the same platter that held raw meat or poultry.
  • Let children help in other ways. Have your kids pick out fruits and vegetables at the grocery store or local farmer’s market. Let them put together kabobs, form hamburger patties, brush chicken with barbecue sauce or marinate steaks. Teach them to use a food thermometer to measure food temperatures (when off the grill). Involving them will promote their self-esteem.
  • Be prepared to put out a fire. Keep a fire extinguisher, a bucket of sand or a garden hose near by in case of a fire.

Are You a ‘Social’ Smoker? Here are 7 Steps to Help You Stop

Social smokers have cigarettes ‘only once in awhile’ – usually when they’re with friends or when they’ve been drinking. Many don’t even consider themselves smokers and, as such, 7 Steps to Help You Stop Smokingbelieve they’re not at risk for the health problems related to smoking. Unfortunately, your risks of lung cancer, heart attack and stroke increase with every cigarette smoked. And research shows that half of the people who begin social smoking end up smoking every day within a year.

If you are a social smoker and want to quit altogether, here are seven helpful tips:

  1. Avoid alcohol. Limit going to bars and parties for the first few weeks you are trying to quit. Many social smokers just don’t feel comfortable having a drink without also having a cigarette.
  2. Try something different. Find a smoke-free social activity such as a dance or exercise class, join a sport, pick up a hobby or go to the movies. Think of at least 10 things to divert your attention when you get a craving for a cigarette.
  3. Work together. Ask your friends and family for help and encouragement. Set goals together. Maybe several of your friends want to quit? Make it a supportive contest. If you need extra aid and advice to take with you wherever you go, download a quit-smoking app, such as Goalpost or QuitNow!, to your cell phone. Check out the Quit Smoking Facebook page to read stories from others who have quit smoking and to share your own.
  4. Eliminate E-cigarettes. E-cigarettes look high tech, so it’s easy to believe the hype that they’re a safe alternative to smoking. Unfortunately, they’re not: E-cigarettes are just another way of putting nicotine – a highly addictive drug – into your body.
  5. Consider the cash. Think about how much money you’d save if you quit smoking. The average price for a pack of cigarettes is about $5.51 – that’s almost $300 a year for someone who smokes a pack a week.
  6. Talk to your doctor. Ask about medications and other stop-smoking aids that might be right for you.

7 Fall Sports Tips for Young Athletes

The fall sports season has begun. And if your child plays football, soccer, volleyball or 7 Fall Sports Tips for Young Athletesother sports, he or she will be putting a lot of physical strain on their body. Here are some tips to keep young athletes healthy on and off the field:

  • Get a physical. If you haven’t already done it, schedule a sports physical for your child. This exam will determine if your child is healthy enough to play. Talk to your child’s doctor about any pre-existing conditions, previous sports injuries and training routines.
  • Make sure equipment fits properly. Children grow up fast, which means the gear that fit perfectly last year may be too small now. Have your child try on pads, helmets and other protective equipment to make sure it fits. Examine the gear frequently for wear and tear that may affect its performance.
  • Warm-up and cool down. To prevent injuries, have your child spend 10 minutes warming up before a game or practice (light jogging or jumping jacks). Afterwards, have your child cool down with 10 minutes of gentle stretching.
  • Drink water. Hydration is a key element for good health. Have teenage athletes drink at least eight, 8-ounce glasses of water a day. Younger athletes should drink five to eight, 8-ounce glasses of water. Avoid energy drinks with caffeine and ephedrine.
  • Eat healthy. Make sure your child has a well-balanced diet including lean protein, whole-grains, low-fat dairy, vegetables and fruits. Avoid high-fat, high-sugar foods. And don’t allow your child to skip meals. Many young athletes get ‘butterflies in their stomach’ the day of a game and don’t always want to eat. If that’s the case, provide high-energy, high-nutrient snacks – such as bananas, nuts, peanut butter, yogurt and trail mix – to give your athlete the energy to perform.
  • Rest up. Make sure your child gets eight to nine hours of sleep each night.
  • Treat injuries immediately. Take scrapes, aches and pains seriously. If your child is hurt, make sure the injury gets immediate medical attention. Clean and cover even minor scrapes to avoid infections. Leave the play-or-no-play decision to your child’s doctor.

 

Starting to Sneeze? 6 Tips for Surviving Ragweed Season

Ragweed-AllergiesYou shouldn’t be surprised if you’re sneezing, coughing or getting watery-eyed while reading this article. First, Kentucky is one of the worst places to live in the U.S. for allergies. Second, mid-August marks the start of ragweed season.

While there is no cure for ragweed allergies (also known as hay fever), the following six tips can help decrease both the frequency and severity of your symptoms:

  1. Stay indoors. Avoid exposure to allergens as much as possible. Wear a face mask when you garden or mow the lawn.
  2. Check pollen counts: Visit pollen.com to get local and national allergy forecasts.
  3. Keep your doors and windows closed. An outdoor breeze may feel good, but the pollen you’re allowing to enter your home can make your allergy symptoms worse. Use your air conditioner to filter, cool and dry the air. High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) room and furnace filters can also help.
  4. Wash off the pollen. If you’ve been working in the yard or exercising outdoors, take a shower and change clothes as soon as you come inside to get rid of pollen on your skin and clothing. Clean your nasal passages, too, by using a saltwater rinse.
  5. Give Fido a bath. Pets can track pollen into your house. Bathe your pets frequently during ragweed season.
  6. Talk to your doctor. Most medications for allergies can be bought over the counter. Ask your doctor which one is best for you. Antihistamines can help with sneezing or a runny nose, decongestants can help clear mucus out of your nose and nasal sprays can help reduce inflammation in your nose. For long-term relief, your doctor may recommend allergy shots.

Did you know? Ragweed grows in primarily rural areas and releases its pollen around dawn. If you live in one of these areas, your symptoms will be worse in the morning due to your proximity to the plants. Pollen levels in cities and urban areas typically peak between 10 AM and 3 PM as the spores gradually spread through the air.

Heart Healthy Monday: Steak with Wine Sauce

Heart Healthy Monday Recipe: Steak With Wine SauceServes 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. sirloin tip, cut into strips or 1″ pieces
  • 1 T. olive oil, butter or margarine
  • 1 (18-oz.) pkg. mushroom gravy mix
  • 1/2 c. white wine
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 1 c. reduced-fat sour cream

Preparation:

Heat oil in a large skillet. Add meat, stirring to brown evenly. Add gravy mix, water and wine; continue to stirring the blend dry mix. Reduce heat, cover pan and allow to simmer for 30 minutes or until meat is tender. Add sour cream, blending well into beef mixture. Heat until warm.

Note: Serve with a green vegetable and baked potatoes or spoon this mixture  over cooked rice or pasta.

Nutritional Information Per Serving: (pasta or rice not included) Calories: 187; Fat: 6g; Protein: 24g; Carbohydrates: 4g; Sodium: 169mg; Fiber: trace.

7 Tips to stay safe during a heat wave

7 Tips to stay safe during a heat waveWith school back in session, and fall sports underway, it may seem like summer is winding down. But forecasters say “feels like” temperatures are expected to be in the 100s this weekend and early next week, and young athletes should play it safe.

It’s easy for people not accustomed to the heat to overdo it, and even young, healthy athletes can be affected by hot weather if they aren’t careful. High humidity is especially dangerous because it makes it harder for your body to cool itself, and commonly used attention-deficit medications and diuretics can increase the likelihood of becoming overheated.

Heat-related symptoms can come on quickly, so parents and teammates should warn a coach if they see a player exhibiting symptoms.

Baptist Health offers the following tips for athletes, and for others spending time outside:

  • Stay hydrated! Drink plenty of fluids, even if you don’t feel thirsty, and avoid caffeine and alcohol.
  • Try to exercise, work outside and run errands in the morning instead of during the hottest part of the day.
  • Wear loose, light clothing and a hat (if possible).
  • Take frequent breaks, preferably in the shade.
  • Closely monitor children and teens participating in team sports for signs of heat stress.
  • Keep an eye on fellow workers and teammates, especially those who might not be used to hot weather.
  • Learn the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke and what to do in an emergency.

If someone shows symptoms of heat exhaustion – heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea or vomiting– then move him or her to a cool, shady or air-conditioned area, remove layers of clothing if possible, and provide slow sips of cool, non-alcoholic beverages. You can also spray the person with water or apply cool, wet cloths or towels to their skin.

If someone shows signs of heat stroke, call 911. Symptoms include: red, hot and dry skin with no sweating; body temperature of 101 degrees or higher; rapid pulse; headache, dizziness, nausea or confusion; fainting or unconsciousness. Before help arrives, cool the victim by any means possible, including spray from a garden hose, immersing him or her in a cool tub of water or covering him or her with cold, wet towels or bags of ice.

7 Tips to on How to Stress Less this Weekend

7 Tips on How to Stress Less this WeekendWhen Friday evening rolls around, you breathe a sigh of relief. The work week is finally over, you can relax. But for many of us, the weekend can be just as stressful. There are errands to run, chores to do and people to see. Here are some tips to lower your stress levels this weekend:

  • Get things done early. Friday evening you’re still in work mode, which makes doing chores easier and less painful. Check one thing off your to-do list, such as grocery shopping, laundry or running errands. You’ll wake up Saturday more relaxed.
  • Don’t overbook. Is your weekend jam-packed with activities? Having too much on your plate can leave you feeling stressed. Think about what you will and won’t be able to attend so you won’t feel obligated to show up somewhere when you would rather be home resting.
  • Limit alcohol. While a couple of beers or glasses of wine after a hard week might help you relax, alcohol can contribute to feelings of depression and anxiety and make stress harder to deal with. Drink less or avoid alcohol altogether.
  • Have fun at home. You don’t have to go out or get away to have a relaxing weekend. You can simply stay at home, cook dinner and enjoy a movie in your living room. Sit back, unwind and relax.
  • Push the off button. Turn off your phone and all social networks. You don’t need to be online all the time or check emails several times a day on Saturday and Sunday. At first it may feel strange, but as you get accustomed to it, you’ll love it.
  • Eat right. Make sure you have plenty of fruits and vegetables in your diet. Fruits and vegetables are loaded with nutrients that help your body deal with stress. Fish with high levels of omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce the symptoms of stress.
  • Break a sweat. Exercise sparks the release of feel-good endorphins, which can reduce stress levels. Hit the gym or trails. Take a bicycle ride or a Sunday-night dance class with your partner. You’ll close your weekend energized and ready to tackle the week.