Category - Health

1
When We Worry Too Much And What To Do About It
2
Two Simple Mindful Breathing Techniques
3
How To Injure Yourself While Exercising In Four Easy Steps
4
PTSD—Always There Under The Surface
5
Perimenopause Is A Bloodsport
6
10 Offline Family Activities To Enjoy This Summer
7
Three Nurses Whose Secret Medicine Makes Them Exceptional
8
The Truth About Our Drinking Water and The Urgent State of Our Environment
9
Epilepsy
10
Are You Happy? If Not, Why?

When We Worry Too Much And What To Do About It

I understand the parameters of reality, so why do I worry so much? It’s pointless and I know that worrying is harmful, so why do I keep doing it? I think I have an answer. The first time I recall being really worried was when I was seven years old. My dad traveled a lot and one night his plane was late. I was convinced he had crashed and I worried myself sick. Of course he was fine. I had worried myself sick for nothing.   Over the years I continued to worry about a variety of things from A to Z — some realistic, some ridiculous.  They say only eight per cent of our worries are realistic. And of those, we can actually only do something about half. This means ninety-six per cent of the things we worry about are a useless waste of time. Why do some people worry more than others?   I have a theory that we worriers have three things in common:   1. WE NEED TO BE IN CONTROL We dictate and delegate, but then end up doing everything ourselves because everyone else does it wrong. We like to organize and compartmentalize and strategize and basically orchestrate the outcome[…]

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Two Simple Mindful Breathing Techniques

Jewel, right? She’s an actual gem. I loved her in the nineties. And I love her now with her simple approach to mindfulness. Clearly we’re soul sisters because we both use these easy breezy breathing techniques. ‘Counting Breath’ and ‘Box Breathing’ are my go-to techniques throughout the day—to calm my mind and squelch panicky feelings… hey, thanks PSTD. Sometimes I use them to simply relax and take a break from the multi-tasking mayhem that is my life.  I’ll just let Jewel explain. She’s perfection.  Try these tomorrow. It’s life changing.      Side note: My husband’s name is Adrian. We started dating around the time Jewel’s song “Adrian” was popular. It creeped me out and left with me an irrational fear of canoeing. But nothing a little box breathing can’t fix. 😉 

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How To Injure Yourself While Exercising In Four Easy Steps

I don’t love to exercise, but it finally got to the point where I had no choice. I wasn’t handling stress well and my blood pressure was high. I was getting uncomfortably fat, none of my clothes fit, and I was listless, stiff and sore. I was a chubby statue. A fatute if you will.  So I put on my runners and started exercising 3-4 times a week at a gym called Orange Theory Fitness. I’ve been at it for nearly nine months so you’d think I’d be pretty skilled at it by now, right? Not so much. I still fall off equipment, drop things, and generally do exercises completely wrong.  When I spot the coach heading toward us, I know she’s coming straight for me. Most likely to correct my technique or just to shake her head in bewilderment at my level of uncoordinatedness. Despite all my klutz, outside of a few pulled muscles, I been physically okay. Until now.  This month I was a walking (barely) talking ad for “How Not To Workout.”  I pulled a groin muscle running on the treadmill. That was injury number one. Apparently I run like a rusty tin man. I’ve been told I[…]

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PTSD—Always There Under The Surface

Adrenaline is nature’s way of keeping us safe in the face of danger. It serves a purpose, but when a traumatic experience causes you to live in a constant state of fight or flight it can wreak havoc on your life. PTSD can wreck you if you let it.  We’ve all experienced that jolt of muscle quivering energy that floods our bodies during scary or stressful situations. Like when the car in front of us stops unexpectedly causing us to slam the brakes. Or when a glass slips from our hands, but we catch it before it smashes. Our hearts race, but we quickly recover and move on.  But sometimes the situation is painfully serious and the recovery time is substantial. Like when your child has a medical emergency—a near fatal seizure or maybe she chokes and stops breathing. I can’t begin to describe how frightening that is. We’ve been in this horrible place a few times over the past decade. We’ve watched helplessly as our youngest lay unconscious, or unable to take a breath.   Our daughter Avery’s near fatal seizures have rendered her lifeless in my arms. I’ve seen her lips turn blue. We’ve watched paramedics bring her back to[…]

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Perimenopause Is A Bloodsport

My body is waging a war against perimenopause. In my mid-forties, I still consider myself to be young and virile. Isn’t it too early for this?!? And why didn’t anybody warn me? Or maybe they did but I tuned them out because they were just “old ladies” whinging about their messed up cycles. Perimenopause is essentially water drip torture. You know, the kind where water was dripped slowly onto the captive’s forehead, slowly driving them insane. Perimenopause runs on the same principle. Just little droplets at first. Nothing you can’t handle. A restless night here, one early or late period there. Nothing unmanageable. Drip drop drip. Then two nights of tossing and turning. And a hot flash. Or maybe not a hot flash? It might just be an especially humid day. You’re not totally sure.  Drip drip drip drop drop drop… And how are we THIS tired and still standing? Some nights it’s, “Go to bed three hours before the kids” tired.  Along with the inexplicable exhaustion, there are sudden spurts of anger for absolutely no reason. You’re the Incredible Hulk in guacamole stained yoga pants. Drip drip drip drip drip drop drop drop drop… Water trickles into your eyes, tickling[…]

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10 Offline Family Activities To Enjoy This Summer

I have a love/hate relationship with technology. Social media, cell phones, texting — we have instant access to each other 24 hours a day. We tend to log in and tune out. Canadians spend more time online than any other country. This can mean that every member of a family is online on their own device, even in the same room. I just emailed this shocking fact to my husband sitting across from me on the couch. Many parents have expressed concern about technology’s intrusion into their family time. I feel it. Do you? I grew up pre-internet, so I learned how to maintain a conversation and can easily make human contact without being digitally connected. But can I say the same about my children?  Even if we limit our kids’ screen time, their learning and social skills are still impacted by OUR screen time. Have you ever shushed your child so you could finish composing an email? Have you looked away during your child’s soccer game to post an Instagram photo? Have you texted from the dinner table in the middle of your son telling you about his French test? Not proud of it, but I’ve done all of these[…]

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Three Nurses Whose Secret Medicine Makes Them Exceptional

Back in University the nursing students were cool AF. As I rotated between sociology and anthropology lectures (not cool as anything) I admired them. They were good at science and not afraid of blood, needles or germs. Other than nursing a few hangovers, and “Nightingaling” my kids over the years, a career in nursing was never in the cards for me. Though nurturing by nature hospital smells have been known to make me faint. Plus science is like, really hard.  Thank god for nurses—qualified, kind-hearted, non-fainting souls—who have cared for my family over the years. As the parent of a child with disabilities, I’ve had my share of interactions with nurses—mostly positive. There were a few Nurse Ratchets, but I get why they’d be snappy at the end of a long shift dealing with needy sick people.  There are three nurses in particular who have made a lasting impression on me. They are all skilled professionally, but their secret medicine, humour, makes them exceptional.  Maternity Mayhem Nurse No disrespect to doctors, doulas and midwives—you folks know your way around a dilated cervix. But huge props go out to the amazing nurse who looked after us after the rather horrific birth of our[…]

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The Truth About Our Drinking Water and The Urgent State of Our Environment

Some people idolize musicians and movie stars. And there are those whose hearts beat for environmental crusaders, like David Suzuki. I was invited to listen to Dr. Suzuki speak on World Water Day. I RSVPd yes faster than you can say, “The Nature of Things,” and asked if I could bring along my son who we (half) jokingly refer to as “The Next David Suzuki.” Inspired by the presentation, my son delivered an impassioned speech of his own this week at school on the topic of the urgent need for environmental rehabilitation. His words echoed that of his hero as he explained that the days of merely preserving nature are over. Alarmingly, many scientists believe that 90% of humans will be gone by the year 2100. This horrifying revelation is not science fiction, but based on scientific data related to overpopulation, environmental destruction, and climate change. Suzuki’s concern and underlying frustration was apparent, “Who needs nature in a city? We have Netflix,” he said. His tongue-in-cheek statement refers to our obsession with technology which has created a dangerous state of isolation. Shut off from the world around us, we’re too distracted to comprehend or even notice the gravity of our[…]

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Epilepsy

Sometimes I forget our daughter has Epilepsy. But only for a second. We’re incredibly lucky her seizures are suppressed by medications, but it’s impossible to forget the traumatic years when they were not.  Avery’s first major seizure happened when she was three and a half. I shared the story of what happened in every painful detail. I’m sharing the link again HERE. Even after all this time, I find it difficult to read. Even though it was nearly eight years ago now, those seizures just before Avery turned five were brutal.  Every year since she has an EEG to assess the seizure activity in her brain. And every year while we wait for the results we hope for the news that there is no seizure activity or that the electrical abnormalities remain unchanged, in equal measure.  It may sound odd to hope for no improvement, but if her brain activity appears normal the neurologist will take her off anticonvulsants. And this could mean more horrifying seizures.  When neurons discharge inappropriately they cause abnormal electrical impulses in the brain. This results in seizure activity which can lead to abnormal motor activity or convulsions, and loss of consciousness, and if not controlled as soon[…]

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Are You Happy? If Not, Why?

If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands. What, no clapping? Aren’t you happy?!  Well, don’t let that make you sad because not many of us are consistently happy. According to the studies anyway. Science has us pegged as a sad sack of SOBs just trying to make it until cocktail hour.  My daughter however, she’s perpetually happy. She gleefully claps her hands all the time for no apparent reason. It’s like a happiness explosion where her joy just can’t be contained and the sudden burst of happy claps is a way to let it out.  I consider myself a very happy person, but I can’t say I feel “happiness explosion happiness” in adulthood very often. But alas, nobody is as happy as Avery. She doesn’t fit the typical mould. She doesn’t worry. She doesn’t know fear. And there’s zero hate in this kid’s world. It just doesn’t exist for her. I’d say she’s 90 per cent happy—9 per cent ‘meh’, when she’s tired or told, “No, you can’t host a play date right now.” And 1 per cent legitimate sorrow, usually when she’s missing a loved one. The rest of the time, bliss.  I get the sense[…]

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