I found over on Yahoo's health board an interesting article id like to share with you. It was written by Emily Main and you can check it out below:
"April may be the cruelest month, but January seems to take the cake for being the most depressing. Post-holiday letdown turns into failed New Year's resolutions, which are exacerbated by short days, long nights, bad weather, and holiday credit card bills. This kind of low-level winter depression seems to be a seasonal fact of life. "It's very common for people to get down during long winter months," says Dawn LaFrance, PsyD, associate director of the Counseling Center at Colgate University in upstate New York. "And while January seems bad, February can be bad, too. People keep waiting for spring, and winter just keeps going."
There's a difference between a winter funk and the more severe condition, seasonal affective disorder, says LaFrance, the latter of which is characterized by clinical depression, anxiety, and changes in weight. "The difference is usually seen in the severity and intensity of symptoms," she says. "It's OK to cry, but are you crying for three days straight?" She adds that winter blues usually last a couple of days, at the end of which you can find something to be happy about or some pleasure in your life.
Gary Malone, MD, medical director and chief of psychiatry at Baylor All Saints Medical Center at Fort Worth, adds that serious symptoms, such as rapid changes in weight and sleeping more than nine hours a day or less than five, are signs of a more serious disorder. "You do need medication when you become so depressed that you can't function on a daily basis," he says.
For anyone dealing with a simple bout of winter funk, the best coping mechanisms are simple steps like eating right, exercising, and not focusing too much on the weather outside:
1. Try to pinpoint what is getting you down.
You may automatically assume it's the weather or the shorter days, but some of your misery may be attributable to cultural factors. "A week ago Monday was a very depressing day here in Texas because the Cowboys lost in the playoffs," says Dr. Malone. It may seem trivial, he says, but psychiatrists have written papers on the effect of sports-team losses on the cultural psyche. Or it could be as simple as those holiday bills, says LaFrance. "Stress from finances can play into that a lot," she says, "particularly with the economic problems people are having right now." Depression really depends on the individual, Dr. Malone adds, and once you figure out what's getting you down, you're better able to cope or improve your circumstances.
2. Don't let your mood dictate your plans.
If you're in a funk, it's important to keep up your social contacts, says Dr. Malone. People generally make plans with friends when they're feeling good, and then cancel those plans when they feel down—which, he says, will just make you feel worse. "Of course you want to keep a balance, and you don't want to go out every night. But if you find yourself getting depressed and withdrawing from your friends, pay attention to that," he says. "Sitting in a dark house watching TV isn't good for anybody." Push yourself to keep your social obligations even if you'd rather hibernate. And, adds LaFrance, tell a friend that you need someone to help you through this time of year. Have that person check in more often, if need be, to keep your spirits up.
3. Watch your diet.
"It's harder to eat healthy in the winter," says LaFrance, "and people eat more carbs, which just weigh them down." Carbohydrate cravings can be a symptom of the more severe seasonal affective disorder, but when you look at most of what we define as "comfort foods"—macaroni and cheese, grilled cheese, lasagna, chicken and dumplings—they're pretty carb-heavy. Carbs prey upon our brain's pleasure sensors, says Dr. Malone, which makes them enticing. But, at the same time, they can slow you down and make you feel lethargic. Work more organic fruits and vegetables into your diet, cooking up winter greens or using frozen fruits to make a post-workout smoothie. And find restaurants with healthy menus. "In the wintertime people eat out more—because you're stuck inside," says Dr. Malone, but with restaurants' high-fat fare, all that dining out could add up to weight gain, which will exacerbate your winter funk after you realize you've failed at that resolution to drop 30 pounds.
4. Work out.
Not surprisingly, exercise is a great antidote to the winter blues, says Dr. Malone, but getting motivated to strap on those running shoes can be hard when it's cold out. "Even a short brisk walk outside helps—or grab some cross-country skis," says LaFrance. "Even going to a gym is better than nothing at all." If even that is a challenge, recruit a friend to join you, or to remind you why it's important. Research has found that improving your overall outlook on life can be a better motivation to exercise than the goal of losing weight. So forget that resolution you made, and hit the gym because you know it will lift your spirits.
5. Get more light into your life.
Light therapy is often used to treat full-blown seasonal affective disorder, and it's just as effective at getting rid of mild seasonal depression, says LaFrance. Turn on a few more lamps in your office, raise the blinds if you have a window, and try to get outside during the middle of the day when the sun is out, particularly if it's dark both when you get to work and when you leave. Failing that, take a 1,000-IU vitamin D supplement. In addition to giving you the health benefits you're missing from lack of sunlight, there's some evidence that depression is linked to vitamin D deficiencies.
6. Don't make life-changing decisions.
While you think your winter doldrums may be due to your job, where you live, or a relationship issue, it's not a great idea to change any one of those things until you've had some time to think it over, says LaFrance. "If you're in a funk, it's not the best time to be making abrupt changes without weighing your options," she says. "Your problem solving may not be as clear as it normally is," she adds. Wait a month and see if you still feel the same way before making any major life changes."
Monday, January 31, 2011
Monday, January 24, 2011
Planet Green is a company that Discovery owns that helps inform and spread information on Living more Green in your everyday life. At Fitness Equipment Depot Worldwide,we want to live healthy lives and keep our environment healthy too. Below are the Top Ten Energy Tips from Planet Green.
Top Green Alternative Energy Tips
Start by switching to green powerThe easiest way to switch to green energy is to call your current provider and see if they offer an alternative. An increasing number of companies do, harnessing renewable sources like wind and solar power to offer electric service in their markets. This costs more for the consumer, since you'll pay a premium to offset the money involved in tapping the alternative source, but the price varies: in Sacramento, you'll pay 5 cents per kilowatt hour or $30 a month for solar, and in Oregon you'll shell out only .8 cents per kilowatt hour for wind, geothermal, or hydropower.
Plug in to solar powerThere are two kinds of solar power you can use in your home: active and passive. Active solar power is captured through solar cells (also known as photovoltaics), and then stored to later provide heat or electricity-or to supplement a traditional heating or electrical system. But before you buy a solar system for your house, keep a few points in mind: many towns have restrictions on the size and type of collectors they'll allow; the annual number of sunny days in your climate will affect how much power you can collect (the Southwest usually has the best luck with solar collection); and the system's cost efficiency varies based on its size, your location, and the amount of power you plan to get from it.
Get passive solar to work for youThe second kind of solar power, passive solar, doesn't involve the (expensive) photovoltaic cells and mechanical systems of active solar, but still takes advantage of the sun to heat your home in one of three ways: direct gain, which collects light through the windows; indirect gain, which stores thermal energy within the walls; and isolated gain, more commonly put to use in a solarium or sun room setup. By thinking about window placement, insulation, and even landscaping–trees can be the ultimate passive solar helpers, since they soak up solar in the hot summer, and let the sun through in the winter—it's possible to help keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
Opt for solar hot waterYou can also use solar power to heat the water for your showers, dishwasher, and laundry (though why aren't you using cold water for that?) by installing a solar hot water system. If you live in a place where freezing temps aren't a concern, look for a direct circulation system-this cycles water through the solar heater and into the home; otherwise, go for an indirect circulation system, which runs a freeze-proof fluid through the system to prevent icing. Both those active systems are generally more efficient than passive solar heaters, which don't have the same pumps and controls but can be more dependable. No matter which system you choose, you'll want to consider a (smaller) more traditional hot water heater for backup on days when the sun won't come out or for showering during peak times.
Tap into the earth's natural geo-energyThe terms "geothermal" and "ground source heat pump" are nearly interchangeable in casual conversation-but they shouldn't be, since they're not the same. Geothermal energy comes right from the ground-think hot springs, geysers, and volcanic areas—while ground source heat pumps use the relatively steady temperature of the Earth (as compared to the air) to heat and cool buildings. These heat pumps use as little as half as much electricity as traditional systems, and generally last between 25 and 50 years; while they are more expensive to install than other systems, you can expect the system to pay for itself in energy savings in less than 10 years.
Replace oil with biofuelYou can also heat your home using biofuels—nontoxic, biodegradable, and renewable power sources, like those made from animal and vegetable fats and oils or wood. If you're using oil heat, have a technician take a look at your furnace and get the okay to switch to a blend of 20%-99% biodiesel; in most cases, you won't need any additional parts or service to make the switch. Using a woodstove to heat your home is an age-old solution, but the more modern version is the pellet stove: The pellets of compressed sawdust take up less storage space than a wood pile, and burn with so few emissions that they aren't required to get EPA certification. (One tip: if you're going this route, find a local source for inexpensive pellets first.)
Harness the power of the windWind energy is one of the cleanest forms of alternative energy available, and using it can cut your electricity bill by as much as 90 percent. Once you make sure your area is zoned to allow wind turbines, you'll want to make sure you have enough space—the Department of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy suggests at least one acre of rural land—and a climate that affords a steady breeze. Run an energy audit on your home to determine what size turbine you'll need; most houses require between 5 and 15 kilowatts to produce an average of 780 kilowatt hours every each month. And wind turbine systems aren't cheap, so run the numbers to figure out if you'll save enough to make the 20-year investment worth it.
Capture small-scale hydropowerBefore you can use hydropower for residential energy, you'll need one very important jumping-off point: running water on your property. If you are lucky enough to have a creek, stream, or river in your backyard, then a micro hydropower system may be a good alternative energy solution. By diverting a portion of the water through a wheel or turbine, you allow a shaft to spin; the spinning allows immediate results, like pumping water, or more indirect usage, like powering a generator. These calculations from the Department of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy can help you figure out if your water source will provide enough energy to significantly offset your electric bill.
Make a smart startIf you're in the process of buying a home, it's easier to make alternative energy work for you, by buying a property that comes with running water or room for wind turbines, for example. If you're designing from the ground up, choose a roof that's specially fitted for solar panels; place your house on the lot so it takes advantage of the sun; build with passive solar materials; and use daylighting technology by installing windows and doors in places that allow you to get the most out of natural light sources.
Think smallerIf you can't make the jump to powering your entire house with alternative energy, start by focusing on one room at a time. A small solar kit can get you started, or follow George Mokray's lead and use solar power in less energy-starved rooms, like a bedroom. Or look even more closely at your life, and get small solar cells to charge your laptop, cell phone, iPod, and other small gadgets—every little bit helps!
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Every week in our office, our Procurement Manager, Chasity circulates weekly health tips, to help make our lives healthier. Below is this weeks about energy boosting, which we all can use through the winter months.
48-Hour Rejuvenation: The At-Home Spa Getaway
Feeling overwhelmed and under-inspired? De-stress and recharge with our 48-hour rejuvenation jumpstart, giving your mind and body the quick energy boost they need. Think of it as an at-home Canyon Ranch spa getaway!
The 3 Biggest Energy Drainers
These days, it's easy to get bogged down in bad news and bad habits. Relaxing and indulging in "me time"? Ah, the luxuries of yesteryear.
But taking time out to re-juice and rejuvenate has never been more important. "We're in the middle of a human energy crisis," says Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, author of From Fatigued to Fantastic, who blames lack of sleep, dehydration, and bad nutrition as the primary culprits. "We're in a constant state of high alert when we don't have to be."
To offset the stress from these manic times, Teitelbaum urges people to detach from news overload, get eight hours of sleep nightly, and take their vitamins (B-Complex and magnesium supplements, plus a daily multivitamin).
But in order to truly refresh your perspective and reinvigorate your energy levels, you're going to need a mind-body overhaul. For the next two days, forget your 30 unread e-mails, the looming office deadlines, and the fact that the dirty laundry keeps piling up. We've got your 48-hour at-home rejuvenation plan right here, all with the aim of re-booting your internal hard drive and jumpstarting a new outlook on life.
Day 1: Workday Schedule
Hydrate your cells. Upon waking up, drink a full glass of water, and fill your water bottle while you're at it -- you'll be drinking all day. "Many people are chronically dehydrated, which causes fatigue and a lack of vitality," says Dr. Teitelbaum, who cites our addiction to diuretics like coffee and soda, both of which cause us to lose more water than we get.
Stretch out. DeAnna Pierce-Murray, Movement Therapist for Canyon Ranch in Tucson, has Ranch visitors start with sun salutation yoga stretches, which move the spine in the six basic directions that wring out tension and energize the nervous system.
Awaken your senses. Wear something with an invigorating color, such as a red, orange, or yellow scarf. Or dab an uplifting scent on your scarf, neck, or wrists, like bergamot or lemon -- they help calm your brain and lift your mood. According to a 2006 study in the scientific journal Behavioural Brain Research, natural lemon oil possesses anti-anxiety, antidepressant-like effects by suppressing dopamine activity.
Green your caffeine. Instead of your usual tall Americano, switch to green tea. It boosts the body's production of detoxifying enzymes while giving you a gradual energy lift, with 70 percent less caffeine than your usual java. It's also metabolized more slowly, so you avoid the afternoon caffeine crash.
Eat your oatmeal. For breakfast, try a cup of steel-cut oatmeal topped with cinnamon, apples, and walnuts (1 ounce). Steel-cut is a high-fiber, natural oatmeal that's much better for you than the pre-packaged kind, which is often loaded with sugar. "Processed foods, excess sugar, and white flour have wiped out 36 percent of our vitamins and minerals," says Dr. Teitelbaum. Adding apple and walnuts will give you fiber, protein, and cholesterol-reducing omega 3s while helping to even out your energy levels. And the cinnamon adds a no-calorie flavor to please your taste buds.
The A.M. Work Routine
Energize your breathing. At Canyon Ranch, the first thing guests are taught is how to get more oxygen into their system. "Rejuvenation begins with the stretching of the spine and the expanding of the lungs," says Pierce-Murray. "The chest is so compressed in people who are stressed. When you're sitting in a chair all day, you're not challenging your body, and you're not taking deep breaths."
To get your heart rate up and your mind sharp, sit at your desk and practice "energized breathing": inhale with 3-5 short "sniffing breaths" through your nostrils, followed by one long exhale out. Repeat at least 3 times.
Break for a snack. Two hours after breakfast, it's time for a high-protein treat. The Canyon Ranch recommendation: Celery sticks (1 cup) with almond butter (2 tablespoons). Almonds are a great source of protein, vitamin E, and magnesium, which helps improve blood flow and reduces cramps and headaches, says Teitelbaum.
Warm up for the day with meditation. Before you start tackling that to-do list, take a 10-minute time-out and shut your office door, or find a quiet place where you can sit comfortably in a chair and focus on deep breathing. "The goal is to warm the body with circulation and stimulate the tissues, while also focusing the mind," says Pierce-Murray. Her suggestion: Picture your lungs as two balloons inflating all the way, until you feel the sides and lower lungs expanding. When they are completely full, then you can slowly exhale.
Enliven the spine. Take a break from hunching over your desk all morning. From your chair, arch the back a little bit, bend forward, take turns stretching to each side and rotating in each direction. "Enlivening the spine will help you breathe deeper, which clears the mind and wakes up the body," says Pierce-Murray.
Eat, drink, and be merry. To adopt the spa mind-set, "Get away from your desk and eat with other people in a pleasant atmosphere," suggests Deborah Kesten, MPH, a certified wellness coach and co-author of Enlightened Eating. "This way you're bringing your attention to the food, really tasting it and savoring it." Moreover, eating with positive emotions helps us to better metabolize food.
For lunch, Raina Ericson, MS, RD, the nutritionist at Canyon Ranch Miami Beach, recommends a grilled Mediterranean vegetable sandwich made with eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, and squash, with an ounce of goat cheese on whole-grain bread. "In order to rejuvenate, you'll need to start fresh with a clean slate, and this means getting nutrients that are detoxifying and aid digestion," she says. This sandwich has a rich variety of heart-healthy vegetables, with the goat cheese providing more protein and less fat than other cheeses.
Relax your breathing. As the stresses of your day accumulate, you'll want to shift your focus from energizing to calming. "Just by practicing deep breathing, you learn to focus, oxygenate the body, and energize the tissues," Pierce-Murray says. It also lowers your blood pressure and stimulates the parasympathetic response, forcing the body to relax. "Once you move into physical calm, then the mind calms down." Take 5 minutes for some deep breathing, and follow this trick for de-stressing: Practice exhaling twice as long as you inhale. It'll activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which can calm you down and lower your heart rate.
Change your environment. Even if you can't leave your office, mentally transport yourself any way you can, like finding a new tropical-theme computer screensaver and smoothing on some coconut-scented hand lotion. "It helps induce the conditioned response of being on vacation, and makes you feel same degree of relaxation and happiness as if you were on the beach or a cruise," says Alan Hirsch, MD, founder of the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago.
Juice yourself. Two hours after lunch, it's time for a rejuvenating juice drink. Ericson's rec: pineapple, apple, cucumber, and ginger, ingredients that invigorate while aiding digestion.
Roll like a ball. To weave in some stretching, Pierce-Murray recommends taking a break for some simple Pilates exercises. "Pilates makes people present, fully awake and fully alert," she explains. Her rec: the "roll like a ball" exercise, which you can do on any rug or thick mat that protects your spine. To make it more challenging, once you stop rolling, lift your feet up and balance.
Get physical. If you've been sitting all day, you'll want to do something more physically active after work, like take an active yoga or Spinning class. "Spinning is great because the instructor uses uplifting music and takes you on a mental journey," says Pierce-Murray. Plus you get a great cardio workout and the motivation of a group, while still controlling your pace and the bike's resistance levels.
If a class feels like too much, try going for a walk with your iPod -- and listen to your favorite music, says Kesten. However, "Be realistic about your life and lifestyle, what's possible and what isn't. People get overly ambitious and fall short. If you hate exercise, you could do fine with a walk around the block. It's about turning inward to make decisions about what's gratifying and satisfying for you."
Up your antioxidants. Emotional and physical stress of any kind increases the production of free radicals, which can take a toll on our cells. So Ericson enriches her meal plan with as many antioxidants as possible, which help neutralize free radicals and prevent cell damage.
For dinner, try grilled skinless chicken breast (3 ounces) with a side of quinoa (1/2 cup) and broccoli (1 cup).
For dessert, try organic nonfat plain Greek style yogurt (1 cup) with organic berries (1/2 cup) and flaxseed (1 tablespoon).
Greek style yogurt is higher in protein and lower in sugar, especially when you get plain and sweeten it yourself. And flaxseed adds fiber and omega 3s, which are important for decreasing inflammation, a "stress effect" and the root cause of chronic diseases like irritable bowel syndrome, joint pain, heart disease, and diabetes.
Get inspired. Read to yourself for at least a half hour. "It can be anything that inspires you, like the Dalai Lama's Happiness," says Pierce-Murray, "but it's really important to our well-being."
Aum your lullaby. Take 10 minutes to decompress with the help of the vibratory sound of "aum." "If you practice saying the sound 'aum' over and over, it works as a breathing exercise and focuses your mind, which creates a form of meditation," says Pierce-Murray. "You'll feel the sound resonate in your stomach, chest, and forehead area -- which together helps stimulate the endocrine glands, also important for detoxifying and rejuvenating."
Day 2: Weekend Schedule
Let yourself sleep in! Sleep is critical for our immune function and our psychological well-being, says Dr. Teitelbaum. "The average night sleep has dropped from nine hours a night to six and a half over the course of 100 years." So by all means, take nine hours if you feel like it!
Pick your pleasure. Take 20 minutes to focus on the activity you like best: breathing or stretching. Practice several sun salutation yoga stretches or deep, relaxed breathing.
Breakfast. Eat mindfully -- since it's Saturday, you can take more time for breakfast and focus on meditative eating. The goal is to slow down and be more aware of your food, appreciating all of its benefits.
Ericson's recommendation: a vegetable omelet (one whole egg plus one egg white) with half a cup of sliced tomatoes, onions, and kale. Onions have important anti-inflammatory properties, while kale offers a concentrated source of calcium and antioxidants. Both are great for lowering stress levels. Pair the omelet with a slice of dry whole wheat toast and a medium-size orange.
Focus on breathing. As you go through your weekend to-do list, focus on inhaling deeper and exhaling longer, expanding your rib cage and standing up straight. This way you'll let the oxygen completely fill your lungs and circulate better through your system.
Snack smart. Take a break for whole-grain crackers and hummus (1/3 cup), which offers protein, fiber, and folate, a key ingredient for heart health.
Mini massage. For a quick pick-me-up, take your thumb and forefinger and massage the outer part of your ears. "This will stimulate all the acupuncture points," says Dr. Teitelbaum, "and give you a quick energy boost."
Lunch smartly. Ericson recommends grilled salmon salad with organic leafy greens (2 cups), organic strawberries (1 cup), and almonds (1 ounce). Squeeze lemon over it and add extra virgin olive oil. The almonds and olive oil are rich with de-stressing nutrients and contain the good fats that keep you fuller longer.
Get out and have fun. If you've been planning on going somewhere today -- running errands at the post office, for instance, or meeting a friend for coffee -- try to get there without the use of a car or public transportation. Walking, biking, jogging, or rollerblading will all get your blood flowing and get you to your final destination.
Bring your snack. Feeling an energy dip? Try dried unsweetened apricots (6) with low-fat cottage cheese (1/2 cup). The combo of carbs and protein will help fill you up while keeping blood sugar and energy levels stable.
Afternoon nap. Rest is one of the most important ingredients for rejuvenation. Transport yourself to the spa with a few simple tricks: Dab some lavender oil on a slightly wet towel and toss it in the dryer for 10 minutes on high heat. When you're ready to nap, place a pillow under your knees and another at your lower back, then drape yourself in the warm towel. Add cucumber slices over your eyes, and you'll be ready to let all your worries drift away.
Go Mexican. Get your protein for minimal calories with this easy dinner: Black beans (1/2 cup), brown rice (1/2 cup), fresh salsa, and guacamole (2 tablespoons). You may think you're missing something, but this is actually a well-balanced meal rich in antioxidants, fiber, healthy fat, and two ingredients that are lacking in most women's diets: iron and magnesium.
Dessert! Even at Canyon Ranch, desserts are part of the plan, like a colorful scoop of sorbet -- it's light, hydrating, and easy.
Get off the couch. Look for a dance class or head to an upbeat live music concert that gets your feet moving. Dancing is not only a great social activity, but it also helps build your stamina, bump your heart rate up, and get your endorphins going.
"You simply can't keep yourself from dancing when there is live music," says Pierce-Murray.
Tea time. Make yourself some chamomile tea and bring your inspiring book to bed with you, along with two more cucumber slices for your eyes.
Sleep in. You've earned yourself a deep calm and a good night's sleep, with no alarm clock setting. So let your thoughts float away and the sleep wash over you. Says Pierce-Murray: "The deeper you can relax and let go, the deeper the healing."
Continuing the Calm
When the two days are up, check in with yourself psychologically --- how do you feel, and what were the benefits of your plan? What worked for you and what didn't? Which of the exercises and changes can you keep incorporating into your daily life? "If you're staying with bad habits, ask yourself what you're getting out of it," says Kesten. "Decide to make changes, then envision what it will look like to continue making them."
Most importantly, home in on the activities and meals you enjoyed most over the two days and recruit your favorite buddies to join you for more of them. "Joseph Campbell had it right when he said 'follow your bliss,'" says Dr. Teitelbaum. "Do what feels good so you stick with it. Use your will power to get out there and show up, and once you're there, just have fun!"
Monday, January 3, 2011
This Saturday, January 8th, we will be hosting our warehouse sale from 10am-4pm at our facilities in Bethpage, NY. It is a once a year event you will not want to miss. Please come down to receive the lowest pricing you will get from us all year. For more information, check out the flyer below and for even more additional details contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 516-346-4370. Hope to see you there!