Habits

Success Habits

When your mind attaches to a positive outcome, it can then create success and momentum. Sue Guiher

Why are Habits Important?

When you really think about it, most of life is something we do out of habit. From the moment we wake up in the morning to the actions we take throughout the day – our “morning routine”, or “regular breakfast”, our “typical commute”, the “daily grind” at work – the habits we develop literally control about 95% our actions. These types of unconscious thoughts determine what we think, how we feel and how we behave in nearly every situation we find ourselves in.

Because our habits dictate all the small details that make up our everyday lives, they also are directly related to the bigger issues in our lives, such as how much money we earn, the kind of person we marry or live with, our physical condition and health, and every other area of our lives.

Habits are important because they set the tone and pace for a successful or messy life. When you have messy habits, you have a messy life. It’s really this simple. Habits are important because they dictate your success. – Sue Guiher

Our habits determine our character, the type of person we project to the rest of the world and, ultimately, our destiny. So if we embrace bad habits – those habits which have a negative impact on who we are – then those same habits will prevent us from achieving excellence in our lives, holding us back from reaching our fullest potential.

It’s only by breaking bad habits and replacing them with good habits that we can ultimately succeed in life and be the people we were truly meant to be. The purpose of this guide is to show you how to break bad habits – any sort of bad habit, from those that are damaging to your health, like smoking or not wearing a seatbelt, to those that affect your self-esteem, such as negative thinking or overeating – and replace them with positive behaviors that can become part of your daily life and finally cause you to see the results you truly want.

Creating Habits

“Bad” Habits vs. “Good” Habits

So how does one define a “bad” habit, and what qualities separate those from “good” habits? In most cases, the distinction is obvious. A habit is a “bad” habit if:

  • It is destructive, harmful or poses a short or long-term danger to you or somebody else.
  • It negatively impacts your self-esteem, the way others view you, and your overall reputation as a good or bad person.
  • Is a pattern of undesirable behavior acquired through frequent repetition.

Using Habits to Achieve Success

Oftentimes, we are not able to even perceive that we have bad habits. Have you ever known or worked with somebody who has poor personal hygiene or had a friend who drank or partied too much? Usually, those people don’t consciously decide to perform their bad habit. They just do it out of … well, habit!

When we take the time to recognize our own bad habits, take corrective action and replace them with good, positive and healthy habits, the result is permanent change that pays dividends to our health, prosperity and happiness for the rest of our lives.

You deserve to be happy. In your heart, you know that to be true. Breaking your bad habits and replacing them with good ones can help you achieve that happiness.

Are you ready to get started?  Comment below for a copy of Success Habits.

Fran Watson

 

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Virtual Learning

Virtually amazing!

Last week I had the opportunity to attend an event that is normally held in Florida on the beach with amazing speakers.  Because of the pandemic, the event had to be cancelled/transformed and was held online. And the really amazing part  – is that it was free to participate.

You may think, well it was free, it probably wasn’t all that good, but you would be wrong.  Very wrong.  The speakers that gave their time and brought their messages were entrepreneurs who wanted to be of service to others.  Their messages touched hearts and minds of those in attendance (over 120 of us at times).

Special Project

This project was the heart and soul of a couple of special people – Kelly McCausey (Love People Make Money) and Nicole Dean (Nicole On The Net)- they transformed their annual Beach Camp into something that would touch many lives in different ways.  They are even offering the videos from this session at a very reasonable cost and sharing 50 % of the profits with Feeding America.com.

From the first session led by Nicole Dean to the last session led by Therese Sparkins, there were tips and nuggets for all those who attended.  This is probably not something that will be repeated, but you can obtain a copy of the videos that were produced by clicking here.

Beachcamp attendees

Some of the attendees at Beachpreneurs 2020

I had known that Beachpreneurs was pretty special, just knowing some of the people who had attended and hearing their stories of what they had learned and how they had changed and I was sad that I wouldn’t have been able to attend a session in Florida, so to have this opportunity was really amazing.

I found an email from Kelly McCausey after last year’s Beach Camp where she said:  This weekend I’m co-hosting the last Beachpreneurs Beach Camp – well, the last of it’s kind… it will be reborn in 2020 as an entirely different experience.

Amazing Speakers

Little did she know how true that statement would become.  I have no idea what the future holds for Beachpreneurs, but I am certainly glad that I was able to attend the present version of it.

Thank you to Kelly McCausey, Nicole Dean, Patty Farmer, Rayven Monique, Caroline Onyedinma, Maruxa Murphy, Nicky Omohundro, Jena Rodriguez, Angela Wills, Rosie Battista, Candice L. Davis, and Therese Sparkins for an amazing learning experience.  Be blessed.

Fran Watson

P.S.  Remember to get your copy of the videos here

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Coffee is Good For You

Now that you are staying in, are you drinking more coffee?  Well, there is good news for you.

6 Ways Coffee Is Good For You

Coffee is the world’s most popular beverage. It is grown in many countries, and comes in endless flavors, strengths, and varieties.

And guess what? That’s perfectly fine. While many would have you to believe, drinking coffee is bad for you, the research shows otherwise. Coffee (in moderation) can actually be very beneficial to your body, skin, and brain.

Here are 6 of the many reasons you should start every day with a cup of coffee. …or Joe as it is commonly referred to in the United States.

#1 – It Provides You With a Wealth of Antioxidants

Most Americans get more antioxidants from coffee than they do from the food they eat. According to a 2005 study, nothing even comes close to providing the amount of antioxidants found in coffee. Yes, fruits and vegetables have a ton of really wonderful antioxidants. However, according to the study, your body absorbs the most antioxidants from coffee. So drink up!

#2 – It Can Help Relieve Stress

The great thing about coffee is you don’t even have to drink it to benefit from it. According to researchers at the Seoul National University, just smelling coffee is enough to help relieve stress. Please know this study was not related to stress itself. Instead, it was related to stress brought on by sleep deprivation. Therefore, when you need a quick pick me up at work as fatigue from lack of sleep hits; drink a cup of coffee to get you going.

#3 – It Can Decrease Your Chances of Developing Liver Cirrhosis

If you drink alcohol this is for you. In 2006, a study was done on 125,000 individuals over the age of 22. In the study, those who consumed just one cup of coffee a day were less likely to develop cirrhosis of the liver. Liver cirrhosis is an autoimmune disease caused by drinking alcohol in excess.

Coffee has protective benefits that can help guard against alcoholic cirrhosis. Those who consume more coffee are less likely to end up hospitalized, or dying, from liver cirrhosis brought on by drinking too much alcohol. Other studies have also shown nonalcoholic fatty liver disease can be preventing by drinking coffee.

#4 – It Can Keep Your Brain Healthy & Active For A Long Time

Want to keep your brain healthier for a longer period of time? Try drinking a cup, or two, of coffee a day. A study done by researchers at the University of Miami and the University of South Florida found that high levels of caffeine could actually delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease by up to 4 years. This was based on higher blood levels of caffeine found in individuals over the age of 65.

Please know this is not to say coffee consumption can prevent you from developing Alzheimer’s disease. However, based on the study, drinking a moderate amount of coffee on a regular basis can reduce ones risk of developing this debilitating disease.

#5 – It Can Make You Feel Happier

Feeling a little down and in the dumps? If so, a cup of coffee may be just what you need. The National Institute of Health performed a study on this very issue several years ago. During the study, doctors and researchers found individuals who drink a minimum of 4 cups of coffee a day were less likely to be depressed than those who avoided drinking coffee.

While most would think this is due to the “high” you get from drinking a cup of coffee, research shows that is not the case. You see, you can get the same exact “high” from drinking a can of soda. The difference however is that certain sodas are actually linked to depression.

Honglei Chen, MD, PhD, the doctor who authored this study, told Prevention.com that the reason researchers believe coffee makes you happy is due to the many antioxidants it contains. Soda on the other hand contains no antioxidants at all.

#6 – It Can Make You More Intelligent

Yes, you read that right. Drinking coffee can actually make you smarter. Generally speaking, people will drink a cup of coffee when they are feeling sluggish and sleep deprived. Doing so will often times give you that much-needed jolt that will help you stay alert for a few hours.

According to some reports, coffee does much more than give you an energy boost. It can also make you more intelligent. According to CNN, drinking coffee causes your brain to work more efficiently. The result? A smarter you!

Experts agree that when you drink caffeine your attention span, reaction time, logical reasoning, and vigilance will all improve. All four of these components are associated with overall intelligence, which is why it is believed coffee can make you smarter.

How Much Coffee Should You Drink?

Too much caffeine can lead to anxiety, jitters, and insomnia. Portion control is important to reap the benefits of coffee without its negative effects. The Mayo Clinic says that adults can safely enjoy up to 400 milligrams (mg) of caffeine daily. This amounts to about four cups of your average brew. However, keep in mind that caffeine content varies, for example, a 6-ounce coffee from Starbucks can have 200 mg more of caffeine than that served at Dunkin Donuts.

Cheers!!

Fran Watson

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Healing The World

Each of us is more than capable of helping the world, despite our fears and limitations and the uncertainty that holds us back. It is commonly accepted that it is impossible to make a difference without unlimited funding or free time, yet most healing, cleansing, and spreading of joy is accomplished in a matter of minutes.  MADISYN TAYLOR

read more here

April 22nd is Earth Day… what can you do?

For some ideas…. Check out this Earth Day website  

Stay safe and stay well

Fran Watson

Fran Watson, Career Counsellor

Here to help you

 

 

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Tips for Mental Health while in Quarantine

Useful and straightforward tips for mental health while in Quarantine collated by a psychologist:  (sorry I don’t know the name of the psychologist, I got this from a group I belong to.)

After having thirty-one sessions this week with patients where the singular focus was COVID-19 and how to cope, I decided to consolidate my advice and make a list that I hope is helpful to all. I can’t control a lot of what is going on right now, but I can contribute this.

Edit: I am surprised and heartened that this has been shared so widely! People have asked me to credential myself, so to that end, I am a doctoral-level Psychologist in NYS with a Psy.D. in the specialties of School and Clinical Psychology.

MENTAL HEALTH WELLNESS TIPS FOR QUARANTINE

1. Stick to a routine. Go to sleep and wake up at a reasonable time, write a schedule that is varied and includes time for work as well as self-care.

2. Dress for the social life you want, not the social life you have. Get showered and dressed in comfortable clothes, wash your face, brush your teeth. Take the time to do a bath or a facial. Put on some bright colors. It is amazing how our dress can impact our mood.

3. Get out at least once a day, for at least thirty minutes. If you are concerned of contact, try first thing in the morning, or later in the evening, and try less traveled streets and avenues. If you are high risk or living with those who are high risk, open the windows and blast the fan. It is amazing how much fresh air can do for spirits.

4. Find some time to move each day, again daily for at least thirty minutes. If you don’t feel comfortable going outside, there are many YouTube videos that offer free movement classes, and if all else fails, turn on the music and have a dance party!

5. Reach out to others, you guessed it, at least once daily for thirty minutes. Try to do FaceTime, Skype, phone calls, texting—connect with other people to seek and provide support. Don’t forget to do this for your children as well. Set up virtual playdates with friends daily via FaceTime, Facebook Messenger Kids, Zoom, etc—your kids miss their friends, too!

Self Care

6. Stay hydrated and eat well. This one may seem obvious, but stress and eating often don’t mix well, and we find ourselves over-indulging, forgetting to eat, and avoiding food. Drink plenty of water, eat some good and nutritious foods, and challenge yourself to learn how to cook something new!

7. Develop a self-care toolkit. This can look different for everyone. A lot of successful self-care strategies involve a sensory component (seven senses: touch, taste, sight, hearing, smell, vestibular (movement) and proprioceptive (comforting pressure). An idea for each: a soft blanket or stuffed animal, a hot chocolate, photos of vacations, comforting music, lavender or eucalyptus oil, a small swing or rocking chair, a weighted blanket. A journal, an inspirational book, or a mandala coloring book is wonderful, bubbles to blow or blowing watercolor on paper through a straw are visually appealing as well as work on controlled breath. Mint gum, Listerine strips, ginger ale, frozen Starburst, ice packs, and cold are also good for anxiety regulation. For children, it is great to help them create a self-regulation comfort box (often a shoe-box or bin they can decorate) that they can use on the ready for first-aid when overwhelmed.

Children and other family members

8. Spend extra time playing with children. Children will rarely communicate how they are feeling, but will often make a bid for attention and communication through play. Don’t be surprised to see therapeutic themes of illness, doctor visits, and isolation play through. Understand that play is cathartic and helpful for children—it is how they process their world and problem solve, and there’s a lot they are seeing and experiencing in the now.

9. Give everyone the benefit of the doubt, and a wide berth. A lot of cooped up time can bring out the worst in everyone. Each person will have moments when they will not be at their best. It is important to move with grace through blowups, to not show up to every argument you are invited to, and to not hold grudges and continue disagreements. Everyone is doing the best they can to make it through this.

10. Everyone find their own retreat space. Space is at a premium, particularly with city living. It is important that people think through their own separate space for work and for relaxation. For children, help them identify a place where they can go to retreat when stressed. You can make this place cozy by using blankets, pillows, cushions, scarves, beanbags, tents, and “forts”. It is good to know that even when we are on top of each other, we have our own special place to go to be alone.

11. Expect behavioral issues in children, and respond gently. We are all struggling with disruption in routine, none more than children, who rely on routines constructed by others to make them feel safe and to know what comes next. Expect increased anxiety, worries, and fears, nightmares, difficulty separating or sleeping, testing limits, and meltdowns. Do not introduce major behavioral plans or consequences at this time—hold stable and focus on emotional connection.

12. Focus on safety and attachment. We are going to be living for a bit with the unprecedented demand for meeting all work deadlines, homeschooling children, running a sterile household, and making a whole lot of entertainment in confinement. We can get wrapped up in meeting expectations in all domains, but we must remember that these are scary and unpredictable times for children. Focus on strengthening the connection through time spent following their lead, through physical touch, through play, through therapeutic books, and via verbal reassurances that you will be there for them at this time.

13. Lower expectations and practice radical self-acceptance. This idea is connected with #12. We are doing too many things at this moment, under fear and stress. This does not make a formula for excellence. Instead, give yourself what psychologists call “radical self-acceptance”: accepting everything about yourself, your current situation, and your life without question, blame, or pushback. You cannot fail at this—there is no roadmap, no precedent for this, and we are all truly doing the best we can in an impossible situation.

https://www.facebook.com/leighandrea.watson/videos/10163471674905002/

Limit The Negative

14. Limit social media and COVID conversation, especially around children. One can find tons of information on COVID-19 to consume, and it changes minute to minute. The information is often sensationalized, negatively skewed, and alarmist. Find a few trusted sources that you can check in with consistently, limit it to a few times a day, and set a time limit for yourself on how much you consume (again 30 minutes tops, 2-3 times daily). Keep news and alarming conversations out of earshot from children—they see and hear everything, and can become very frightened by what they hear.

15. Notice the good in the world, the helpers. There is a lot of scary, negative, and overwhelming information to take in regarding this pandemic. There are also a ton of stories of people sacrificing, donating, and supporting one another in miraculous ways. It is important to counter-balance the heavy information with hopeful information.

16. Help others. Find ways, big and small, to give back to others. Support restaurants, offer to grocery shop, check-in with elderly neighbors, write psychological wellness tips for others—helping others gives us a sense of agency when things seem out of control.

17. Find something you can control, and control the heck out of it. In moments of big uncertainty and overwhelm, control your little corner of the world. Organize your bookshelf, purge your closet, put together that furniture, group your toys. It helps to anchor and ground us when the bigger things are chaotic.

18. Find a long-term project to dive into. Now is the time to learn how to play the keyboard, put together a huge jigsaw puzzle, start a 15 hour game of Risk, paint a picture, read the Harry Potter series, binge watch an 8-season show, crochet a blanket, solve a Rubix cube, or develop a new town in Animal Crossing. Find something that will keep you busy, distracted, and engaged to take breaks from what is going on in the outside world.

19. Engage in repetitive movements and left-right movements. Research has shown that repetitive movement (knitting, coloring, painting, clay sculpting, jump roping, etc) especially left-right movement (running, drumming, skating, hopping) can be effective at self-soothing and maintaining self-regulation in moments of distress.

20. Find an expressive art and go for it. Our emotional brain is very receptive to the creative arts, and it is a direct portal for the release of feeling. Find something that is creative (sculpting, drawing, dancing, music, singing, playing) and give it your all. See how relieved you can feel. It is a very effective way of helping kids to emote and communicate as well!

21. Find lightness and humor in each day. There is a lot to be worried about, and with good reason. Counterbalance this heaviness with something funny each day: cat videos on YouTube, a stand-up show on Netflix, a funny movie—we all need a little comedic relief in our day, every day.

Reach Out For Help

22. Reach out for help—your team is there for you. If you have a therapist or psychiatrist, they are available to you, even at a distance. Keep up your medications and your therapy sessions the best you can. If you are having difficulty coping, seek out help for the first time. There are mental health people ready to help you through this crisis. Your children’s teachers and related service providers will do anything within their power to help, especially for those parents tasked with the difficult task of being a whole treatment team to their child with special challenges. Seek support groups of fellow home-schoolers, parents, and neighbors to feel connected. There is help and support out there, any time of the day—although we are physically distant, we can always connect virtually.

23. “Chunk” your quarantine, take it moment by moment. We have no road map for this. We don’t know what this will look like in 1 day, 1 week, or 1 month from now. Often, when I work with patients who have anxiety around overwhelming issues, I suggest that they engage in a strategy called “chunking”—focusing on whatever bite-sized piece of a challenge that feels manageable. Whether that be 5 minutes, a day, or a week at a time—find what feels doable for you, and set a timestamp for how far ahead in the future you will let yourself worry. Take each chunk one at a time, and move through stress in pieces.

24. Remind yourself daily that this is temporary. It seems in the midst of this quarantine that it will never end. It is terrifying to think of the road stretching ahead of us. Please take time to remind yourself that although this is very scary and difficult, and will go on for an undetermined amount of time, it is a season of life and it will pass. We will return to feeling free, safe, busy, and connected in the days ahead.

25. Find the lesson. This whole crisis can seem sad, senseless, and at times, avoidable. When psychologists work with trauma, a key feature to helping someone work through said trauma is to help them find their agency, the potential positive outcomes they can effect, the meaning and construction that can come out of destruction. What can each of us learn here, in big and small ways, from this crisis? What needs to change in ourselves, our homes, our communities, our nation, and our world?

Stay safe and well

Fran Watson

P.S.  If you are a female in business, you may want to attend this virtual Beachpreneur event at the end of the month.

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Above The Clouds The Sun Is Still Shining

Despite all the Bad News, Above The Clouds The Sun Is Still Shining

clouds

Yesterday I was sitting at the kitchen table, writing and looking out the window at the lake and the sky.  It was a cloudy day, threatening heavy rain.  The wind was blowing wildly. I could still see a tiny piece of blue sky, but as I watched, it too was covered over by the clouds.

But at that moment a thought popped into my head. “Above the clouds the sun is still shining”.  And I thought, “yes, that is true.”  Even though we can’t see it, we know it is there.  We may say “the sun has disappeared”, but in actual fact it is just covered by clouds.

If you have ever flown in a large airplane, you will know this.  The weather can be bad on the ground, but as the plane hurtles up and up and up, it eventually bursts through the clouds to the beautiful sunny sky.  Through the windows of the plane you can see the sunlight dancing on the tops of the clouds.  This is one of the things I love to see when I am flying.  The clouds look like soft pillows and you can imagine how comfortable they would be to lie on.  Of course, reality soon sets in and you realize that if you did lie on them you would soon be hurtling to the ground.

Remember back when you were a child (or when you played with a young child), if something was covered up, it was gone as if it no longer existed.  It seems we carry this idea throughout our life in some ways.  We worry and fret about things and complain about how they “should be”.  We seem to think that the good days are all gone and nothing will ever be right again in our lives.  We forget that the clouds are only temporary, that the sun will come out eventually. Even if they hang around for a week, the sun is still shining above the clouds.

We may be feeling overwhelmed by the clouds in our lives – financial problems, loss of a job, relationship problems.

We may allow ourselves to become discouraged, despondent, depleted.

It’s at that time that we need to remind ourselves that these things are temporary, that the sun is still shining even when we can’t see it.

Think of life here on earth as an adventure filled with twists and turns. There are some adventures we love and others we hate or resist. We just need to be patient, to continue to work at solving the problems, believing things will all work out.  It’s times like these when you need to surround yourself with positive people who will help you keep your spirits up.

There are some people who are obsessed with planning and controlling life. There is nothing wrong with planning but as we know, life has a way of changing the game when you least expect it.  Enter COVID19.  So it’s important to face things as they come.

To accelerate our personal growth we need to embrace each step even if it doesn’t seem to make sense at the time. The universe is always preparing us for the next step of our journey.

I am sure you have heard the saying, “Into each life some rain must fall”?  Whether we are ready for it or not.  The earth needs the rain for the plants to grow.

Just like the earth, we need the rain to grow.  Too much sunlight can burn the earth, the flowers, the grass.  The clouds offer some protection and the rain refreshes.

Too much activity can burn us out.  We too need the cloudy days, the dull days, to allow us to rest and rejuvenate.

One of the biggest clouds in our life at the moment is probably the current pandemic.  But think about it.  Perhaps the clouds are there to keep you from being burned out.

Perhaps they are there to help you to slow down, to think about what you are doing and where you are going.

The COVID19 outbreak has forced many of us to stop, to re-evaluate our lives and what is really important to us, whether we wanted to or not.

We now have the time to stop procrastinating and to do all those chores on our to do lists.

We can stop waiting for life to be perfect and start working with what we’ve got.  Today we can call forth the riches from our everyday life.

Perhaps we can begin to read all those books we have lying arowritingund or maybe even write a novel. We can organize our papers (I’m trying), try a new recipe for dinner, sit and dream before a fire, or pick up a hobby that we have been neglecting.

Act as if you are grateful to be alive and scatter joy.  Call a friend and ask how they are doing. Then really listen to what they have to say.

We are grateful for those people who are considered “essential services”.  They risk their lives on a daily basis to keep the rest of us safe.

We see on the news, or hear about the many people who have contracted the virus as they work with people who are sick.

We read about the fact that they are working with limited or no special protection.  We may have loved ones who have become ill and are in hospital.

Those of us who are healthy are thankful that we are in our homes safe and well as we listen to the latest statistics.  We need to express our gratitude to those essential workers when we can. [If any of you are reading this… THANK YOU]

No one really knows where this will end, but we have hope that we will make it through.  Things will be different.  You can’t go through something like this and not make changes.

Hopefully we will retain many of the positive changes – being kind and thoughtful, taking time to be with our family and friends, slowing down and not being in such a rush all the time.  Making the connections with others more meaningful.

As I was continuing to write at the table, the clouds began to move apart revealing a band of bright blue sky and allowing the light of the sun to be revealed.

Around the world, the clouds are lifting and people are seeing sights that haven’t been seen in over 30 years, like the mountains in the Himalayas.  Lakes and rivers are becoming clearer and shipwrecks are being discovered, such as the one found off the Florida coast.

And so it is in our lives, gradually things get clearer, the clouds break open, revealing the bright sky above, filling us with light, reminding us once again…above the clouds the sun is still shining.

The most important thing is always to know and believe that the sun will come out again, that things will get better, that there is hope for the future.

Hope is what gets us through the difficult times.  Hope is sometimes the only thing we have to hang onto when we are going through difficult times, when everything around us seems to be falling apart.  Hope is a four letter word but it packs a huge impact.

A big part of hope is knowing that there is something better…so when cloudy days come, always remain hopeful.  Remember, above the clouds the sun is still shining.

Stay safe, stay well

Fran Watson

 

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What is worse than COVID19 ?

By now you have read newspapers, Facebook posts, blogs, watched the news and you have begun to react to the news with FEAR.  I just read a blog post that highlights the danger of being in fear mode.

You see, when you are in fear, a reactive part of your brain called the amygdala takes control of your actions.

You enter into a fight-flight-freeze response.

(It’s what’s causing people to buy way too much toilet paper.)

And when you are in this reactive state, your body starts producing a steroid called cortisol to help you handle the stress.

And guess what cortisol does to your immune system?  It WEAKENS it!

and….

When we’re stuck in fight-flight because of worries or anxiety, our bodies are wasting a ton of energy because it actually thinks it might die at that current moment.

And all that energy that’s gone now makes our bodies weaker and more vulnerable.

Being afraid is literally making you even more susceptible to getting sick.

And guess what else happens when you stay in fight-flight-freeze mode?

You’re in a SELFISH, self-protective state.

If you’ve been shopping lately, you have probably seen the toilet paper aisles empty, some of the food areas empty, people pushing each other as they reach for products, people not staying a safe distance from each other.  These people are living in FEAR.

I read recently or watched (not really sure as I have been putting my down time to good use by studying), someone said to focus on what you can control – the areas directly around you in your home, your neighbourhood.  There is no use in letting the stories from China or Italy or UK get into your mind and fill you with fear (even if you have relatives living there) because you can not do anything about their situation.  You only have control over how you deal with things – by following the guidelines of safe distancing, washing your hands, cleaning surfaces in your house, etc.  If you must read about COVID 19, then read the scientific truths and not the news headlines.

Dr. Eugene K. Choi continues with:

while taking proper precautions during these times, do the things that keep your immune system strong.

Taking the steps to help your brain feel safe puts your body out of fight-flight state and into a rest and digest state where your body is in recovery and ultimately maximizes your health.

So how can you do this?

Practice the act of shifting your focus to things you are grateful for.

Take some time to think about the things you have others don’t.

Or if that’s hard to be grateful for try thinking about all the people in the front lines working their asses off to contain this pandemic.

Whatever it is you do, take notice of things until you actually feel grateful.

Doing this immediately gets you out of the fight-flight state.

And practice empathy.

Spend time connecting with your loved ones that you are home with.

Laugh with them. Tell them you appreciate them.

This is only a little bit of the post.  You can read the rest here:  I highly recommend it.  It is well worth the read.

Stay safe and healthy

Fran Watson

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10,000 Steps

Stay Healthy Through Good Diet and Exercise

Strong Body

One of the most important things you can do to avoid getting sick – and not just from cold and flu, but anything else out there that’s contagious – is keep your body as strong and healthy as possible. One of the best ways to do that is to eat a healthy diet and get some sort of daily exercise. Here’s what that may look like.

Tips for Eating Healthy

Improving your diet and eating healthier can seem like a challenge. There’s a lot you can do. The key is to start and make small improvements as you go along. A great place to start is by cutting out sugar and processed foods. Replace them with whole foods options where you can. Have an apple instead of a candy bar when you need a snack. Fix some scrambled eggs instead of pouring a bowl of sugary cereal in the morning. Skip the fast food burger and fix a salad to take to lunch. You get the idea.

From there, I would encourage you to add more fresh fruits and vegetables. Try something new. A new piece of produce, a new healthy recipe, a new way to cook your favorite foods in a healthier way. Experiment and don’t be surprised if your tastes change over time. A baked sweet potato will start to taste better while soggy burgers will start to lose their appeal.

Simple Ways to Sneak More Exercise into Your Day

The key to regular exercise is to create a few habits. An easy way to start is to incorporate a brisk daily walk. Something as simple as a stroll after dinner or first thing in the morning can contribute to a healthy body. Another option many find helpful is to wear a pedometer or fitness tracker. Monitor your daily step count for a few days and then start to increase it until you get to the recommended 10,000 steps – or challenge yourself to do even more.

Keep your bones strong and improve your overall fitness by adding some simple weightlifting routines. You don’t need any fancy equipment. Use your body weight for resistance and grab some cans to use as weights. Of course, if you’re feeling motivated, you may also choose to join a gym or hire a personal trainer to help you get into a good workout routine.

Between the healthy food you’re eating and the exercise you’re getting, you’ll start to feel better, get stronger, and become healthier. As a result, your immune system will be in a better position to protect you from whatever cold and flu season sends your way.

Stay strong and healthy

Fran Watson

P.S.  For more info on prevention against the Corona virus click here

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Sleep, dear one, sleep

The Importance of Sleep to Help Your Body Fight Colds and Flu This Season

Sleepless nights

Can you recall a time in your life when you didn’t get enough sleep? For many of us, this happens from time to time. We’re staying up late to study for finals in school. Or how about those many sleepless nights after welcoming a newborn. Or maybe you suffer from the occasional bout of insomnia. Think back on one of those times. Chances are that those were also times when you were more likely to catch a cold or come down with the flu or a stomach bug.

Rest and fluids

On the flip side, making sure you get plenty of quality sleep can serve as a sort of insurance policy. It strengthens your immune system and helps your body fight off any type of infection or threat that comes its way. In addition, your body will be able to heal itself faster should you come down with something if you get plenty of rest. That’s why your doctor often orders plenty of rest and fluids when you have a cold.

But why exactly is sleep so important both to boost the immune system to avoid getting sick in the first place – and during the recovery period, should you come down with something? Your immune system uses antibodies to fight an infection. At the end of the day, it works the same whether you’re preventing an infection from taking hold or fighting one off that’s taken enough of a hold to make you feel sick. These antibodies stick to the virus and affect cells, rendering them ineffective. The virus-antibody combo can then be eliminated, which is why it is important that you drink plenty of fluids. It makes it easier for your body to flush them out.

This still doesn’t explain the role of sleep, does it? I’m getting there. Your body produces antibodies more effectively while you sleep. I’m no scientist, but I’m sure it has something to do with the fact that your body isn’t busy doing everything else it has to do as you move about your day, running around, eating, getting that papercut that requires additional resources… you get the idea. While you are asleep, your immune system can work more efficiently at producing antibodies and deploying them throughout the body to fight the infection.

Keep this in mind the next time you’re tempted to burn the candles from both ends, and use it as motivation to stay home and take a nap instead of heading out somewhere when you’re coming down with something.

More info on the Corona virus and ways to stay healthy here

Stay safe

Fran Watson

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Social Distancing

Avoid Getting Sick by Keeping Your Distance

Social Distancing

There are quite a few things you can do to avoid coming down with the flu or catching one of those nasty colds or virus this year. Yes, you can and probably should get a flu shot. Get plenty of sleep, eat a healthy diet, and exercise regularly. The healthier your body, the stronger your immune system. Another important preventative measure is washing your hands. But don’t stop there.

As much as possible, keep your distance from people who are coughing and sneezing. Turns out that the average cold or flu virus travels about six feet through the air. That means if you can keep a little bit of distance between yourself and anyone that looks like they are sick, you improve your chances of staying healthy.

Of course, that’s easier said than done. Sometimes we end up stuck in meetings with sick coworkers who didn’t stay home. Or we must brave public transportation. Or worst of all, we have to wait in a doctor’s waiting room or hospital. Wearing a mask and washing your hands will help. You should also do your best to keep that six feet distance I mentioned earlier. Move a few seats if you can. Take a different route when you see someone with glassy eyes, or someone who’s showing any kinds of symptoms that indicate they may have a cold or the flu.

Teach your loved ones to do the same. If they get sick, you will be surrounded by people who spent most of their day within close proximity of you, needing your help and physical attention. Eat a healthy diet and go out and exercise as a family. Boost your vitamin C intake during the winter months when cold and flu are most rampant. When they do get sick – it happens – do your best to protect yourself. Wash your hands and try to avoid getting coughed or sneezed on. I know, easier said than done, but do what you can.

Last but not least, use your influence to encourage others to stay home when they are sick. Lead by example. Stay home from the office and avoid heading out to the store when you’re sick.

If you have to venture out, keep your distance and wear a mask. Don’t sneeze or cough into your hands. Use hand sanitizer before touching common use items like the keypad at the grocery store and the likes. Keep your kids home from school. Spread the message of the importance of staying home when sick to get others to do the same.

Take daily precautions

It is important to note that there is still uncertainty regarding how the novel coronavirus evolves and transmits as more and more cases pop up around the world.

More on why Social Distancing is important

Health Canada website

Stay safe, stay healthy  #social distancing

Fran Watson

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