Dealing with Depression

You are Not Alone

Depression is something that a large number of women are dealing with in their lives. The good news is that depression is a disease and it can be successfully treated. Women often face unique challenges when afflicted with depression, and identifying and treating them is crucial to becoming healthy.

These Factors Can Contribute to Depression.

  • Physical changes
  • hormonal balance
  • life situations
  • seasonal moodiness
  • problems like money
  • lifestyle
  • job stresses
  • harassment
  • pain

Sad and Withdrawn

Typically, people suffering from depression are intensely sad, perhaps withdrawn from others, fatigued, emotional and they may exhibit physical and mental symptoms including suicidal tendencies and peripheral artery disease (PAD). When a person is depressed, they may pay less attention to eating healthy foods, and they may smoke more often while exercising less. All of these actions can increase physical problems that might lead to the person becoming even more depressed.

Normal hormonal fluctuations are seen in women of child-bearing ages, and throughout menopause. The hormonal changes following childbirth could lead to post-partum depression; changes at menopause may lead to symptoms such as a loss of interest in formally enjoyable activities, becoming irritable or anxious, and feelings of guilt.

Depression and Psychotherapy

Depression can have many other causes that might require psychotherapy to unravel. This may include things from past experiences, such as abuse, loss of a loved one, personal problems and pain or medications for pain. Major life changes are also a time when old problems resurface and can cause major depression rather than elation. Any of these problems are good reasons to look closer to examine if they are causing you to feel depressed in any way. Look at depression as a normal but treatable condition.

Treatment for Depression

The good news is that there are many possible courses of treatment for depression, no matter if it is slight, major or chronic. This is an important problem to bring to the attention of your personal physician; there is no need to suffer depression needlessly. The situation is very complex and not suited for self-diagnosis. Some scientists have discovered brain differences in people who are chronically depressed. The part of the brain called the hippocampus is smaller in some persons who are prone to depression. There are biochemical processes involved in the depressive state; it makes sense that there should be some biochemical solutions as well, which is another reason to consult with your doctor or mental health intervention specialist immediately.

Genetics and Depression

Genetics is another area that researchers have found may result in a tendency to develop depression. Some serious illnesses also may be related to depressive reactions. Finally, substance abuse is another problem that may cause major depression. No matter what the cause of depression, there are solutions that can offer help and relief so the person affected can resume more normal and happier living.

Women are 2x as Likely to Deal with Depression

Women develop depression symptoms twice the rate that men do, but men are far more likely to commit suicide as a result of major chronic depression. Men exhibit anger and loss of interest in activities; women feel sadness and may have weight gain, low self-esteem, fatigue or difficulty concentrating. For women who must continue to function socially and run the family affairs, a solution is recommended. Consulting with their physician should be a first step remedy. Improving the dietary intake can also reduce physical ailments; many foods that keep blood sugar in balance can also help keep depression at bay. There are many good solutions, for men and for women. Life is too short to stay caught in the dreadful trap of feeling depressed; get help and resume the normal pleasures of living a happier life.

8 Ways to Treat Yourself at Your Next Spa Appointment

Demands of modern life require a break

Women today are often overworked and overstressed. From the demands of holding down a career, and being a mother, to running a hectic household, and being an attentive wife, we all need to take the time to take care of ourselves.

One way to relax and unwind is to spend time at a local spa and enjoy all of the unique and wonderful ways they offer for us to pamper ourselves and relax. Nothing relaxes our bodies and refreshes our minds better than some “me time” at a local spa that offers a myriad of services made just for us. If you have never taken the time to explore the services that a spa has to offer, you are missing out on a treat.

Spas offer many soothing services

Here are some popular spa treatments you should reward yourself with as often as possible. Take advantage of these services that are made especially to pamper and spoil us – and be prepared to enjoy every second of it!

  • Massage – Massage is a good way to relax, unwind, and rid your body and muscles of unnecessary stress. Massage therapists offer different types of massages that can be customized to your needs including a Swedish, therapeutic, or deep tissue massage.
  • Body Wrap – This soothing treatment typically uses algae, seaweed, mud, or clay which are detox treatments that help rid the body of toxins. You are massaged with these treatments then wrapped for 20 minutes to keep you warm. Your body is then rinsed and then lotion is applied for super soft and smooth skin.
  • Facial – Facials are a popular spa treatment that cleans, exfoliates, and nourishes your face to promote clear, well hydrated skin. An esthetician analyzes your skin and picks the appropriate treatment for your skin type and conditions to ensure a perfect facial for you.
  • Pedicure – A spa pedicure is a procedure which cleans and removes the dead skin cells from the feet and nails. A spa pedicure is also combined with a foot massage that rejuvenates the feet and relaxes the muscles. The toenails are then painted with the color of your choice for totally sexy feet for strutting around in your new sandals or favorite pair of heels.
  • Manicure – A manicure is a beauty treatment for your fingernails that uses special tools, creams, and massage methods to make your hands and nails healthy and beautiful. A manicure will help improve the texture as well as health of your fingernails and the skin on your hands. Have them polished with your favorite color for beautiful hands every time.
  • Sauna – Sitting in a warm and soothing sauna is beneficial in many ways. Not only does a sauna help relax and distress you, it actually lower your blood pressure and eliminate toxins from your body and stimulates the function of other organs, too.
  • Waxing – Waxing is a very popular way women use for body hair removal. From leg and lip waxing to the ever popular Brazilian (bikini) wax, the process can leave you looking and feeling better about yourself. Special melted wax is applied to remove unwanted hair and generally lasts for 4 to 6 weeks before hair re-growth.
  • Scrubs – Nothing refreshes and rejuvenates like a body scrub at the spa. These gentle treatments can soften skin, draw out unwanted toxins that dull skin, and restore skin vitality. The body scrub is performed with an abrasive material like salt or sugar, and is mixed with massage oil and fragrant essential oils. This exfoliation process is followed by an application of body lotion for healthy looking skin that is radiant and soft to the touch.

Indulge yourself

No matter which spa service you decide to treat yourself to, you will be relaxed, refreshed, and look fabulous. So go for it ladies – relax and indulge yourself with these spa specialties, after all, you’re worth it!

How to Get Beautiful Flowers Every Spring

Beautiful Flowers are Just a Few Steps Away

I know what my fantasy garden would look like. Glorious blossoms would appear like magic while I sat in a cool and shady spot, iced-tea at hand, directing the show. Alas, this isn’t likely to happen. Experience has taught me that it takes time, effort, and planning to create a garden full of beautiful flowers, and vibrant color every spring.

Step 1: Plan & Plant

Planning comes into play long before those spring blossoms arrive. When the weather starts to turn cool in the fall, it’s time to get your flower beds ready for the coming winter so they’ll be in the best condition possible come spring.

  • Remove any annuals, weeds, and spent blossoms still hanging around.
  • If you have beds that are used only for annuals, you can work organic matter such as manure into the soil.
  • Plant bulbs if you’d like your spring garden to contain flowers such as tulips, daffodils, or crocuses.
  • Monitor water for remaining plants. If your fall season doesn’t have adequate rain, supplement with sprinklers.
  • Trim back perennials to ground level after the first frost, unless you want to leave any attractive stalks to add interest to your winter garden.
  • Prune your shrubs and trees as needed before the first frost.
  • Add a thick layer of mulch around perennials and shrubs to protect them from the cold.

Keep an eye on your garden from time to time over the winter. If you have a thaw and snow melts away, that’s an excellent opportunity to check the condition of your mulch covering.

Step 2: Primp

In the spring, you can begin preparing the soil after the ground thaws. Remove any debris, such as broken branches or trash. If the old mulch is in poor condition, remove it, too. Otherwise, work it into the soil, adding leaf mold or manure if necessary. Add new mulch to preserve moisture and keep down weeds.

Early spring is also a good time to start encouraging your plants to bloom.

  • This is the best time to divide most perennials, just as the new spring growth begins to show. The plants have energy stored in their roots that will help them survive the stress and settle into a long summer of growing time.
  • As the blossoms on your early-blooming shrubs and perennials die, trim them off to encourage more blooms.
  • After the danger of unexpected frost has past, plant annuals or new perennials to bring a burst of bright color to your garden.

Plan your garden to show off every flower to its best advantage. In beds along a path, fence, or wall, shorter plants should be in front and taller varieties in the back. New varieties of old perennial standards like coneflowers and hibiscus arrive every spring, as do new annuals. Plan a mix of your favorite colors and flowers using established varieties and toss in a few of the new styles for unexpected punch.

Step 3: Plan

Unfortunately, a beautiful garden won’t appear by itself. The only way to have that display of color is to plan for it. Set a weekend in the fall and again in the early spring to get the big jobs done. Enlist your spouse, kids, neighbors, or cousins for help if you need it, or consider hiring help for the hardest work if you can’t manage it yourself. However you accomplish the job, you’ll be rewarded with those beautiful flowers every spring.

Healthy Eating at Home and on the Road

Knowing how to eat right is not something you are born with, it takes practice. Managing a wholesome diet program is a learning process that anyone can master whether at home or on the road. It’s not exactly news that healthy eating has its advantages. What constitutes healthy eating though?

How to Start Healthy Eating

Eating right is one of the kindest things you can do for your body. Without it, you risk high blood pressure, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and other forms of chronic illness. Maintaining a healthy diet will give you energy and make eating overall more satisfying. There are three things to keep in mind.

  • Balance – A healthy diet includes all the major food groups. Meals should be a balance of grains, proteins, vegetables, fruits and dairy.
  • Variety – Mix up your foods and don’t be afraid to try new things. Proteins do not always have to be meats. Legumes and nuts are beneficial, as well. You will be more likely to stick to a healthy meal plan if you keep it interesting.
  • Moderation – Eat when you are hungry, but stop when you are full. If you are craving sweets, treat yourself, but keep portion sizes reasonable. Any food is okay once in a while if you eat it in moderation.

The Healthy Eating Plate

Many may remember when healthy eating meant consulting the food pyramid. Eating right has not changed, but the tools available to learn from have gotten better. The Healthy Eating Plate is a visual reference to teach individuals about portion control.

If you imagine a dinner plate, a healthy meal consists of one-quarter whole grains, one-quarter healthy proteins, and one-quarter vegetables. Add an extra scoop of fruits. If you follow the healthy plate when setting up meal plans, you won’t go wrong.

When cooking or for salads, stick to healthy oils such as olive and canola. The Mayo Clinic advises you to avoid oils that contain saturated fats as they can raise cholesterol levels and put you and your family at risk for heart disease. Avoid cooking in lard, butter, coconut, palm or any tropical oils.

What to Do on the Road?

Eating while traveling can be a challenge when you are trying to stick to a healthy diet. There are some tricks to staying true to form when on the road.

  • Breakfast – Go with what you know when ordering breakfast at a restaurant. A stack of hot cakes with butter and syrup obviously is not healthy. A vegetable omelet and side of wheat toast is, however. Instead of eating a pastry that is full of sugar, you can get a sweet fix from a bowl of whole grain cereal and fruit.
  • Portion control – Restaurants are notorious for having huge portions. Consider ordering a couple different dishes for the whole family and having a buffet. This way, everyone gets a taste, but the portions are not outrageous. Ordering extra sides of vegetables will help fill up space.
  • Take the extra to go – Another way to manage portions is to ask the server to pack up half the meal before bringing the plate to the table. This way you will not be tempted to overeat.
  • Munch wisely – Take healthy snacks with you when you travel. You can load up a cooler with fresh-cut veggies, whole fruit and snack-size bags of nuts to keep hungry travelers happy.
  • Treat yourself every once in a while – Do not be afraid to splurge a little while on vacation. Keep the portions small and share with as much as possible.

Eating right and exercise are two key elements to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Obesity is almost an epidemic in the United States. A smart eating strategy for the home and road will go a long way towards breaking that cycle.

The Meaning Behind Amy Grant’s “It’s A Miracle”

Amy Grant’s Beautiful Work

Miracles, by their biblical definition which is ‘a work of God,’ are not everyday occurrences, but in a secular context we can see them in our lives everyday. All the wonders in our lives can be considered miracles. A child taking a fall and not being injured, getting a big promotion, narrowly escaping a traffic accident. Miracles are all around us if we push pause on our busy lives long enough to notice them.

A Song About a Miracle

One of the song’s in Amy Grant’s third album, Never Alone, is about the miracle of Christ rising from the dead on Easter morning. Penned by Gary Chapman and Chris Christian, the song describes the Resurrection and our conversion as miracles that can’t be explained by any human being. We know that these events have happened because of our belief that they can happen.

It must have happened sometime in the night
No one saw the stone be rolled away
But when the grave saw morning light
The skeptics and friends all had to say

The first stanza tells of how the stone was removed from Jesus’ tomb early on Easter morning. Since the stone was humongous, it would have taken several humans to roll it away from it’s place in front of the sealed tomb but no one saw this happen. Until they saw him awhile later, Jesus’ friends were saddened by this occurrence and the skeptics were outraged. Once Jesus made his appearance that glorious morning, the sorrow turned to gladness and everyone had to admit that what they had just witnessed was a miracle.

It’s a miracle, it’s a miracle
It’s a miracle happened today
It’s a miracle, it’s a miracle
He took the stone and He rolled it away

The chorus lyrics emphasize the fact that it was indeed a miracle. No one else had ever overcome the powerful chains of death and to this day no one else has done it either. Only someone as almighty as the Son of God could rise from the dead.

My soul was like a tomb in constant night
‘ Til one day the stone was rolled away
Then my heart saw morning light
And no one alive can explain it away

In the second stanza the song writer talks about finding Christ. Before we became believers, our lives were as dark, figuratively, as the tomb that Jesus’ body was buried in so many centuries ago. Salvation comes to different people at different times, but perhaps you remember how your life was prior to that blessed event. Small things caused grief and worry. Sometimes you had no hope for a better tomorrow. There was no one to turn to when life got tough. But one day the stone to your heart was taken away and you let your Savior enter. Explaining that moment in your life is one of the most difficult things to do, but you know that it happened. The only way to truly and accurately explain it is that it was a miracle.

Now, now don’t you see what I’m trying to say
If you believe it can happen today

Miracles Are Possible

Wrapping up Amy Grant’s song, the singer says that miracles are possible, at any time, if we only believe. As women, we tend to worry about many things and we really shouldn’t do that. We should give our worries to God and trust that he will take care of them when the time is right. We shouldn’t stop our prayers for our friends to come to faith. We shouldn’t lose hope about our husband’s job search. We need to hand our worries over to our Almighty God and leave the miracles to him.