Category Archives: Mental Health
Going to the gym doesn’t make you fit. Even doing an occasional intense workout doesn’t necessarily get you fit either. Your body needs a lot more than just regular gym attendance – it needs a healthy lifestyle. Being fit requires eating for fuel, giving your body the nutrients it needs to grow and repair. It requires discipline. You may need to say “No’ next time you are asked to go out when you know your body desperately needs rest. Your body needs ample fluids for healthy hydration and to help flush toxins. Your body needs good posture to relieve joints and to prevent injury. Sadly, there are a lot of people working hard in the gym to get fit, who are destroying their bodies as soon as they walk out the door.
Whether it’s eating junk food, smoking, drinking, not getting rest, allowing too much stress in your life or being in an unhealthy relationship, unhealthy choices can trump any good workout if you are not careful.
Sure, you might get stronger if you lift weights regularly, but you could still die of lung cancer if you smoke. You could still be at risk of diabetes and obesity related illness even if you do regular cardio, if you continue to eat healthy. Even if you workout, you can still be at risk for injury due to poor posture or tight muscles.
The bottom line is you can’t expect to pick and choose what you are willing to do to be fit and healthy. Being fit is something you work toward all day long. Decide to strive for the full package – healthy inside and out. Look healthy because you ARE healthy!
- Be STRONG: Lift weights regularly
- Be FIT: Challenge your cardiovascular system with regular cardio
- Be HEALTHY: Eat healthy food – you really are what you eat!
- Be FLEXIBLE: Remember to stretch tight muscles to prevent poor posture and injury.
- Be CALM: Meditate, pray and rest. Your body and mind needs quiet time too.
Some of you may have noticed I have a new addition to the family. (I almost feel sorry for my Facebook and Instagram friends who have to endure the million pics I’ve been posting! Sorry guys!) However, if you were one of the lucky ones who’s newsfeed hasn’t been filled up with all my pictures, and you are in the dark, I am now the proud mother to a 10 month old baby boy.
He’s just a baby, but he is already about 30″ tall and weighs 130lbs. He may not be human, but he thinks he is. My big new baby is a Great Dane Puppy, named Marley Beaux (Bo). (We are experimenting with names…he came to us as Marley, but we kinda think he looks like a “Bo”. Anyway, I’m completely in love!
Last fall I lost my Great Dane, Tank, after 12 fantastic years. Although I’ve had dogs all my life, I took Tank’s death harder than I ever could have imagined. He was my best bud when Steve was away doing both reality TV shows, which was 3 months at a time. We had a special bond. I’m not sure if it’s the breed or what, but we were much more closely connected than any other dog I’ve had. Steve and I were both devastated. Our house was eerily quiet.
Well, we finally decided it was time to get another dog – and there was no question it would be another Dane. The short story is we ended up adopting Marley from a loving family (with 2 toddlers and 2 other Danes) who felt Marley needed more attention and love (which we were HAPPY to give!). It was love at first lick!
Honestly, I forgot just how great being a pet owner is. I also never dreamed I could love another dog like I did Tank. I also started to notice he added a new healthy component to my life. Over the last 2 weeks, I noticed I made more time to just enjoy life. As a workaholic, I have a hard time stepping away from work, but Marley forces me to take more breaks, get outside, relax and even play more. I’ve even noticed that my activity on my Jawbone UP band (activity tracker) had even increased.
This past Saturday I took him to dog training at Pawprints, where Marley went through what I call Doggie Boot Camp – complete with obstacle course, running, swimming (pictured left with my sister’s dog & Marley) and all kinds of cool stuff. At the end of the day, I looked at my activity on my Jawbone UP and I had walked 13,153 steps which is roughly 6.5 miles (compared to a normal pre-pet Saturday day of leisure taking only 6,000-7,000 steps). Then I got to thinking, Marley is so GOOD for me!
So, I did some research to learn more about all the health benefits of owning a dog. Study after study has consistently proven that pet owners are healthier than the average person. Take a look!
15 Health Benefits for Pet Owners
- They increase activity. One study showed that people who have pets were 54% more likely to get the recommended amount of daily activity than a non-pet owner. Their desire to walk and play reminds us to get out and get moving too – and I’d have to agree!
- They help ease people out of isolation. Dogs are great conversation pieces and make people feel more comfortable facing the world “alone” – because, while they are not with another person, they have a loving companion.
- They help people handle stress better. One study showed people with a high-stress job and high blood pressure who adopted a cat or dog had lower blood pressure readings in stressful situations than did people without pets.
- They help children’s development. Studies showed children who suffered from wither severe ADHD or Autism showed lengthened attention spans. Pets also teach children responsibility and how to communicate with others better.
- They help boost children’s immune systems. WebMD says “If a dog lived in the home, infants were less likely to show evidence of pet allergies— 19% vs. 33%. They also were less likely to have eczema, a common allergy skin condition that causes red patches and itching. In addition, they had higher levels of some immune system chemicals — a sign of stronger immune system activation.
- They are match-makers. Approaching another person out of the blue can be nerve-racking, but approaching someone with a dog is easy and almost always welcomed. The dog gives people something to talk about that is natural and comfortable, making the initial conversation much easier. Whether you are looking for a date or enjoy meeting people, pets make it easier to make more friends.
- They are calming. In a world full of hustle and bustle, people are in great need of “calming down”. Pets help us slow down, stop and smell the roses – or in this case, pet the dog. Playing with a dog actually elevates levels of serotonin and dopamine, nerve transmitters that are known to have pleasurable and calming properties.
- They are good for your heart. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institute of Health (NIH) have both conducted heart-related studies on people who have pets, which showed owners exhibit decreased blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
- They speed recovery. When someone is stuck in bed recovering from surgery, or who has limited mobility, a pet can lift their spirits and boost recovery time. One study showed when a dog was part of the medical team, the patients’ anxiety scores dropped by 24 percent. When a human volunteer visited the patient, it just dropped 10 percent. Without visits, the patients’ conditions didn’t change, he says. (read more about therapy dogs)
- They give us a sense of empowerment. Once you have trained a pet to obey your command, it is very satisfying for a pet owner to have a certain level of control, even when life can be completely out of control around you. This sense of empowerment can boost confidence and encourage people to take better care of themselves.
- They make you laugh. Laughing is so good for you, but many of us don’t do it nearly enough. Laughing relaxes your muscles, releases endorphins, boosts your immune system and relieves stress. The more you laugh, the better – and pets tend to do some pretty funny stuff (like getting into the bathtub for no reason and making adorable faces like this, pictured right).
- They fight depression. Pets provide companionship, unconditional love and make people feel important and loved. They keep people in a healthy routine, and help keep them active and social. One doctor said he personally witnessed people eliminate antidepressants by the simple act of obtaining a dog.
- They can detect cancer. Next time your dog sniffs you out, you may want to pay closer attention. There have been multiple reports of dogs sniffing out cancer. One woman reported her dog keep sniffing at a mole and even tried to bite it off. The mole ended up being a malignant melanoma. Another dog correctly detected cancer in 33 out of 37 samples of people’s breath and stool that scientists had collected.
- They help prevent diabetic crashes and seizures. Many untrained dogs have shown behavioral changes when their owner’s blood sugar crashes or is about to have to have a seizure. Therapy dogs are trained to detect a drop in blood sugar or oncoming seizure before the owner begins to feel the symptoms, warning their owners in time to prevent an attack. (learn more about Diabetes Alert Dogs and Seizure Alert Dogs)
- They have healing powers for the elderly. Pets help reduce stress, lower blood pressure, increase social interaction and physical activity in elderly people who often live alone. They also reduce depression and loneliness, associated with aging or illness, as well as take their mind of physical problems, loss and aging. Even Alzheimer’s patients benefited, with fewer anxious outbursts if there is an animal in the home.
If you’ve been thinking about getting a dog, or you’ve been trying to convince a loved one you need a pooch, now you have 15 really good reasons to back you up! 🙂
Funny Video: Who Got in the Trash?
Awesome video: And God Made a Dog
The day in the life of an average father looked very different in the early 1900’s than he does now. Common occupations for men usually involved hard labor. Most men worked on farms, factories, coal mines, railroads, lumberyards, fishing boats, and textile mills.
If the weren’t lifting heavy objects, they were using their skills to pound nails, shape metal, carve wood, paint walls, lay brick, sew clothing and bake goods. They rarely sat still. Not only did men work hard at work, often times, they worked just as hard at home before they even left the house.
HARD LABOR TO SMART LABOR
For example, my father (Tom Talley) grew up on a dairy farm in Virginia. Every morning my father and grandfather (pictured right, with my grandmother) would get up before the crack of dawn to start milking their 300 plus cows before my dad headed off to school. Maintaining the farm was not just a job, it was a way of life. Because of that, my father learned a lot of different skills and was never scared of hard work.
Today, occupations involve more work at a desk than they do on our feet. Even the same job looks quite different in 2013. For instance, when my dad began delivering mail in the early seventies, he had a walking route. By the end of his career with the U.S. Post Office, he spent less time on his feet and more time driving a mail truck around town. The job was the same, but how he performed his job had changed drastically.
PHYSICAL STRESS TO MENTAL STRESS
Do fathers still have the same responsibilities? Yes, most of them do. They still have to provide for their families and they still work hard – just different. The stresses of a provider grew still there, but men are often more mentally exhausted than they are physically exhausted at the end of the day. As a result, many men are too tired to go to the gym after their hard day at work. Ironically, they need it even more.
Mental stress, without the ability to release stress through exercise, can lead to anxiety, depression, frustration and fatigue. While it seems you would need energy to exercise, exercise actually creates energy. Exercise greatly affects our chemical levels, increasing endorphins and improving our mental state.
The more a man exercises, the stronger he will feel both physically and emotionally. He will be more apt to handle the stresses of life, and the pressures that go with being the man of the house. He will have more confidence, and less chance of injury due to weak and tight muscles.
FATHER’S “OTHER” JOB
If you are a father, you have more than just a job to do. Even, in many ways, if you are fit to be a father, you still need to be physically fit to be the best father you can be. It’s your responsibility to take care of your body so you can take care of your family.
Happy Father’s Day Dad!
I’m so thankful my dad took control of his health a few years back and started working out. Fitness changed his life – for his own good and for his girls. He’s stronger, has more energy and more confidence to do things he never thought possible at his age. I’m super proud of you dad! I LOVE YOU!!
Worrying Can Cause:
- Lack of sleep or insomnia
- Panic attacks
- Fast heart rate
- Inability to concentrate
- Muscle tension and muscle aches
Web MD explains that when you worry for a long time, you have excessive fuel in the blood that isn’t used properly (like pinned up energy to use for exercise or activity), which can cause a host of other major problems like:
13. Suppression of the immune system
14. Digestive disorders
15. Short-term memory loss
16. Premature coronary artery disease
17. Heart attack
Stress is not what causes health problems. It’s how you handle stress in your life. If you don’t handle it well (or at all), and you just worry about it – eventually it WILL come out and attack your body. You cannot pin all that anxiety up without exploding eventually.
6 Ways to Handle Stress Better
If you catch yourself worrying, here are a few things you can do to control it so it doesn’t affect your health:
- Exercise – People who worry, tend to be very frustrated because they can’t do anything about their current problem. Exercise, hands down, is the best way to relieve stress and get out your frustrations. It also will help you fall a sleep better so you don’t stay up thinking about your problems.
- Eat healthy – You need to fuel your body with good food if you want to feel good. Unfortunately, people who deal with a lot of stress tend to eat poorly, and eat more – as if to get some type of temporary satisfaction when they are so unsatisfied with other areas of their life. Poor choices may help you feel better for a moment, but they will leave you lacking the energy you need to handle the rest of the day – and the weight you gain will leave you even more discouraged.
- Slow down – many people who are stressed out, try to keep busy to keep their mind off things. They tend to work longer hours, stay entertained, avoid quiet and self-medicate themselves with alcohol or drugs. What they need most is what they avoid most – silence. This is where yoga is very good. You get to stretch tense muscles, control your breathing, meditate and even pray. Remember, you can’t go 100 miles an hour without eventually crashing. You need to purposely slow your body down to prevent wrecking your health.
- Rest – This is something that often times will not come naturally. You will have to FORCE your body to rest. Even if that means taking a mild sleep aid (like Tylonel PM), it is imperative you get the rest you need to stay both physically and mentally healthy. If you miss rest, you are setting yourself up for a ton of other problems – and you’ll have even more to worry about, with no energy to do anything about it.
- Limit or avoid stimulates – If you are a big coffee drinker or smoker, you are probably making things worse. You need relaxation, not stimulation. If you don’t plan to give it up, then you need to give your body a way to blow off steam. Take a walk or jog, workout, play a game of tennis, go to the batting cages or driving range, or take some boxing lessons. If you are going to stimulate your body, let your body use that stimulation to be active.
- Get help – If you feel you can’t do any of these things on your own, or you have tried them and you are still dealing with excessive stress and anxiety, see a doctor. Seek professional counsel and talk with a friend. It is super important that you have people who care about you monitoring you, supporting you, and helping you through this difficult time. Whatever you do, don’t go it alone.
Are you a chronic worrier? Read 9 Steps to End Chronic Worrying