Nothing says spring more than seeing a robin in your yard. They are often the first to arrive after a long, cold winter. As I write this, there is a mama robin outside my window. She is hunkered down in her nest and is glaring at me. Yep. It's spring.
Here are some fun facts you might not have known about robins:
The next time you step outside, pause for a moment and listen for the robin's song. It might just put an extra spring in your step!
We began April with April Fool’s Day, a day when many think it is funny to announce a pretend pregnancy and see the response. However, April 24-30, 2016 is also Infertility Awareness Week, where the other side of the line does not find those jokes too funny.
The National Infertility Awareness movement began in 1989, The Department of Health and Human Services recognized National Infertility Awareness Week in 2010.
This topic affects me personally and I often struggle with it during the holidays and family functions. From my wedding day until now, someone has always asked the dreaded question, “When are you going to have a baby?”. It seems innocent enough, but it opens a big can of soggy worms when someone has been struggling with fertility, especially if there is a long story behind it. Often the person who asks regrets the question and feels bad about the response.
Infertility is a disease that has medical specialists to diagnose and treat the illness. 1 in 8 US couples of childbearing age is diagnosed with infertility. Men and women both struggle with infertility for many difference reasons and everyone handles it in their own way. Infertility can be expensive, disappointing, frustrating and depressing. It often leads to feelings of failure and marital disputes.
Being aware of infertility and sensitive to the disease process can help you be a more informed and supportive person to those in your life that may be struggling. Please be considerate and ensure that others around you follow your lead when it comes to addressing infertility among family, friends and even strangers. What may seem innocent to one can be quite hurtful to someone diagnosed with infertility.
The RESOLVE group (a non-profit The National Infertility Association, Est in 1974) has issued the following:
25 Things to Say (and Not to Say) to Someone Living with Infertility
I do love a brisk cup of coffee in the morning. As I am writing this article, I am sipping on a cup and marveling at the wonderful world in which we live. Mind you, I woke up as grouchy as any gal could be at 5:00 AM. But then I took my first sip, and things started to look brighter.
That’s the beauty of coffee. It’s a gentle mood booster. Research is starting to discover it has other health benefits as well:
· Lower risk of heart disease.
· Lower risk of neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s.
· Lower risk of diabetes.
· Lower risk of car accidents.
· Lower risk of suicide.
These benefits were identified in those who drank caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee. They believe there are compounds in the beverage that reduce insulin resistance and systematic inflammation (IDEA Fitness Journal, 2016 March).
So how much can you drink? It really depends on your body. I know that if I drink more than one cup I am jittery all day long. Other people can consume five cups and not feel a thing. Researchers suggest from 3 to 5 cups is safe.
There are some conditions, however, where coffee consumption is not recommended. If you suffer from an anxiety disorder, then you will want to avoid the beverage. Those with osteoporosis should also limit the number of cups they drink. In both cases the caffeine is harmful. However, if you switch to decaf then you eliminate this problem.
Another thing I want to caution you on is what you’re putting in your coffee. The health benefits are greatly diminished when you add sugar and heavy cream. Try to limit these as much as possible. Liza recently broke me of my mocha habit, which is loaded with sugar, chocolate, and whipped cream. She introduced me to café lattes which have milk and nothing more. I get mine with reduced fat milk and they are divine.
As I wrap up this article I am also taking my last sip of coffee. It’s time to tackle the day!!
Looking for new ways to stay motivated with your exercise program? Consider using Skype. Skype is a free program you can download by going to www.skype.com. It requires you to have a camera built into your computer. Once installed, it allows you to “call” someone (similar to calling them on the phone) and talk to them through your computer. You can also see them, and they can see you.
From an exercise perspective this allows you to workout with your exercise buddy without ever leaving home. Just set your computer up so that the camera catches you at a good workout angle. Then call your friend and start the workout.
There have been studies on the use of Skype to motivate exercise. The results were extremely positive. The use of this simple tool resulted in a 93% attendance rate for exercise (IDEA Fitness Journal, 2016 March). That's high!!
If motivation is a problem, consider using Skype with your exercise pal. It could be just what you need to stay focused!
April is national handwritten letter month. This is a skill that seems to have dissipated as technology has taken over. Cursive handwriting has been removed from many school curriculums as an outdated and unnecessary skill. Perhaps it is time to make it popular again. As Ronald Regan recently passed, his love letters to his wife, Nancy were one of her most cherished possessions.
In this era, a handwritten letter is particularly special. First, someone took the time to purchase paper, sit down with a pen and write their thoughts and feelings down, purchase a stamp and go to a mailbox or post office to send it. These letters take more time and personal attention then composing an email or text message. Furthermore, remember the excitement you get when you receive a card or letter in the mail. It is so nice to have personal mail that is not a bill or advertisement. Letters can be saved and enjoyed over and over again in the future. Often they are cherished from loved ones that have passed away.
Letters can be used to let someone know you are thinking about them, thankful for a gift or good deed, to encourage them or to update on significant life events. Even more you can add photos, cartoons or jokes to make them extra special. Handwritten letters can be included in home-made cards that enable you to express your creative side.
We have many holidays and events coming up that are good reasons to sit down an put pen to paper. Consider Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, graduations, weddings, births and reconnecting with friends you have not talk to for a while. Take the time to compose a letter to let someone know just how special they are to you.
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