January 3, 2019

{Guest Post} A New You in the New Year

A New You in the New Year

The vast majority of New Year’s resolutions involve losing weight and exercising. Admirable goals indeed, but often unsustainable with the gung-ho attitude that comes with January 1. This year, make a commitment to yourself by making changes to your lifestyle that won’t get knocked off the calendar come February. Here are a few ideas:

Prioritize your health

Instead of focusing on weight loss and muscle mass, think about the things you do each day that affect your overall well-being. Make a commitment to stick with whole foods, get plenty of sleep, and engage in more physical activity when possible. This doesn’t mean you have to go on a diet or hit the gym.

Keep in mind that your health is also swayed in part by your relationship with your healthcare providers. If you don’t already have a primary care physician, find a doctor and a schedule a wellness exam. Don’t forget your dentist, since your oral health affects everything you do. Poor oral health can diminish your self-confidence and may even play a role in whether you develop cardiovascular disease. If your current dentist doesn’t make you feel comfortable, has an out-of-date office, inconvenient hours, or simply costs too much, don’t be afraid to transition to a provider that can meet your needs. AreaDentist.com is a great resource that can help you make the switch pain-free.

Enhance your career

Your career is part of you. If you aren’t happy at work, you likely won’t be happy at home either. If you find yourself sitting stagnant and going nowhere, it’s time to grab the proverbial bull by the horns. Consider going back to school, which can propel you toward a promotion or career change altogether. If you choose to change professional paths, don’t do so without polishing your skills and refining your resume. Choose a resume style that’s right for your career and level of experience. For example, if you’re transitioning out of service and need a civilian job, a functional resume, which emphasizes your skill set, may be appropriate. If you plan to apply for multiple positions, tailor your cover letter to each; employers can easily tell who’s taken the time to cater their correspondence and who copied text from a template.

Learn about your family history

Who are you and where you do come from? The answer to this question isn’t as simple as it may seem. Invest a few days this year researching your family history. In addition to gaining a better understanding of your lineage, you can also find out information that’s relevant to your health. For example, having your DNA tested can identify whether you have biomarkers that put you at risk of hereditary diseases. Illumina, a global genome research organization, offers more information on inherited diseases and DNA sequencing here.

Make a budget

It doesn’t matter if you make $500 per week $500,000 per year, having a grasp on your spending is the best way to ensure your financial future. Creating a budget isn’t difficult and starts by recording your expenses. This will allow you to identify areas where you can cut back and establish your priorities. Bank of America suggests using an automatic banking transfer and notes that virtually all banking institutes can split your direct deposit.

Spend time with loved ones

Family time is more important than time spent scrolling through your social media accounts or watching TV. And considering the average American parent spends about 40 percent less time with their offspring than previous generations, there is no better time than now to reverse this trend within your own household. Eat dinner with your kids, play games, and make a point to get out of the house together to eliminate distractions. If the kids are old enough, consider becoming involved with local volunteer opportunities, which can improve your mental health and strengthen your bonds.

This year, don’t just make a resolution, make a commitment. By focusing on the things that make you whole and happy, you put yourself in the best position to make 2019 the year you take control of every aspect of your life. And remember, you don’t have to wait until the calendar flips to do any of the above; any day can be the start of a new year.

Image via Pixabay

Thank you to Stephanie Haywood of Mylifeboost.com | shaywood@mylifeboost.com for writing this guest post. Look for more great inspirational posts from her in the future!

January 1, 2019

{Guest Post} Beat The Heat With These Summer Wedding Food Ideas

What can be more romantic than a wedding under the warmth of the alluring sun? Summer weddings have always been an ideal choice for most of the couples as there is nothing more spectacular and romantic than a summer evening when the sky plays an orchestra of colors as the sun starts to set.

Weddings being the most beautiful and precious ceremony of your lives, both the couple and their families want everything to be special and perfect. While talking about perfections, it’s not just the bride’s wedding dress or the decor that has to be done with complete sincerity.  One very important part of the wedding is the food and menu which has to be given equal significance. We know the struggle of spending days looking out for the ideal menu for the wedding and therefore we have come up with some great menu ideas that you can use for your summer wedding celebration.
Include Fresh Juices, Mocktails and Popsicles Into the Menu
As you are planning for a summer wedding it is vital to focus on the fact that no matter how beautiful the day will be, it is going to be warm. So we need to incorporate fresh juices and cold beverages into the menu. You can even make your own if you have the right blender. The guests will love and devour the summer mocktails as it will add a bit of chill to the hot summer weather. You can order for colorful fruity popsicles as well. Trust me it will be an absolute hit on your wedding event amongst the guests.  
The Main Course
For a hot summer wedding, it wouldn’t be ideal to serve red meat or lamb or pork as these tend to be chewier. Hence, chicken is the ideal choice for a wedding in the warm days. Lemon marinate chicken or bbq chicken goes great for the main courses in this case.

Whenever you are hosting a summer wedding remember that the desserts need to be very light and fresh on flavor rather than something rich and chocolatey. Strawberry shortcakes or cheesecakes are an ideal option when it comes to desserts. These are not too heavy and ha e a tremendous fresh taste to it. If you want to try out something completely unique then you can serve snow cones as a dessert as well. It is unique and equally refreshing and your guests are going to love the fun idea.
A wedding is about the binding of two people and their families and friends. It is where your loved one comes together to bless and celebrate your new beginning and summer is the best possible time for the lovers to start their new life as man and wife. Summer weddings are more fun as you can include so many refreshing food and beverages into the menu which the guests will absolutely love. I am sure that these fun food ideas will enhance the feast at your wedding making it memorable forever.

Thank you to Jeremy of Davids BBQ for sharing this guest post. Jeremy is a father of two who is married to his high school sweetheart. He enjoys spending time with his family, staying active and of course cooking! He grew up in his father’s BBQ restaurant that specializes in pulled pork and wedding caterings.

December 21, 2018

{Guest Post} Perk Up Patients During the Holidays with These 8 Ideas

Perk Up Patients During the Holidays with These 8 Ideas

Going the extra mile for your patients over the holidays can really make a difference in their lives. Try one or more of these eight ideas to help boost their mood and show them that you care.

Hand out holiday cards.
Holiday cards are an inexpensive way to spread some holiday spirit among your patients, and you can often pick up a whole set of stationery for only a couple of dollars. Choose a non-religious theme so the cards will be applicable to anyone (and you can hand out extras to your coworkers, too!). Consider a personal note for patients who have been at your facility for a while if you’ve built a relationship with them, but a general holiday greeting will also work for those you don’t know as well. If you’d like, you can make it a group effort and leave the cards in the lounge area so all the nurses in your unit can sign them.

Play some festive music.
There’s lots of different music for every holiday as well as different moods, from upbeat carols to somber hymns. As long as your patients agree to it, playing holiday music in either the common areas or their rooms can help contribute to the festive air. If you’d like to take things to the next level, some musically-inclined volunteers will actually come to play at clinics and hospitals all year round, and you can ask them to tailor their song selections to the season. Even if your unit doesn’t currently have musical volunteers, another part of the hospital might, so ask around to see if another department has some contacts you can reach out to.

Bring in volunteers.
Nurses’ shifts are packed full of activity on even the best of days, and this is doubly true over the holidays when staff coverage can be a little thinner than usual. Having visitors to talk to certainly cheers patients up, but you might not have time during your shift to stop for a long chat—and that’s where volunteers come in. Many charitable groups and organizations coordinate activities around the holidays, including visiting patients and bringing gifts to those in need of some cheer. If you don’t currently have a volunteer program at your facility, do some research and contact local organizations or religious groups. There’s usually an uptick in volunteers during November and December, so there will probably be plenty of people willing to spend an hour or two visiting with your patients.

Try to keep a positive attitude.
Yes, it sucks to work on a holiday, especially when everyone else you know is at home with family and friends. But think of how much worse it is for patients. Not only are they at the hospital, they’re sick and they don’t get to go home at the end of their 12-hour shift. Some of them may have family who come to visit them, but not all do. Some will be spending Thanksgiving, Christmas and other special days alone in their room. It can be tough to be cheerful when you have to work on the holidays, but try to stay positive when you’re around your patients. Trust us, they probably don’t want to be there either.

Check in with patients on how they’re feeling.
While we often think of the holidays as a season of happiness, not everyone feels that way during November and December, especially if they’re sick and in the hospital. The holidays can trigger feelings of depression and even thoughts of suicide in patients, so be proactive and check in with them regularly, especially if they seem more down than usual. Sometimes the dip in mood is only temporary and having someone else (such as a nurse) take the time to ask them how they are doing can help patients feel better. If you have serious concerns, you can notify their family members and call in a psychologist or other expert to help them manage their negative thought patterns and feelings.

Decorate their rooms.
Many nurses festoon the lounge or nurse’s station, and if you have extra decorations, you can use them to ornament patients’ rooms (with their permission as well as the facility’s, of course). Hospital rooms have a dreary reputation for a reason, and a bit of bright tinsel and a couple of garlands can go a long way towards perking up the space. You can also encourage their family members to bring in other small decorations, such as cards to display in the window or a red-and-green bouquet of flowers for their bedside.

Help them accessorize.
There’s no need to let the decorating stop with the room itself. If patients are up for it, you can also help them dress up a bit to celebrate the season. Obviously, this will depend on each patient’s health and comfort level, but some easy ideas that don’t require much effort are Santa hats and reindeer antlers. As for newborns, it’s hard to go wrong with a holiday-themed onesie. Babies need clothing anyway, so you might as well get in the spirit of the season with fun patterns and a red-and-green color scheme. And of course, if you’re going to ask your patients to dress up, you should wear some holiday scrubs and compression socks yourself so everyone can participate in the fun.

Coordinate a family night holiday meal.
If you work at a long-term care facility, hosting a family dinner night around Thanksgiving and/or Christmas can be a special experience for residents and staff alike. Having everyone’s families come for dinner at the same time turns it into a memorable, festive event instead of an ordinary meal. Some residents may be on special diets so a true potluck might not be feasible. Try instead to encourage families to check in with staff ahead of time if they would like to bring a special treat for grandma or granddad.

Patient or nurse, no one chooses to be in the hospital over the holidays—but sometimes it can’t be helped. If you’d like to help cheer up your patients but aren’t sure how, we’ve rounded up eight ideas to help you perk them up over the holidays. And don’t be surprised if these acts of kindness make you feel better as well. Helping others release neurotransmitters can contribute to positive feelings, so put on those holiday scrubs and get in the spirit of the season!

Thank you to Deborah Swanson, Real Caregiver Program Coordinator, of allheart.com for writing this article.