BalancedLIVING Winter 2012
Seasonal Affective Disorder pg. 6
Allowance For Your Kids pg. 9
Holiday Depression and Stress
List re To Do a -C lf e S Winter fety Winter Sa o t p U Warm stination ra c ro P g Facin Head-On
BalancedLiving WINTER 2012
MINES & Associates 10367 West Centennial Road Littleton, Colorado 80127 800.873.7138
A word from your Employee Assistance Program... In this season’s issue of Balanced Living we’ve included some tips to help you and your family thrive during the holidays. During the height of the holiday season, many people find themselves with increased stress trying to plan travel, prepare food for loved ones, and even coordinate giftgiving. Hopefully you’ll find these articles helpful as you’re preparing to ring in the 2013 year.
If you find yourself having trouble dealing with the stress of the holiday season, remember, you can always give us a ring and we’ll help you through. – The MINES Team
. . . . . . . . C redits . . . . . . . Delvina Miremadi, Life Advantages Facing Procrastination Head-On pg. 5 Krames Staywell Winter Self-Care To Do List pg. 3 A Winter Cold: Not Inevitable pg. 3 Warm Up to Winter Safety pg. 4 Seasonal Affective Disorder pg. 6 Eat Well, for Your Children’s Sake pg.8 National Mental Health Association Holiday Depression and Stress pg.10 Nolo Legal Press, © 2012 Allowance for Your Kids pg. 9 Wellness Library Health Ink and Vitality Communications © 2012 Take the Food Quiz pg. 11 www.eatingwell.com Recipe: Cranberry-Orange Tart Fruit Bars pg.7
Winter 2012 Balanced Living
Winter Self-Care To Do List Take care of your heart this winter. You should eat healthful foods, exercise, and not smoke. Here are some additional health tips for winter:
• Protect your back when shoveling snow by bending your knees, taking frequent breaks, and using a smallto medium-sized, lightweight shovel. • Try a new exercise machine or fitness class at your health club. • Keep a winter-emergency kit in your car that contains a blanket, food that won’t freeze, a flashlight, and a firstaid kit. • Dress appropriately for the weather. • Warm up your morning with a hot meal. M
A Winter Cold: Not Inevitable For most people, catching the common cold is as much a part of winter as gathering wood for a fire and donning wool sweaters. But it doesn’t have to be. Although colds cannot be prevented -- or cured -- you can take precautions to reduce the chance of infection.
What is a cold?
A cold is an infection that affects the nose and throat. It can last from a few days to a few weeks. Five different types of viruses can cause colds, but about a third of all colds are caused by the rhinovirus (“rhin” is Greek for “nose”), and there are more than 200 different varieties of rhinovirus. Because so many viruses can cause a cold, there probably will never be a vaccine to prevent people from catching one.
“You really just have to wait out the cold, drink plenty of liquids, and rest as much as possible,” says Linda Ford, M.D., past president of the American Lung Association. “An over-the-counter antihistamine/decongestant can reduce nasal congestion and clear up runny noses, but only the body’s own defense system can cure a cold.”
Dr. Ford says, “There’s no way to completely prevent someone from catching a cold, but there are some basic steps that can be taken to help people avoid getting sick.”
“... only the body’s own defense system can cure a cold.”
How to protect yourself?
The American Lung Association offers the following tips for avoiding the common cold: • Wash your hands often, particularly if someone in your home has a cold or when you’ve been in public places. The cold virus is transmitted by person-toperson contact. If Ssomeone with a cold rubs his nose and then touches your hand. A, as soon as you touch your nose, you’re infected. • Don’t share drinking glasses or eating utensils with someone who has a cold. • Encourage children to wash their hands and to avoid putting their fingers or toys in their mouths. • Avoid exposing infants to people with colds and crowded public areas, as they’e more likely to experience complications than older children and adults. M
Warm Up to Winter Safety Winter often brings thoughts of skiing, hot chocolate, and maybe even a “snow day” off from work or school. But the season can also carry special risks.
Carbon Monoxide: A Poisoning Threat
As we turn up the heat, light fireplaces, or use space heaters, we increase the risk for carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide is the top cause of accidental poisoning deaths, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says. The gas kills more than 500 people a year. “We definitely see an increase in carbon monoxide incidents when the weather gets cold,” says Firefighter Christopher Millay of the Penn Wynne-Overbrook Hills Fire Company in Pennsylvania. “People are using all types of heating devices, and they are more likely to keep all the windows in the house closed. Both these things increase the risk.”
Carbon monoxide is a tasteless, colorless, odorless gas created when fuels burn incompletely. Any fuel-burning appliance can release carbon monoxide, but you can cut your risk.
“The most important thing is to have a carbon monoxide alarm in the home,” Mr. Millay says. Have chimneys, fireplaces, and heating appliances checked yearly to make sure they work properly. Be sure to follow manufacturers’ guidelines when using charcoal broilers, gas barbecues, and gasoline engines, such as those that power generators. None of these devices should ever be used in an enclosed space or indoors.
Take care to prevent a fire involving decorative lights, trees, and candles. “An ignited Christmas tree will set an entire room on fire in about 15 seconds,” Mr. Millay says.
Buy a fresh tree and water it regularly so it doesn’t dry out, or use an artificial tree. Check decorative light strings for loose bulbs and frayed wires. If a fire breaks out, leave the house at once and call 911. “Never try to fight the fire yourself,” says Mr. Millay. “It is a battle you won’t win.”
Shoveling snow can bring on aches and pains, often in the lower back. Even worse, shoveling can bring on a heart attack, especially if you’re out of shape. Keeping fit can head off some of those problems. But get a physical checkup before shoveling if you have a medical condition, don’t exercise regularly, or are over age 40. If you do shovel:
Winter 2012 Balanced Living
• • • •
Bend at the knees. Don’t take too much snow on the shovel at one time, especially wet snow. Take frequent breaks. Drink plenty of water. M
Facing Procrastination Head-On Procrastination happens to everyone at some point or another, but there are some people who procrastinate with nearly everything. This can pose some major problems when it comes to meeting deadlines and your health. Putting off tasks until you are under a time crunch weighs you down and puts your body through unnecessary stress. Before you can begin to conquer this behavior, you need to first stop and think about why you are putting it off. Once you have established some trends in why you engage in such behavior, you can begin to target and beat procrastination through the following tips: 1. Maybe you want to start a project, but don’t want to start it now. Set yourself a deadline to get started, and be sure to stick to it!
2. The workload of a project may be large and intimidating, so you put it off. Find a way to break up a big job into smaller tasks. Then go step by step until your project is completed. While on the first step, don’t think about the second step, just think about the step that’s being done and move forward.
3. You tell yourself you have plenty of time. Without beginning the task there is no way for you to judge how long you think it’s going to take to complete. Try and at least attempt a job really early so you can gauge when you should be investing significant time.
4. You don’t know where to start. Take care of the easiest and most enjoyable parts of the job first. Then move on to the bigger parts once you’ve got momentum going.
5. You feel a sense of really not wanting to do anything. If you get a habitual sense of that feeling, take a
step back. You may want to examine why that is, and maybe make some changes in your life to do more things you love to do.
Winter 2012 Balanced Living 5
Seasonal Affective Disorder Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a depression that occurs during a particular season of the year. Most people with SAD are depressed during the fall and winter, when the days are shortest. Their depression disappears in the spring and summer. A less common type begins in late spring or early summer. Changes in the amount of daylight may be the cause of SAD. Although many people say they get the “blues” in the winter, a person with SAD has much more difficulty coping during this season. Like other forms of depression, SAD interferes with daily life. Overcast days can make a person with SAD feel worse. People with Seasonal Affective Disorder may have mild to moderate depression.
SAD can affect anyone, although women are approximately 1.5 times more likely to develop SAD than are men. Those most affected are people in their late teens, 20s, and 30s, with the majority women in their 30s. Older adults are less likely to develop it. It is more common in northern latitudes and extreme southern latitudes. The depression is frequently moderate to major. SAD sufferers frequently have other family members with mental illness, such as depression or alcohol abuse.
... ease symptoms by increasing the time they are exposed to daylight...
Varying levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin are believed to play a role in SAD. The sleep hormone melatonin, which has been linked to depression, also may play a role. The body makes more melatonin in the dark, so, the shorter, grayer days of winter boost levels of melatonin. The symptoms of SAD can be confused with symptoms of other illnesses, including hypothyroidism and viral infections such as mononucleosis.
People with a mild case of SAD can ease symptoms by increasing the time they are exposed to daylight during the day. Spending time outdoors each day and getting regular outdoor exercise are two effective methods to combat SAD. For more severe cases, doctors may prescribe light therapy and possibly antidepressants. Light therapy involves exposure to very bright, full-spectrum fluorescent light for a certain amount of time each morning.
What to Do
During the fall and winter, try to spend time outside each day. Get regular exercise; outdoors, if possible. Rearrange your furniture at home and your workspace and open the blinds or curtains to take advantage of as much sunlight in fall and winter as possible. Talk to your doctor if you have signs or symptoms of SAD significant enough to interfere with daily life. Your doctor can refer you to a mental health professional trained to treat patients with SAD. If you experience any of the following, you should consider talking with your doctor: • • • •
Symptoms of depression or feeling “blue” only during fall and winter. Craving for sugary or starchy foods. Oversleeping. Weight gain. M
6 Winter 2012 Balanced Living
Cranberry-Orange Tart Fruit Bars 1 cup chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans, almonds, or hazelnuts) or old-fashioned rolled oats, divided 3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour (see Tip) 3/4 cup all-purpose flour 1/2 cup sugar 1/2 teaspoon salt 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces 1 large egg 2 tablespoons canola oil 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/4 teaspoon almond extract Fruit Filling: 5 cups cranberries, fresh or frozen, divided 1/2 cup orange juice 3/4 cup sugar 1/4 cup cornstarch 1 cup orange segments 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated orange zest 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. To prepare crust: Combine 3/4 cup nuts (or oats), whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor; pulse until the nuts are finely ground. Add butter; pulse until well incorporated. 2. Whisk egg, oil, and 1 teaspoon each of vanilla and almond extract in a small bowl. With the motor running, add the mixture to the food processor. Process, then pulse, scraping down the sides, if necessary, until the mixture begins to clump, 30 to 45 seconds (it will look crumbly). Measure out 1/2 cup of the mixture and combine in a bowl with the remaining 1/4 cup chopped nuts (or oats). Set aside for the topping. 3. Preheat oven to 400째F. Generously coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. 4. To prepare fruit filling & assemble bars: Combine 3 cups cranberries, orange juice, sugar, and cornstarch in a large saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is very thick, 4 to 5 minutes. (It may take up to 10 minutes to get a thick result if you start with frozen fruit.) Stir in the remaining 2 cups cranberries, orange zest, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. 5. Transfer the dough to the prepared baking dish. Spread evenly and press firmly into the bottom to form a crust. Spread the fruit filling over the crust. Sprinkle the reserved topping over the filling. 6. Bake the bars for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350째 and bake until the crust and topping are lightly brown, 25 to 30 minutes more. Let cool completely before cutting into bars, at least 1 1/2 hours. Makes 18 bars. Active Time: 40 minutes. Total Time: 2.75 hours Includes 1.5 hours cooling time. Nutritional analysis (per serving): 205 calories, 3 g protein, 9 g fat, 70 mg sodium, 30 g carbohydrates www.bit.ly/YIuiYWWinter 2012 Balanced Living
Eat Well, for Your Children’s Sake You can tell your children how to eat well, but experts say it’s better to show them. Children learn by watching their parents. If your favorite restaurant is the all-you-can-eat buffet and your number one vegetable is the french fry, you’re sending the wrong message. Good role models have never been more important. One in five kids is seriously overweight. High cholesterol and type 2 diabetes are rising steadily among the young.
Children must learn from their parents and caregivers to value themselves, eat nutritiously, and get proper exercise and rest. Here’s some expert advice:
Dine as a family. As part of a Harvard Medical School study, researchers looked at the eating habits of thousands of 9- to 14-year-olds. They found that children who regularly ate dinner with their family consumed more fruits, vegetables, and fiber and less saturated fat, trans fat, fried foods, and soda. Go for healthy foods and drinks. The Children’s Nutrition Research Center (CNRC) at Baylor College of Medicine found that girls’ drink choices mirrored their mothers’ choices. Girls were more likely to choose milk over soft drinks because their mothers did so. Switch to smaller portions. Super-sized portions can hurt children’s eating habits and waistlines. It takes just 48 extra calories a day (seven potato chips) to gain five pounds a year. If possible, let children serve themselves. Eat out with restraint. Visit restaurants just once or twice a week, and press children to get small orders of fast food if no healthier choice is available. Share a dinner portion with children and add a salad or other vegetables if children are still hungry.
Let children make decisions. A CNRC study of 5-year-old girls found that when parents tightly controlled their children’s diets, the children were more likely to eat more of the foods parents were trying to limit.
Provide a variety of healthy choices. Then let children choose from that selection. This satisfies children’s need for independence and gives parents some control over what their children eat. Maintain a healthy weight. Avoid unhealthy approaches to weight loss, such as fad diets or diet pills. Emphasize the importance of being fit and healthy as opposed to being thin. Stay active. Eating is just part of the equation. Stay physically active as a family by walking, biking or swimming. Be sure to limit kids’ time in front of the television and computer. M
Allowance for Your Kids An important step in the process of teaching kids about money management is deciding whether or not to give your child an allowance. The decision to provide an allowance (or not) really depends on what system works best for your particular family and each particular child. If you are thinking of giving your kid an allowance, clarify your goals and the purpose of the allowance first. Here are some questions to ask yourself when considering allowances for your children.
When Should I Start?
Should I Attach Strings to the Allowance?
How Much Allowance Should I Give?
Tie the allowance to household chores. Having a child do household chores is a good way to teach them responsibility and important life skills. Tying the allowance to the completion of household chores can help them develop a sound work ethic, so make sure that kids follow through with their assigned tasks.
You can start giving your kid an allowance when he or she understands the concept of, and has an interest in, money. No specific age is right or wrong - each child is different, and the age at which a child is ready to handle money will vary. Many parents choose to provide a weekly dollar amount equal to the age of the child (for example, $11 a week for an 11 year old kid). But the answer to this question really depends on what you want your child to spend his or her allowance on. Are you only providing money for incidentals (in which case the amount will be smaller), or do you want the allowance to cover larger purchases like clothing, toys, and outings with friends? A good rule of thumb is to start out small and as the child gets older, expand what’s included in the allowance.
If your child is a pre-teen or teenager, consider asking them to make a list of what they think their allowance should cover. This can help both you and your child understand what you will pay for and what needs to come out of the allowance, eliminating the need for negotiation over every purchase.
Another important consideration is whether or not to attach rules to the allowance. If you don’t want to give your child complete discretion over how the money is spent, consider attaching some conditions. Here are some ideas.
Encourage charitable giving. Requiring that part of your kid’s allowance go to a charity or cause of the child’s choice is one way that some parents teach their children about generosity. Encourage saving. Some parents believe that requiring their kid to save a certain portion of their allowance (say, 25%) encourages saving in later life. Whether or not this is right for your child is up to you. An allowance is just one way in which you can teach your child about money management. M
Winter 2012 Balanced Living 9
Wellness made easy Holiday Depression and Stress
The holiday season is a time full of joy, cheer, parties, and family gatherings. However, for many people, it is a time of self-evaluation, loneliness, reflection on past failures, and anxiety about an uncertain future.
What Causes Holiday Blues? Many factors can cause the “holiday blues”: stress, fatigue, unrealistic expectations, over-commercialization, financial constraints, and the inability to be with one’s family and friends. The demands of shopping, parties, family reunions, and house guests also contribute to feelings of tension. People who do not become depressed may develop other stress responses, such as headaches, excessive drinking, overeating, and difficulty sleeping. Even more people experience post-holiday let down after January 1. This can result from disappointments during the preceding months compounded with the excess fatigue and stress.
Can Environments be a Factor?
Recent studies show that some people suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD) which results from fewer hours of sunlight as the days grow shorter during the winter months. Phototherapy, a treatment involving a few hours of exposure to intense light, is effective in relieving depressive symptoms in patients with SAD.
Other studies on the benefits of phototherapy found that exposure to early morning sunlight was effective in relieving seasonal depression. Recent findings, however, suggest that patients respond equally well to phototherapy that is scheduled in the early afternoon. This has practical applications for antidepressant treatment since it allows the use of phototherapy in the workplace as well as the home.
Coping with Stress and Depression • Keep expectations for the holiday season manageable. Try to set realistic goals for yourself. Pace yourself. Organize your time. Make a list and prioritize the important activities. Be realistic about what you can and cannot do. Do not put entire focus on just one day (i.e., Thanksgiving Day) remember it is a season of holiday sentiment and activities can be spread out (time-wise) to lessen stress and increase enjoyment. • Remember the holiday season does not banish reasons for feeling sad or lonely; there is room for these feelings to be present, even if the person chooses not to express them. • Leave “yesteryear” in the past and look toward the future. Life brings changes. Each season is different and can be enjoyed in its own way. Don’t set yourself up for disappointment by comparing today with the “good ol’ days.” • Do something for someone else. Try volunteering some time to help others. • Enjoy activities that are free, such as driving around to look at holiday decorations; going window shopping without buying; making a snowperson with children. • Be aware that excessive drinking will only increase your feelings of depression. • Try something new. Celebrate in a new way. • Spend time with supportive and caring people. Reach out and make new friends or contact someone you have not heard from for awhile. • Save time for yourself! Recharge your batteries! Let others share responsibility of activities. M
Take the Food Quiz Vitamins, minerals, fats, fiber: Good nutrition can seem pretty complicated. Think you know a lot about nutrition? Try this quiz from the American Dietetic Association and see where you stand. Answers appear on the right.
1. Snacking may keep you from becoming overly hungry and overeating. a. True b. False
2. Eating a variety of foods is important because: a. You’re bound to eat something that’s good for you eventually b. That’s the best way to obtain the vitamins and minerals you need for good health c. Your mother or father said you should 3. Vitamins are a good source of energy. a. True b. False 4. What is the key to healthy eating? a. Variety b. Balance c. Moderation d. All of the above
5. If you’re often too busy working to eat lunch, how can you enjoy a healthful meal? a. Order “fast food” b. Pack a brown bag lunch c. Go to the vending machine d. All of the above 6. By adding regular physical activities that are fun, refreshing, and within your abilities, you: a. Can help keep your body in good working order b. Feel energized so you can do things you like to do c. Can help keep your weight within a healthy range d. All of the above e. None of the above
7. Both fat and cholesterol are found in: a. Food of animal origin, such as pork, chicken, fish, beef, milk, butter, and eggs b. Foods of both plant and animal sources, such as those listed above, and oils such as olive or canola, and avocado c. Largest quantities in seafood d. None of the above 8. Which ethnic food offers healthful, low-fat choices? a. Chinese b. Italian c. Mexican d. All of the above e. None of the above
9. According to the Food Guide Pyramid, a serving of meat is approximately the size of: a. A deck of cards b. A paperback book c. A matchbox d. A softball 10. The calcium content of fat-free milk is the same as whole milk. a. True b. False
1. True. Healthful snacking can help you moderate the amount of food you eat so that you will be less inclined to overeat at your next meal. 2. B. Eating a variety of foods from the five food groups is a great -- and enjoyable -- way to get the 40 or so essential vitamins and minerals and the fiber you need. 3. False. Vitamins are not a source of calories, but instead help convert food into energy. Foods are the best source of vitamins.
4. D. An eating style that promotes your overall health is based on variety (enjoying many different foods from all the food groups; balance (including enough, but not too much, of any one kind of food; and moderation (in use of fats, oils, added sweets, and portion sizes). 5. D. Quick-service restaurants offer many options, making it easy to maintain healthful eating. Healthy choices include a grilled chicken sandwich, salad with low-fat dressing; and fat-free milk or frozen yogurt. Brown bag lunches allow a lot of flexibility. Some ideas include pasta leftovers, frozen entrees (if your workplace has a freezer and microwave) and sandwiches made with whole-grain bread, low-fat deli meats like lean roast beef, ham or turkey, and sliced veggies. Finally, depending on your vending machine selections, look for pretzels, peanuts, fruit juice, and yogurt to create a healthful mini-meal. 6. D. Finding the right mix of physical activities and leisure time makes life fun all year round. Think positively about keeping your body in good working order. Doing fun and novel physical activities you enjoy will keep you energized. 7. A. The key here is the word “cholesterol.” Cholesterol is found only in foods of animal origin. Plants do not contain cholesterol; however, some can contain significant amounts of fat, such as avocado and other vegetable oils. Many seafoods are low in fat and cholesterol. 8. D. All three popular ethnic cuisines offer healthful dishes, such as stir-fried vegetables, linguine in marinara sauce, and rice and beans. All are high in complex carbohydrates, including fiber, and are flavorfully seasoned. 9. A. Two to three ounces of cooked lean beef, poultry with skin removed, or fish constitutes one serving.
10. True. The better daily choice for including calcium without the fat is 2 to 3 servings of low-fat or fat-free dairy products, rather than whole or full-fat dairy products. How did you score? •
If you got 8 to 10 correct, you are a nutrition whiz. Congratulations!
If you got 1 to 4 correct, you need to review the Food Guide Pyramid. Keep trying. M
If you got 5 to 7 correct, you are eating healthy some of the time. Keep it up.
NOT SURE WHICH WAY TO TURN?
If you need someone to listen, we’re here. 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It’s Confidential, FREE, and Available to you and your family.
For information or confidential assistance call 1-800-873-7138
Our Quarterly Wellness Magazine