Walk, Bike, Pogo This Way!

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Last week I walked to work and it felt great. Yesterday, I rode my bike to work  and I could not stop smiling! I felt like a kid again! What I am trying to get at, is this Things To Do Thursday, try getting somewhere, anywhere, differently.

Here are some options:

Walk – The great part about walking is that you only need a decent pair of shoes, which makes it completely cost-efficient.

Bike – You will get there much more quickly than walking, but cost does go up a little (unless you’re into fancy walking shoes). It’s easier and easier to find a bike at a yard sale or Target!

Skate – Rollerblades or the traditional quad skates are amazing. I know rollerblades may not be the coolest right now, but if you grew up in the 80’s & 90’s like I did, you know you still want to use them.

Carpool – When I lived in Los Angeles I only dreamed of having a co-worker or someone that worked around LA that I could carpool with. I even thought of putting a car seat in my car, but that would have been completely horrible and not to mention illegal. Even if your commute does not take two hours to get there, carpooling is fabulous for your mind and your wallet.

Public Transportation – I am envious of New York or countries where public transportation is king! I would love to hop on a subway or grab the “whatever it may be” into town. To be able to mingle with different people, aromas, and sights on a daily basis would be such a mind massage!

These were the only options I could come up with…besides Pogo, which I do not need to elaborate on. If you have any other ideas in mind, please let Polka Dot Tango know!!!!

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All Hail Kale!!!!

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Maybe Pantone had in mind the crazy kale and juicing craze when they called out Emerald 17-5641 as 2013’s color of the year. Kale is such a hot commodity anymore. Trader Joe’s has a beautiful organic and chopped bag of kale that flies off the shelves. If you’re not there on truck day, you better wait until next week to get your hands on some! This last Saturday, I went to the Farmer’s Market thinking I could grab some up, but of course I got there two minutes too late, every vendor was sold out. So what’s the deal with this crunchy leafy cousin of your garden weed?

The Top 10 Benefits of Kale

1. Kale is low in calorie, high in fiber and has zero fat. One cup of kale has only 36 calories, 5 grams of fiber and 0 grams of fat. It is great for aiding in digestion and elimination with its great fiber content. It’s also filled with so many nutrients, vitamins, folate and magnesium as well as those listed below.

2. Kale is high in iron. Per calorie, kale has more iron than beef. Iron is essential for good health, such as the formation of hemoglobin and enzymes, transporting oxygen to various parts of the body, cell growth, proper liver function and more.
3. Kale is high in Vitamin K. Eating a diet high in Vitamin K can help protect against various cancers. It is also necessary for a wide variety of bodily functions including normal bone health and the prevention of blood clotting. Also increased levels of vitamin K can help people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
4. Kale is filled with powerful antioxidants. Antioxidants, such as carotenoids and flavonoids help protect against various cancers.
5. Kale is a great anti-inflammatory food. One cup of kale is filled with 10% of the RDA of omega-3 fatty acids, which help, fight against arthritis, asthma and autoimmune disorders.
6. Kale is great for cardiovascular support. Eating more kale can help lower cholesterol levels.
 
7. Kale is high in Vitamin A. Vitamin A is great for your vision, your skin as well as helping to prevent lung and oral cavity cancers.
8. Kale is high in Vitamin C. This is very helpful for your immune system, your metabolism and your hydration.
9. Kale is high in calcium. Per calorie, kale has more calcium than milk, which aids in preventing bone loss, preventing osteoporosis and maintaining a healthy metabolism. Vitamin C is also helpful to maintain cartilage and joint flexibility
10. Kale is a great detox food. Kale is filled with fiber and sulfur, both great for detoxifying your body and keeping your liver healthy.
Now that you have that knowledge…what do you do with it?

Easy Ways to Prepare Kale

Quick cooking preserves kale’s nutrients, texture, color, and flavor. Rinse kale, chop it finely, and add it soups, stews, stir-frys, salads, egg dishes, or casseroles. Or top pizzas with kale for added nutritional goodness. Steam kale for five minutes to make it more tender or eat it raw. You can also substitute it for spinach or collard greens in recipes.

Other fast and easy ways to prepare kale:

  • Make a simple salad with a bunch of thinly sliced kale, red pepper, onion, raisins, and your favorite salad dressing.
  • Braise chopped kale and apples, garnish with chopped walnuts, and add a splash of balsamic vinegar.
  • Toss whole-grain pasta with chopped kale, pine nuts, feta cheese, and a little olive oil.
  • Cover and cook a pound of chopped kale with a few garlic cloves and 2 tablespoons olive oil for 5 minutes; season with salt, pepper, and a tablespoon of red wine vinegar.
  • Make kale chips by slicing kale into bite-size pieces, toss with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt, and bake for 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees in the oven.

I juice kale!

There you have it! Best of luck on incorporating some kale into your life!!

If You Thought You Couldn’t, Think Again.

I know that this video has been shown just about everywhere, but sometimes it’s necessary to watch it more than once. So for Motivational Monday, take a couple minutes to watch Arthur Boorman take a hold of his life and beat the odds!!! You’re never too late to start doing what you want. 🙂

It’s Not That Serious!

Change Your View On Things

Change Your View On Things

These days there are so many ways to get motivation that sometimes you can’t help but wonder, “Do these motivators know what they are talking about?” I for one, am not an expert on motivating people. I am not a life coach, a therapist, or everyone’s best friend…I am just me, who in turn, is just like you. 🙂 There are those days where I am frantically searching for “that quote”. You know, the one with the pretty type and the inspiring image in the background that is supposed to give you that “ah-ha!” moment. I am a sucker for those quotes because they are a quick fix, but at the end of the day, can I really even remember what it said? Even after saying all of this, I am going to continue to post quotes, images, stories and other motivation mementos for those who follow Polka Dot Tango. Why? Because everyone is motivated differently and I hope that someday, a little Motivational Monday post will give someone even a glimpse of inspiration! So this Motivational Monday, I am writing a simple list as to what gets me inspired, happy and motivated!

Just wear it!

Just Wear It!

Wear Something Different

If I am feeling like I am in a rut, I try and wear something different. It could be a mix of old clothes you already have that could make a completely awesome outfit! Maybe there’s a piece of clothing you bought and have never worn. Been there done that! Wear it and feel good about it. I often find that I save clothes for a special occasion, but it’s not like I have a plethora of ball gowns in my closet (or even one), so why not wear something that you have been saving. I like to try and remind myself that each day is special and you should dress for you! Not only will you see the difference, but amazingly so will others. You will glow on the inside and out!

I Work Out!

I Work Out!

Move Your Body

Just move your body. This is the old stand by trick that works for most everyone to get a little motivation running through your veins. If you already “move your body”, then try moving your body in a different way. If you are usually lifting weights, try and go for a hike. Changing up your workout can be a challenge, but in the end, it proves to yourself that you can do more than you thought and it feels good!

Get Out!

Get Out!

Mix Up Your Surroundings

Just this weekend, I went to the Los Angeles Farmer’s Market with my family. It was like a detox/workout/massage for my brain and I LOVED IT! Being around new aromas, people, clothing, colors, foods was totally what I needed for some motivation for starting a business. Being immersed in a different scene can be exhausting, but your brain is taking in new information and it’s most likely waking up. The Farmer’s Market made me smile from ear to ear the entire time I was there, motivating me to push myself harder than I ever have before! Thank you LA, once again!

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Pop Open A Can of Creativity

Be Creative

This may seem like a daunting task to a lot of readers, but it is a relaxing and fun way (for me at least) to get motivated. You don’t have to be Warhol or Martha Stewart to be creative, so take it easy on yourself. Just doodle if that’s what it takes. Having fun and creating things is very inspiring and the great part is that everyone can do it. Once you’re done, you can either laugh and throw it in the trash or be proud and display your work!

Let Polka Dot Tango know what motivates and inspires you! We would love to hear all about it!!!

 

 

 

Jawbone UP

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For months I had been talking about this Jawbone UP and constantly going back to the website to see if it would be worth purchasing. With a tagline of: Know Yourself. Live Better, you wonder, do I really know how healthy I am? So, one day I came home and there was a Jawbone UP sitting right next to my phone. “Someone” had enough of me talking about it that they went and purchased it for me. 🙂

So far, I have had the UP for about two weeks and I do feel better and have lost some weight, but not because the band did it, rather because I did it. Because I was able to see what I ate, how idle or active I was and maybe I am a bit of a carb lover, I was able to live a little healthier. I like to call my UP band my reminder. Yes you have to manually log in your food intake and some workouts, like weight lifting, but they have designed it to be soooooo easy. Also, it is very detailed so you don’t feel like you are getting a completely inaccurate reading.  In order for the entire UP system to work you need: a Jawbone UP band, the UP app, and of course yourself.

Here is a list of what the Jawbone UP helps you track:

Sleep and Nap Tracking

24/7 Activity Tracking

Food & Drink Tracking

Mood Tracking

Insight Engine

Idle Alert

Smart Alarm

10-Day Battery

Water Resistant Design

Day and Night Form Factor

Power Nap

Simple Sync

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This is what your home screen will look like on your UP App. This image was taken at the end of one of my days so that you can see how it logs everything in a simple chart. The purple column represents the amount of sleep I got, the orange represents my activity, and the green is my food and water. See how the orange column says 122%? I have a goal programmed into the program of reaching 10,000 steps a day, which can be difficult considering I am at a desk all day. I exceeded my goal this day and so the app lets me know!

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By clicking on the orange (active) column, it will give you the specifics on your entire day. Now, you don’t have to wait until the end of the day to see all of your stats, you can plug in your UP band to your phone, computer, or iPad, at any time and it will five you a reading up to the time you plugged it in.

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When clicking on the purple (sleep) column, this lets you know way more than many think they could know about their sleep.

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The green (nutritional) column, shows you if exactly what you ate. I obviously ate too many carbs and protein that day, but I’m not going to cry about it. It’s a real eye opener to see where you are getting your nutrition from.

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This is the screen that comes up when you are entering your food. Beyond Breakfast & Pastries, there are 7 more categories to choose from. Each category has a wide range of items to select from. In fact, there hasn’t been one food that I have not found. Better yet, at the top of the screen there is a scan button. You click on that and scan the barcode of the item you are consuming and all the info comes up, you just have to adjust how many servings you had. You can also take a photo of the food you ate, just in case you want to recreate it again.

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This image shows the more manual side of things, where you would log in anything that you did. Just like the nutritional part, there are a wide range of activities and you can adjust the intensity of your workout, the duration, etc.

Being active all my life and then becoming accustomed to being sedentary has been a hard transition for me. The Jawbone UP has helped me to remind myself that it is important for me to be healthy and not to just completely veg out. I would recommend this product for anyone who has enough drive to living a healthy lifestyle themselves, but needs just a little something to keep it up.

 

 

Music For Your Monday!

Hello and Happy Monday to everyone! This Monday, Polka Dot Tango decided to share some music with you to give you some pep in your step. These artists are not the kind of artists you are going to hear on the radio, but in our opinion, should be recognized. Let us know if you know of any other artists that aren’t getting the spotlight they so deserve. We love finding new music to keep us going throughout the day.

Get Some Energy!

Lesja Chernish. Click on image to view more of her work.

Lesja Chernish. Click on image to view more of her work.

When you wake up, in the middle of the day, at the end of the day, you may experience this certain state which I prefer to call “tired”.  My first passing thought is to crawl into bed and take a nice peaceful nap, but, I have heard this isn’t the best option. After perusing the internet in search of what to write for Wellness Wednesday, I came across a website I used to frequently visit called zenhabits.net. I had forgotten how simple this website is on such a variety of topics. All of course are to benefit your well being. Lo and behold, an article screamed at me, “55 Ways to Get More Energy”. Hello! I could only really think of one, maybe two. I would also like to note that this article is not a direct product of zenhabits.net, but of Greg Go, co-author of Wise Bread‘s new book, 10,001 Ways to Live Large on a Small Budget. So, take a look and see if any of these 55 interest you in getting some energy into your day! Let us know if this article missed anything or if you know one of these works for you.

55 Ways to Get More Energy

If you’re tired all the time, a change in what you eat (diet) or what you do all day (activity pattern) may be all you need to turn things around 180°.

You won’t be able to do everything on this list all the time — you’d tire yourself out trying to get more energy — but do try them all to see which ones work for you and your schedule. Add a few of these tips to your regular routine. Or mix them up to keep things interesting.

1. Change your socks for refreshment.

It’s an amazing trick. Bring a change of socks to work, and change your socks midway through the day (say, after lunch). You’ll be amazed at how much fresher you’ll feel. This trick is especially handy on days with lots of walking — like during a hike or family outing to the amusement park.

2. Rock out loud.

Whether you work alone or in a room with coworkers, a quick one-song rock out loud session is an effective way to beat back exhaustion.

In a cube farm? Get everyone to sing along! The key is to choose a song that everyone can sing along with. (I like Kokomo.) The energy boosting effect comes from bobbing your head and singing out loud. One song, 3 minutes. That’s a quick boost of adrenaline that lasts for a bit. You’ll be singing to yourself the rest of the never ending project delivery night.

3. Get rid of the stuffy nose.

If allergies have your sinuses blocked, you may be feeling more tired and cranky. An over-the-counter allergy medication should clear up your sinuses (and your mind).

4. Work with your body’s clock.

There is a natural ebb and flow of energy throughout the day. We start off sluggish after waking up, even after a solid 8 hours of sleep. Our energy peaks mid-morning, and it’s natural to want a siesta in the afternoon. We get a second spike of energy in the early evening, followed by our lowest energy point just before bedtime. Once you understand this natural rhythm of energy throughout the day, you can work on the important tasks during your peak hours and avoid early afternoon snoozefests (meetings).

5. Have a piece of chocolate.

Not too much, but if you’re going to have some candy, it might as well be chocolate. We get an endorphin buzz from chocolate (not to mention the energy boost from the slight bit of caffeine chocolate contains). Dark chocolate has more caffeine than milk chocolate.

6. Have an afternoon power snack.

A small healthy snack that is low in sugar and has protein and/or fiber a couple hours after lunch helps you finish off the day strong. Some suggestions:

  • mixed nuts
  • nonfat yogurt
  • apple and peanut butter
  • frozen berrie smoothie
  • trail mix
  • granola bar

7. Hit up the water cooler for inconsequential banter.

A little midday gossip and random banter is a great pick-me-up for your tired mind. It works because it gets your mind on zero-stress thoughts for a while. The mental break for just a few minutes will revitalize you.

8. Eat lots of berries.

Especially berries that are blue, red, or purple. The color comes from anthocyanins, a powerful antioxidant, that boosts energy. Any kind of berry will contain tons.

9. Wear brighter colors.

This trick is related to the mood you project to people, and the reciprocating mood they project towards you. If you wear dark, somber colors, you project a dark, somber attitude, and people will respond to you with a somber attitude. If you wear bright, happy colors, you’ll get that attitude projected towards you, which will boost your own mood and energy levels.

10. Take a power nap.

But do it in your chair. Don’t lie down on the sofa or you won’t get back up. Keep it short: 5-10 minutes max. Any longer and it will have the opposite effect of knocking you out for the rest of the day.

11. Flirt.

It’s fun, it’s harmless (keep it innocent), and it’s effective. Nothing quite gets the heart pumping like a little flirting.

12. Aromatherapy with lavender.

Research has shown that the lavender scent increases alertness. Test subjects were given math tests before and after 3 minutes of lavender aromatherapy. The group completed the tests faster and more accurately after aromatherapy.

13. Wake up at the same time everyday.

Including weekends. This sets your body clock. Otherwise, you’ll be wide awake when you should be asleep. Or worse, asleep when you should be awake (dozing off in a meeting is embarrassing). The key is to go to bed at the same time every night. If you need to reset your sleep cycle in one day, stop eating for the 16 hours before the time you want to wake up.

14. Drink lots of water.

Dehydration is a sinister cause of fatigue because it slowly creeps up on you. If you consistently drink less than 8 cups of water a day, you may be sluggish all the time. Get a 32 oz (1 quart, 4 cups) water bottle. Your goal is to polish off 2 of those a day. Try it for a week and see if your general energy level increases.

15. Use caffeine wisely.

Coffee and caffeinated sodas can boost your alertness, but be careful about letting it be a habitual crutch. The temptation to drink more caffeine to get even more energy will be strong. Eventually you’ll be downing 5 double-shot espressos a day just to function. Drink coffee earlier in the day to avoid insomnia, which will make the next day worse.

16. Avoid energy drinks.

Energy drinks provide a near-instant hyperactivity boost, but they always result in a crash. Energy drinks are like energy credit cards — you’re spending future energy to get short-term energy. The resulting energy deficit gets worse until you hit energy bankruptcy.

17. Eat low glycemic (low or complex carb) foods.

Trade in good, complex carbohydrates (low glycemic index) for the bad, simple carbs (sugar). Carbohydrates with a high glycemic index means the sugar is more easily digested by your body. That results in a spike in energy followed by a low-sugar crash.

High glycemic index foods to avoid include white bread, potato, and high sugar foods (like sodas). Low glycemic foods (the good carb foods) include fruits and vegetables, grains (eg., whole wheat bread), low-carb foods (eg., meats), and pasta. Check this chart of foods and their glycemic index before your next trip to the grocery store.

18. Eat more soluble fiber.

Soluble fiber is the kind that slows down the rate of absorption of sugars. It evens out your energy levels by preventing a sugar high and crash. (By the way, insoluble fiber is the kind that prevents constipation.) Don’t worry too much about which kind of fiber you’re getting — they’re both good for you. Rotate more high soluble fiber foods like nuts, grains, fruits, plant matter (vegetables), beans, and oats into your diet.

19. Get your Vitamin C.

Get a daily dose of citrus fruits (eg., orange juice in the morning) or a vitamin C tablet. Study after study shows the correlation between citric acid deficiency and chronic fatigue. Vitamin C also helps you absorb more nutrients from food.

20. Sniff some citrus.

In addition to the Vitamin C, citrus scents (like orange, lemon and lime) stimulate alertness. So lather on some of that lemon scented lotion.

21. Cover the B Vitamins.

B vitamins cover a range of bodily functions, but most B vitamins are involved in the process of converting blood sugar into usable energy. To ensure you get the proper amount of B vitamins, eat a balanced diet.

22. Quit smoking.

Ex-smokers frequently report an energy boost of 2-3x when they quit smoking. Nicotine affects your sleep, so you don’t get as good a night’s sleep. That makes you cranky, frustrated and tired the next day. Which leads to more smoking. It’s a vicious energy sapping cycle.

23. Play to relax.

Playing a game keeps your mind working (versus, say, watching TV), but doesn’t have any of the energy-sapping stresses of work. Go ahead and play that quick game of Scrabble on Facebook, but have a strict time limit if you don’t want your boss to say something.

24. Eat smaller, more frequent meals.

Snack throughout the day. By eating smaller but more frequent “meals”, you will maintain a steady dose of energy instead of experiencing food comas. Don’t snack on fatty and sugar laden junk food though. You may get a short 30 minute burst of hyperalertness, but it’ll be quickly followed by a debilitating crash.

25. Enjoy a cup of tea.

In a recent study, University College London researchers noted that drinking a cup of tea 4-6 time a day reduces stress hormone levels in your body. The study’s results suggest “drinking black tea may speed up our recovery from the daily stresses in life.”

26. Splash some water on your face.

Just letting the cool water hit your face washes off the grime and stresses of the day. You could also jump in the pool or take a shower for the same effect. Showers stimulates the circulatory system and metabolism. Get wet to feel more energetic.

27. Stand up, stretch and take a couple of deep breaths.

Stretch your arms, back, legs, and neck. Take a deep breath through your nose, hold it, and let it out slowly and forcefully. Repeat several times. This will take 30 seconds and will be an instant fix. When you sit back down, you’ll have the clear head and fresh feeling needed to power through the tough/boring task in front of you.

28. Get your world organized.

When your world is organized, you don’t have to expend mental energy keeping track of a million things. Here’s how to take back control of your time and productivity:

29. Look on the bright side.

A generally upbeat and optimistic outlook on life will keep your energy level up. Yes, the worst thing that can happen might actually happen, but giving it too much worry will only drain you. Look for the positive in every situation and you won’t be so tired.

30. Take a mini-vacation.

Take one day and just do whatever you want. No work, no chores, no errands. Enjoy your one full day of vacation, then come back to work more motivated and energetic.

31. Eat a satisfying breakfast but a light lunch.

A heavy lunch, especially one with lots of carbs or fat (like a burger combo) will hit you as soon as you get back to the office. And it’ll be a sluggishness that lasts to the end of the day. Eat a big breakfast instead. It provides the fuel you need for the day, at the time when your body needs it the most. Not only will you avoid the afternoon food coma, the big breakfast will make you more productive in the mornings. Double win.

32. Choose protein over fat or carbs.

Foods with lean (low fat) protein help you feel fuller for longer. It also prevents blood sugar spikes, giving you more steady energy. Lean protein foods include fish and other seafood, lean pork, or chicken breasts (“white meat”).

33. Shed a few pounds.

The things you do to lose weight — exercise, drink water, avoid simple sugars — are actions that also have a positive effect on your energy level. Even better, the actual loss of excess fat provides an energy boost of its own. You’ll feel “lighter” and things that use to make you breathless will now seem much easier. Losing weight provides a double-impact to boosting your energy.

But be careful with fad and/or crash diets. Cutting out too many calories (ie., energy your body needs) too fast will cause you to be even more tired. Take small steps, and make it a lifestyle change so you shed the fat for life.

34. Listen to tunes while you work.

It’s well known that our brain’s pleasure centers light up when we hear music. Throwing on the headphones and listening to any music you like while working will give you a productivity boost.

35. Start exercising.

If you have a fairly sedentary life, just the idea of starting an intense exercise program is exhausting. But if you go slow, literally taking one step at a time, you can go from being sedentary to becoming a runner just like Leo.

36. Eliminate stress.

Stress is draining. Sometimes it’s worth it, like when you’re on a deadline to delivery a big project. Sometimes it’s just a waste of energy. Leo says,

Certain things in our life just cause us to be more exhausted than others, with less value. Identify them, and cut them out. You’ll have much more energy and much less stress. Happiness ensues.

Here’s how to eliminate stress from your life.

37. Have more sex.

Talk about an endorphin rush! If you keep those endorphins flowing regularly, you’ll have more natural energy. Literally, more bounce to your step.

38. Move gym time to the morning.

A lot of people go to the gym after work. Try going to the gym in the morning instead to get energy that lasts all day. Sure, you’ll have to wake up an hour or two earlier, but you get that time back at night. That exercise in the morning gets the endorphins flowing, which keeps you happy and productive the rest of the day. By exercising in the morning instead of at night, you spend the same amount of time at the gym, but get the added benefit of having more energy at work.

39. Purge low-value tasks from your todo list.

If you have a ridiculously long todo list that is impossible to get all the way through, you’ll feel tired just thinking about the todo list. If you want to actually cross off tasks from your todo list, you’ll need to throw out the crap tasks that you don’t want/need to deal with. Either delegate those tasks, move them into a second “nice but not critical” list, or just admit that they’re probably never going to get done and move them to the “maybe/someday” list. Shortening your todo list to just the most critical, must-do tasks will give you the “energy” to start knocking out those tasks.

40. Avoid the mid-day cocktail.

If you want to function in the afternoon, avoid alcohol at lunch. Even if it’s just one beer. Alcohol’s sedative effects will take hours to recover from, killing the rest of your afternoon.

41. Get a massage.

Loosen up those tight muscles and you’ll feel more relaxed. A more relaxed you means a happier and more productive you. Trade a quick shoulder rub with a coworker after lunch to perk both of you up for the rest of the afternoon.

42. Dress up.

Feeling better about yourself has a magical way of giving you more energy. Put just a tad more effort into looking your best for work, and you’ll get compliments from coworkers that will make you feel better — and make you a perkier, more energetic worker bee.

43. Don’t drink yourself to sleep.

Alcohol keeps your body from entering deep sleep, so even if you get the same hours of sleep, you won’t feel as rested. Limit alcohol the hours before bedtime to get the best night’s sleep.

44. Get a thyroid test from your doctor.

If you are chronically fatigued, it may be a symptom of hypothyroidism. That’s when not enough thyroid hormone is produced, with fatigue as one of its symptoms. Visit the doctor if you’ve been tired for a long time and haven’t had a checkup in a while.

45. Take a walk outside.

Getting outside for some fresh air, a change of scenery, and a quick walk to get your blood going will do wonders for your mood and motivation. Seeing the sun is a signal to your body that it’s not bedtime yet.

46. Lower your blood pressure.

Besides being a risk factor for a heart attack, high blood pressure makes you fatigued. If you haven’t seen your doctor lately, go in and get your blood pressure checked.

47. Rotate yogurt into your diet.

Yogurt with live cultures keep your digestive system clean, which helps your body absorb all the nutrients from food. That makes you healthier and more energetic. Yogurt is also a good low-fat snack.

48. Have a laugh.

Laughter is great medicine for exhaustion. Make sure you laugh regularly to keep your mood up. Seek out funny people or subscribe to a daily email joke. I like the geeky comic xkcd for a quick smile. What’s your favorite quick funny pick-me-up?

49. Add more cardio to your gym time.

The aerobic exercise gets your blood pumping. It builds stamina and endurance, which is useful for both triathalons and neverending department meetings.

50. Take up yoga.

The stretching, slow controlled movements, and focus on breathing reduces tension (and stress). The benefits include better sleep, feeling more relaxed, and being mentally sharper.

51. Eat eggs.

When people have eggs (mostly protein) for breakfast, versus bagels (all carbs), they feel more energy and eat less at the next meal. Protein makes you feel fuller without feeling stuffed, and they provide a steady stream of energy for your body (versus the quick high and crash of carbohydrates). Eggs are a great for breakfast or as an addition to a lunch salad.

52. Get a good night’s sleep.

We need 7-8 hours of sleep to be fully rested. Consistently sleeping less than 6 hours a night builds up a “sleep debt” that is hard to recover from. If you’re getting enough sleep, it should take you up to 30 minutes to fall asleep. If you’re falling asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow (or while sitting at your desk), that’s a symptom of sleep deprivation.

53. Get more ginseng.

Ginseng is well-known to have energy boosting properties. It is an adaptogen, which means it build resistance to stress and boosts energy. A ginseng supplement or sipping tea with ginseng can help improve energy.

54. Socialize.

Turn off the Internet and go socialize with friends. Humans are social animals, and we need regular socializing to keep ourselves in peak health and energy.

55. Get on your toes.

Roll up and down on your toes. This stimulates your circulatory system, which will deliver much-needed oxygen and fuel (glucose) throughout your body. You’ll be more energized and sharper. You can do this right now.

Moody Monday

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Stina Persson

For the last several weeks, I had been waiting for a response to a job I had truly truly wanted. It meant creative freedom, respect from fellow future colleagues, no more partial unemployment. It meant that I had found what I had lost. For the last five and a half years I have been trying to dig out of a hole and I believed that I may have just seen a glimmer of light. I opened my email anxiously on Friday and there it was…the “Golden Ticket”. I clicked on that email and began to read finding that my “Golden Ticket” had in fact been a scalped ticket. “We have decided to hire another candidate…”

Chest pain, stomach ache, head ache from attempting to hold back tears so that my co-workers would not know that I can be weak. My body was rejecting what my mind was coming to terms with. Immediately I attempted to call my dad, my mom, and my husband. No answers. If they did pick up the phone, what answer was I looking for? Finally, my dad picked up my second phone call and gives me wonderful words of encouragement. He always gives me peace of mind with his calm sound advice.  My husband calls me upset that the interviewer had given me the assumption that the job was mine, when in fact, it was up for grabs for anyone who applied. Then, my mom calls and says something strange. With confidence she says, “You know what? Be sad. Let yourself be sad, just don’t over do it.”

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Stina Persson

What? I am allowed to be sad? Myself and many others take pride in the fact that we can just “brush it off our shoulders” and move on. Yes, we might go home and have a balling session in an hour long shower, but no one knows it and all evidence goes right down the drain. “Oh. My eyes are only red because I got soap in them”.

Whenever I cry, I can’t help but think of Alice in Wonderland. Here she is, in this odd world, trusting strangers, and doing everything she can to get home, and she breaks down and cries. Until my mom told me, “Be sad”, I had always seen Alice as a wimp, an annoying cry baby I would try to avoid at all costs. Now I realize that yes, she cried, and so much so, that she was able to successfully move. on.

So that Friday night I attempted to let myself “be sad”. I pulled on my jammies, turned on those lovely Lifetime movies, and cuddled with my pup. Randomly, a crying outburst would sneak up on me and I allowed it to continue it’s path. Once Saturday morning came about, I felt a little refreshed. Not to say I was no longer disappointed, but rather accepted the fact. It was that morning I decided that my mission was to figure out what the heck to do next. Because after all, once Alice rode out her sea of tears, she didn’t stand still.

Stina Persson

Stina Persson

Whatever You Do…DON’T SIT DOWN!!!

GUILTY! GUILTY! GUILTY!

 

I sit down A LOT. Working on the computer is what I do! How can I help it if my job requires me to sit all day? My answer was to ask my fabulous Dad to build a desk that I could use standing up! The results are fabulous and when you get to the end of this post, you can see how it turned out!! My advice and other advice I have read….do whatever you can to stand up, walk around or dance…just don’t sit too long. Lately I have been hearing alarming facts about the health of people who sit for long periods of time. Here’s a scary statistic for you…so much so I have been thinking up ways to sleep standing up:
“According to a study in the March 26 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers discovered that people who sat for 11 hours a day or more were 40 percent more likely to die – from any cause. The researchers also found the odds of dying were 15 percent higher for those who sit between eight to 11 hours a day compared to those who sit less than four hours a day.” – CBSNews.com, Michelle Castillo

Women’s Health Magazine had a great article on this unfortunate killer and I highly suggest you read through it!

You might not want to take the following stat sitting down: According to a poll of nearly 6,300 people by the Institute for Medicine and Public Health, it’s likely that you spend a stunning 56 hours a week planted like a geranium—staring at your computer screen, working the steering wheel, or collapsed in a heap in front of your high-def TV. And it turns out women may be more sedentary than men, since they tend to play fewer sports and hold less active jobs.

Even if you think you are energetic, sitting all day at work is common for most of us. And it’s killing us—literally—by way of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. All this downtime is so unhealthy that it’s given birth to a new area of medical study called inactivity physiology, which explores the effects of our increasingly butt-bound, tech-driven lives, as well as a deadly new epidemic researchers have dubbed “sitting disease.”

The Modern-Day Desk Sentence
“Our bodies have evolved over millions of years to do one thing: move,” says James Levine,M.D., Ph.D., of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and author of Move a Little, Lose a Lot. “As human beings, we evolved to stand upright. For thousands of generations, our environment demanded nearly constant physical activity.”

But thanks to technological advances, the Internet, and an increasingly longer work week, that environment has disappeared. “Electronic living has all but sapped every flicker of activity from our daily lives,” Levine says. You can shop, pay bills, make a living, and with Twitter and Facebook, even catch up with friends without so much as standing up. And the consequences of all that easy living are profound.

When you sit for an extended period of time, your body starts to shut down at the metabolic level, says Marc Hamilton, Ph.D., associate professor of biomedical sciences at the University of Missouri. When muscles—especially the big ones meant for movement, like those in your legs—are immobile, your circulation slows and you burn fewer calories. Key flab-burning enzymes responsible for breaking down triglycerides (a type of fat) simply start switching off. Sit for a full day and those fat burners plummet by 50 percent, Levine says.

That’s not all. The less you move, the less blood sugar your body uses; research shows that for every two hours spent on your backside per day, your chance of contracting diabetes goes up by 7 percent. Your risk for heart disease goes up, too, because enzymes that keep blood fats in check are inactive. You’re also more prone to depression: With less blood flow, fewer feel-good hormones are circulating to your brain.

Sitting too much is also hell on your posture and spine health, says Douglas Lentz, a certified strength and conditioning specialist and the director of fitness and wellness for Summit Health in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. “When you sit all day, your hip flexors and hamstrings shorten and tighten, while the muscles that support your spine become weak and stiff,” he says. It’s no wonder that the incidence of chronic lower-back pain among women has increased threefold since the early 1990s.

And even if you exercise, you’re not immune. Consider this: We’ve become so sedentary that 30 minutes a day at the gym may not do enough to counteract the detrimental effects of eight, nine, or 10 hours of sitting, says Genevieve Healy, Ph.D., a research fellow at the Cancer Prevention Research Centre of the University of Queensland in Australia. That’s one big reason so many women still struggle with weight, blood sugar, and cholesterol woes despite keeping consistent workout routines.

In a recent study, Healy and her colleagues found that regardless of how much moderate to vigorous exercise participants did, those who took more breaks from sitting throughout the day had slimmer waists, lower BMIs (body mass indexes), and healthier blood fat and blood sugar levels than those who sat the most. In an extensive study of 17,000 people, Canadian researchers drew an even more succinct conclusion: The longer you spend sitting each day, the more likely you are to die an early death—no matter how fit you are.

Desk Success!!!

 

Good Health IS a Laughing Matter!

The other day I was laughing so hard at some stupid joke my co-worker made, I had tears running down my cheeks and I was kneeling on the floor. I could barely catch my breath and could not utter a word, yet I felt awesome! How is it that laughter has similarities to being in pain but it feels so good? This had me doing some research to see if there was even such a thing as benefits of laughing. I mean, yeah, it makes you smile, but is there more to it? Guess what? There is a heck of a lot more to it!!!! I checked out the Mayo Clinic’s website and they seemed to have the most realistic knowledge of the benefits of laughter…

Stress relief from laughter

A good sense of humor can’t cure all ailments, but data are mounting about the positive things laughter can do.

Short-term benefits
A good laugh has great short-term effects. When you start to laugh, it doesn’t just lighten your load mentally, it actually induces physical changes in your body. Laughter can:

  • Stimulate many organs. Laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain.
  • Activate and relieve your stress response. A rollicking laugh fires up and then cools down your stress response and increases your heart rate and blood pressure. The result? A good, relaxed feeling.
  • Soothe tension. Laughter can also stimulate circulation and aid muscle relaxation, both of which help reduce some of the physical symptoms of stress.

Long-term effects
Laughter isn’t just a quick pick-me-up, though. It’s also good for you over the long haul. Laughter may:

  • Improve your immune system. Negative thoughts manifest into chemical reactions that can impact your body by bringing more stress into your system and decreasing your immunity. In contrast, positive thoughts actually release neuropeptides that help fight stress and potentially more-serious illnesses.
  • Relieve pain. Laughter may ease pain by causing the body to produce its own natural painkillers. Laughter may also break the pain-spasm cycle common to some muscle disorders.
  • Increase personal satisfaction. Laughter can also make it easier to cope with difficult situations. It also helps you connect with other people.

How to improve — or gain — a sense of humor

Are you afraid you have an underdeveloped — or nonexistent — funny bone? No problem. Humor can be learned. In fact, developing or refining your sense of humor may be easier than you think.

  • Put humor on your horizon. Find a few simple items, such as photos or comic strips that make you chuckle. Then hang them up at home or in your office. Keep funny movies or comedy albums on hand for when you need an added humor boost.
  • Laugh and the world laughs with you. Find a way to laugh about your own situations and watch your stress begin to fade away. Even if it feels forced at first, practice laughing. It does your body good.
  • Share a laugh. Make it a habit to spend time with friends who make you laugh. And then return the favor by sharing funny stories or jokes with those around you.
  • Knock-knock. Browse through your local bookstore or library’s selection of joke books and get a few rib ticklers in your repertoire that you can share with friends.
  • Know what isn’t funny. Don’t laugh at the expense of others. Some forms of humor aren’t appropriate. Use your best judgment to discern a good joke from a bad, or hurtful, one.

To help everyone jump start their laughing, I decided to get some jokes collected for you. They may not be side splitting, but I will guess that at least one side of your mouth will curl up in a smile!

How do you make a tissue dance?     Put a little boogie in it!

Two cannibals are eating a clown.    One says to the other: “Does this taste funny to you?”

What do you get when you play country music backwards?    “You get your house back, you get your car back, you get your wife back, you get your dog back…”

What do you call a cow with no legs?    Gound beef.

Tell Polka Dot Tango your favorite corny joke!!!