Spring break started, and for many, never ended. COVID-19 lockdowns ushered us into summer, and most schools delayed reopening until the fall. While it might sound like a dream come true for a child, the reality isn’t so glamorous.

We aren’t vacationing. We aren’t hitting up the water parks. Heck, we aren’t even venturing out to the library or local playground. With the risk of coronavirus looming overhead, the majority of us are spending as much time as possible at home.

Spending days on end at home was a novel idea — at first. We got to tackle long put-off projects, bake with the kids, take leisurely walks around the neighborhood, and really enjoy slowing down.

Now, days are running together, we’ve watched everything on Netflix AND Disney+, and our kids are literally climbing the walls.

How can families continue to practice safe physical distancing, also known as social distancing, while maintaining an active lifestyle? Here are six activities parents and kids can do together to keep fit while having fun at home this summer

Do some spring (ahem, summer) cleaning

Yes, you probably already completed a mile-long list of projects your first 2 weeks at home. But surely you’ve got many more still waiting.

It’s time to turn up the music, hand your kids a broom, and get to cleaning. Get everyone involved — toddlers to teens! Delegate age-appropriate chores and make it fun.

Reward everyone for a job well done with pizza and a movie at the end of a long week. This is a great way to keep the whole family productive and moving while remaining safe at home.

Take P.E. — the modern way

Just because school’s out doesn’t mean physical education needs to be. Thankfully with modern technology, you’ve got so many options for keeping your kids fit while having fun — and more often than not, for FREE!

YouTube is a gold mine here. There are so many amazing channels that offer exercise videos, dance tutorials, wiggle breaks, and more.

A few YouTube channels we love:
  • GoNoodle | Get Moving. Yes, folks, the tagline here really is “get moving”. GoNoodle offers short dance and movement videos that are hilarious and engaging and sure to draw your little ones in.
  • Kidz Bop. Kidz Bop is a household name for many. Now, they’re YouTube famous! They not only have videos of popular songs remade by kids, but they also have dance-along videos too.
  • Cosmic Kids Yoga. Cosmic Kids Yoga works on flexibility and strength while keeping them engaged with stretching exercises set to exciting stories kids recognize and love.
  • P.E. with Joe. This channel (The Body Coach TV) has a variety of videos, but we really love the P.E. with Joe series. They are fun, funny, and will keep the whole family fit!
  • PopSugar Fitness. PopSugar Fitness is not specifically for kids, but is a high-quality channel with a variety of great content to get mom, dad, and kids moving together.

Be sure to use the YouTube search bar for things like “family-friendly fitness,” “kids workout videos,” or “beginner yoga” and you’ll find more than you know what to do with. YouTube is truly a treasure trove of free exercise options for those of ALL ages.

Build an indoor obstacle course

If your kids love “American Ninja Warrior,” you know all about obstacle courses. It’s time to build your own at home.

Set up the kitchen chairs, couch cushions, pillows, blankets, and anything else you might have on hand and make your course as intricate and challenging as you’d like. Then, turn your kids loose and watch them go. Even better, take a turn yourself!

The best part about this is, you can do it every week and create a new course each time.

Want to do it up right? Make it a theme day.

  • Spend the morning plotting out and setting up your course. Let your budding designers draw it out on paper (and color it too!).
  • Then, once it’s all set up, get dressed in your best ninja warrior wear. Dress for success!
  • Once everyone is in costume, set the timer and get going. Take turns going through the course and see who ends up with the fastest time.
  • After you get it all cleaned up, let your kids participate in preparing a warrior-worthy meal. A fresh veggie tray, cubed cheese, deli meat, and crackers is simple, well-balanced, and quick to put together.
  • Lastly, cap off the night with an “American Ninja Warrior” marathon on TV. That screen time will be well deserved and enjoyed by all.

Creating an indoor obstacle course is a creative way to keep the family active in both body and mind while having a great time together.

Start a garden

Is starting a garden on your list of “someday” projects? Make that day today!

Yes, this will likely require a quick run to the store for some basic supplies, but otherwise is an activity that can be kept up with at home. Plus, you’ll reap the rewards long after the COVID-19 quarantine is over.

Gardening is a good choice for kids because it allows them to enjoy fresh air, take in some sunshine, and get their hands dirty. These things are great for boosting their immune system, building motor skills, and providing necessary sensory input.

It also teaches kids about where their food comes from and is a nifty way to incorporate hands-on science lessons since we’re all schooling at home right now.

Gardening is a practical way to keep your body active, your mind engaged, and grow something that will provide your family with food, fun, and sun for many years to come.

Get fit with games

While spending time at home, screen time is likely happening more than you’d care to admit. There’s nothing wrong with that. Seriously, no judgment here — we do what we need to do to survive right now.

But, if you’re looking for a way to break up the day, board games are it! You can start a new family tradition (game nights for the win!) or you can use games that encourage physical activity to help your kids expend pent-up energy.

Some of our favorite classic games to get the body moving are Twister, hopscotch, Simon says, tag, and charades.

The majority of these games are inexpensive or you can play with items you already have on hand at home. The rules for each can be easily found online, and they can be played by kids (and adults!) of all ages.

Games are a wonderful way to build family togetherness, sans screens.

Take a nature walk

You’re probably thinking, “Ugh, a nature walk? That sounds difficult.” Don’t worry, it’s not!

A nature walk can be as easy as wandering through the backyard with a zipper seal bag collecting “specimens” (e.g. twigs, leaves, and rocks) and listening to your toddler make observations about what they’re seeing. “The sky is blue? Why yes it is!” “You think that tree is really big? I agree with you!” “The grass feels scratchy on your bare feet? Why do you think that is?”

For bigger kids, you can walk around the block or head to an open green space in your city. Take along some sketching supplies and maybe a field guide, stand back and watch them work.

If you want a bit more guidance, you can find free printables galore all over the internet: scavenger hunts, coloring pages, writing prompts, drawing tutorials, and more.

This can be as simple or as complex as you want to make it. It can be tailored to fit any age — even big kids and adults can enjoy time spent outside appreciating the beauty of nature around them!

Now, more than ever, time spent outside is crucial to one’s mental and physical health. Physical distancing is hard, and we need to find ways to keep active and maintain a semblance of normalcy for ourselves and for our kids.

Bottom line

It’s important to keep yourself and your family active while staying safe at home during the COVID-19 quarantine period. This can be done in a myriad of ways, but we’ve covered a few suggestions to get you going.

As states begin to reopen, be sure to maintain physical distancing guidelines set forth by local, state, and national authorities. Your options for physical activity will widen as restrictions begin to lift, but keep safety and health in mind above all else — yours and your surrounding community.

Source: Healthline 

Olive oil is made by grinding olives and extracting the oil, which many people enjoy cooking with, drizzling on pizza, pasta, and salad, or using as a dip for bread.

Some of the most well-known benefits of consuming olive oil include its ability to reduce inflammation, support heart health, and lower blood pressure. It may even have potential anticancer effects and protect brain health.

This article reviews whether olive oil can be used to promote weight loss.

Contains compounds that may promote weight loss

Many of olive oil’s benefits have been observed in the context of following a Mediterranean diet.

This eating pattern is characterized by a high consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, potatoes, legumes, nuts, and seeds. While the diet often incorporates fish, the main fat source is olive oil, and it also limits red meat and sweets.

Olive oil contains monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs), which have one unsaturated carbon bond in their chemical composition. MUFAs are typically liquid at room temperature.

One older 4-week study found men with overweight or obesity who replaced saturated fat with monounsaturated fats in their diets experienced small but significant weight loss, compared with a saturated-fat-rich diet, despite no major change in total fat or calorie intake.

More recent research agrees that unsaturated fatty acids are likely more beneficial than saturated fats when it comes to healthy weight maintenance.

Diets rich in monounsaturated fats have also been shown to prevent weight gain and the accumulation of fat in animal studies.

Furthermore, olive oil is a rich source of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), which have been long studied for their ability to play a role in healthy weight loss and maintenance.

MCTs are triglycerides that contain fatty acids comprising 6–12 carbon atoms. They’re broken down quickly and absorbed by your liver, where they can be used for energy.

While some studies have found a positive effect of MCTs on weight loss, others have found no effect.

Still, one study compared MCTs with long-chain triglycerides, finding that MCTs resulted in greater production of certain appetite-regulating hormones like peptide YY, which promotes feelings of fullness.

Other research indicates that MCTs may encourage weight loss by increasing calorie- and fat-burning in the body.

How to use olive oil for weight loss

Olive oil may be useful for weight loss, but it appears to be most beneficial when used in certain ways and amounts.

While some people claim that olive oil massages could help promote weight loss, there’s no research to support this idea. That said, studies have found that such massages can help preterm babies gain weight.

Another popular claim is that a mixture of olive oil and lemon juice can promote rapid weight loss. However, this is likely because it’s often used as a cleanse that usually results in very low calorie intake and consequently both fat and muscle loss.

Still, olive oil incorporated into an overall healthy diet is a different story.

There are 119 calories and 13.5 grams of fat in 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of olive oil. This can quickly add up on a calorie-restricted diet, so it’s best to incorporate olive oil in limited quantities as not to promote weight gain.

One systematic review of 11 randomized controlled studies found that following an olive-oil-enriched diet for at least 12 weeks reduced weight more than following a control diet.

Olive oil can be used as a salad dressing, mixed into pasta or soups, drizzled onto pizza or vegetables, or incorporated into baked goods.

The bottom line

Olive oil is a healthy source of monounsaturated fats and medium-chain triglycerides, both of which have been shown to offer potential benefits for weight loss.

While there are claims that olive oil can be used as a massage oil or for a detox, the most effective way to use olive oil for weight loss is to incorporate it into your overall healthy diet as a primary fat source.

Keep in mind that a small serving of olive oil can contribute a significant number of calories and amount of fat to your diet. As such, it should be used in limited quantities. Olive oil used as part of a plant-based diet like the Mediterranean diet may offer the greatest benefit long term.

Source: HealthLine 

One of the famous herbal teas of all time is chamomile tea, and it comes with a lot of health benefits. It is an effective home remedy for various beauty and health issues. For quite a long time, it has been utilized far and wide as characteristic rest cures. Its quieting impacts might be credited to a cell reinforcement called apigenin, which is found in chamomile tea. Multiple studies have found chamomile to providevarious health benefits. However, here some reasons why you should drink chamomile tea.

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What is chamomile tea?

Chamomile is an herb related to chrysanthemum. The common species of chamomile are chamomillaRecutita and Chamaemelumnobile. Chamomile is known for its calming effect and often used to help people with sleep disorders. Nowadays, researchers are increasingly exploring its effectiveness in managing health issues, including cancer and diabetes. Aside from the benefits it offers, most people enjoy drinking chamomile tea.  According to research, a million cups of chamomile tea are consumed everyday all over the world.

What are the benefits of chamomile tea?
1. Helps to sleep and relax

Great rest is vital to our general wellbeing. Isn’t it? Chamomile tea is known for producing a relaxing effect and aid sleep. Many people are used to drinking a cup of chamomile tea before bedtime. This is because it soothes the nervous system so that you can sleep better. Chamomile tea is rich in flavonoids such as apigenin. Apigenin ties to specific receptors in your cerebrum that may diminish tension and start rest.

Studies have shown that chamomile does have calming and relaxing effects. A study on new mothers found that people who drank chamomile tea every day for two weeks slept better and had fewer depression symptoms than those who did not. You may try this for quality sleep. Do you drink chamomile tea before bedtime? If so, keep it up.

2. Helps to ease pain

It is good news that chamomile tea helped to relieve pain. It has an excellent analgesic effect on various kinds of pain caused by tension and a bad mood. Also, it can regulate the human nerves and calms the body system. Chamomile tea can be widely used in our daily lives. When you feel toothache, you can gargle with chamomile tea, which can significantly reduce your pain.

What’s more? Since chamomile is a mild natural herb, it is safe and suitable for everyone to drink at anytime. It is also used to relieve menstrual pain in women.

3. Cancer prevention

As we all know, cancer is a disease that seems difficult to treat. But living a healthy lifestyle can help us stay away from this disease. One habit that may help prevent cancer is drinking chamomile tea. A study found that people who drank chamomile tea two to six times a week had a 70% lower risk of thyroid abnormalities than other people. While those who regularly consume chamomile tea for 30 years in a row had an 80% lower risk.A good number of animal studies found that chamomile can slow down the growth of cancer cells and inhibit malignant tumors.

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4. Diabetes treatment and infection

For those who have or want to prevent diabetes and infection, chamomile tea is theright choice. The anti-oxidants present in it can boost your immune system, improving the body’s ability to fight against infection. The antibacterial effects of drinking chamomile can help to prevent or treat colds while protecting against bacteria-related illnesses and disease.

In other to reduce the intake of sugar, people often prefer tea rather than carbonated drinks. Chamomile is not only sugar-free but has other benefits it offers to diabetic patients. In an animal experiment, studies made it known that chamomile tea significantly reduced the blood sugar level of diabetic mice.

It also reduced the risk of diabetic complications, including diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage), cataracts, impaired vision, and kidney damage. However, chamomile tea regulates the amount of insulin that goes into the blood and lowers the blood sugar levels. Research shows that chamomile tea can inhibit blood glucose level, increase glycogen reserve of the liver, and improve hyperglycemia and diabetic complications.

5. Helps relieves muscle spasm and indigestion

Chamomile tea can improve your glycine level, which helps relieve muscle spasm. This helps chamomile tea can relax muscles and ease stomach discomfort. It can also help with poor digestion and irritable bowel syndrome.

Some studies have pointed out that in traditional medicine, chamomile is used to treat a variety of gastrointestinal diseases, including dyspepsia, spasm or colic, stomach discomfort, flatulence, ulcer, and gastrointestinal irritation. In particular, chamomile helps to eliminate gas in the body, soothe the stomach and relax the muscle that allows food to pass through the intestine.

6. Helps to relieve skin irritation

The soothing effect of chamomile is not limited to health issues. In the same way, chamomile tea can be applied to the skin. Chamomile tea has an anti-inflammatory effect and can also alleviate skin diseasessuch as sunburn and rashes. A study on eczema shows that chamomile works 60% as well as hydrocortisone cream. With its anti-inflammatory and anti-septic properties, chamomile helps in clearing up skin irritations such as eczema, acne, and allergies.

7. Aids wound healing

Chamomile is one of the best soothing herbs that help a wound heal because of its richness in bioflavonoids, such as apigenin, luteolin, and quercetin. It can be taken orally as brewed tea or applied on the affected skin surface as it can be made into an ointment for wound treatment.

For the record, Ancient Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians use chamomile as a salve for wounds to expedite healing. Experiments on mice show that mice that drank chamomile water healed faster than other mice. It was also found that chamomile can promote complete wound healing more than corticosteroids.

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How to make chamomile tea?

It is convenient and easy to make chamomile tea. The simplest way is to soak chamomile tea in hot water, wait for a few minutes, and add honey. Then you are good to go!  But if you want to drink chamomile tea to prevent or treat diabetes, you don’t need to add honey or sugar either.

Conclusion

For centuries, people who have felt sick or stressed have taken chamomile tea as a medicinal cure. Chamomile tea helps with stress, fatigue, and other health issues. It eliminates not only the consequences but also the causes of lack of sleep. Despite the sedative effect, drinking chamomile is not addictive.

Written by Best Tea Supplier 

As much as we know that getting plenty of veggies in our diet is good for our health, sometimes we just don’t feel like a pile of plants will hit the spot.

For many vegetables, boiling, microwaving, or even steaming can leave them bland and unappetizing. If you ever had Grandma’s boiled-to-death broccoli, you know what we mean.

Roasting, on the other hand, is an excellent way to help veggies shine for the healthy, satisfying delights they really are.

The caramelization process that takes place at high temperatures brings out a tasty sweetness and pleasing crunch that together are irresistible.

To get started now and roast your veggies for the perfect amount of time — alone or as a combo — stick to this guide:

roasted vegetables
For more details, follow these 5 steps for delicious roasted vegetables
1. Preheat oven to 425°F (218°C)

Though vegetables can be roasted at various temperatures, keeping a steady temp helps streamline the process if you want to roast multiple veggies together.

2. Give your vegetables some flavor

Wash and prep your veggies. Then drizzle or toss with olive oil and season with salt, pepper, and other flavorings. Here are some of our favorites:

Vegetable Preparation Suggested seasonings
Asparagus Trim woody bottoms off spears. Garlic, lemon juice, red pepper flakes, Parmesan
Broccoli Slice into florets. Soy sauce, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, ginger
Brussels sprouts Slice in half. Apple cider vinegar, garlic, thyme
Butternut squash Peel, remove seeds, and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks. Cumin, coriander, thyme, rosemary
Carrots Peel, halve lengthwise, and slice into 2- by 1/2-inch sticks. Dill, thyme, rosemary, parsley, garlic, walnuts
Cauliflower Slice into florets. Cumin, curry powder, parsley, Dijon mustard, Parmesan
Green beans Trim ends. Almonds, lemon juice, red pepper flakes, sage
Red and white onions Peel and slice into 1/2-inch wedges. Garlic, rosemary, balsamic vinegar
Parsnips Peel, halve, and slice into 2- by 1/2-inch sticks. Thyme, parsley, nutmeg, oregano, chives
Potatoes Peel and cut into 1-inch chunks. Paprika, rosemary, garlic, onion powder
Summer squash Trim ends and cut into 1-inch chunks. Basil, oregano, Parmesan, thyme, parsley
Sweet potatoes Peel and cut into 1-inch chunks. Sage, honey, cinnamon, allspice
3. Consider timing when roasting combos

Spread them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Start with those that cook for longer, adding others that cook for less time later.

4. Stir

Put the tray in the oven to roast. For best results, don’t forget to stir at least once during cooking.

5. Cook until they’re just right

To check for doneness, look for patches of browning and a texture that’s crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. Enjoy!

Source: Healthline 

The harmful effects of sugar are among the few things that most health experts agree upon.

Because many health-conscious people try to avoid sugar, many other sweeteners — both natural and artificial — have become popular.

One of those is agave nectar, which is often referred to as agave syrup. It’s found in various health foods and marketed as a natural, diabetic-friendly sweetener that doesn’t spike your blood sugar levels.

However, this article explains why agave nectar may be worse for your health than plain sugar.

What is agave?

The agave plant is native to the Southern United States and Latin America.

Although agave is a new phenomenon in the West, it has been used in Mexico for hundreds — and perhaps thousands — of years.

Traditionally, agave was believed to have medicinal properties. Its sap was also boiled to produce a sweetener known as miel de agave.

The sugars in agave are also fermented to make tequila.

In fact, tequila is the most common commercial use of agave today and one of Mexico’s best-known exports.

Like many plants, agave likely has some health benefits.

However, refining and processing tend to destroy some — or all — of these beneficial health effects. The refined agave sweetener that people consume today is no exception.

How is the nectar made?

The sweetener commonly sold as agave nectar would be more accurately labeled as agave syrup.

It has little in common with the traditional sweetener made historically by people in Mexico.

That said, the beginning of its production process is the same. The plant is first cut and pressed to extract the sugary sap.

While this sap is high in sugar, it also contains healthy fiber like fructans, which are linked to beneficial effects on metabolism and insulin.

However, when processed into a syrup, the fructans are extracted and broken down into fructose by exposing the sap to heat and/or enzymes.

This process — which is similar to how other unhealthy sweeteners like high fructose corn syrup are made — destroys all of the health-promoting properties of the agave plant.

Minimally affects blood sugar levels

The glycemic index (GI) is a measure of how quickly the sugar in a food enters your bloodstream.

Generally speaking, foods with a higher GI cause greater blood sugar spikes and may affect your health more negatively.

Unlike glucose, fructose does not raise blood sugar or insulin levels in the short term.

This is why high fructose sweeteners are often marketed as “healthy” or “diabetes friendly.”

Agave nectar has a very low GI — primarily because almost all of the sugar in it is fructose. It has very little glucose, at least compared with regular sugar.

A study in mice compared the metabolic effects of agave nectar and sucrose, or plain sugar, after 34 days. The mice ingesting agave nectar gained less weight and had lower blood sugar and insulin levels.

In such a short-term study, the glucose in plain sugar elevated both blood sugar and insulin levels, whereas fructose did not.

That said, the GI is just one factor to consider when weighing the health effects of sweeteners.

The harmful effects of agave — and sugar in general — have very little to do with the glycemic index but everything to do with the large amounts of fructose — and agave nectar is very high in fructose.

Dangerously high in fructose

Sugar and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) contain two simple sugars — glucose and fructose — at about 50% each.

Although glucose and fructose look similar, they have completely different effects on your body.

Glucose is an incredibly important molecule. It’s found in many healthy foods, such as fruits and vegetables, and your body even produces it to make sure that you always have enough.

In fact, all living cells harbor glucose because this molecule is vital to life.

Whereas every cell in your body can metabolize glucose, your liver is the only organ that can metabolize fructose in significant amounts.

Consuming excess added fructose can wreak havoc on your metabolic health and may contribute to insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.

This is because your liver gets overloaded and starts turning the fructose into fat, which raises blood triglycerides. Many researchers believe that some of this fat can become lodged in your liver and cause fatty liver disease.

This can cause major increases in long-term blood sugar and insulin levels, strongly raising your risk of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.

What’s more, high fructose intake can increase your levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and oxidized LDL. It may also cause belly fat accumulation.

Keep in mind that agave nectar is about 85% fructose — a much higher percentage than that of plain sugar.

None of this applies to whole fruits, which are loaded with fiber and make you feel full quickly. Your body is well equipped to handle the small amounts of fructose found in fruit.

The bottom line

If you must add extra sweetness to your diet, agave nectar is likely not the way to go.

Several natural sweeteners — including stevia, erythritol, and xylitol — are much healthier choices.

In fact, agave nectar may be the least healthy sweetener in the world, making regular sugar look healthy in comparison.

Source: HealthLine 

The year 2020 has so far been a difficult one for many.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a significant source of worry and stress for months now, with no end in sight.

On top of this, there have been protests, both peaceful and violent, as people strive to find justice in the wake of George Floyd’s death.

With the unrelenting stress of these events, many are feeling a wide range of negative emotions, such as sadness, anxiety, anger, and fear. Yet others have progressed to simply feeling numb or tired.

This emotional state is a condition that has been dubbed “crisis fatigue.”

What is crisis fatigue?

According to Dr. Petros Levounis, professor and chair, department of psychiatry, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, we go through four stages in response to a crisis.

First, there is the heroic phase. “Here, everybody gets together and there is a lot of action of people trying to respond by doing what needs to be done during the crisis,” said Levounis.

Next, there is the honeymoon phase, where people feel good about being a part of the community.

“Invariably after that is the disillusionment phase,” said Levounis, “which is where we’re entering now… and that is when we face crisis fatigue.”

This phase can last several months, he added, with people feeling very bad during this time until they begin to work on recovering and rebuilding after the crisis passes.

As to why crisis fatigue occurs, Firdaus S. Dhabhar, PhD, professor in the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, and the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, said, “The fight-or-flight response, or short-term stress, is our friend.

“The biological stress response can protect us during challenging situations or crises.

“However, when stress becomes chronic and persists for weeks, months, or years, it can have harmful effects, and in particularly repetitive or severe conditions, could lead to crisis fatigue.”

Adding to this, Levounis further explained that people invest a lot of energy in the early phases, but the human body can’t sustain a high adrenaline state for a long time, making a crash inevitable.

What are the symptoms of crisis fatigue?

Levounis said that the symptoms could go in one of two directions.

“One is the hyperarousal, or high anxiety, state where people are irritable and any little thing may get them triggered,” he said.

“Even a reminder of the crisis could result in a disproportionate emotional response from the person.

“The other side,” said Levounis, “which is more severe and more significant, and also less easy to diagnose, is when people are withdrawn.

“Instead of high anxiety, they show no anxiety or they resign to the crisis and don’t seem concerned about the crisis or situation.

“They show no concern regarding the things that need to be done or consequences that may result from the crisis.”

Other symptoms could include changes in sleep patterns, changes in appetite, and disruption in a person’s normal routines.

What can you do about it?

Levounis said that while we can’t always avoid crisis fatigue, there are things we can do to make it better.

Some of the things that he suggested include:

  • Take care of the four pillars of physical wellness. These are nutrition, sleep, sex, and exercise, explained Levounis.
  • Stay connected with friends, family, and society at large. He suggested using electronics to keep in touch when social or physical distancing is in effect.
  • Try to preserve your routines. This will help you maintain a sense of normalcy in your life.

In addition to these suggestions, Dhabhar added:

  • Limit your media exposure. “It’s important to be educated and informed,” he said, “… but don’t expose yourself to the news 24/7.”
  • Strive to replace emotions of anger and hatred with genuine feelings of appreciation and love. Although difficult, this is “likely to reduce fear, anxiety, stress, and fatigue of all kinds, including crisis fatigue,” he said.
  • Engage in activities you enjoy that you can do safely. This could be something like art, fishing, or even spiritual pursuits. “The point is to engage in something that can take you to a ‘good’ place and away from constant bombardment with bad news,” said Dhabhar.
  • Try yoga or meditation. These practices have been associated with reduced stress and improved well-being.

Both Dhabhar and Levounis said it’s important to seek help from a mental health professional if these self-help measures aren’t enough.

If you’re experiencing symptoms like losing or gaining weight, not sleeping well, or just not functioning well in your daily life, these are all signs that you may need additional help, said Levounis.

Dhabhar added that it’s important to note that you may not need to see a mental health professional for a long period of time.

“In many cases, the right kind of guidance and direction for a short period of time could set you on the right track and enable you to avoid further problems,” he said.

The bottom line

Although we initially respond well to a crisis by producing more stress hormones to help us deal with it, we can’t go on like this for a long time. We will eventually experience what is known as “crisis fatigue.”

There are many steps we can take to mitigate crisis fatigue, such as taking care of our physical health and staying connected with friends and family.

However, if this doesn’t help, experts recommend that you talk with a mental health professional.

Source: Healthline 

People with type 1 and type 2 diabetes who use long-acting injectable insulins such as Lantus will soon have another, potentially cheaper, option.

Semglee, a new long-acting insulin, was recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Semglee is a biosimilar insulin glargine, meaning it’s interchangeable with other insulin glargine products such as Lantus, Toujeo, and Basaglar.

“Biosimilars are like generics for biologics,” Joanna Lewis, PharmD, MBA, a pharmacist in Florida, told Healthline. “Because their molecules cannot really be replicated, they are biosimilar because they are made from living organisms and not small-molecule generics.”

The approval uses a new regulatory pathway set by the FDA that speeds up approval of these biosimilar drugs in the hopes of increasing competition in the marketplace.

“Approvals like this one highlight the FDA’s longstanding commitment to supporting a competitive marketplace for insulin products,” Dr. Patrick Archdeacon, acting associate director for therapeutics in the FDA’s Division of Diabetes, Lipid Disorders, and Obesity, Office of New Drugs, said in a press release.

Competition may not lower prices

Unlike a generic drug, Semglee might not be a much cheaper alternative to name-brand Lantus or another insulin glargine.

“There are currently only three long-acting insulins on the market right now. Two of them are owned by the same manufacturer, and the third is a ‘branded generic’ and only slightly cheaper than the others,” Dr. Jessica Nouhavandi, PharmD, lead pharmacist and co-founder of the online pharmacy Honeybee Health, told Healthline. “It is this lack of competition within the insulin space that means this new product is unlikely to be much less expensive.”

“While speeding up the FDA approval process might help lower prices, I don’t think it will make a substantial enough of a difference,” she said. “Historically, prices have only really decreased when there is room for many generics to enter the market.”

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Regulatory hurdles

Part of the reason for the pricing is that biosimilar products are not treated in the same way as generic drugs, Shashank Upadhye, a registered patent attorney and FDA lawyer based in Chicago, told Healthline.

“Under the Biologics License Application (BLA) route, there is no traditional interchangeability of the drug products,” he said. “Under traditional interchangeability, the patient gets a prescription that has the brand name on the paper, but the pharmacy will usually automatically substitute the generic version. Usually, that means that the generic version is cheaper. Here, there is no traditional generic version. That is, if the doctor writes the script for Lantus (the original brand drug), the pharmacy cannot automatically substitute for this Semglee (the Mylan version).”

That said, Semglee entering the market could reduce the overall cost of insulin, since payers may force cheaper pricing to get new market share.

They might also encourage price concessions from the other manufacturers of long-acting insulins, but it just might not amount to a dramatic difference.

“It can help because new products are approved, there is more general competition, but the BLA pathway does not allow for automatic substitution like traditional small molecule drugs, so the price compression is not as severe, drastic, and speedy,” Upadhye said.

Controlling runaway pricing

Skyrocketing insulin costs have been in the news for years.

There have been stories ranging from people dying from rationing the drug to people trekking across the border to Canada to buy the same medicine you get in the United States for a fraction of the price.

“Price is a large contributor to lack of medication adherence and even with this new insulin product introduced, there is still simply not enough competition to truly drive down prices for patients,” Nouhavandi said.

Congress and drug companies themselves have made moves to hold the industry accountable, introducing more robust discount programs to ensure people can get the insulin they need, but the response is a patchwork rather than any centrally mandated price controls — which means some patients will still fall through the cracks.

The chief executive officer of Biocon Biologics, which produced Semglee, has made no bones about the fact that they are in the business to make a profit.

“It is all about reaching our $1 billion revenue target by fiscal year 2022 and to reach 5 million patients by end of 2022,” Christiane Hamacher, PhD, told The Economic Times.

“It’s interesting to note that this new insulin product has already been available in the U.K. where the single-payer system gives the government the ability to cap prices, guaranteeing patients more affordable access to their life-saving medication,” Nouhavandi told Healthline. “With the United States healthcare system, drug manufacturers maintain tight control over drug pricing and the government, patients, and healthcare providers don’t have the negotiating power in order to lower them. This allows manufacturers to take advantage of surge pricing, and this explains why insulin has been around for decades — yet the price keeps rising.”

Source: Healthline

For many of us, this will be remembered as the summer we spent at home.

If home just isn’t cutting it, you may be planning a getaway at your favorite hotel or a physically distant escape to a picturesque Airbnb.

Hotels and Airbnbs are happy to hear that, and many of them are doing a lot to protect you and their employees during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“They’re welcomed with a smile — or as best you can interpret it through a mask,” said Jeff Bay, managing director of Hotel Ketchum in Idaho, told Healthline.

Bay said that customers are returning this month as a slew of new safety measures, such as plexiglass and physical distancing requirements, have been put in place.

As more states reopen and people consider venturing out of the comforts of home, we asked experts to weigh in on whether it’s safe to hang your hat in a hotel or Airbnb, what safety measures to look out for during your stay, and whether you need to make room in your bag for your own cleaning supplies.

Seek out information

Experts say if you’re going to pay to stay somewhere, make sure your host is taking the pandemic seriously.

The first step is to check websites for what steps hotels and other facilities are taking to protect guests.

“I think that as long as the hotels and Airbnbs are transparent about what measures they are taking to make sure that it is safe for people to come and stay with them, it should be OK,” said Dr. Gabriela M. Andujar Vazquez, an infectious disease physician and associate hospital epidemiologist at Tufts Medical Center in Massachusetts.

“It depends on what state we’re talking about, but the recommendations that the CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] put out for hospitality and opening would be something to look at to make sure that there’s a guidance,” she said.

Andujar Vazquez recommends looking at the local guidelines and contacting the hotel or Airbnb you’re interested in beforehand to see what exactly they’re implementing.

Decreased occupancy, frequent disinfecting, digital keys, 24-hour vacancy between guest departures, and digital check-in are some measures now available at many hotels.

The CDC recommendations released last week on how to safely travel include a lengthy list of tips.

They include wearing masks in the lobby or other common areas, taking the stairs instead of riding elevators with strangers, and minimizing your time in areas where you might be closer than 6 feet to other people. These include dining rooms, fitness centers, or lounging areas.

If you have your sights set on an Airbnb, be aware of their changes.

Every host who commits to their Enhanced Cleaning Protocol will receive a special callout on their listing in the coming days, a spokesperson told Healthline.

The protocol is a signal to guests that they’re committed to a stepped-up cleaning and sanitization routine.

Hosts who are unable to commit to that protocol can opt into something called Booking Buffer to create a longer vacancy period between stays.

A buffer between guests is something Dr. Patrick Hughes, DO, director of the emergency medicine simulation program at Florida Atlantic University, encourages.

“If you have 3 days between visitors, that basically is the end of the shelf life for the virus at that point in time, so all surfaces should be safe by then,” Hughes told Healthline.

Dr. Stacey Rizza, an infectious disease specialist at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, which advised Hilton Hotels on their cleaning and disinfection protocols, says customers should look for COVID-19 safety measures in hotels and wherever else they go.

“Particularly whether or not they are regularly disinfecting high-touch surfaces, whether public spaces and private rooms are being cleaned and disinfected frequently, whether the staff are wearing appropriate protective equipment and following the rules of social distancing, and acknowledge that they’ve put these measures in place and are adhering to them,” Rizza told Healthline.

Look for cleaning in action

The reality today is that many of the activities we enjoy now involve some risk due to COVID-19.

Hotels are no different.

“Anytime you, whether it’s board an airplane or stay in a hotel, or go to a gym, or somewhere where there’s public space and crowds of people, there’s an increased risk for getting COVID-19,” Hughes said.

Being aware of the areas of potential risk in a hotel or Airbnb is important.

Those would include high-contact surfaces, such as light switches, remote controls, and doorknobs.

Areas where people congregate, such as the public hotel bathrooms, gyms, or buffets (which remain closed in many hotels), are places where the virus could potentially spread.

Staying away from home can be safe “as long as people are aware of high-contact surfaces and making sure to clean those, or making sure the hotel has their staff aware that all those spaces and surfaces need to be cleaned,” Hughes said.

The presence of employees who are actively cleaning and disinfecting is a good sign.

“Staff members that are cleaning throughout the day — you’ve seen that instituted in grocery stores, where common surfaces, such as the handles on the freezer section or whatever else, are continuously being wiped down during the day by staff members to try and decrease the risk of contact spread,” Hughes said.

Andujar Vazquez notes that you may notice cleaning personnel becoming increasingly more visible.

“In hospitality, they typically had this mantra before the pandemic where you don’t need to see the cleaning but cleaning happens magically,” she said.

“Now it’s turning into, ‘We are going to make it visible so that people know that we are actually doing it.’ So I’m thinking that we are going to start seeing more and more of these visible cleaning people are around, cleaning public spaces. That’s probably what I (would) look for,” Andujar Vazquez said.

Your level of trust

How comfortable are you with the idea of staying away from home?

How confident are you that the place you’re staying in is taking all the necessary precautions?

Experts say you need to ask yourself these questions before traveling.

“I think that’s going to be what we are going to have to be dealing with for the next couple of weeks and months — the level of trust into certain things that we won’t be able to control,” Andujar Vazquez said.

“Trusting that people are doing the right thing and following guidance by the department of public health and CDC, and making sure that they are trying to keep (people) safe,” she said.

It’s also important to be informed about the number of COVID-19 cases in the city or town you’re traveling to.

“I think that in an area where there may be reports of some uptick of cases, it might be preferable to avoid if you can,” Andujar Vazquez said.

As long as it has been cleaned properly beforehand, your hotel room or Airbnb should be a less risky environment than any shared space.

“Only you and whoever is staying with you are using that bathroom, so you know that no one else is using that bathroom,” Andujar Vazquez said. “If you’re going to the lobby bathroom, then other people are going there, so think about the areas where it would be shared.”

Andujar Vazquez adds that she wouldn’t be concerned about air conditioning spreading the virus in the hotel setting.

“I would not be concerned in the community itself, because the areas where we’re most concerned are when it’s in the healthcare setting mainly, because we do a lot of things that produce a lot of aerosols,” she said.

“In a hotel, or an apartment or a house, if you have good ventilation — meaning you can either open the doors or open windows — it should be OK. Presumably, you’re not staying there with sick people,” Andujar Vazquez said.

Rizza notes that research is still underway on this issue, and we should wait for the definitive data.

“Mayo [Clinic], in fact, is engaged in air decontamination and simulations of viral particles and how they would spread, and what’s needed to filter and what’s needed to kill it,” she said.

“Again, we have to remember that just having a virus or having a little piece of a virus in the air doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll infect. To do the research appropriately, we have to look at whether there is still infectious virions that can potentially infect another person, because that’s really what we care about,” Rizza said.

Should you bring your own cleaning supplies to your destination?

The experts’ answers are mixed.

Hughes recommends that customers wipe off commonly contacted surfaces “to help protect themselves and know that they are doing as much as possible to prevent themselves from getting coronavirus.”

“I don’t think it’s necessary to bring all your supplies,” Andujar Vazquez said. “I mean, it’s something you can do if it makes you feel more comfortable about going forward and staying in a space that’s not yours.”

Rizza says that if you’re staying at a place like Hilton that’s taking the virus seriously, has put measures in place, and can document that they’re following them, “I don’t think you would need to bring your own cleaning equipment.”

“But obviously it’s up to each person for their individual comfort, and if you choose to stay in a location that does not have these measures in place, then certainly on an individual level you can maybe choose to do that yourself,” she added.

Bay and his team in Idaho are taking many steps to protect the customers who choose the boutique hotel for their getaway, and the response so far has been positive.

“(There’s) a little bit of anxiety just wondering how guests may react,” he told Healthline. “But we’ve been very, very pleasantly surprised that the vast majority of guests have not only been very, very supportive but very pleased by the efforts we’ve taken to ensure their safety.”

Source: Healthline 

Since your social calendar has been blank for the last few months, filling it back up can feel liberating — but it can also cause anxiety.

“The change from having a highly social work and personal life to nothing at all can be really detrimental to a person’s mental health, and may cause many people who are normally extroverted to feel like they are becoming introverted and not wanting to mix with others,” Jana Abelovska, medical advisor for Click Pharmacy, told Healthline.

Emily Anhalt, PhD, psychologist and founder of Coa, agrees, noting that isolation is emotionally draining and can feed into social anxiety.

“We are not gathering experiences that disprove our worries; there’s no gradual exposure [to our worries]. Normally when you are being social in a regular way, you are having some of your worries disproven. You’re getting used to them. You have a chance to try different things and see what helps with your worry, but now that we are all on our own, jumping back into the unknown poses its own set of anxiety,” Anhalt told Healthline.

As you begin to socialize in person more, the following simple tips can help put your anxiety at ease.

1. Ease back into it

For those who live with social anxiety, Dr. Allie R. Shapiro, psychiatrist with Community Psychiatry, says to slowly enter into a social life.

“This will help them to ease into situations that were previously uncomfortable. As quarantine ends, the auto-avoidance will also end, necessitating their introduction back into situations they deeply fear. That’s not a leap anyone should take all at once,” Shapiro told Healthline.

Start by connecting with those in your closest inner circle.

“That circle is your comfort space, and people you feel most like yourself with and can be honest with and who you trust,” Anhalt said.

When you’re ready, she suggests reaching out to people you enjoy being with but may feel nervous around and need warming up to. Eventually, expand your circle to include people and situations that make you anxious.

“[The idea is to] give yourself a little taste of something that makes you anxious and then wait for the anxiety to calm down. Then increase your exposure a little more and wait for the anxiety to come down,” Anhalt said.

If you’re not ready to see people face-to-face, Abelovska suggests setting a goal to talk with a different person each day over the phone or via video chat.

“After you have had a week of calling a friend a day, why not go further and organize a group call with a few friends to get used to group interaction. If you feel ready, why not get a date [on the calendar] for a socially distanced walk with a friend,” she said.

2. Visualize situations in your head

Shapiro recommends preparing for upcoming social events by role-playing specific worries or concerns with someone you trust, on paper or in your head.

Abelovska elaborates by explaining if you have an upcoming walk planned with a friend or are about to meet them at the park, try to mentally plan your meetup and how you’d like it to go.

“Visualize your friend when you see them and what you will say. It may be awkward at first, especially as we are not able to hug or touch friends, but you will soon adapt to the new way of greeting a loved one,” she said.

Another strategy Shapiro suggests is to challenge internal negative thought patterns with a reversal thought, either before or during anxiety-provoking situations.

For example, if you’re going to an outing where you’ll be around new people, she says, “Instead of auto-thinking, ‘These people won’t like me and will make fun of me,’ try: ‘They’ve been stuck inside for months just like me. We’ll trade stories. They will like me and I’ll probably find one new friend,’” she said.

3. Allow yourself to be scared

Even if it seems like everyone around you isn’t worried or scared to get back into the world, Shapiro says it’s acceptable to have your own reaction and anxieties about the situation.

“Remember, no one has ever been through anything like this in the modern world, so no one really knows how to do it ‘right.’ Even the experts don’t have all the answers, so it’s normal to have your own uncertainties and doubts,” she said.

Socialize at your comfort level, Shapiro adds.

“You’re not obligated to do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable or puts you at risk. There are a lot of different factors that will affect when you feel it’s the best time to start venturing out. Think about your age, health history, quarantine situations, and even your own anxiety when taking that next step outside,” Shapiro said.

Feelings of safety in the world validate some of our anxieties, notes Anhalt.

“There is so much unknown about what is ultimately safe, and some of our fears about being out in the world are actually warranted, so it’s a good idea to be thoughtful about who you are engaging with socially, and understand if they are [on the same page] as you are,” she said.

Share your feelings of panic and fear over social plans with those who are closest to you.

“You may feel slightly embarrassed about these feelings, especially if you are usually the life and soul of the party, but there’s no shame in feeling slightly overwhelmed by the changes, especially after so much time spent alone,” Abelovska said.

“I can guarantee that at least one of [your friends] will be going through the same thing and will be glad and relieved that you have spoken about it,” she said.

4. Practice self-care

Prioritizing your physical health, learning breathing exercises, developing self-reflective practices like therapy and journaling, and talking to friends and family about your worries are all practical parts of anxiety management, says Anhalt.

“While we don’t have a playbook, we can rely on coming back to ourselves and the present moment, and making sure we have [reliable] spaces in our lives so we can navigate the spaces that feel out of our control,” she said.

Anhalt believes that people who work proactively on their mental health are better equipped to handle the unknowns.

“It’s like doing emotional pushups, so when things get hard in the world, we have these core tools we can come back to that make us feel grounded,” she said.

She compares going back into the world like participating in an obstacle course that you didn’t get to see in advance.

“You might not be able to prepare for everything you’re going to encounter, but you can get your body and mind ready to handle difficult things beforehand. This will put you in a better position to navigate anything that comes your way,” Anhalt said.

5. Get professional help

If you’ve tried all you can to assimilate back into some form of socializing but anxiety and panic are interfering with your ability to do so, it may be time to reach out to a mental health professional.

Source: Healthline 

My body has done some amazing things. When I was 15, it healed from an 8-hour operation. I had severe scoliosis, and the lumbar region of my back needed to be fused.

In my 20s, it supported me through numerous races. I’ve run more marathons, half marathons, and 5 and 10Ks than I can count.

And in my 30s, my body carried two children. For 9 months, my heart held and nourished theirs.

Of course, this should have been cause for celebration. After all, I bore a healthy daughter and son. And while I was in awe of their existence — their full faces and rounded features were perfect — I did not feel the same sense of pride in my appearance.

My stomach was distended and unsightly. My hips were wide and bulky. My feet were swollen and unsexy (though if I’m being honest, my lower extremities have never been much to look at), and everything was soft.

I felt doughy.

My midsection collapsed like an undercooked cake.

This is normal. In fact, one of the most marvelous things about the human body is its ability to change, transpose, and transform.

However, the media suggests otherwise. Models appear on runways and magazine covers weeks after giving birth, looking unchanged. Influencers regularly talk about #postpartumfitness and #postpartumweightloss, and a quick Google search of the term “lose baby weight” yields more than 100 million results… in less than a second.

As such, I felt an immense amount of pressure to be perfect. To “bounce back.” So immense that I pushed my body. I starved my body. I betrayed my body.

I “recovered” in less than 6 weeks but at great detriment to my mental and physical health.

It started out as dieting

The first few days after giving birth were fine. I was emotional and sleep-deprived and too sore to care. I didn’t count calories (or brush my hair) until I left the hospital. But when I got home, I began dieting, something no breastfeeding mother should do.

I avoided red meat and fats. I ignored hunger cues. I often went to bed with my stomach rumbling and grumbling, and I started working out.

I ran 3 miles just days after giving birth.

And while this may sound ideal, at least on paper — I was regularly told I looked “great” and “was lucky” and some applauded me for my “dedication” and perseverance — my quest for health quickly became obsessive. I struggled with a distorted body image and postpartum eating disorder.

I am not alone. According to a 2017 study from researchers at University of Illinois and Brigham Young University, 46 percent of new moms are frustrated by their post-birth physique. The reason?

Unrealistic standards and images of toned women who “bounced back” weeks after childbirth left them feeling helpless and hopeless. The media’s overall focus on pregnancy also played a role.

But what can we do to change the way women perceive themselves? We can call out companies which perpetuate unrealistic ideals. We can “unfollow” those who schlep diet pills, supplements, and other forms of thinspiration under the guise of wellness. And we can stop talking about women’s post-birth bodies. Period.

Yes, this includes applauding postpartum weight loss.

Compliment a new mama’s awesomeness, not her body

You see, new mothers (and parents) are so much more than a shape, size, or number on the scale. We are cooks, doctors, sleep coaches, wet nurses, lovers, and caregivers. We protect our little ones and give them a safe place to sleep — and land. We entertain our children and comfort them. And we do this without thinking or blinking.

Many parents take on these tasks in addition to a full-time, out-of-the-home role. Many take on these tasks in addition to caring for other children or aging parents. Many parents take on these tasks with little or no support.

So instead of commenting on a new parent’s appearance, comment on their achievements. Let them know what a great job they are doing, even if all they did was get up and offer their wee one a bottle or their breast. Celebrate tangible successes, like the shower they took that morning or the warm meal they opted to eat that evening.

And if you hear a new mother fretting over her physique, and you do talk about appearances, remind her that her belly is soft because it has to be. Because, without it, her home would be silent. The late-night coos and cuddles would not exist.

Remind her that her stretch marks are a badge of honor, not shame. Stripes should be worn with pride. And remind her that her hips have widened and thighs have thickened because they need to be strong enough — and grounded enough — to support the weight of her life and that of others

Besides, postpartum mothers, you don’t need to “find” your body because you haven’t lost it. At all. It’s always been with you, and regardless of your shape and size, it always will.

Source: HealthLine