Daylight Saving Time (DST) was yesterday. One hopes you remembered to reset any clocks that don’t rely on satellites, like your car, your watch, and your cellphone that’s so out of date it uses a rotary dial. If not, SURPRISE! You’re probably going to be late for work.
In addition to making you sleepy or awake at odd hours and confusing you by being sunny at 7pm, the time shift affects your health in a number of ways. Anyone’s sleep patterns can be disrupted by the switch, but “night owls” tend to be more affected by springing forward than early birds.
If your health is already compromised, the effect on your body is greater. If you’re stressed, depressed, have poor dietary or exercise habits, you are at a greater risk for and adverse reaction. The time changes can raise the levels of inflammatory chemicals and stress hormones, which can lead to serious side effects.
Because the start of DST can result in sleep deprivation for many, affecting heart health, there is a spike in heart attacks the first week after the time shift. The first week also sees a spike in car accidents due to sleepy drivers, but in general people are safer drivers during daylight hours, causing a drop in accidents during the rest of the period. U.S. News Health claims that DST can prevent hundreds of car accidents each year.
DST can keep you healthy by serving as a reminder to change the batteries in your smoke detectors. Have you done that yet? Because seriously, you should do that even if the smoke detector is hard to reach and it makes an annoying sound when you change batteries.
If you find you are not adapting to DST, you can always try these tips from Dr. Praveen Rudraraju, director of the Center for Sleep Medicine at Northern Westchester Hospital: get up five to 10 minutes earlier for the first two weeks of DST to accommodate any increased sluggishness; incorporate 30 to 40 minutes of exercise in bright daylight to your daily routine; space out your meals before you go to bed, at least 3-5 hours before hitting the hay; quit the caffeine before noon, limit drinking to one with dinner, and do not have any alcohol after dinner; don’t work on the computer at least an hour before bedtime; and stay out of the bedroom until bedtime. You can also try any of HCLS’s many resources on sleep, such as:
Don’t end up feeling like a sitting duck on Valentine’s Day. Photo by Marilyn Roxie.
At Well & Wise, when we do not have anything to post from one of our fantastic contributing bloggers, we, who are behind the scenes, try to put together some interesting or useful tidbits.
We, as a rule, do not like to draw attention to the man behind the curtain, but today we will step out long enough to admit that at least one of us is a happily married-type person and another is a happily single-type person. Yet both are in complete agreement that Valentine’s Day is for chumps. Does this attitude make us unromatic? Perhaps. Unsentimental? Definitely. Unkind? Certainly not. In fact, we hope to provide a little comfort to those of you not completely lost in a hazy vision of long-stemmed roses and candy hearts.
Miss/Mr. Lonely Hearts vs. Wonder Woman and Superman
For as enlightened as we are supposed to be, it is shocking how attached our society is to attachment. But good old Thoreau never found a “companion that was so companionable as solitude.” Even our married representative and partner wouldn’t even have considered the idea of marriage if they had not agreed early on that they should remain friends and individuals in their union—a merger rather than a buyout or hostile takeover. And our single representative refuses to engage in this conversation other than to say, “Books not boys.” So what is wrong with the idea of being alone and not lonely. Nothing. So don’t believe the Valentine propaganda. Instead, check out:
Singled Out: How Singles Are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After by Bella M. DePaulo
I Didn’t Work this Hard Just to Get Married: Successful Single Black Women Speak Out by Nika C. Beamon
Love for Sale-Don’t Fall for the Propaganda
Another problem we have with this pink, fluffy “holiday” is its vast commercialization. Really, cash for romance smacks of something illegal. Valentine’s Day wasn’t really a moneymaker until the early 1900s, but now it is a multibillion-dollar-a-year venture (as discussed in a fantastic NPR piece The Dark Origins of Valentine’s Day). Do not buy in to the hype.In fact, you may kill some hours during Valentine’s Day by reading up on how depressingly commercialized everything has become:
What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets by Michael J. Sandel
Consumer Culture by Heidi Watkins
Why Does My Candy Heart Say “Tilt,” or the Food Factor
Have you ever noticed the food factor to this holiday? Flowers and candy. Fancy dinners. Aphrodisiacal cocktails. And, yes, candy hearts. It would seem most folks’ need to sublimate a desire for love or sex with food is at the very core of Valentine’s Day. Don’t be a Valentine victim; fight the food fest with a true notion of love by caring for yourself or the ones you love with healthful choices:
The Food Lover’s Healthy Habits Cookbook by Janet Helm
Eating Mindfully:How to End Mindless Eating & Enjoy a Balanced Relationship with Food by Susan Albers, Psy.D.
True Romance, If You Insist
If you find yourself still a fool for love and romance, then at least skip the esteem-crushing, diet-busting, commercial aspects of this Hallmark holiday. Try your luck with true emotion rather than emotional substitutes:
On Kindness by Adam Phyllips and Barbara Taylor
This Emotional Life: Family, Friends & Lovers by NOVA
How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love with Poetry by Edward Hirsch
Introversion: it sounds like the name on an 80s pop band or some kind of condition you just need to get over already. The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines it as: “the state of or tendency toward being wholly or predominantly concerned with and interested in one’s own mental life.”
Sigmund Freud, in that way only he could, ascribed sexual meaning to the most non-sexual thing and considered being introverted a form of pathology, a way to deal with the outside world (and sex) by shutting in on oneself. Carl Jung was much kinder in how he saw introversion, seeing it more as an attitude toward life, an inner psychic kind of energy.
These days, thankfully, the introvert is enjoying a surge in popularity and is not only very functional, but quite capable of contributing to the world. Two exceptional books to have come out recently address the hidden wealth and beauty of being an introvert in a world that often screams extrovert.
“Introverts who are not shy,” Sophia Dembling, author of The Introvert’s Way, writes; “[they]are used to being told they could not possibly be introverts.” Many assumptions are made about introverts that are outright false or just the result of well-intentioned misunderstandings, including the misconception that an introvert is a snob.
“I have to admit, there were times over the course of my life…when even I wondered if maybe I were some kind of coldhearted snob. Why was I so reluctant to go to parties and why did I want to leave them shortly after arriving? Why? Because it’s not my nature. I’m an introvert. And there’s not a damn thing wrong with me.” So says Dembling who provides scientific and cultural background about introversion as well as helpful tips and an understanding of the introvert’s nature.
If you’re an introvert, it isn’t that you’re shy, but that you appreciate the benefits of quiet solitude. You’re not antisocial, instead, you find spending time alone a great way to recharge before moving on again in the world. It’s not that you dislike people, but that you find more meaning in one-on-one connections than in large get-togethers.
Another recent book (which appeared on The New York Times Best Seller list and at one point had almost 200 requests on it at HCLS) on introversion is Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. Susan Cain’s amazing book truly speaks to anyone who is introverted or understands what it’s like to be.
“Without introverts,” Cain tells the reader, “the world would be devoid of the theory of gravity, the theory of relativity, W. B. Yeats’s ‘The Second Coming,’ Chopin’s nocturnes, Proust’s ‘In Search of Lost Time,’Peter Pan, Orwell’s ’1984′ and ‘Animal Farm,’ The Cat in the Hat,Charlie Brown, ‘Schindler’s List,’ ‘E.T.,’ and ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind,’ Google and Harry Potter.”
As someone who is an introvert, I love that the author recognizes many introverts feel social pressure to be outgoing and talkative and that they can be quite good at disguising that little fact.
Full of lots of interesting insights and useful information, QUIET gives credit to some of the most innovate minds that just happen to be introverted. Praising the hidden strengths of introverts, Cain suggests that revealing the power of quietude will not only free introverts to be themselves, but will add to positive advancements in leadership, parenting, intimate partnerships, and the workforce.
Posted by hclibrary on Jan 23, 2013 in Mental Health | 0 comments
Image by viZZZual.com
By Jason Pasquet
Good plans need good goals. It’s just that simple and straight forward. Yet goal setting will remain abstract when not given the proper attention and direction. Perhaps you really want to save enough money for the family boat vacation this summer. Or you may want to achieve and maintain a certain ideal weight. Whatever it may be, it’s a good start. Now, with a goal in mind, you cannot just hope that it will be realized with little effort. You can sow the seed in the earth of the mind, but when does it ever sprout on its own? Not with just a little water here and there, or maybe some sun and occasional fertilizer and weeding. Only with the right amount of attention and care can a goal, like a plant, ever be nourished and realized to full bloom.
If goal setting has been difficult, which is true for most of us, try out S.M.A.R.T. goal setting by Paul J. Meyer in his book Attitude is Everything! It is a very beneficial aid to a having a fresh new perspective on the goal-planning process. It may also change your life. So take out your planner and a pen, and let’s go into it.
S.M.A.R.T is the acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant/Realistic, and Timed. These terms will be the fundamental outline for the goal or goals you want to accomplish. Write these terms in order, going down the page, while leaving some spaces to write on.
Specific- There will be no more ambiguity. No more vague ideas. Find out specifically what you want and write a clear, concise statement of whatever it is you are aspiring to achieve. This is the “what” question concerning the goal. Now ask yourself the questions of: Where? Why? Who? Which? “Where” includes the place(s). “Why” are the various reasons for doing so. “Who” includes you and any others involved. And “Which” involves the resources and requirements you know are necessary. Take your time to answer these questions. They will help you to understand the rest of the S.M.A.R.T. acronym.
Measurable- How will you know that you have reached your goal? What does the outcome have to be? For example, I will know that I have taken the first step to overcoming my fear of public speaking, by talking to a group of my friends for 5 minutes straight on some potential hazards to the environment. This is was my first measurable step. Then you can design more specific goals that are measurable to help keep track of your progress. Ask yourself the right “how” questions to understand your desired outcome.
Attainable- Enquire on the practicality of the goal. Ask yourself which skills and capabilities would be necessary for its accomplishment–the “how to do” questions that will give you a reasonable understanding of how to go about putting them into action. This helps to know what resources are important to you for the achievement. And also give feedback on if it is reasonable and within your means.
Relevant/Realistic- Does the goal fit in with what is important to you? Is it the right time to start this goal? Investigate if the goal is relevant and in line with your priorities.
Timed- Set a specific time and date for the attainment. When would you like to see this goal realized? Would you like to measure the time in intervals? It’s up to you as to how you’d like to schedule the time limit.
Hopefully these S.M.A.R.T. tips will bring you closer to achieving your goals!
Posted by HCGH on Jan 22, 2013 in Mental Health | 1 comment
An organized approach to studying!
Two summers ago I was so excited to start my freshman year at Washington College. Just like any other freshman, I was nervous about meeting my roommate, making new friends and adjusting to classes and homework. I knew college would be more challenging than high school, but I was totally unprepared for the workload that the professors placed on me and my fellow classmates. The stress of moving away from home and living with someone unfamiliar, only added to the stress of classwork. The transition from high school to college became a huge struggle for me. My solution, naturally, was to whine and moan to my parents and older siblings about the issues I was having. They ignored my persistent complaints and assured me that with time, things would get easier and encouraged me not to give up.
A year and half later I can attest that the advice I was given freshman year has proven to be true. Over time I have learned how to better deal with stress and these four specific changes made things easier – especially during final exams – the most stressful week of each semester.
- Manage your time. When it is nearing the end of the semester and all my professors decide to hand out a million assignments at once, my daily planner becomes my best friend. Each night I make a list of things that I want to accomplish the next day, number one being the most pressing assignment. Sometimes I even go as far as to put time slots next to each item in order to indicate how much time should be spent on them. I find that planning my days out in advanced gives me less to worry about and also prevents procrastination.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff. There is no worse feeling than someone else is sitting in your spot at the library the night before the big exam, I get it. However, instead of getting upset about it, focus your energy on being productive. You will be amazed how much less stressed you feel if you ignore the insignificant dramas of everyday life.
- Take breaks from work. College is not only about going to class and doing homework; it’s about experiencing new things and figuring out who you are. Don’t forget to allow yourself time to do things that you enjoy. Fun activities are a great way to relieve stress. Go for a run, have a gossip session with your best friends, listen to some music, or watch an episode of your favorite TV show. Do something that’s fun for you and helps you let off some steam. Keeping stress bottled up can cause both physical and emotional harm in the long run.
- Find what works for you. Everyone has their own methods when it comes to studying. When I study I like to listen to classical music and sit on my floor (strange, I know). I do know people though who prefer to work in the complete opposite setting – in silence while sitting at a desk. My advice to you is to find out what conditions are easiest for you to study in, and stick to them. This will help to eliminate any extra anxiety and stress that you might have because you will be more comfortable.
Stressful situations are sometimes unavoidable, especially for college students, but it is possible to weaken their blows. It was not too long ago that I was pulling my hair out because I was too overwhelmed. However, if I have been able to decrease the amount of stress in my life this drastically in just a year and a half, maybe by senior year I’ll be completely stress free!
Studying is not the only thing that creates stress in the life of a college student. If you are interested in finding out more about how to handle stress, check out Why Kids Lose it at College by Meg F. Schneider.
Posted by hclibrary on Jan 7, 2013 in Mental Health | 0 comments
by Cherise Tasker
When short on time but long on the need for beautiful language, I find a poem may be the perfect choice. Tired of weather and how its whims can change plans, if not lives, we can look to literature for motivation and empathy.
In his 1921 poem “January,” William Carlos Williams (1883-1963) refuses to be distracted by harsh conditions. He is staying on track and meeting challenges. A writer, family practitioner, husband, and father, Williams understood the pull of multiple responsibilities all too well. He wrote in his 1951 autobiography, “I had my typewriter in my office desk…. If a patient came in at the door while I was in the middle of a sentence, bang would go the machine? I was a physician. When the patient left, up would come the machine…. Finally, after eleven at night, when the last patient had been put to bed, I could always find the time to bang out ten or twelve pages.”
Again I reply to the triple winds
running chromatic fifths of derision
outside my window:
You will not succeed. I am
bound more to my sentences
the more you batter at me
to follow you.
And the wind,
as before, fingers perfectly
its derisive music.
- William Carlos Williams
Can his words help us focus our attention, make a resolution for 2013, exceed our goals? The poet has been in this place before, facing barriers to his tasks at hand. Likewise, we may find ourselves trying to finish a chore we’ve been putting off, make a healthy eating choice the doctor recommended, or take a walk when it’s 30 degrees outside. Williams pushes back against detractors. Can we?