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Weight Loss, Allergy Treatment, Sleep Position, Surgery, and More


Snoring is a sneaky bedfellow. You may not even realize you do it. It may not come to your attention until a bed partner throws an elbow into your ribs in the night. If you sleep by yourself, it can go unnoticed for years. If you do snore, what important symptoms or conditions could coexist with it? What are the most effective treatment options? When should you see a doctor about your snoring? Learn the answers to these questions as you discover solutions to snoring.


Symptoms Associated with Snoring

Snoring occurs when the tissues of the upper airway vibrate due to turbulent airflow through the nose and throat. It is, quite simply, the sound of vibration. Nevertheless, it can become quite loud when the airway is especially unstable during sleep. If the soft tissues more fully collapse into the airway – leading to obstruction, drops in blood oxygen levels, and sleep fragmentation with awakenings – this is sleep apnea. The two conditions often coexist.

Infrequent, light snoring may not be a problem. It may contribute to dry mouth at night. It may occur with nasal congestion from a cold or allergies. Snoring may be worsened by sleep position (sleeping on the back is worst) and alcohol. It may worsen as we get older and lose muscle tone along the airway. For women, menopause may significantly increase the incidence and severity.

Though typically benign, if snoring progresses to sleep apnea, however, this may be more serious.

Sleep apnea is associated with daytime sleepiness, getting up to pee at night, teeth grinding, and other symptoms. It may contribute to other health problems, including hypertension, diabetes, atrial fibrillation, heart failure, heart attack, and stroke.

It should be noted that chronic snoring in children is never normal and should be evaluated further.


Treatment Options for Snoring

There are various treatment options available to remedy isolated snoring. These range from home remedies, over-the-counter medicines, and strips to prescription medications, surgery, and medical equipment like CPAP. Explore the options and discover what might help you to breathe and sleep better:


  • Stop smoking.

Smoking cigarettes is clearly linked to an increased risk of snoring. If you smoke, the first thing you should do is quit. You will reduce airway irritation and swelling and benefit your overall health.


  • Stay off your back.

Sleeping on your back invariably worsens snoring. Try to keep to your sides. Consider the use of positional therapy, including a tennis ball t-shirt, Night Shift, or the Zzoma positional device.


  • Swallow a little olive oil.

This home remedy makes some sense and actually works for some people. By swallowing a little olive oil (perhaps a teaspoon) before going to bed, you may effectively lubricate the tissues of your throat. This may prevent vibration of the tissues and reduce snoring.

It is safe to try and may benefit your heart health as well.


  • Reduce your alcohol intake.

Alcohol is a muscle relaxant. It causes the tissues of the throat to relax as well. This can contribute to your risk of both snoring and sleep apnea. Therefore, it is recommended that you avoid consuming alcohol for several hours before bedtime.


  • Use nasal saline sprays and rinses.

One of my favorite options is to increase the moisture with the nose and clear out congestion. This is a great way to reduce snoring from nasal obstruction. It is possible to clear out allergens that contribute to allergic rhinitis or hay fever. This can be accomplished by rinsing the nasal passage and sinuses with saline water from a neti pot or similar container. It is possible to make your own mix of salt and baking soda, or you can buy pre-made mixes. Alternatively, you can purchase saline spray applications from squirt bottles (Ocean Air, Ocean Spray, Simply Saline, etc.). These are very inexpensive and can be purchased for less than $5 to $10 at nearly any pharmacy aisle. You can use these rinses and sprays as often as you like. There is no risk of side effects, other than a runny nose.


  • Try Breathe Right nasal strips.

Another option available over-the-counter are the Breathe Right nasal strips. Much like a band aid, these sticky strips lift the bridge of your nose. If the obstruction is relieved, snoring may subside. Some people find the adhesive too harsh, and it may damage skin on older people.


  • Consider Theravent Snore Therapy.

Developed as an alternative to CPAP (and sold as Provent), these adhesive strips secure a micro-valve inside your nostrils that prevent full exhalation. Gradually, air builds up and creates a pressure that could theoretically stabilize the tissues of the airway and reduce snoring. Unfortunately, if the mouth comes open, the built up air escapes. At a cost of about $1 per day, it might be worth a try, but it doesn’t have a very proven track record.


  • Focus on weight loss.

Losing weight if you are overweight or obese may reduce the crowding of the airway. This can improve snoring and reduce your risk of sleep apnea.


  • Treat allergies with steroid nasal sprays and other medications.

If you suffer from seasonal allergies, consider using steroid nasal sprays to relieve your symptoms. With less congestion, you may also snore less. Options include Flonase, Nasonex, Astelin, Zetonna, and others. There is also now an over-the-counter option called Nasacort. Other oral medications to treat allergies can also be helpful, including prescription Singulair as well as over-the-counter Allegra, Claritin, and Zyrtec.


  • Raise the head of your bed.

By raising the head of the bed by as much as 30 degrees, you can counteract the effects of gravity on the airway. An adjustable bed or simply propping yourself on pillows or a sleeping wedge may be helpful. It is also possible to raise the entire bed by putting the headboard end up on cinder blocks or stacked books.


  • Avoid the chinstrap.

You may see products available that are like a fabric chinstrap that supports your jaw and keeps your mouth closed. This may prevent mouth breathing, but what if you are breathing through your mouth because you need to? This is a bad idea and these devices are not recommended.


  • Do some tongue exercises.

There is some evidence that myofunctional therapy can improve the strength of the muscles lining the airway. This can reduce snoring and decrease sleep apnea severity. Unfortunately, it is recommended that 45 minutes per day be spent with the exercises, which is not very likely for most people. There are also studies that suggest learning to play a woodwind instrument (such as the didgeridoo) may be similarly helpful.


  • Get an oral appliance from your dentist.

There are numerous oral appliances that are sold to reduce snoring. These fit in the mouth like a bite guard, and most work by shifting the lower jaw forward and opening up the airway. The inexpensive ones typically don't fit as well and may not be comfortable or even work. The oral appliances made by a dentist are fitted to your teeth, can cost thousands of dollars, and may not be covered by insurance.


  • If you have sleep apnea, use a CPAP.

For those people who have both snoring and obstructive sleep apnea (and many do), continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) can be a highly effective treatment. It works to deliver a constant flow of air that stabilizes the airway and prevents both vibration and collapse of these tissues. It is covered by insurance and may have other additional health benefits.


  • Consider your surgical treatment options.

There are a number of surgeries that are performed to treat snoring. In the past, the pillar procedure and uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) were popular options. The former involves the implantation of artificial stabilizers in the soft palate and the latter included the surgical removal of the uvula and part of the soft palate. These procedures may only be effective in some people. Additional options include nasal surgery, including radiofrequency ablation of the nasal turbinates and straightening of the nasal septum through septoplasty. In children, and rare adults, tonsillectomy can also be effective to relieve snoring.


  • See a sleep specialist.

If you have snoring that is bothersome or if you have symptoms suggestive or possible sleep apnea, start by speaking with a sleep specialist about your treatment options. You should be able to find a solution that leaves both you and those around you sleeping better.



Kryger, M.H. et al. "Principles and Practice of Sleep Medicine." ExpertConsult, 5th edition, 2011.

Published in Newsletter Articles


When it comes to personalizing your PC the biggest decision is what to use for your desktop background. Some people like to use a single image, while others (depending on your version of Windows) opt for a slideshow-style background that constantly changes.

Whatever your preference, here's how to change your desktop background in Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 10. 







2. Right-Click on an Open Digital Image


There are several ways to change the desktop background on your computer, and the way you choose may depend on which version of Windows you have.


The easiest way to make the change on any version of Windows is to open your favorite digital image, right-click on it, and from the context menu choose Set as desktop background.


In Windows 10, however, this process is slightly different since you can set an image as more than just your desktop background. When you double-click on an image in Windows 10 it opens in the built-in Photos app. Just as with other versions of Windows right-click on the image, but then choose Set as > Set as background. A small change, but one worth knowing about.


3. Right-Click on an Image File



Even if the image is not open you can still make it your background image. From File Explorer (aka Windows Explorer in Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7) right-click on the image file you want to use, and then from the context menu select Set as desktop background.


4. Personalize Your Desktop


For Windows XP:

Right-click an empty area on the desktop, select Properties from the context menu, then click on the Desktop Tab and select an image from the available ones listed in the scroll window.


For Windows Vista or Windows 7:

Right-click on the desktop, click Personalize, click Desktop Background and select an image from the available ones (using the drop-down menu, the Browse button or select an image in the viewer). Click "OK" when finished.



For Windows 10:



Right-click an empty area on the desktop once again and select Personalize from the context menu. This will open the Settings window. Alternatively you could go to Start > Settings > Personalization > Background


Either way, you'll end up in the same place. Now, select the image you want from the ones offered under "Choose your picture," or click Browse to find another image saved to your PC. 


5. Windows 10 Slideshow


If you'd rather see a slideshow on your desktop background instead of a single, static image navigate once again to Start > Settings > Personalization > Background. Then in the drop down menu under "Background" select Slideshow


A new option will appear directly below the drop down menu called "Choose albums for your slideshow." By default, Windows 10 will choose your Pictures album. If you'd like to change that to, say, a folder in OneDrive click the Browse button, and then navigate to your folder of choice via File Explorer. 


Once you've found what you want click Choose this folder.


One last tweak you'll want to know about is that you can set how often your slideshow changes. You can choose to swap pictures every minute or just once a day. The default is every 30 minutes. Look for the drop down menu under "Change picture every" to adjust this setting. 


A little lower down in the same settings window you'll also see options to shuffle your pictures, and to allow slideshows while on battery power--the default is to turn desktop background slideshows off in order to conserve power.


If you have a multi-monitor set-up, Windows will automatically select a different image for each display.



6. Different images for dual monitors



Here's the quick and easy way to get two different images on two different monitors. Open a folder with the two images you want, and then hold down the Ctrl button while you left-click each image. This lets you select two specific files even if they're not right next to each other.


Now right-click and select Set as desktop background once again. That's it, you've got two images ready to go. Windows 10 automatically sets these two images as a slideshow, which swaps monitors every 30 minutes--a setting that you can change as we saw above. 


Another time, we'll look at how you can set two different images on two different monitors in static mode so that they never switch.





Published in Newsletter Articles


On home or public wireless networks, your Wi-Fi connection might drop unexpectedly for no obvious reason. This kind of networking problem is especially frustrating. It's also more common than you might think. Fortunately, solutions exist. Consult this checklist to determine why it is happening and how to prevent it.










1. Wi-Fi Radio Interference

Radio signals from various consumer electronic products can interfere with Wi-Fi wireless network signals. For example, cordless phones, Bluetooth devices, garage door openers and microwave ovens can each take down a Wi-Fi network connection when powered on. You can move your network equipment or (on home networks) change some Wi-Fi radio settings to avoid this problem.

  •     Change the Wi-Fi Channel to Avoid Interference
  •     Position Your Router / Access Point for Best Performance



2. Insufficient Wi-Fi Network Range and Power


Even without interference from other equipment, Wi-Fi connections can drop occasionally on devices located near the edge of the network's wireless signal range. Wi-Fi links generally become more unstable with distance. Relocating your computer or other gear is a simple but not always practical solution. Otherwise, consider antenna upgrades and other techniques to improve wireless signal transmission and reception.

  •     Position Your Router / Access Point for Best Performance
  •     How Can the Range of a Wi-Fi Network Be Boosted?


3. Unknowingly Connecting to the Wrong Wi-Fi Network

If two neighboring locations run unsecured Wi-Fi networks with the same name (SSID), your devices may connect to the wrong network without your knowledge. This can cause the interference and range problems described above. Additionally, in this scenario your computers will lose connection whenever the neighbor network is turned off, even if your preferred one remains functional. Take proper security measures to ensure your computers connect to the right network.

  • Improve Wireless Network Security


4. Network Driver or Firmware Upgrade Required


Each computer connected to a Wi-Fi network utilizes a small piece of software called the device driver. The Wi-Fi network device driver controls various functions of the Wi-Fi hardware. Network routers contain related technology called firmware. Network drivers and firmware can both become obsolete over time. Upgrading (over installing) newer versions of these things can sometimes fix network connection problems. Get free upgrades from the manufacturer's Web sites.

  • Upgrade Router / Access Point Firmware



5. Incompatible Software Packages Installed


Wi-Fi network connections may start failing on a computer due to incompatible software installed and running there. This includes operating system patches, operating system services, and other software that modifies the networking capabilities of the operating system. Keep records of each time you install or upgrade software on your computers, and be prepared to uninstall any incompatible software you've added recently.



6. Overloading / Overheating the Wireless Access Point


Owners of some wireless routers (and other types of wireless access points) have reported dropped connections during times of heavy network utilization. This can occur during, for example, online gaming or while copying large files. Routers can, in theory, become overloaded with too much data and fail temporarily. If a router's temperature increases too much, it may also fail until cooled. Install routers (access points) in places with good airflow. Exchange the router for a different unit if the current one doesn't support your usage patterns.




Published in Newsletter Articles


Primary school children need age-appropriate information about bodies, puberty, sex and reproduction. This is not one big talk, but lots of little conversations repeated. 

Puberty brings about dramatic physical and emotional changes that may be frightening to an unprepared child. Your talks will need to include topics such as the stages of sexual development, what to expect during puberty, sexual responsibility and relationships. 







Understanding your child’s sexual development

It is more common to hear parents swapping stories about children’s first teeth and first steps than it is to hear about a child’s sexual development. This is understandable, as it is often seen as a very personal aspect of a person’s growth and development. Yet this lack of general knowledge about what is ‘normal’ sexual development can lead to unnecessary anxiety about children’s interest in nudity, ‘rude’ things and sex. 

It is important to understand the stages of sexual development your child is likely to go through at different ages and what you can do to help them adjust to the changes they will experience. Parents are often relieved to hear that helping their child towards a happy, healthy sexuality does not come from any ‘one big talk’ that must be word perfect. 


Talking with children about sex

Sex education for a primary school child mostly occurs in the way we talk about body parts and body functions, how we teach children to care for, respect and protect their bodies, and when we prepare our children for puberty. Choosing the right age to answer questions such as ‘Where do I come from?’ and ‘What is sex?’ is more about how comfortable your family feels talking about such topics, rather than there being a perfect time. 

Many children will have asked the question by the time they reach school. By grade three, they will have a keen interest and will have formulated some kind of theory. Many children will also have made the link between reproduction and sexual pleasure, and will be entering into schoolyard speculation and curiosity.

Talking about these issues shows children that they can talk with trusted adults. Families lay the groundwork for children to feel okay about their bodies and body functions, and to feel confident to ask questions and seek help.

School programs are vital to support this process. Developing good sexuality education programs shows that the community takes responsibility for this aspect of children’s growth and development. If families and schools won’t take the subject on, children will turn to other sources of information that may not be reliable, such as friends, the Internet or the media.


Normal sexual development of a primary school child

Don’t be horrified or alarmed if your child has an interest in sexual issues or displays certain sexual behaviours – this is completely normal. In the primary school years, typical behaviours can include:

  • They become modest and embarrassed about being naked in front of their parents.
  • They start gravitating towards same-sex friends and may complain about ‘girl germs’ or ‘boy germs’ when speaking of the opposite sex.
  • Games with other children could include kissing games and marriage role-play.
  • Children are curious about gender differences, sexual intercourse and pregnancy, and may discuss these issues among themselves with varying degrees of accuracy.
  • Sex play that began in a child’s earlier years, such as ‘playing doctor’, may continue because children of this age are interested in knowing more.

General suggestions

Suggestions on talking to your preteen about sexual issues include:

  • Don’t wait for your child to ask questions. If they haven’t said anything to you by the time they are 10, it is likely that shyness or embarrassment will stop them from this point on.
  • Some children may feel more modest by age six and might want privacy in the bathroom. This is a good chance to make sure they know that they can say ‘no’ to touching that they do not want.
  • Masturbation is normal and healthy for children and may start long before puberty begins. Children just need to know that it is something to do in private.
  • Many parents begin to talk about conception when their children are still pre-schoolers. Certainly it is important to start the conversation by the time they are eight or nine. If your child hasn’t asked, you could try starting with a question such as: ‘Have you ever wondered how you were born?’ Look for opportunities to introduce the conversation – for example, you may choose to use a book or to comment on a pregnant relative.
  • Some girls will begin breast development and periods at age eight. By age nine, start a conversation with boys and girls about ‘growing up’ and changing bodies.
  • Don’t assume that the lengthy talks you have already had have stuck. You will need to go back to topics (in fact, this is the best way to create open communication).
  • Make sure your child knows who they can talk to about embarrassing personal ‘stuff’. Talk with them about who they would talk to if they needed an adult’s ear but were reluctant to come to you.
  • Find out what sexuality education your child’s primary school provides and support them in the provision of age-appropriate information.

The changes of puberty

Puberty brings about dramatic physical and emotional changes that may be frightening to an unprepared child. It can be reassuring for children to learn when their family members started noticing changes in themselves. Talk about how you felt and how you managed tricky situations like periods or wet dreams. 

Suggestions include:

  • Start talking about puberty-type issues at age nine.
  • If you are unsure or unclear about the changes of puberty, find out.
  • Use age-appropriate sex education materials, such as books, to help explain to your child what changes they will undergo.
  • Girls can start their periods as young as eight years old. Make sure they know what to expect. Show them what tampons and sanitary pads look like and, as the time approaches, equip them with a ‘pad pack’ for their school bag.
  • Boys need to know about unwanted erections and wet dreams before they happen, so that these occurrences don’t alarm them.
  • Inform girls about male pubertal changes, and boys about female pubertal changes.

The biology of sex and reproduction

Suggestions include:

  • Be honest and truthful. If your child asks ‘Why do men and women have sex?’ don’t just answer ‘To make babies’. Explain that people also have sex because they enjoy it and it feels good.
  • If they ask about same-sex relationships, tell them that some people have sex with people of the same sex.
  • Use age-appropriate materials, such as books, to help explain the issues.
  • The Hormone Factory is a website aimed at 10 to 12 year olds that explains puberty, sexual intercourse and sexual issues in a clear, light-hearted way. You could browse through the website together, clarifying any questions your child may have.

Personal safety and wellbeing skills for children

Children need to learn important skills and knowledge to help protect their personal safety and wellbeing. You can help:

  • Teach your child the names of the sexual parts of the body and body functions – this helps them to communicate more clearly and contributes to their safety and wellbeing.
  • Help them to learn online safety skills – the ThinkUKnow website has an Internet safety program that provides advice for parents.
  • Maintain an environment in which your child feels safe talking about their feelings and problems.
  • Encourage your child to know they can decide who touches them.
  • Help them to identify a network of support, including teachers, who they can turn to.
  • Teach your child about secret touch – this is most effective and easily understood by children using language such as: ‘It’s not OK for an adult or older person to touch a private part of your body for no reason and ask you to keep it a secret.’

Feelings and relationships

Suggestions include:

  • Think about your own moral, ethical and religious sexual standards so that you can better explain your point of view to your child. It may help to discuss these issues first with your partner.
  • If you have firm views about sexual issues, now is the time to start talking to your child about them. Be prepared for the possibility that your child may agree with you now, but over time, may either accept or reject your point of view.
  • Stress that relationships are about respecting yourself and the other person and having consideration for your partner’s feelings.
  • Discuss sex in its wider context, as an important part of adult life that includes long-term relationships and families.

What to do if you feel uncomfortable

You may have found that discussing sex with your child was OK in their preschool years, but the extra detail required as your child gets older feels too embarrassing to talk about. Perhaps you’ve been waiting so long for the ‘right time’ that you haven’t talked to your child about sex at all. 

Suggestions include:

  • Use materials to help you get started – find some age-appropriate materials, such as books or videos, and look through them with your child.
  • Be honest if you feel embarrassed – if you can’t face talking about sex, provide the materials and let your child look through them alone. If your child has questions for you, try your best to answer them. If you are too shy, explain this to your child.
  • Use the Internet – log on to a good website like The Hormone Factory. You could browse through the website together, clarifying any questions your child may have.
  • Ask someone else – you could ask a trusted relative or friend to talk to your child in your place.
  • Explain your own attitudes – keep in mind that your child won’t know about your morals, values and beliefs unless you tell them.


Source: Better Health Channel



Published in Newsletter Articles


When talking to your kids about sex, make sure the conversation is age-appropriate.


Explain things in a way that your child can understand, given their age.


Don’t think you have to cover everything at once. Younger kids are interested in pregnancy and babies, rather than the act of sex.


Read our tips for parents about sex education and why sex education is important.


Every child is different, but here is a rough guide to what children should be able to understand about sex and reproduction at different ages.



Infancy: Up to two years 


Toddlers should be able to name all the body parts including the genitals. Most two-year-olds know the difference between male and female, and can usually figure out if a person is male or female. 



Early childhood: Two to five years old

Children should understand the very basics of reproduction: a man and a woman make a baby together, and the baby grows in the woman’s uterus. 


Children should understand their body is their own. Teach them about privacy around body issues. They should know other people can touch them in some ways but not other ways. 



Middle childhood: Five to eight years old


Children should have a basic understanding that some people are heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual. They should also know what the role of sexuality is in relationships. 


Children should know about the basic social conventions of privacy, nudity, and respect for others in relationships. 


Children should be taught the basics about puberty towards the end of this age span, as a number of children will experience some pubertal development before age 10. 


Children’s understanding of human reproduction​ should continue. This may include the role of sexual intercourse. 




Tween years: Nine to 12 years old


In addition to reinforcing all the things above they have already learned, tweens should be taught about safer sex and contraception. 


Tweens should understand what makes a positive relationship and what makes for a bad one.


Tweens should also learn to judge whether depictions of sex and sexuality in the media are true or false, realistic or not, and whether they are positive or negative.



Teenagers: 13 to 18 years old

Teens are generally very private people. However, if parents have spoken to their child early about sex increases the chance that teens will approach parents when difficult or dangerous things come up.


Source: About Kids Health



Published in Newsletter Articles

Learn how to make a simple origami handbag or clutch purse with these easy to follow step by step instructions:


Great accessories for dolls!


This traditional origami envelope or purse makes a great handbag too, just add a string or ribbon underneath the flap.


My daughter is using this for her barbies, this would also look great as an embellishment on a card or as part of an origami outfit.


You could also make a Cute Origami Bow! to go on the front.




Origami Handbag Instructions - Step 1

1. Start white side up.

2. Fold the paper in half to the left and unfold.

3. Fold the bottom edge up to the top.

4. Fold the right and left edges to the middle.



Origami Handbag Instructions - Step 2

5. Fold the flaps diagonally out to the sides as shown.

6. Unfold.

7. Open out a flap and squash it.

8. Repeat on the other side and flatten it all out nicely.



Origami Handbag Instructions - Step 3

9. Fold the top section of the front layer over and behind inside.

10. You should now have this.

11. Flip the model over to the other side, left to right.

12. Fold the left and right edges to the middle, you can leave a small gap.



Origami Handbag Instructions - Step 4

13. Fold the front flaps back out to meet the outer edges.

14. Fold both top left and top right corners inwards, both of the layers.

15. Open out one side.

16. Reverse the V shape at the top.



Origami Handbag Instructions - Step 5

17. Repeat on the other side and re fold the left and right sections.

18. Starting on the right, turn over the front layer and you'll be folding the left section underneath the little triangle that's behind it.

19. Use your fingers or a chopstick to poke the flap nicely underneath.

20. Repeat on the left side.



Origami Handbag Instructions - Step 6

21. Flip to the other side.

22. Fold the top down to the bottom.

You could leave a small gap if you want a more rounded purse/bag. If you want to add a ribbon just glue it along the fold.

If your flap is popping back up too much, stick it down or put it inside or underneath a heavy book overnight, it will flatten out.


Source: The Spruce


Published in Newsletter Articles

We all experience stress. And, just as stress comes from many areas of life, effective stress management comes from combating stress on many different fronts.

Part of a comprehensive stress relief plan involves finding ways to calm down quickly so you can more effectively manage stress as it comes while avoiding the negative effects of chronic stress. Another important way to relieve stress is to maintain healthy lifestyle habits.
Maintaining a balanced, healthy lifestyle is important for several reasons:

  1. Healthy lifestyle habits can also help you reverse your stress response, enabling you to avoid or even reverse the negative effects of chronic stress.
  2. Healthy lifestyle habits often bring additional benefits, such as an endorphin rush, a release of frustration, or added longevity.
  3. Many of the healthy lifestyle habits discussed here can also help you to become less reactive to stress in the long run, providing protection against stress you haven't even experienced yet!

While maintaining healthy habits is a bit more challenging than trying a stress relief method only once, the benefits you receive from maintaining a healthy lifestyle are more than worth the effort it takes to maintain it. The increases in health and wellness that you experience, and the reduction in stress, will make you wish you'd made these changes sooner, and can be wonderful sources of continued motivation.

Many people feel intimidated by making healthy lifestyle changes for a few reasons:

  1. There are so many changes that can benefit health and wellness that it's difficult to know where to start.
  2. People often try to make too many changes at once, then find it too difficult (or let perfectionism sabotage their efforts), and give up the effort.
  3. Let's face it: change is difficult, especially when you're stressed. Sometimes lifestyle stress takes over and diminishes momentum.

Given that living a healthy lifestyle can help with stress relief, and that making healthy lifestyle changes can be challenging, the following resources can help you with both choosing new goals for healthy living, and making these new goals a reality, and adopting new healthy habits into your lifestyle.


Healthy Lifestyle Choices

The following are some changes you can make to lead a healthier, less stressed lifestyle.


Healthy Eating
One of the most popular changes people like to make to live a healthy lifestyle is to eat differently. Because of the negative health consequences of obesity, the influence fitness has on our self-esteem, and the effects of nutrition on our stress levels and longevity, switching to a healthier diet brings some of the greatest benefits for wellness. Read about stress and weight gain, the interaction between stress and nutrition or the role of stress in emotional eating.


Regular Exercise
Getting regular exercise is another wonderful way to keep your weight in check, manage overall stress levels, and stay connected with others. Exercise can also help keep many health conditions at bay, and is well worth the effort. (The trick is to start gradually and work your way up.) Learn more about exercise for stress relief, and find exercise tips for busy people.


Quality Sleep
People often underestimate the importance of getting enough sleep, and getting the right type. However, lack of adequate sleep has many negative consequences--they're subtle but significant. Getting enough sleep isn't one of the most popular changes that people resolve to make, but it should be. Because stress can rob you of sleep, and because many of the techniques that promote sleep can also reduce stress (and vice versa), it's a very good idea to learn more about how stress affects sleep and how to get quality sleep when stressed.

These are the most popular changes to make, and the ones that, in my opinion, bring the best results. However, there are other changes you can make to reduce lifestyle stress as well, which also bring additional benefits. Read this for more ideas on building a low-stress lifestyle.


Source: verywell

Published in Newsletter Articles

Many people don’t think about stress management unless they’re already on the verge of burnout. With our busy lives, it doesn’t always seem obviously important to take on the practice of stress management before a worn-out body or an overly taxed psyche force the issue. However, developing healthy stress relieving habits really does pay off in the long run. Not only does a regular stress management practice stave off the negative effects of stress, but it can also bring positive outcomes like increased productivity, better health and more happiness in general.

The following are some reasons why:

  • Your Health: Excessive stress really can lead to poor health outcomes, from relatively minor things like headaches and digestion problems in the short run to major conditions like heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke after years of unmanaged stress. (Here’s a more complete list of stress related health problems, and a more detailed description of how stress affects your health.)
  • Your Looks: Many stress relievers can also make you healthier and even more attractive. For example, taking care of your body by getting enough sleep can make you more productive and healthier, and can help you better manage stress, as well as staving off dark circles under the eyes and a poor complexion. Also, eating right can keep your blood sugar levels even, keeping your emotions in check and making you more resilient to stress, as well as helping you stay in your ‘skinny jeans’ or favorite tee-shirts from college. Getting regular exercise can help you blow off steam when you’re frustrated and keep your body fit and toned.
  • Increased Productivity: Simply put, when you’re not stressed, you can be more productive because you’re more focused. Therefore, it really pays to keep stress to a minimum. Certain stress relief habits naturally make you more productive. Power napping, for example, can help you catch up on sleep and be more focused and productive, making less sleep stretch further. Being organized can also help you save time and money in the long run, reducing stress and helping you to be more productive in virtually every area of your life. Even limiting caffeine can help, improving your sleep and helping you feel less stressed at the end of the day. Finally, having the right attitude is actually a habit that can be learned. Being an optimist can benefit you in many areas of your life, helping you let failures roll off your back and actually enabling you to achieve more! 
  • Your Happiness: Some stress relief practices just bring more joy. If you want to enjoy life more, you’ll want to adopt some of these stress relievers, and the fun will come more easily. Caring for pets, enjoying music, dancing while you clean, working more laughter into your life, maintaining a supportive circle of friends, and even having sex are all fun activities that double as great stress relievers for various reasons. Read more about them and how they can help you, and remind yourself that you’re never too busy to include these activities in your lifestyle—they’re stress management techniques!
  • Your Stress Levels—Of Course!: The desire to avoid walking around feeling stressed-out is, in itself, a good reason to bone up on stress management. Certain general techniques that primarily just relieve stress (rather than serving some secondary function) are more than worth adopting because, when you’re less stressed, you enjoy life more. Some of the best stress management techniques available include meditation, journaling, PMR, guided imagery, and good old breathing exercises. Read more about the benefits of each, and choose a few to try, and you won’t have to let stress sap you of energy, productivity and enjoyment of life again!

Putting in the effort to learn effective strategies for stress relief and low-stress living will pay off in the long run. Because of this, stress management is among the most important subjects to learn!


Source: verywell

Published in Newsletter Articles

Does your child come home from school complaining about school lunch food? Do they complain that the food is tasteless? That it is greasy? That the food has changed to be healthier, or that the lunches are just plain gross? What do you do as a parent? You want your child to have access to and eat quality school lunches that are healthful and tasty. Here's what you can do:

1) Talk to Your Children About Healthy Food Choices 

If you want your children and teens to make good choices about what they eat, let them know it matters by talking to them about food choices.

Research studies have shown time and again that school children who eat balanced lunches learn better than children who do not eat lunch or do not eat a balanced lunch. 

2) Model Good Eating Habits at Home 

Children and teens pick up a lot of their thoughts and attitudes, even those towards food, from watching you, their parent. If you are eating healthy foods at home, your children and teens will understand the importance of eating healthy foods and be more likely to choose them at school.

Tastes for foods is developed in large part by learning and habit. If you have never tried a food, it can be scary to try something for the first time. If your child is not used to eating fruits and vegetables, the new larger servings of fruits and vegetables required under the Healthy and Hunger Free Kids Act will take some adjustments. If your children have already learned to like green vegetables, legumes, and fresh fruit, then your children will appreciate being offered these items at school.

When the new standards for more fruits and vegetables in school lunches were first implemented at the middle school where I worked at the time, there was an increase in kids who didn't want to eat all of their lunches. Over time, though, the children started to try the new fruits and veggies being offered.

soon many of the kids were happy to get a side of fresh broccoli and carrots. It just took a little time for the kids to get used to it. You can help speed up this process by providing healthy foods at home.

3) Explore Local Foods, Farms, and Gardens 

Everywhere you go in the US, different areas produce different foods. Historically, the US has a large agricultural background. Find out what foods are produced in the area where you live. Try visiting a local farm or growing a garden at home. Children and teenagers alike love getting the hands-on experience of growing or harvesting their own food. 

Some schools have even started school gardens that integrate hands-on learning outside with growing fruits or vegetables, which the school students get to eat. Programs like Farm to School also help provide funding for schools to buy produce from local farmers for school lunches. This provides support for local farmers while putting local foods right in the cafeteria of school children who then try locally grown healthy foods.

4) Look at the School Lunch Menus Together 

Sit down with your child and look at their school lunch menu. Ask your child which lunches they like the best and the least. If you notice foods on the menu that don't sound healthy, like pizza or french fries, look for information about the ingredients used and the methods used to prepare the food. Many school lunch rooms have found ways to incorporate healthy ingredients into traditionally high-calorie and nutrient-poor foods. New preparation methods may also lower fat and calorie content while retaining nutrients, like serving baked sweet potato fries instead of deep fried french fries.

5) Visit Your Child's School for Lunch 

Check with your child's school to see what policies they have about parents coming to eat lunch with their child. A lunch visit from a parent will let you see right into what your child's school day is really like. 

It also allows you to see exactly what the food and cafeteria are really like. If your child complains about school food, this will give you the chance to see first hand what is really served up by the school. If you are concerned that your child's school is still serving children unhealthy food despite the new standards for lunches and increased public concern about school lunch nutrition, a first-hand visit can let you know what is really being served and sold to children at school. 

6) Advocate Smartly for Improvement If Needed 

If you have concerns that your child's school lunch room needs to make some changes, then it is wise to take steps towards making those changes. Chances are if you think the lunches need to improve, then other parents and children may think so, too. The US public school system is unique in its bottom-up grassroots style of policy and change making. Parents making their voices heard is a huge and important part of our system. It is one reason why parental involvement is so critical for the success of our schools.

Source: verywell

Published in Newsletter Articles



Step 1: Using a Waste Knot to Start a Needlepoint Project


Using a sewing or regular knot to anchor thread to needlepoint canvas is a no-no in working a project! These kind of knots should never be a permanent fixture in your canvas, unless meant to be part of a needlepoint design that uses decorative stitch techniques like French Knots.


So, how do you attach needlepoint threads to the canvas when starting to stitch if you are not supposed to use a knot? The answer is to use a Waste or Away Knot.


What is a Waste or Away Knot?

A Waste Knot is a temporary tether that is used to secure a length of needlepoint yarn to the canvas when you first start to stitch. It is then covered with stitches as you work the project toward it, and is clipped off once you reach it, hence the term waste knot.


Waste and Away Knots are used every time you start stitching with a fresh new strand of thread.

Types of Waste Knots

There are basically two kinds of Waste Knots: the Away Waste Knot and the In-line Waste Knot. They are worked based on the type of stitch technique you are using.


In-Line Waste Knot - This knot is the preferred selection most of the time for needlepoint projects--especially when using stitches that are worked in rows or columns where the thread thoroughly covers the back of the canvas (see the above image). Continental and Basketweave tent stitches are examples of when to use the In-Line Waste Knot.


Away Waste Knot - This kind of Waste Knot is placed 2 to 3 inches "away" from where the first stitch will be made. It is used when working lacy, open-spaced decorative stitch techniques that sparsely cover the needlepoint canvas. Threads are randomly secured to the back of the canvas as you stitch. Darning patterns used for background fill areas are examples of when to work an Away Waste Knot.

Waste Knots are easy to make. Take a look at these simple instructions for making perfect waste and away knots to begin working your needlepoint projects.


If you are new to needlepoint or just want to brush up on the basics, they will give you all you need to know how to properly work with the knots--no matter the type of needlepoint thread used.



Step 2: How to Make a Waste Knot for Needlepoint.


Follow these instructions to make both Waste and Away Knots. You can become an expert at the technique by the time you've completed your needlepoint project!


1.Thread the tapestry needle with a length of needlepoint yarn. On the end of the thread furthest from the needle, make a large basic knot like you would in hand-sewing.


2. Insert the threaded needle into the canvas about an inch-and-a-half from the area you wish to begin stitching. The knot end will be visible on top of the canvas. Do not pull the knot through the canvas.


3. Bring the needle up from the back of the canvas to the place where the first stitch starts. This could be at the top or bottom of the stitch depending on the technique you've chosen. Make this first stitch.You will now have a length of thread or tail on the back side of the canvas.


4. Secure the length of yarn by working the remaining stitches in the row, going over the length of yarn or tail on the back as you stitch.




Step 3: Clipping the Waste Knot


After the tail has been covered with several stitches, the waste knot can be clipped from the front of the canvas, and the remaining thread tail can be trimmed on the back as close as possible to the needlepoint without cutting any worked stitches.


​Away Waste Knots follow the same steps as In-Line ones, except that after clipping, the long tail on the wrong side of the canvas is woven through the back of existing needlepoint stitches to further secure the thread.


Waste Knots are the needlepointer's best friend. They make stitching with multiple strands of thread easy and keep your work from looking "bumpy" from knots left on the back of the canvas as in hand-sewing or other types of embroidery.



Published in Newsletter Articles
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