Beat The Winter Blues

Beat The Winter Blues

If you find yourself feeling more down in the winter months than in summer, you may have seasonal affective disorder or SAD. It’s a season-based depression that often strikes when sunlight is scarce. (There is a less-common version of SAD that some people get in summer, too.) And you’re not the only one feeling the winter blues. Mild cases of SAD affect between 10 and 20 percent of the population, while 4 to 6 percent experience full-blown symptoms. It affects four times more women than men, and it typically kicks in no sooner than about age 20. People who live farther north tend to experience SAD more readily. So, if you live in, say, Boston, you’re more likely to go through winter depression than if you’re from Houston. Still, people everywhere find themselves suffering. Some common symptoms include appetite changes, fatigue, waning energy, weight gain, irritability, being more sensitive to rejection in social situations and avoiding social encounters. You may also have trouble with oversleeping and concentration. These symptoms intensify as the days get shorter and tend to go away by the time summer rolls around again. If this sounds like you, talk to your doctor for guidance. She may prescribe medication or light therapy, which is a way to artificially mimic the sun indoors using special visors or light boxes. In the meantime, here are some ways to mitigate the effects of seasonal depression on your daily life. Open Up Your Heart, um, Blinds and Let the Sun Shine In Natural sunlight is harder to come by in the cooler months when you sometimes leave for work and come back...
Organizing Your Kitchen Simply & Easily

Organizing Your Kitchen Simply & Easily

Home cooks everywhere know that an organized kitchen is a happy kitchen. When you finally do step into the heart of your home to prepare dinner, you need to be able to find your most important kitchen tools quickly. These kitchen tips are affordable and painless ways to have everything you need within reach. Make a List and Check it Twice Before you start doing any kitchen organizing, keep a journal of the pots, pans, utensils, and cooking tools you use for a week. At the end of the week (and probably even sooner than that) you’ll have a list of the most central and common items that you use for cooking. Once you’ve completed this step, take a look at the rest of the cookware that’s clogging your countertops, cabinets, and pantry. Decide how much of it can go permanently (there are charities and needy families who could always make good use of functional kitchenware) or maybe can be put in a high up or far away shelf until you need them during the holidays or for a big party. Put the commonly used items closest to the stove and sink for convenient access. Chances are, you can clear up a lot of space for well-used items and enjoy more harmony while you cook. Bins Glorious Bins Storing like items, like baking supplies or cooking oils, together in a plastic or wicker tub leaves more room for perishables and means never having to dig around for the cooking spray again. Sort spices, cereals, and nuts in labeled bins so the kids know exactly what to reach for in...
Healthy Gift Ideas for Those You Love

Healthy Gift Ideas for Those You Love

For many, the holiday season means the gift of giving. What better way to show how much someone means to you than by giving them a gift that promotes their health and shows them how well you understand their passions at the same time? Here are four types of gift ideas for anyone who matters to you, be it a friend, partner or family member. Give an Experience to Remember Some of the best healthy gift options have little to do with a physical present. Instead, building a gift around an experience that enriches your loved one’s life is a generous way to express your gratitude for them. If your sister likes yoga, for example, send her to a local studio with a package of classes she can use whenever she wants. For a more extravagant gift, a spa and meditation trip can rejuvenate even the most stressed members of your family, while a snowboarding or skiing trip awakens their inner adventurer. Wrap a luggage tag, along with a printout of an itinerary and transportation tickets, in a fancy box for a fun holiday gift surprise. Help Them Join the Club Extend the holidays throughout the year with a monthly club that caters to the diet and fitness focus of your family member or friend. Choose from co-ops that deliver farm-fresh fruits and veggies each month from local growers and subscription boxes that send samples of organic, gluten-free or other specialty foods each month. Some programs even include nutritional supplements, clothing and lightweight workout supplies. These sorts of recurring shipments are lovely gifts that show you care year-round and introduce their...
How to Best Combat Credit Card Fraud

How to Best Combat Credit Card Fraud

As we head into the holiday season, your credit and debit cards are probably going to see a lot of traffic as you buy gifts for your friends and family. While identity theft is a widespread issue, taking some basic fraud protection steps will allow you to shop confidently and securely throughout the holiday season. If you’re traveling, you can also do small things to protect yourself in big ways without worrying. Online Security Measures Cashing in on hot, online holiday deals is tempting to do anytime. However, while you’re out of the house, it’s best to avoid logging into secure sites or entering credit card payments while you’re on a public network. Unencrypted, or open, networks are just that: open for anyone to access. That makes it easier for people who are paying attention to get a peek (even if it’s over your shoulder) at your data. Also, before you check your email or even surf the web, confirm the name of the local network at the coffee shop or library with an employee to make sure you’re using their vetted network. You don’t want to mistakenly hop onto a free Wi-Fi network setup for a phishing or hacking scheme. Way back when you set up your home network, you likely had to enter a password to get online. That encryption is a vital level of security between you and outside sniffers who are looking for personal information. If your home Wi-Fi hasn’t been secured, contact your service provider or a networking professional to update your router settings. Travel Tips for Safe Travels Credit cards make it easier...
Best Foods for Good Breakfast

Best Foods for Good Breakfast

It turns out our mothers were right — a healthy breakfast really is important. Research abounds that shows that eating breakfast consistently fends off major illnesses, including diabetes and heart problems. Your morning meal also raises your brain power and improves your mood. Unfortunately, with our high-paced lives, sometimes we feel like we have to choose between a healthy breakfast and all our other morning responsibilities. Whether you’re trying to get in a good run before work, want to get a jump on your morning deadlines or need to head out early to beat traffic, a hearty, nutritious meal seems difficult to work into the beginning of your day. If this sounds like you, make a smarter, faster choice with these three nutritious breakfast options that you can make in 10 minutes or less. Veggie Scramble with Cheese: Quick Protein, Healthy Fiber Eggs might seem arduous for the morning, but this breakfast from Men’s Health Magazine is a meal in under two minutes. Just crack and beat two to three eggs into a bowl and whisk them together until the yolks break. Then, add a half cup of pre-sliced veggies, such as mushrooms, and a handful of mozzarella (or your favorite cheese) to the bowl. Pour the entire mixture into a hot, pre-greased pan and scramble the concoction for a minute or so, until the eggs firm up. For extra energy, pop a couple of slices of whole-grain bread into the toaster and turn your scramble into a sandwich to enjoy on the way to work. Fruity Smoothies: Countless Options Keep Breakfast Meals Fun Smoothies come together in a matter of minutes, and...