By Judith Macek
- What is an effective or healthy way to cope with stress?
- Whether it’s physical or mental, stress is a pressure or demand on the body, and if you’ve ever experienced rapid heartbeat, headaches, nausea, insomnia, muscle tension and/or difficulty concentrating (to name a few symptoms), then you’ve most likely wined and dined with stress.
Although stress is typically associated with negative terms like pain, pressure, trouble and worry, realistically it’s not always negative or unhealthy. Everybody has an optimal positive stress level, which is called eustress. This motivates us to get out of bed and keep up with our responsibilities, while the unhealthy one, christened distress, may shift us into overdrive.
Imagine waiting in the doctor’s office with nothing to do. Yawning follows because the mind is bored, and hypostress (not enough demands) sets in. Conversely, if you’re running late, can’t find your keys and traffic is heavy, then you experience hyperstress. Stressors result from demands we place on ourselves (internal) or demands from surroundings (external). Whatever the source, the body’s first response is short shallow breaths.
We can either learn to control the breath or the breath controls us. One healthy effective way to cope with stress is with a breathing technique. Before beginning to practice this skill, pay attention to your breathing patterns.
A healthy breath fills the lungs and distends the diaphragm. It can be helpful to place a hand on your belly to feel if it rise and fall with the breath. One breathing technique to try is to draw a slow breath in through the nose while counting to three, fill the lungs and diaphragm, and then slowly exhale through the mouth counting to four. Repeat this three times. If three rounds don’t suffice, repeat the process. If counting to three isn’t comfortable, try four- or five-second inhalations....
Our theme for this May/June issue is “Inside the Great Outdoors.” Summer is my favorite time of year, and I spend a lot of time outside enjoying the sun, the heat and yes, even the humidity.
The best part about being outside are the plants and trees that change daily — sometimes hourly if you’re watching closely. I start most mornings in my flower beds with a walking tour in my pajamas, drinking coffee and pulling an occasional weed. I go back in the evenings, usually spending an hour or two tinkering.
The worst part about being outside is the animals — snakes, specifically; horses more broadly.
Animals fall into three categories: Animals I Love, Animals I Don’t Like, and Animals That Terrify Me. Dogs, birds, cats, turtles and bees are in the Love It category. I’ll toss in amphibians and most farm animals, reptiles, insects and mammals.
Fleas, lice and yellow jackets are in the Don’t Like category. I haven’t experienced bed bugs, but I’ll go ahead and throw those in there, too. I’m guessing I wouldn’t like them very much.
During my first trip to the Spicy Lamb Farm (our cover story), the dynamic owner Laura Minnig introduced me to her horses, casually warning that one “tends to eat clothes.” That’s just one of my issues with horses.
I’ve given horses a chance — lots of them. It’s never worked out. They’ve kicked me and thrown me. One gave me a concussion. I don’t trust animals that are so intuitive that they sense my fear — at least that’s what their owners always tell me. I’ve been married to a dear man for 32 years who isn’t half that intuitive.
Because it was chilly when I visited the Spicy Lamb, I didn’t see a snake. I know they’re there....
I see many new patients who come to our office for “smile makeovers.” Some do it for a special occasion, while others thought it was about time to take care of themselves. Regardless of the reason, they understood the value of healthy teeth and a smile they could be proud of.
A physician in her 50s told us she wanted to look good at her daughter’s wedding and in the wedding photos. She had lost a few upper and lower front teeth as a teenager due to an accident. At the time, the teeth were replaced with permanent bridges made of porcelain on top of a metal framework used for strength.
Though they had lasted many years, they looked their age, with a number of fractures and chips, and some of the metal margins were visible. After exploring her options, we used a combination of all-porcelain bridgework in the front and all-porcelain crowns in the back. She confided in me that she wished she had done the dental work earlier so that she could have been enjoying the benefits, both cosmetically and functionally.
The wedding pushed her into moving forward with treatment. As she also travels frequently with her husband and has a grinding problem, we made her a soft night guard, which will help protect her teeth from grinding and any accident that might occur on the road.
Looking Good, Feeling Great
Another patient, in her mid-80s, was brought in by her daughter — a professor at a northeastern Ohio university — prior to their annual family reunion. “Jackie” had a large space between her front teeth that had bothered her for her entire adult life. After looking at various options, she decided to have four porcelain veneers placed to both close the diastema (space) and to make the proportions of her front teeth appropriate....
In such a youth-oriented society, it’s easy to feel over the hill at age 50 or 60. It really is the prime of life, and that means it’s time to update your affairs so you can enjoy retirement and your grandchildren.
Get the proper legal documents in place. That includes a Last Will and Testament, Financial Power of Attorney, Health Care Power of Attorney, Living Will Declaration and maybe a Living Trust.
Without a will specifying who’s in charge and who gets what, the wrong people might inherit your assets. For example, if you wanted to leave all of your assets to two of three of your children because you already gave the third child money, it needs to be specified in your will. Without a will, Ohio law would force your assets to be paid in equal shares to your three children, with no regard to your wishes.
Who’s In Charge?
If you become disabled, you’ll need a Financial Power of Attorney, Health Care Power of Attorney, and Living Will Declaration to name someone who will handle your affairs. Without these documents, the court will appoint a guardian to oversee your affairs. That’s a lot of money and paperwork that can be avoided with smart legal planning. Keep copies of these documents handy so your family can find them when needed.
Coordinate your bank accounts, investments, retirement funds, life insurance, real estate and cars — the titling, the beneficiaries and the asset allocation. This may take a team, which might include your attorney, financial planner, tax preparer, banker and life insurance agent. Your family will thank you for making sure everything is organized and easy to find.
Take advantage of senior discounts and bank accounts. Turning 50 makes you eligible for AARP. Sign up and use it for the many senior discounts available — don’t let it make you feel old....
By Kabb Law
What and who is the Sandwich Generation? It’s group of people mostly between the ages of 40 and 65, who are “sandwiched” between the obligations of bringing up their own children, a job and caring for aging parents.
What are the problems? They include stress from financial, legal, care and family dynamics, and pressure from the responsibility of providing for parents and the loss of parents’ financial assistance. The result for caregivers may be family arguments, higher health costs for themselves from stress, illnesses and substance abuse.
What are some solutions? Open communication on aging, driving and finances. Get legal documents in place. You can prevent caregiver burnout by finding solutions early and building a support network. If it is difficult for a child to have “the talk” with elderly parents, seek out professional services to be a facilitator. Good planning will allow you to be free to manage the sandwich and enjoy the process....
Research leaves no doubt and the scientific proof is so overwhelming, it’s shocking that building muscle is not prescribed as THE frontline defense against disease.
Unfortunately, taking control of your health and fitness is significantly underpublicized in our hectic, media-frenzied world. In short, fatty muscles are killing you.
After you reach the age of about 16 to 20, your body naturally stops growing new muscle. That’s when the power of youth stops working in your favor.
Every second of every day, most of our 100 trillion cells in our body are busy creating new cells to replace old ones that are damaged or dying.
If you don’t do something to keep your muscles activated and strong, fat begins to invade the sedentary muscles, boring itself deeper and deeper into your muscle tissue — marbleizing the muscle much like a fatty cut of steak.
The wasting of muscle tissue damages the metabolic processes that take place and weakens your body’s natural immunity in direct correlation to the amount of muscle you lose. Over many years, the ravishing effects on the body threatens the health and independence of millions of Americans.
If that were not enough, things can get even worse for the female population. The average woman loses 0.5 pounds of muscle each year and gains 1.5 pounds of fat. By the time she turns 50, nearly half of her body weight is fat.
Hope and Help
Many world-renowned, peer-reviewed medical journals and scientists have established that an improper fat-to-muscle ratio — too much fat in your muscles or intramuscular fat — leaves us vulnerable to a host of nightmarish health problems.
According to a new report from the National Center for Biotechnology, lack of strength and muscle tone causes sarcopenia — a wasting of muscle tissue — leading to weakness, disability, increased hospitalization, immobility and loss of independence....