• Friday, June 13, 2008

    Celebrities without makeup

    We all know the pros and cons of makeup . . . the biggest pro is that it makes us look more attractive and covers a multitude of imperfections.

    I don't know about you, but it shocks me when I see "the beautiful people" without makeup on . . . it is the illusion that these people are perfection that we strive for when most of them look like ordinary people when they have no makeup on.

    Click here for an article with lots of photos on this subject.

    Monday, June 9, 2008

    What to do about puffy eyes

    Reduce swelling directly. Eye puffiness is a type of fluid build-up (edema) in the tissues around your eyes. The steps taken to reduce puffiness are similar to those taken to reduce any kind of swelling. The following are "quick fixes" to temporarily encourage fluid to drain away from under your eyes.

    1. Place cold cucumber slices on your eyes. It is the cold temperature that is helping rather than the product itself. The aroma, however, can be soothing and relaxing. Slice them into 1/8" discs and let them float in cool tap water for a few minutes. Shake them off well before applying to your eyes.

    2. Use cold, refrigerated used tea bags. Like the cucumber slices, the coolness reduces circulation, but the tea actually has a slightly astringent (tissue-shrinking) effect as well.

    3. For a less messy alternative, try putting 2 metal tablespoons in the fridge and use them daily by placing the backs against your eyes.

    4. Rinse your face in cool water and pat dry.

    5. Hemorrhoid cream, which is meant to reduce swelling, may work well. Be careful not to get it in your eyes. (This only works if you live in Canada. Hemorrhoid creams in the U.S. are no longer made with the active ingredient that reduces swelling.)

    Sleep Better . . . Get enough sleep. If you have puffy eyes all day, it could be that you're not getting enough sleep, or the quality of the sleep you are getting is poor. Puffiness under the eyes is a common symptom of sleep deprivation.

    Elevate your head when you sleep. It's not unusual to have puffy eyes upon waking. A possible explanation for this may be that when you are laying down for several hours in a horizontal position and then stand up, the fluid that was resting under your eyes is suddenly being pulled down by gravity. This swelling, however, should subside shortly. To reduce it, you can try elevating your head while sleeping so that the fluid is not as drastically drawn down when you get up.

    Cure puffy eyes from the inside out. Puffiness is a manifestation of excess fluid retention. By addressing your body's tendency to retain fluid, you may be able to indirectly reduce swelling around your eyes.

    Reduce your salt intake. A high intake of sodium may be causing you to retain more fluid, in which case reducing the salt in your diet may produce good results (not only for your eyes, but also for your health in general).

    Snack on bananas and raisins, both of which alleviate fluid retention. Consume cabbage or cranberry juice. Both are diuretics, which will help you eliminate some excess fluid.

    Don't turn to caffeine as your diuretic of choice, as it can interfere with sleep and bring back the puffiness.

    Exercise to improve circulation, which will help your body move fluid through your body, rather than letting it accumulate.

    Determine if you have any of the conditions associated with puffy eyes. Sometimes the swelling is a side effect of another condition, which is temporary, or must be treated individually.

    Accept yourself. If you've checked with your doctor, then your puffy eyes are probably only a cosmetic issue. It happens with age, and sometimes it just happens. Learn to draw attention to other features that haven't aged, such as the color of your eyes, the curl in your hair, or your attitude towards life.

    Thursday, June 5, 2008

    Return to work can reduce depression

    By: Rick Nauert, Ph.D.,Senior News Editor
    Reviewed by: John M. Grohol, Psy.D.

    Thursday, June 5, 2008 (Psych Central.com) -- Although it is well documented that the modern workplace can be a source for depression and stress, on many occasions a return to work can actually help aid recovery and help depressed individuals.

    However, experts warn that employers need to be sensitive and consider a range of interventions including changing an employees tasks and reducing hours to help people when they return to work.

    A new UK study addresses the issue with the article published in the journal Occupational Medicine.

    The study followed more than 500 people who were unable to work with depression from a variety of industries over the course of a year. A return to employment significantly promoted recovery.

    Importantly, it was the approach and flexibility of their employers that proved vital.

    The study echoes the findings of Dame Carol Black’s Review ‘Working for a healthier tomorrow’ which recognized that for most people work is good both for their long-term health and for their family’s well-being. The review found that ill health was costing the country $100 billion a year - $40 billion of which was related to mental health.

    “Better access to occupational health services and psychological support are essential if employees with depression and anxiety are to get back to work quickly” said Dr Gordon Parker, President of the Society of Occupational Medicine.

    “‘Employers are often frightened of contacting an employee whose sick note says ‘depression’ for fear of being accused of harassment, but sympathetic contact with the employee and early help through occupational health can identify the most appropriate support.

    Occupational health services are ideally placed to advise managers and employees on the best return to work plan and should be involved early in the management of the employee’s absence”.

    In any one year about 1 in every 4 employees in the UK will have a mental health problem, and depression is one of the most common. It is not just distressing for the person involved. It makes them less productive at work and is responsible for high rates of sick-leave, accidents and staff turnover.

    Work often plays one of the largest roles in shaping people’s identity and if employees are absent for some time due to anxiety or depression, this can add to feelings of a lack of self-worth.

    This study shows that going back to work is often one of the most important factors in speeding up a return to full health. It provides an opportunity to regain a sense of self-esteem and puts routine and stability back into people’s lives.

    A good occupational health team can help senior management develop programs to educate line managers and the workforce about depression so that the problem is recognized, appropriate early intervention given and employees are helped to return to work.

    Occupational Health staff will know about the particular stresses and strains of the work environment and have experience of sensitive issues such as workplace confidentiality, job security and the timing of the return to part-time or full-time working. They are also well placed to work closely with family doctors or other specialist health services.

    Depression and anxiety are now the most common reasons for people starting to claim long term sickness benefits. By investing in occupational health services, senior management teams can play a key role in helping individuals return to work. This will improve the overall performance of the organization and of individual employees and reduce the costs of sickness absence.

    Source: Society of Occupational Medicine

    Wednesday, June 4, 2008

    Quick Energy Boosters

    It’s hard to feel happy when your energy level is low. The simplest tasks feel overwhelming, people seem demanding, and even activities that you’d ordinarily enjoy seem like too much trouble. On the other hand, when you have plenty of energy, life seems more fun — you’re also more likely to feel good about yourself. Not only that, being viewed as an “energizer” makes you far more likely to win a positive work evaluation.

    When you’re feeling low-energy, plunking down in front of the TV or digging into a tub of ice cream can seem like an appealing fix. However, research shows (and you know it’s true) that these aren’t good routes to feeling better. Try some of the fast-fix choices below. If you can’t tackle a big task, do something small. Even a little step in the right direction will give you a lift.

    1. Get enough sleep. If you never wake up before the alarm blasts, you need to go to bed earlier. People become accustomed to the feeling of being sleep deprived, but they don’t really adapt to it. Make getting enough sleep a top priority.

    2. Go for a brisk walk. One study found that even a 10-minute walk was enough to supply a feeling of energy and decreased tension.

    3. Listen to your favorite upbeat song. Hearing stimulating music gives an instant lift. Along the same lines…

    4. Sing out loud. It’s hard to feel grouchy when you’re singing — and the goofier the song, the better.

    5. Take a short nap, if you’re the napping type. Many people find them very energizing. My father has been known to take three naps in one day.

    6. Act energetic. Research shows that when people move faster, their metabolism speeds up. Acting energetic will make you feel more energetic.

    7. Along the same lines, spend time with energetic people. People catch the moods of other people, and energy (or lack of energy) is highly contagious.

    8. Talk to friends. I’ve noticed that if I’m feeling low, and I run into a friend on the street, I walk away feeling much more energetic. Reach out if you need a boost.

    9. Cross a nagging chore off your to-do list to get a big rush of energy. Unfinished tasks drag us down, so force yourself to tackle one thing that’s nagging you to get a huge rush of energy.

    10. Make your bed. It doesn’t take much time or thought, and it provides a feeling of serenity and control when you come home at night.

    11. Make something right. Apologize, confess, repair, replace, or return something you borrowed.

    12. Go outside into the sunlight. Light deprivation is one reason why people feel tired. Research suggests that light stimulates brain chemicals that improve mood.

    13. Clean up. I’m not sure why tidying makes such a huge difference, but when I feel like I can’t face the day, I just tidy up my desk, and I perk right up.

    14. Drink some coffee! Coffee gets a bad rap, but the fact is, it really does boost alertness, energy, and ability to focus. (Plus, it’s a great source of antioxidants and it contains a high level of soluble dietary fiber.)

    Written by Gretchen Rubin
    May 2008

    Gretchen Rubin's book, The Happiness Project (Harper Collins) is due out in 2009.

    One thing I would add to the list . . .

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