Website: Children's Harnesses by Elaine, Inc.
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Showing posts with label Health and Well Being. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Health and Well Being. Show all posts

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Support a local store in your community and support people with mental illness

Today I made time to visit a local second hand store that I've been meaning to get to before I finished the book I was reading. And since I finished my book last night, today was the day.

The second hand store has soft cover novels for 25 cents each. Every time I scan the shelves I see books I've donated. Today I found 3 to bring home and when I paid I told the ladies that since I treat their shop like a library, I'd likely be bringing these back when I finished.

This particular store employs people with mental illness. It's a small shop with limited wall and floor space but they display very nicely a variety of clothes, kitchen items, bedding, knickknacks, etc. and in the back they have their book section with a few chairs to encourage lingering or for those who want to try on some shoes. The staff are warm and welcoming and quickly assisted by one supervisor if they happen to have difficulty helping a customer.

Chances are good there is a similar store in your community. You may have to search it out; places like this spend their donations and sales revenue supporting people with mental illness and not on things like advertising. If and when you have time, wander into some second hand shops you haven't visited before. Take your donations with you; clothes the kids have outgrown, books you've finished, sweaters you don't like any more. If you spend a few minutes looking around, chances are good you'll find some new treasures to take home. And the money you leave behind may end up helping someone in ways you didn't expect. 

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Migraine management

If you didn't choose your parents carefully, you likely inherited their tendency for migraines. Even a history on one side of your family will tip the odds against you.

If you suffer from migraines, this won't be news to you. When you've been stricken with illness you've likely taken an inventory of your parents, aunts, uncles, even grandparents and in your mind pointed a shaking finger in their direction and thought "This is your doing".

Whereas a family history of migraines will increase your likelihood of experiencing them, it's the triggers that we sufferers need to identify. Prevention is key.
  • pay attention to what your body is telling you. Your body likely gives you a number of signals before a migraine begins. You may have that particular 'sick' feeling, you may see flashing lights (even hours or the day before). Be attentive. It's likely too late to prevent the migraine but at least you'll have time to get yourself set up to deal with it. 
  • if a migraine takes you by surprise, look at the previous few days. Did you over-exert yourself? Are you particularly tired? Did you eat something unusual? Did you not eat when you needed to? Be critical and try to think of anything and everything that was out of your normal pattern. Your latest episode was caused by something and it's important to figure out what. 
  • triggers can change over time. For me, this was indeed an upsetting and unexpected revelation. One thing the doctors fail to mention to new Moms is that along with a new baby, the mother may also get a new body. Sure you look the same on the outside, but all your inner workings that were turned upside down to make the baby may not reset to The Normal You. All sorts of inconveniences like depression, psychosis, suicide and infanticide may bubble up thanks to hormone levels that neglected to reset to Default post delivery. Sleep disruption and foods that never caused migraines in the past may now be triggers so no, you're not losing your mind, you just need to learn your triggers all over again.
  • along the same theme, fluctuating hormone levels can also be the culprit. Changing hormone levels may never have caused you grief in the past but now you may find yourself with a migraine in the middle of your month AND when your cycle starts. There are specific medications for migraine sufferers to combat one type of hormone spike but not both so if you get migraines twice a month, you're on your own. But once through menopause, you should be in the clear. 
  • watch for chemicals, bacteria and hormones in your food. Yogurt that you've been eating for years may now have you bedridden if you chance a spoonful. Preservatives in store-bought cookies that give them a shelf life of 10 years may now have you reaching for your pills. Remember that migraines are caused by something so if you don't know what that something is, put your food diary and your migraine diary together and think that Anything could be the culprit. It took me months to figure out the yogurt I was eating was causing the problem because the company had changed their recipe when they changed their packaging. But since I'd been eating that yogurt for years, it never occurred to me that it would be a problem now. 
  • migraines DO occur in children! Keep a close eye on your kids if they tell you they have a headache and don't feel well. If you have first-hand experience with migraines, one look and you'll know if they are experiencing the same. Tell your child's doctor about the episode next time you're in. Don't let the doctor blow you off and tell you you're wrong "because migraines are extremely rare in children". Make sure the incident is recorded in your child's medical chart, it's important to have a history.
Every day without a headache is a blessing, a reason to celebrate that right here right now I don't have pain in my head or nausea in my stomach. In the meantime, keep your supply of Advil gel caps extra strength liquid migraine pills, 400mg, handy. It takes 20 minutes for the medication to get into your system and take the edge off that crack in your head. Tomorrow will hopefully be better.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Our words are numbered. I make mine count

Each and every one of us will speak a finite number of words in our lifetimes.

We will write a finite number of words.

We all die. And when we die we no longer speak, we no longer write. It's over. Those words could be totaled. It's a finite number.

What if all the words we ever spoke or wrote were sorted and piled up around us when our spirits left our bodies? How big a pile would the Dishonest Words be? How big a pile would the Swear Words be? What about Hurtful Words? What about the piles for Words of Kindness, Encouragement, Sympathy and Understanding?

If I take an inventory at this point in my life, I can tell you I haven't added to the Swear Words pile in a long time. I have my husband to thank for getting me out of that habit. Lately I've been adding heaps to the Kindness and Understanding piles. I'm not a 20-something any more and when I think back to the words I've caste around in my life, I'm ashamed to admit that the Love and Encouragement piles aren't as big as they should be. But I'm working on those and every day they grow to overshadow their more Hurtful Cousins.

In this day and age of anonymous internet, Dishonest Words can be flung around with glee and abandon behind fabricated identities, the owner never imagining that those Dishonest Words carry their DNA and maybe, just maybe, are being added to a pile with their name on it. I read an excellent article a while ago and the author referred to these people as Trolls, intent only on causing harm to others.

I consider myself incredibly fortunate. I haven't met any Trolls on the internet. I have wonderful and amazing customers who care deeply about their children. I love my business and I love helping others. Sure I've had someone here or there take advantage of me, but all of us can say that.

What matters is how we treat others. What we say, what we type, how we say it. Our words are numbered. I'm not going to throw any more of mine on the Hurtful pile.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Vitamins, Minerals and Supplements. How much is too much?

If you stroll down the isle at the local drug store past all the vitamins, minerals and supplements for sale you'd think there were no nutrients at all in the foods we eat. And whether it's successful marketing on their part or guilt on our part, chances are good that some of those bottles are sitting on our breakfast tables right now. Not only that, but after consuming those pills we have florescent pee for the rest of the day as most of those vitamins pass right through our systems.

Recently I heard a commentary on the radio by a doctor who said that taking a multivitamin probably isn't necessary if you're someone who doesn't have an immuno-compromised condition. But if it makes you feel better (as in The Placebo Effect) then there's no harm in doing so.

Vitamins, minerals and supplements are not cheap, even when you buy them on sale. Chances are good there's between $60 and $80 worth of pills keeping you company each morning when you sit down for breakfast. Are all of them necessary? Are any of them there for the placebo effect only? Are you using any of them as a substitute for real food; "I had my multivitamin so I can eat this bag of chips"?

In the area of health and food, I'll never cut corners. But given the amount of vitamins that pass through my  system unabsorbed when I take these pills, I'm now looking at my collection of bottles with a critical eye.

What will stay?  

Vitamin D, 1000 IUs. Research that was out last year indicated that we need to bump up our intake from previous levels of 250 IUs to maintain strong bones and teeth. And since some of us in these Canadian climes aren't getting that amount of vitamin D naturally from sunlight throughout the year, I'll keep my little white pills.

Glucosamine, 500mg, shellfish free. When I was running 100+km/wk a friend of mine suggested glucosamine to help maintain the integrity of my joints. Even when I was doing higher mileage for extended periods of time, I remained injury free. I can't attribute that definitively to the glucosamine but it's got such a great reputation with the arthritis crowd that I'm hedging my bets it will help me maintain healthy joints as I age.

Calcium Carbonate, 500mg.This will remain for a couple of reasons: osteoporosis is a nasty disease and whatever steps we can take to prevent it's arrival, so much the better. Even if the calcium from this pill is only partially absorbed, a little is better than nothing. Second reason; sources of calcium that I enjoyed so much in the past (yogurt, cheese, ice cream, frozen yogurt) have become migraine triggers so it's much more difficult for me to obtain a good amount of calcium naturally.

What will go?

Multivitamin. I'm not immuno-compromised and I will admit I sometimes use the multivitamin as a crutch. Ok, I'll say it. I don't always eat properly.

B100 Complex Time Release. This was an expensive bottle of pills that I bought as a trial to see if it would make a difference in my energy levels. We don't eat a lot of meat so it makes sense that we could be low in our vitamin B department. But time is up with this time release product because for me personally, it's had no effect.

Our bodies were designed to absorb what they need from the food that we eat. Lest we forget our primary source of vitamins and minerals, I'm opting to spend less time starting at the bottles in the drug store and more time staring at the fruits and vegetables at the grocery store. And rather than researching the amounts of nutrients in 3 different types of lettuce, I'll keep to the rule that keeps it simple for all of us:

Eat foods of different colour.