Coping with face mask discomfort

Wearing a face mask can be uncomfortable. It can make breathing feel a little challenging, spark feelings of claustrophobia, or irritate the face and ears. Fortunately, many steps can help reduce face mask discomfort. For example, if breathing with a mask on feels difficult, it will help to breathe at a slower rate. If ear pain is a problem, it will help to use an "ear saver" that relieves pressure on the ears. More »

How do I improve the quality of my sleep?

Experts recommend an average of seven to nine hours of total sleep per night, but you also want your brain to reach a stage called deep sleep. During this stage, the brain creates and stores new memories, makes a hormone that helps tissues grow and regenerate, and "flushes out" toxins and waste products that have accumulated during the day. One can take several steps to improve sleep quality, including going to bed and waking up at the same time each day; avoiding mobile phone use, exercise, or caffeine intake too close to bedtime; and using a noise machine to increase deep sleep. (Locked) More »

Navigating holiday pressures in the COVID-19 reality

The pandemic makes coping with holiday pressures a little tricky. If one is concerned about COVID-19 exposure at a holiday event, it may help to chat with loved ones to get support for a decision about whether to attend. If one must celebrate the holidays alone, it may help to grieve what is lost, savor past holiday gatherings, watch online religious services, and continue to practice special traditions—such as making holiday foods or putting up holiday decorations. (Locked) More »

Are you risking eye damage by putting off that eye care visit?

The pandemic is leading some people to put off visits to their eye doctors. Delayed care could allow eye problems—such as glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration, or an eye stroke—to go undetected or unchecked, especially since these conditions may not have symptoms in the early stages. But allowing eye problems to progress can result in eye damage and vision loss. It’s best to keep scheduled eye appointments, especially eye care for existing conditions. More »

Simple solutions to soothe sore, fragile gums

A number of home remedies and over-the-counter medications can soothe sore gums. Examples include using over-the-counter painkillers, topical gels, better flossing tools, hot or warm compresses, and warm saltwater rinses, and avoiding foods with rough textures. When using these methods, gum pain often goes away after a few weeks. For conditions such as ulcers, trauma, burns, inflammation, or herpes simplex, the body may heal on its own after 14 days. However, if gum pain persists, one should go to a dentist. (Locked) More »

Tips to cheat safely on your healthy diet

Eating an unhealthy meal every now and then may not cause problems for generally healthy people. This may mean eating a healthy diet 90% of the time and splurging 10% of the time. It’s called the 90-10 rule. But the rule shouldn’t be abused. Cheating regularly on a healthy diet can lead to weight gain and other consequences of poor eating habits. Instead, one should follow a healthy diet on most days, and indulge only occasionally. More »

BPA now linked to premature death

High levels of bisphenol A (BPA) exposure are linked to an increased risk for premature death from any cause, according to a study published online Aug. 17, 2020, by JAMA Network Open. More »

"Awe" walks inspire more joy, less distress

A study published online Sept. 21, 2020, by Emotion found that looking for things that spark a sense of wonder during a 15-minute walk led to increased feelings of awe, joy, compassion, and gratitude. More »