Weird Signs That You Need to Start Treating Your Body Better

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Do you dream of becoming a person who wakes up at 6am, meditates then drinks a green smoothie before setting off on a run before work? What a way to start the day that would be. In reality, most of us wake up ten minutes late, run around like a headless chicken, down a large coffee and skip breakfast. We don’t live in a perfect world, having commitments like work or education, family, running a home and everything else it can be tricky to get the balance right. What this often means is our health can suffer. We go to bed late and don’t get enough sleep. We are tired, stressed, we don’t always make the best decisions when it comes to food. Some people find themselves reaching for vices like cigarettes, alcohol or drugs as an unhealthy coping mechanism.
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If you are especially interested in health, there are online nursing graduate programs which can allow you to advance your career and learn more while helping others. But even if you’re not, you should pay attention and at least take an interest in your own health. When you have been mistreating your body for a while, you can usually tell. You gain weight, your skin looks sallow and breaks out, and you generally feel sluggish and lethargic. However, if you’ve been doing this for a while these negative symptoms might not be as noticeable, it’s only when you feel better you realise how bad you felt. There are some other signs though which are hints that you need to start treating your body better. Are you experiencing any of these right now?

Hair Loss

Hair loss on the crown of the head is common in men, in fact by the age of thirty-five most will have some degree of hair loss. This is due to male pattern baldness, and unfortunately, there’s not much you can do about it. But there are other kinds of hair loss which are down to a lack of vitamins in the diet. Vitamin b7 also known as biotin isn’t stored in the body, so we need to get it from our food. It’s present in oily fish like salmon, avocados, mushrooms, cauliflower, nuts, raspberries, bananas, soybeans and eggs. You can also take biotin capsules too if this is a cause. If your hair is coming out in clumps, fixing up your diet could be helpful but speak to your GP or a trichologist too to make sure there are no other underlying problems.

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Tingling or Numbness in the Hands and Feet

When you lack in B vitamins such as folate, B6 and B12 it can cause problems related to the peripheral nerves which can cause tingling in the hands and feet. You can combat this problem by including foods like beans eggs, beets, shellfish poultry and spinach into your diet. However, it’s important to be aware that these symptoms can also be related to anxiety, depression, anaemia, fatigue and hormone imbalances. Some people also notice this a day after drinking alcohol but it’s usually short lived. Type two diabetes also can cause this sensation, so it’s important to get it checked out, especially if you’re at risk. Risk factors include being overweight, inactive, having a family history of diabetes and certain ethnicities have also been shown to be more prone to the illness.

Wounds That Won’t Heal

Whether it’s bruise, scratch or cut if you’re noticing that any wounds on your body aren’t healing the way they should then it could be a sign that something isn’t right internally. Since protein is the major macronutrient associated with cell building and repair, it makes sense to look at your protein levels first. If you’re a meat and fish eater, a small portion each day will do the trick (go for poultry instead of red meat as it’s lower in fat). If you’re vegetarian, vegan or looking for alternative protein sources, there are lots to choose from. Tofu, lentils, beans, milk made from nuts such as coconut and almond, even vegetable contain some protein. Again, wounds that won’t heal do also indicate diabetes too so have this checked out to be on the safe side. The problem with wounds taking a long time to heal, not only do they hint at something wrong in the body but open cuts put you at risk of infection.

Misshapen or Brittle Nails

Low iron levels can lead to whitened or ridged nails, and biotin deficiency can increase your risk of fungal infections which cause ridging and discolouration. If you have a vitamin B12 deficiency, this can make your nails take on a brownish colour. You can incorporate dark leafy green vegetables, seafood, beans and fortified foods into your diet to help combat this. If you’ve already had a nail or two taken over by fungal nail infections, then be sure to visit your GP or chemist for some treatment to clear this up. It’s very infectious and can spread to others, as well as other nails so don’t delay.

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Some of these might seem like subtle problems, but they can be a huge hint that things aren’t running well in your body. Often just switching up your diet, taking vitamins and doing some exercise can be enough to put things back on track. If you’ve ended up in a bit of a rut with your health, and damaging behaviours such as overeating, smoking and drinking then put a stop to this. You only get one body and one life, so it’s crucial you take care of it to the best of your ability. You don’t need to be perfect, just make better decisions and be aware of the damage a bad lifestyle can cause.

Have you experienced any of these issues? Have you fallen into bad habits when it comes to your health, if so how do you plan on getting out of your rut?

 

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Hear, Hear! Everything You Need to Know About Auditory Health

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We are all familiar with the stock character of the older individual who has trouble hearing. However, hearing issues can affect people of all ages, so it is absolutely essential that you have a thorough understanding of auditory health. This will allow you to identify the early warning signs of problems, recognise symptoms and be able to seek out help when you find difficulty in hearing or are experiencing abnormalities. Here are a few things to keep in mind at all times and a few different ways to keep on top of your hearing and the health of your ears in general.

Causes of Hearing Impairment

Hearing impairment can have a profound effect on your life. Afterall, most of us rely on our sense of sound to communicate with one another effectively and recognise danger. That’s not to mention enjoying music or sounds such as the pitter patter of rain against a window pane. So, it’s important that we are all well aware of the causes of hearing impairment, which can range from mild to moderate, severe and profound. Some causes of hearing loss are unpreventable: a baby may be deprived of oxygen at birth, or certain drugs or illnesses may have been present in the mother’s system during pregnancy. Sever jaundice in newborns can also have profound effects. Other causes can be acquired at any time in an individual’s life, for example, chronic ear infections, head or ear injury, the use of certain drugs or the aftereffects of certain illnesses (such as meningitis, mumps and rubella).

Hearing Products

If you or are loved one are experiencing hearing impairment, there are numerous hearing products on the market and in development that may be able to help reduce the severity of the effects of the condition. Hearing aids are perhaps the most common and recognisable of these. While they may not reinstate hearing, they do help to amplify sounds, allowing individuals who are hard of hearing to recognise sounds more clearly. A professional audiologist will be able to identify whether you require hearing aids and will also be able to fit them for you. Other options can include cochlear implants and assistive devices for day to day use.

Recognising the Early Signs

While you and your loved ones may not be in need of consultation or hearing products at this specific moment, you can train yourself to recognise the early signs of hearing loss. This will allow you to seek treatment of your own or on someone else’s behalf sooner rather than later. Indications of hearing loss include numerous requests for people to repeat what they’ve said, a lack of reaction when spoken to or faced with a sudden noise, speaking loudly and having the television or radio on too loudly for those who are fair of hearing.

So, there you have it! It’s absolutely essential that you monitor your hearing and the hearing of those you love in order to keep on top of bothersome symptoms or debilitating effects of hearing loss.

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3 Signs That You May Need a Hearing Aid

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The early treatment and prevention of hearing problems is vital in maintaining and preventing further damage to hearing health. Still, many people do not notice, or are unaware of, the early signs of hearing loss. It is important, however, that appropriate precautionary actions are taken to ensure that no further damage is done and the use of hearing aids can be very useful in pursuit of this purpose.

Here are some of the signs that’ll help you determine whether you need a hearing aid. Although you may notice a few of these signs, it is important to discuss any potential hearing loss with an audiologist for a more personalized experience and proper diagnosis.

Social Signs

When you experience hearing loss, how you interact with other people can change dramatically. Even so, initially, many people will be unaware of the degree to which their loss impacts their communication with others.

One of the more obvious signs is if others think you turn the volume up too high when watching TV or listening to music. If it is a consensus amongst your family and friends that this is a problem, then it is a good indication that you are experiencing hearing loss. For many people with hearing loss, though, simply increasing the level of overall sound will not necessarily allow them to hear better. Hearing aids like Rexton smart connect can reduce background and irrelevant noise and make voices sound clearer to help with understanding speech.

In a noisy environment, especially in public, in restaurants or at social gatherings, you may find it difficult to follow conversations. Trouble listening in environments with background noise and having to ask people to repeat themselves more often than usual is another sign of hearing loss. Again, today, hearing aids are able to differentiate between speech and noise to make conversations in these environments a lot easier for you to follow.

Emotional Signs

Hearing loss is a very sensitive topic for most people. But without treatment, it is difficult to adjust your lifestyle and can become a frustrating problem to deal with.

It typically occurs gradually, leading many to believe that their hearing is still fine. A natural response is then to become annoyed at others when you’re unable to hear them, thinking that they are mumbling or not speaking up. It is understandably irritating, especially when you believe your hearing to be fine, but is a good sign of hearing loss.

Many people tend to avoid social situations as they begin experiencing some loss. If not the stress of straining to hear others, it is the embarrassment or nervousness of meeting new people that discourage you from a conversation. You may feel that you don’t enjoy being around others as much and prefer to isolate yourself. Aid will assist you in rebuilding your confidence when it comes to conversation.

Medical Signs

Alongside more obvious causes, such as exposure to loud noise, there are less widely known causes such as a range of medical conditions as well as medication.

The risk of hearing loss has been known to be increased by other, seemingly unrelated conditions. Those who suffer from diabetes, heart disease, and circulation or thyroid problems are more susceptible to damaged hearing. Awareness of potentially medically induced hearing loss will help in your search for treatment.

Conclusion

You may be surprised to have recognized some of these signs of hearing loss. Understanding that you are experiencing some loss and require treatment is a great starting point to better hearing health and hearing loss prevention. To ensure that you find the best options to suit your lifestyle, speak with a health specialist for a customized solution.

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Is High Blood Pressure A Problem? Here Are Some Solutions

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Lots of people visit their doctors feeling unwell and come away with a high blood pressure diagnosis. Indeed, it is estimated that around 30% of the population will suffer that illness at some point. Most folks have no idea how to deal with the issue and live a healthy life. For that reason, there are some tips and tricks in this article that come from medical experts. Everyone with high blood pressure should consider this advice and put it into action as soon as possible. While these ideas might not provide a cure, they will ease the symptoms and ensure the condition doesn’t interfere with the individual’s life too much.

Try to lose some weight

Obesity is one of the prime causes of high blood pressure in human beings today. A shocking percentage of people in the US and around the world consume too many calories every day. Those with diagnoses would benefit from trying to maintain a healthy diet. There are many blogs and websites online that publish the required information. So, it’s just a case of getting some education and putting the knowledge to good use. Losing weight could:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Reduce strain placed on the heart
  • Combat depression
  • And much more

If anyone struggles with that process, it makes sense to contact a doctor and ask for advice. In most instances, medical professionals can give proper diet plans to their patients.

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Take specialist supplements

There are many different health supplements on the market today that anyone can try. However, garlic is one of the most useful ingredients for those who want to manage their high blood pressure. Experts who created the Solaray Organic Garlic Supplement claim that many customers say they see an improvement in blood pressure readings. Of course, many other products could assist with that condition. Sufferers just need to look for brands that contain:

  • Alpha-Linolenic Acid
  • Beta-Glucans
  • Calcium
  • Cocoa
  • Fish oil

Some people might want to speak to their doctors ahead of time to ensure those supplements don’t interfere with any medication. However, in most instances, that isn’t going to happen, and those with high blood pressure are free to try any natural remedies.

Exercise as much as possible

A lack of exercise can also cause high blood pressure in some individuals. So, it’s sensible to join a gym or partake in some strenuous activities from time to time. Some people might even invest in some fitness equipment for their homes like the Smooth Fitness sitNcycle Deluxe. Just be sure to keep a blood pressure monitor handy at all times. If the individual begins to feel faint, they should check the reading to ensure they don’t require medical attention. There are lots of different ways anyone can get some exercise these days, but people might like to try:

  • Jogging
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Basketball
  • Football
  • And many more activities

In an ideal world, those who suffer high blood pressure should aim to work out for at least half an hour every single day. Do that for a couple of months and see if it makes a difference. People can then increase the frequency of their routines if exercise proves to have a positive effect.

Limit the amount of alcohol consumed

Alcohol is one of the worst substances in the world for raising blood pressure levels. Doctors will recommend that all patients stop drinking immediately after receiving their diagnosis. However, for most people, that is never going to happen. For whatever reason, modern society is built on occasions where alcohol consumption has become customary. So, the best course of action is to reduce the intake as much as possible. Having a couple of drinks at Christmas isn’t going to change much, but people with blood pressure issues shouldn’t drink every day. Some ideas to assist with the process include:

  • Replacing drinks with non-alcoholic alternatives
  • Drinking grape wine instead of beer
  • Avoiding spirits like whiskey altogether

If individuals with high blood pressure use the advice from this page, they should find it much easier to manage their conditions. When all’s said and done, sometimes there is nothing the patient can do to improve their situation. That is often the case with people who are in the latter stages of life and have many other medical conditions. Still, almost everyone can change their diet and eat more fruits and vegetables with their meals. So, use some common sense, research the subject as much as possible, and take affirmative action. That is the best way to combat any illness without the use of prescribed medication. Of course, many people with high blood pressure would benefit from that too.

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Do You Understand The Health Complications That Come With These Common Habits?

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We all know that we need to have good levels of health and wellness. But it’s safe to say, that we don’t always know the best ways to go about getting them. One minute, we feel as if we’ve nailed a healthy routine, then something pops up to put a stop to all that and we’re back to square one again. So, it seems, the best way to stay healthy and avoid health problems is to keep things simple. When you stay simple, your health is easier to stay on top of.

But how do we go about doing that? One of the best ways is education. By knowing more about your health and how everyday things in life can affect it, you’ll be able to do your best at keeping poor health at bay. Because it’s often a lot of our most common habits that can be harming up the most. Learn to keep these in check, and you should find yourself with better health and wellness levels.

Eating Junk Food

A lot of junk food can taste good. And when you get yourself into the habit of eating it, you always want it more. But junk and fast food isn’t always the best nutritional choice for your health. In fact, it can often bring on a lot of health complications later on in life. Junk food can be high in saturated or trans fats, as well as salt. This can lead to high blood pressure to start with, as well as obesity.

Being Overweight

If becoming addicted to eating junk food and putting a strain on your organs wasn’t enough, overindulging in food can make you overweight. There are serious health risks linked to obesity. Heart problems including heart disease and stroke, high blood pressure and even problems with your breathing are all related to obesity. Plus, when your body is carrying too much weight, you can also put a strain on your joints and suffer from mobility issues.

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Sunbathing

During the summer when the weather is warmer, there’s nothing quite like heading out into the sun for a daily dose of vitamin D. But, persistent sunbathing can have detrimental effects on your health. We all know the risks of skin cancer that come with being out in the sun, so wearing sunscreen is a must, but that’s not all. Excessive sun exposure can age your skin prematurely, give you sun spots (also known as age spots), and create irreversible damage. So think twice about worshipping the sun if you want to care for your skin.

Smoking

Then there’s smoking to think about too. It’s easier said than done when you decide to quit, but smoking brings on a myriad of health problems alongside the huge risk of cancer. Yes, you can get a range of lung diseases, but smoking also increases your risk of heart disease and suffering from a stroke, affects fertility, bone health, and can induce premature aging. But by quitting, you can reduce your health risks dramatically over time.

Drinking

Drinking alcohol in moderation won’t overly harm your health on average. However, excessive drinking can be related to a large number of health problems. Again, it’s linked to a high blood pressure and a higher risk of heart disease, liver disease, stroke and a range of cancers too. If you are struggling to stop, medical assistance from somewhere The Recovery Village could be what you need. Stopping or significantly reducing your alcohol consumption can often dramatically improve your health and reduce further risks.

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Getting Stressed

Stress is something that we all suffer with from time to time. It’s not something that we always see as bad for our health, just simply an annoyance. But high levels of stress can significantly damage your health. Cortisol, the stress hormone, is released when we are stressed, or even scared or worried. And it’s this chemical that can provide long term damage to the body. Not only can both cortisol and stress lead to mental health problems and depression, but it can also cause digestive issues and weight problems, and have detrimental effects on your vital organs too.

Staying Switched On

Closely related to the last point is the negative impacts of being connected to tech all of the time. When you are forever staring at a screen or engaging with some kind of technology, it can impact upon your health. You can bring on stress by being connected to the world all of the time, suffer from a bad back or sore eyes, and even cause issues in your relationships too. So take a break!

 

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Flatten Your Belly Fast

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Do you want a flat belly, but does the thought of doing thousands of crunches and sit-ups alongside a really strict diet not exactly motivate you to action? Don’t worry. Although cleaning up your diet a little and doing more exercise is certainly a good idea, and will surely get you a flat belly in the fullness of time, there are a number of quick fixes that can give you a flatter belly fast! Here are the most effective:

Straighten Up

There is nothing that will give you a flatter stomach faster than simply adjusting your posture so that you’re standing perfectly straight. You can appear around 5 pounds thinner simply by straightening your back. Try it now, I guarantee you’ll look better – when you’re standing up at least!

Avoid ‘Bloating Foods’

If you want your stomach to look flat in a flash, you need to avoid the kinds of foods that bloat you. These will be different for everyone, but some foods that commonly cause the stomach to bloat include:

-onions

-garlic

-cauliflower

-beans

-soda

As well as avoiding the foods that make you bloat, you should actively fight bloating by drinking Skinny Tea and apple cider vinegar or eating other bloat-busters like lemon and fennel seeds. In a matter of days, if not hours, you should notice a difference.

Dress Appropriately

Dressing right can also help your stomach to appear flatter than it really is. By avoiding fabrics that highlight the fact you have a bit of a tummy, such as lycra and light knits, and opting for woven fabrics like silk, cotton, and wool, you can create a slimming effect, which will draw attention away from the belly and give you the appearance of a flatter stomach.

Cut Down on Refined Carbs

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Cutting down on refined carbs and replacing them with whole grains is a great way to get rid of belly fat according to a study from Pennsylvania State University. In fact, participants who did just that, were able to shed double the amount of belly fat than those who continued to eat refined carbs. So, although this method might not be quite as fast as the others, if you’re looking for a permanent change, it could be the way to go.

Eat Slowly

If you tend to wolf down your food, you could be making yourself look bigger in the belly area than you actually are because when you eat fast, you tend to swallow a lot of excess air, which can cause a bloating effect. Not only that, but fast eaters tend to have bigger appetites, adding to the belly problem too. So, slow down, savor your food and pretty soon you’ll notice that you have a flatter belly.

Although many of the tips above are very effective, most are only quick fixes, and if you want to see a permanent change to the shape and size of your belly, there’s no getting around it – you are going to have to change your lifestyle and put in a little hard work. It’ll be worth it when you can rock a bikini with confidence, though!

 

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These Embarrassing Health Problems Could Have Easy Fixes

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Taking care of health problems shouldn’t be as hard as it sometimes is. We can all be reluctant to see a doctor or too quick to ignore a problem. And then there are the issues we don’t want to address because they’re embarrassing. Maybe you don’t want to mention them to a doctor, or you’re trying to hide them from family or friends. However, often these issues have simple solutions.

Dry Feet

Having dry feet may not seem all that embarrassing. However, when the skin on your feet gets dry, it tends to peel. If you’re too embarrassed to wear sandals, you need to do something about it. Two easy things to try are making sure you dry your feet properly after washing or swimming, and moisturizing your feet too.

Hair Loss

Hair loss is common for men, and not so common but still possible for women. If your hair starts to thin, you don’t have to hide it under a hat. Some shampoos can help it to be healthier. However, if you suspect there’s an underlying cause, a visit to your doctor wouldn’t go amiss.

Excessive Sweating

Everybody sweats (at least, almost everyone) but it can still be embarrassing. If you find you sweat a lot or it smells particularly bad, you probably avoid a lot of things. A good antiperspirant could help you out more than you might think, so try a few different products.

Constipation

If there’s one thing people feel awkward discussing with others, it’s anything to do with going to the toilet. Constipation can be pretty embarrassing, but it can also often be easy to fix.


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FAO New Moms: Getting Back To Normality After Giving Birth Is Easier Than You Think!

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Giving birth to your son or daughter was undoubtedly the greatest moment in your life. But after nine long months of being ruled by pregnancy, the thought of restoring some normality in your life must sound appealing.   

As a new parent, you will need to adjust routines to accommodate having this little bundle of joy. Nevertheless, restoring a sense of normality should be one of the top items on your agenda. The first step en route to success is to get your priorities in order.  Focus on these four areas, and you won’t go far wrong.

#1. Your Look

Pregnancy will take its toll on your body. On the one hand, you should embrace those changes as they represent the greatest accomplishment in your life. On the other hand, it’s important to accept that looking great makes you feel great too.

Emotionally, getting back into your old outfits is a huge deal. You can do this far sooner with the help of a maternity waist extender. This will instantly make you feel more like yourself. When followed by good nutrition and a little exercise, you’ll be back to your best in no time.

Meanwhile, you should rid yourself of any guilt connected to having beauty treatments. Every mommy deserves an occasional treat. After all, a happy mom is a better mom.

#2. The House

A happy home environment is integral for any modern family. Having another person in the home will clearly have an impact. If you’ve already created a nursery, that’s great. However, it’s equally important to perfect other parts of the property.

A decluttering session will claw back the space needed for home comfort. Of course, you’ll need to think about childproofing once your child starts crawling. For now, though, comfort is king.   

#3. Work

Becoming a parent changes everything, not least your outlook on life. While your career is an important factor, being a mom will forever remain number one in your heart. Therefore, finding a way to fit work around parenting should be one of your main goals.

Maternity leave gives you a chance to analyze the opportunities. Becoming a work-at-home mom is an increasingly popular option, though. The financial rewards can potentially be huge. Moreover, you’ll have the versatility to find greater balance in life while spending more time with the kids.

#4. Your Relationship

Having children brings couples closer together in many different ways. However, the new focus can also stop you from giving your relationship the attention it needs to thrive. While being a family is the greatest thing in the world, you shouldn’t forget your love for each other.

Being parents does move the goalposts. Still, you can arrange home date nights to keep the flame of love burning strong. Those moments celebrating each other is crucial to maintaining that strong bond that’s needed for long-term happiness.

Essentially, the title of mom will define you as a person. But it needn’t stop you from appreciating other aspects of your life. Keep this in mind, and finding the balance should be easy.   

 

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Independent Living in Old Age: How it Can be Possible for You

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Entering retirement is your chance to relax and take things easy. And that doesn’t have to mean losing your independence. Even if you have health conditions or problems, you can live independently if you take the right steps and are realistic about your circumstances. Here’s how it can be possible for you.

Make the Right Adaptations to Your Home

Making small but meaningful changes to your home can make it much better suited to you and your way of living. Just because you occasionally have a bit of trouble with your hip, that doesn’t mean that you should lose your independence. Everything from hand rails to stair lifts can make a difference. And putting these things in place can be the best investment to make to your home if you want to remain independent and in your own home for a long time to come. So, it’s definitely something worth considering.

Get the Assistance You Need

Living independently does not mean rejecting all help and assistance. If you need assistance with basic things around the house, or some basic care needs, then make sure you get these covered. The right assistance will not take away your independence. Instead, it will enhance it, and make you more likely to be able to remain independent for longer. That’s something that clearly matters a lot, and it should not be underestimated. It could be a good idea to find a in home care agency that suits your needs and preferences if you do have care requirements. There is no need to rush into a decision either.

Move to a More Suitable Home and Location if Necessary

It might also be a good idea to move to a more suitable location. It might be somewhere that’s closer to friends and family members. It’s so much easier to live independently when you don’t feel isolated and shut off from those around you. The suitability of the home should also be thought about. Bungalows are much better suited to people who have problems with mobility. So, give this some thought too. You should think about these things as soon as possible so you can get the right arrangements in place swiftly and smoothly. It’ll be much easier on you that way.

Know Your Limits and Live Accordingly

Everyone is different, and you will have your own limits. You shouldn’t demand too much of yourself if you’re going to be living independently in old age. There are some things that you might not be able to do alone, and there is nothing at all wrong with that. It’s much better to just accept your limitations and find help with them or ways around them. It’s not about admitting defeat or showing weakness. Instead, it’s about making sure that you can live safely and securely without experiencing problems.

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No one likes the idea of losing their independence as they get older, but luckily it doesn’t need to happen. Make sure you use the advice above to stay independent for longer.

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How Teens Grow Into Healthy Adults

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Habits are formed when we’re young, which is why most adults who started smoking or binge drinking at a young age have a more difficult time quitting as they get older. The best way to grow a happy and healthy adult is to start with a healthy and happy teenager. However, this might not be as easy as it sounds; these days, junk food is freely available, and often cheaper than nutritious meals. New gadgets are being released yearly, which means they’re more likely to stay indoors playing with them all weekend. Not to mention the workload that keeps stacking up, and the pressure to get into good schools. It’s easy to see the effects of an unhealthy lifestyle in a teenager’s weight and on their skin. But if they cultivate good habits now, these teenagers could all grow up to be healthy adults.

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Don’t smoke, drink, or do drugs

Everything you do when you’re young can catch up to you when you’re older. Therefore, if you start smoking as a teenager, you’re more likely to have cancer, heart disease, or a stroke as an adult. Binge drinking before you reach the legal drinking age can increase your chances of getting liver disease or developing problems with alcohol. Taking any drugs will impact your health, but they will do more damage if you take them young. You might not want to have these conversations with your kids, but the best way to keep them safe is to encourage dialogue about these taboo topics. Avoiding them altogether means that your child is less likely to seek out help if they have a problem down the road. Don’t shy away from your own history, but make it clear why you don’t want your children to follow in your example. There are plenty of tips for talking to teens about these issues, but you will have to find a method that works for you. Don’t just trust their school to cover these subjects for you; they don’t know your child as well as you do, and you have a better chance of getting through to them.

Safe sex

No parent wants to think about their kids having intercourse, but the truth is that it’s going to happen eventually whether you like it or not. If you want them to avoid any unpleasant surprises like pregnancies or STDs, then you need to sit down with them and have a mature discussion. Most teenagers get confusing second-hand information from their peers or older siblings, so many of them might be grateful for their parents or other trusted adults taking the time to talk about it, even if they might be embarrassed about it at first.  However you bring up the topic of sex and relationships, listen to what your teenager has to say and use this to let the conversation develop. If they talk about STDs then you can both check out information at https://www.saferstdtesting.com/free-std-testing to learn more. If they mention condoms or birth control pills, then make sure they know why it’s important to use them, where to get them and how to use them. Having this conversation with your teenager won’t give them a green light to have sex, but it will teach them to be smart and safe when the time comes.

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Diet and exercise

Of all the habits that are toughest to form, diet and exercise are at the top of the list, and they are also the most essential. Teenagers require greater amounts of nutrition because this is when they do most of their growing. A healthy diet equals a healthy teenager. However, eating healthy doesn’t mean you have to stuff your face with spinach and lettuce every day (although leafy greens are rich in fiber, Vitamin C, and can reduce the risk of cancer). Cheese, lean meats, and even dark chocolate can all keep you healthy and energized. They’ll also be thrilled to learn that PB&J sandwiches are an acceptable study snack, because peanuts and peanut butter are a good source of vitamin E, a potent antioxidant that protects nervous membranes, and thiamin to help the brain and nervous system use glucose for energy.

Keeping fit is not just good for the body, but it can also increase the effectiveness of studying. Exercise creates many chemicals for the brain that help motivation, focus and alertness which are all key to being a good student, especially around exam time and finals. Exercise also decreases stress hormones and chemicals like cortisol that can interfere with learning and overall health. Fortunately, they don’t have to join a gym to get their regular exercise; just encourage your teenager to join a sports club at school by saying it will look good on a college application.

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Plenty of sleep

Parents may wish their children would get out of bed earlier on weekends, but the average teenager actually needs between nine and ten hours of sleep per night to function well in the mornings, particularly during school terms. You can read more about the studies done into teenagers and sleep at http://sleepcenter.ucla.edu/sleep-and-teens to get a better idea of how you can help your child get the sleep they need. There is a link between tiredness and anxiety levels, as emotional stability is improved when you are fully rested. Studies have shown a link between insomnia and depression, as the brain requires plenty of rest to be able to manage emotions correctly. Additionally, sleep is good for teenagers because when you’re dreaming, your brain puts your thoughts and experiences into the right ‘boxes’, so that they can be easily accessed. So, if they’re trying to retain information for a test, getting a good night’s sleep is the best study aid available. Sleep is as important for brain function as water and a good diet, therefore staying up all night to work on a project or finish off an essay isn’t going to do much to help your teen’s grades.  

 

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