Keeping current in wellness, in and out of the water
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The essence of effective self care is self knowledge. If you begin to understand yourself just as you are it becomes easier to please your senses and intellect. Your body craves healthy food and activity, and your mind thrives on stimulating conversation and reading. Writing, art projects, and journaling lead one to discover inner talents and insights. Clearing or updating personal space is an ongoing project that gives great satisfaction. Creating excellent work and play environments in your own home make life much more pleasurable.
I like simple pleasures like beautiful plants and fresh foods. Since I like to cook and find it therapeutic, I can always spend an afternoon in the kitchen having fun. On Sundays I like to prepare food for the week. Bob takes a meal from home to work with him most days, so I pack a few servings to get a head start on the week. If I also take time to do some deep cleaning tasks on the weekend, my work during the week is lightened, and I enjoy the clean environment. I know cooking and cleaning might not sound like self care tasks to you, but in my mind they are basic. I don’t pay others to do these things for me, so making it an adventure in creative homemaking is my only good healthy option. I feel accomplished and well cared for when I have some chores finished. I then relax completely.
I do not plan an entire day of effort without some direct rewards. I often make sweets and desserts on the weekends, and clean my bathroom extra well. I treat myself to some sweet concoction and take a lovely long soaking bath in my sparkling clean tub. I use essential oils of lavender and grapefruit, and take a tall glass of iced tea to drink while I soak. This is at least as good as being at a 5 star hotel for me, because I don’t have to travel back home…I am home!! I provide my own room service, slip into my own bed with fresh linens, and sleep soundly.
How do you make your weekends work to combine tasks that must be done with some relaxation and fun? Everyone has a personal style, which is why each person knows best how to be true to that style.
The phrase self care is popular these days. I personally am very happy to see this concept become a trend. For far too long high maintenance has been praised as a status to which we should all aspire. Personal trainers, stylists, shoppers,, chefs, and spin doctors of every sort are employed taking care of the needy and the wealthy who have no life skills to care for themselves. I enjoy personal care and attention as much as the next person, but I believe that by turning over too much personal care to professionals one becomes a product more than a zesty, lively expression of our own personality. It is vital to get down to basics when we define self care. It must be different for each individual because we each prefer unique ways of being soothed, pampered, or restored. By taking responsibility for one’s own pampering one discovers new and valuable ways to keep our bodies and minds healthy. There is no single formula, but there are elements that work well in combination to create a self care ritual or practice.
Personal time to recharge and invigorate can be used in all kinds of ways. Here are some ideas to try:
I had to mention the bath because this is the classic way people think of self care. I agree that a long soak in a tub with some essential oils can be just what is needed to restore vitality. Not everyone is a bath person. I encourage you to look around for ways to take care of yourself as only you can. I enjoy trying photography in nature. Sometimes I even produce something worth sharing. Enjoy, gentle reader. You are in charge of you.
Last week my friend talked me into going to the home show downtown at the civic arena, although it is not my cup of tea. I ended up having a good time and making a discovery. We went to a booth selling power plates, now known as vibrational platforms and tried the merchandise. We mounted the vibrating plate and stood in a couple of positions for about 5 minutes total. I discussed the pricing and said I would think about it, but the price was not in my range. I have been aware of these machines for many years, but had never tried one because of the high price. They were used often in professional offices and studios, rented to the public by the minute in the past. Now the price has come way down and the selection is vast for the consumer. No special skill or fitness level is needed.
My friend called to tell me that our 5 minute vibration demo had done wonders for her chronic hip pain. This good news spurred me to research and shop for my own home model. To my surprise and delight I found a portable unit for sale on Amazon $600 cheaper than the home show. It arrived today. I am thrilled. It is easy to use and convenient to store. I tried standing, sitting, and balancing on my arms with feet on the floor. I just did 25 minutes today in order to see how it feels. It wiggles at a speed chosen or runs a program of choice. I have much to learn about the various ways to use it, but already am very happy I own it. Heidi can get rid of her pain and I can play around with different movements while I vibrate. It feels good while you do it, but I believe the long term effects will be the best part of it. The system works to tone muscles, but the reason I bought it was to drain the lymphatic system. A healthy, happy lymphatic system is a strong immune system, keeping one in good health. My new fitness toy is a fun way to strengthen my immune system by draining my lymph daily. I look forward to the long term rewards. Have you ever used a vibration platform, gentle reader? They have come a long way from the physical therapist’s office. Anyone who can stand up can do it.
I am excited about this excellent promotion to share compassionate meals. The idea of going vegan has spread like wildfire for many good reasons. I agree with all the reasons, including the animal cruelty problem, but I still eat some dairy and eggs. Many folks are trying it for weight loss and finding it to be effective for that purpose. Once they embark on a meatless diet they feel lighter and usually are cured of a few chronic healthy issues.
I personally know how very unpopular it is to tell other people what to eat. Nobody wants to hear someone else control their diet unless they have paid a nutritionalist to do so. It is my opinion that the best way to convert the meat eaters to my way of thinking is to introduce them to foods that are delicious and easy to prepare. If they like the way it tastes they will be motivated to make it and eat it frequently. If it does not suit their tastebuds it will be difficult to stay on any prescribed eating regime. I never try to change anyone’s food choices, but do work on expanding them. I relate because when I became a vegetarian at the age of 19 my own diet was “American teen” minus the meat. I ate fries, potato chips, Dr Pepper, biscuits, bread, hush puppies, and a few vegetables. I did like spinach, but my palette was very immature and limited. It was a nutritional nightmare, but I learned to prepare a wider variety of dishes, and my horizons expanded. I think we can all benefit from learning to make healthy foods, and try new ones available on the market. I like ethnic restaurants a lot for this purpose. If I find something good I knock it off at home.
I like this challenge out of all the bazillion challenges being thrown down at the end of the year because it is about sharing. The sharing is intended to convert, but it starts as sharing. When I invite friends out to eat I choose places with good vegetarian food that I really like, for obvious reasons. This often results in new discoveries for my dining companions whether they order a vegetarian meal or not. They see what I order and how much bang one gets for a buck compared to a meat based cuisine.
I plan to participate in this challenge often because I will also learn from the other participants. If you have any resolutions or aspirations to lean into a more vegan style of eating this is an excellent way to find out how to do it. It is probably easier and tastier than you might imagine. You can follow the action on twitter at CompassionateMeals or search using the hashtag #compassionatemeal to find out what others are eating and sharing. Like #MeatlessMonday, it will have an endless treat of good ideas and recipes, no doubt. Get behind this delicious campaign, gentle readers.
I received my giant booklet from the insurance company this week, along with the almost as thick booklet from Medicare itself. I discovered last year when I enrolled that consulting a professional insurance agent is the only way to make an informed decision on this issue without loosing your mind. To my great delight I was able to clear up a couple of questions I had about the updates on the phone with my agent. Since I am pleased with my current coverage I don’t need to do anything during open enrollment season. My agent, Karyn, will check and confirm that my dermatologist will remain in the coverage network. We can then agree simply over the phone and she will remain my agent. She makes sure the plan works for my best financial interest. She also acts on my behalf if I ever have conflict with an insurance provider. Since the data is overwhelming, and the circumstances change each year only a professional can keep current with the latest nuances. I am in a good mood not only because I have finished the task for the year, but my benefits almost all improved in 2017 for the same low price. Should I need to use them I will be rewarded with more bang for my buck.
I am happily surprised at the ways Medicare has made me happy during my first year. The Silver Sneakers benefit was created with me in mind. I need an excellent gym with a clean locker room at the least, to meet my minimum lifestyle requirements. I have been happy at the Tucson Racquet Club for years, but now I get both the Racquet Club and the Tucson Jewish Community Center member ships for free. The JCC is a wonderment of well run health and fitness programs. The beautiful gym with fast wi-fi and filtered water for your bottle gives me a thrill every time I enter. I was not miserable at the Racquet Club, but it is a real blast to have the gift of a better designed facility courtesy of Medicare. For me it is like a won the spa for life sweepstakes. There are all kinds of Silver Sneakers offers, but you must make sure that your insurance provider is on board with the program. For my own purposes, this is the most important feature. Since my company will continue to participate in the program my fabulous free membership will continue uninterrupted.
My over the counter pharmacy benefits will be slightly reduced from $25 a month to $50 each quarter. If you place no order you will not use your benefits. I make a game of trying to come out to exactly $25 each month. I use it for vitamins, bandaids, dental floss, and the like. This also is one of my favorite benefits because they deliver your products by mail, the ultimate convenience. I keep myself stocked up on these daily use items at no cost. I may never run out of chapstick and cotton swabs. The company I use is Humana, but this is not a plug. It is important to match your own consumer needs with the company’s offer. Your state may have different features, and they are all subject to change next year.
Good luck to all the Medicare consumers and their families in this wild season. My best advice is hire a great insurance agent to represent you. If you live in Tucson I highly recommend the services of Karyn Damshen. She will remove the mystery from this stressful process. Once you have a clear understanding of the options she will guide you to the best fit for you. Her services are paid by the provider, so there is no extra cost to you as her client. She works for you as an independent agent. This is a big boon to those trying to understand this complicated market. I hope you all end up happy and well covered for whatever transpires next year.
The best feature about New Moons is the feeling of starting anew, a fresh start, a new beginning. Although the New Moon data is not as popular as the Full Moon, the dates are sought out by many people who know just how meaningful the New Moon event can be. The August 2 New Moon […]
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I have been a client and fan of Justine Robbins for many years. She is a very talented and skilled cranio-sacral therapist as well as a lymphatic drainage expert. She knows my body well, and has always helped me keep my health in balance. I believe regular lymphatic drainage by a competent therapist is one of the best investments I can make to my long-term well-being. The lymphatic system is an often overlooked key player in the body’s defense against disease. The lymph carries away inflammation and infection. When it is out-of-order consequences can be very serious our health. The lymphatic flow can heal itself and rebuild pathways to bring back function to the area. If it is damaged therapy relieves swelling and inflammation by rerouting the lymphatic fluid. In time the body establishes working routes for this crucial drainage.
Any time you have an incision you will cut and disrupt the lymphatic system. I recently had a surgery on my arm that resulted in some puffiness around the site. It is not serious or painful, but I wanted to test Justine’s new laser system. Her new office is close to home, which I love. The treatment consists of socially catching up with Justine (in my case) while she runs the laser over the area for about 10 minutes. She has discovered the therapy works best if short consecutive sessions are used. Of course I can’t know how my arm would be if I had done nothing, but I can see and feel a difference in the swelling present today. I will continue the series to speed the healing on my incision. I am pleased to know that this space age treatment is available to me in the future. Theralase is my new best friend.
If you live in Tucson you can visit Justine’s practice, LightSpeed Therapy at 3333 N. Campbell Ave, Suite 2. She can be reached at 520-908-8907. I highly recommend her services and this new cool tool. Some Canadian insurance covers this kind of treatment, and we hope in time the US will discover the efficacy of this non invasive therapy.
In order to navigate the tricky changing tides of health insurance coverage today we need experts. Since I switched to Medicare this year I went shopping last year for referrals for a good agent. I found Karyn Damschen of Retirement Navigators who helped direct me to the plan that works best for me. I am extremely pleased with my coverage and my care at iora primary care. Karyn is such a star Medicare expert that I carry her cards with me to pass out when I meet anyone who needs a health care insurance agent. Who, in my opinion, needs a health insurance agent? Absolutely everyone who has a choice in the matter. If coverage by your employer is set, you probably would not benefit from a consultation with an agent. All others need to be advised by those professionals who spend their time keeping current with regulations and changes in the market. The market becomes more complex all the time. The result for consumers is an unsettlingly confusing set of offers from which to choose. After the coverage is in place we cross our fingers and hope anything that happens to us will be covered by our policy. To make the best of this frequently changing situation I feel really great that I have Karyn representing my best interests and keeping me informed about all my options.
Recently I received the news that my primary care physician is leaving the brand new practice. First my personal paraclete (health coach) from iora called to explain the change and transition. The next day I got a call from the fabulous Karyn at Retirement Navigators who was busy calling all her clients who were effected by this situation. She was ready and willing to change providers within the limits of my Medicare policy, or do anything I might want, in light of the new circumstances. This was evidence to me that the front line of my health care system, my agent and my paraclete, are the best. They spend all the time needed to match my needs with the best available medical care. They have specialties and expertise in the insurance system that the doctor does not, and should not, be bothered to learn. Although I liked my first doctor, I love the new system iroa is pioneering here in Tucson. The team approach has worked very well for me so far, and I expect that it will continue to evolve with a different doctor. I am pleased with the choice I made to use iroa. I have no wish to change because I like it now and think it will only improve with time.
Do you have a health insurance agent, gentle reader? It is worth the time to find one to represent you. They can read the map and keep you on the road to the best health care available to meet your needs.
I had a sourdough starter for about ten years. I enjoyed using it and finding new ways to put my homegrown yeast to work. After a while I was kind of done with it, but my dog was crazy about it. She fixated on the bread, and the more sour the better for her taste. Eventually I baked for her but we ate little bread in the house. When she died last year I gave up the sourdough start. Recently I have become interested in raw fermented food for both health and mad science. I do still like to grow cultures and experiment in my kitchen. My fermentation lab is simple and requires no special equipment.
I have made some decent sauerkraut, but my big thrill is drinking the juice from the kraut. This brought be to study the other fermented beverages I could make. I have not yet purchased kefir grans because it sounds like a big deal keeping up with the growth of them once they start to multiply. I probably will try it at some point because it is possible to make flavored fizzy drinks with water and fruit juice that sound pretty delicious. I bought a couple of books for my kindle to study the options and learn more about the various ways foods are fermented around the world. I can heartily recommend Delicious Probiotic Drinks by Julia Mueller.
My favorite drink I am making these days is ginger beer. I started a ginger bug, a starter which lives on ginger, water, and sugar. The care and feeding of the ginger bug is much like the sourdough starter. It catches the yeast in the air and stays alive by eating sugar. The dosage is important because it is possible to kill the yeast by adding too much sugar at a time. Mine sits on the kitchen counter with a cork cover. It is really easy to keep it happy and growing stirring it with a wooden spoon daily. When I make my ginger beer I simply add some of the starter to a larger container of water and add ginger and sugar to that batch. After a week or so of growing I start a secondary fermentation in a tightly covered bottle (I use a beer growler). This is the same way champagne is made, with a secondary fermentation in a corked bottle.
I also love my beet kvass. This is easy to ferment as well, just by adding salt to water and beets in a container for a week or so. It is tasty and very health promoting. Beets themselves are great for the liver and other organs. The fermentation adds probiotic cultures that conquer less than desirable cultures we may have in out digestive systems. Now that the happy healthy probiotics have taken over in my intestines I actually crave the fermented drinks. I have sauerkraut juice first thing in the morning when I take my vitamins and all through the day. Don’t knock it until you try it. This simple, amazingly cheap habit I have started is probably the best practice I have added for my general health in decades. If you wonder if you will like the taste I recommend that you start with the ginger beer production. It is universally enjoyed, and takes little skill to produce.
There are some other traditional fermented drinks I plan to try, all with the same basic procedure. I have yet to use the culture I bought just because it works without adding any culture. Have you ever made any fermented beverages, gentle reader? It is a fun hobby with fabulous health benefits.
My life has changed dramatically in the last two weeks. I have been looking forward to Medicare because it saves me a significant chunk of cash each month. I shopped and researched wildly, reaching the conclusion that the new Iora Primary Care is right for me. I am signed up with Humana on a Medicare Advantage plan that costs me nothing and offers benefits I can really use. I went to my first appointment with Dr Julia Jernberg, my new primary care physician, on Monday. She is the smartest, coolest doctor I have ever seen. She gave me a simple practice I can do at home to relieve a chronic pain I have had in the front of my ankle. She specialized in this orthopedic technique at University of Arizona School of Alternative Medicine. She nailed the diagnosis (always key to success), then taught me how to do my own simple hands on healing. I find a position of comfort and gently coax my muscle out of trauma for about three minutes at a time, twice a day. It is ridiculously easy to do, but she cautioned me not to be too zealous and overdo my remedy. She nailed the zealous diagnosis too. I have followed her instructions for three days and believe I can feel improvement. Dr. Julie is truly my dream doctor, a teacher of self care. She is assisted by the best staff in the most well designed environment. I could not be more pleased with this fantastic upgrade to my health care.
My Silver Sneakers card arrived in the mail this week too. This card provides free membership privileges to Medicare recipients at health clubs all over the country. In Tucson many clubs participate in the program, but each one offers a different set of privileges. I am already a very happy member at Tucson Racquet Club, and have arranged to pay a fee over and above my Silver Sneakers membership (covered by my insurance company). I think it is worth paying $22 a month to be able to attend all the classes at my club. However, I took my Sneakers card to the newly remodeled Jewish Community Center and was given full membership privileges. The JCC does not restrict me to Silver Sneakers classes with my special membership. They offer a wide array of fitness options. This thrills me, but not as much as the fabulous Zuckerman Family Wellness Center does. The gym is the feature I use the most at a club. This one is spacious, modern, well staffed and super clean. The view from the equipment room is spectacular, and like the Racquet Club, it is situated right on the Rillito River walk. They have new state of the art equipment and professional trainers. There is free high-speed WiFi which I used to read some magazines on my iPad while I peddled the new age exercise bike. The bike even has arm rests.
I am highly impressed with the quality of the operation, but my favorite part of the JCC gym is the special needs population. Some special needs individuals work out independently and some come to the J with care givers who encourage and help them. I watched a young man who appeared to have Down Syndrome have such a great time on the TRX equipment that he inspires me to try it. He was so comfortable and happy swinging on the rings and attempting super difficult moves that I decided I can do that too. I think it is really fun to share the gym with the special population, and it is the first time I have experienced that cool thing. You just go, JCC!!!