Media Consumption & Your Kids: How Much Screen Time is Too Much?

shutterstock_215591425It’s amazing how savvy young children are when it comes to mobile devices and entertainment technology. Their aptitude with electronics is admirable, but how much screen time is too much? Here, we address the risks associated with too much screen time and solutions for cutting back on your children’s tech use.

Excessive Use of Tablets & Smartphones

Nearly 40 percent of children ages two to four have used a tablet-type device to play games, use apps or watch videos, according to a Common Sense Media report. And more than a quarter of parents have downloaded apps for their child. The 2013 report also showed that the number of children who use technology on a daily basis has more than doubled since 2011.

The American Academy of Pediatrics reports that excessive device use has been associated with obesity, aggression and behavioral issues. For some reason, children light up when they see Mom or Dad’s smartphone, and it’s hard for parents to say no. In addition, many parents are fascinated at their children’s ability to master the device.

To put our love for tablets into perspective, Dr. Aric Sigman, a psychologist, told The Guardian that children born now will accumulate an entire year’s worth of screen time by age seven. He doesn’t exclusively mention tablets or smartphones, but their portability and ease-of-use makes them a top source of screen time.

The solution: As with anything, moderation is key. Avoid passive screen time. Use mobile devices such as the Google Nexus 6 for educational games or shared time together, and monitor the time your child spends using these devices. The National Association for the Education of Young Children suggests parents avoid using technology to keep children occupied and advises against giving children a device when they are fussy or throwing tantrums. If your child is upset, her or she needs the comfort of a parent, not a gadget or device.

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How to Make Sure You Don’t Experience Burnout

Overworked burnout business man standing headless with smoke insBurnout is defined as “a disabling reaction to stress on the job” by The American Institute of Stress. Symptoms include: fatigue, irritability and anxiety attacks. Burnout doesn’t only have negative effects on employees as individuals, but also results in an estimated loss of $300 billion each year — absences, decreased productivity and employee turnover rates are all contributors. When ignored, burnout can lead to chronic headaches, feelings of emptiness and cynicism. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to help combat the stresses and triggers, and live an overall healthier lifestyle.

Change Your Habits

One of the easiest things you can do to fight burnout is to rethink your weekly routine. The main priority should be to get regular exercise, as it increases the production of endorphins, helps you disconnect from work and your personal life, and increases self-confidence and mood.

Once you incorporate regular exercise (at least 30 minutes a day) into your schedule, you can start focusing on two more important elements: sleeping and eating habits. According to experts, getting less than six hours of sleep each night increases chances of burning out and can also have negative effects on brain function and memory. Also, high-fat foods, carbs and sugars contribute to stress while nutritious food with high vitamin and mineral levels actually have the opposite effects, helping to reduce overall stress levels.

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Create a Truly Relaxing Bedroom Retreat

shutterstock_247427473The bedroom should be a place where you can unwind, relax and lounge uninterrupted. It should be decorated with comfortable furnishings, beautiful art and plush accessories that whisk you away from the everyday. One thing it should not be is another source of stress.

Try these tips to create a truly relaxing bedroom retreat:

Be a Minimalist

The minimalist design approach is all about cleaning up clutter and having only the essentials. Clutter not only makes your living space look unattractive, but it’s a major source of stress and can even cause depression. Researchers at UCLA found that clutter and messy rooms affect your mood and even your self-esteem—and, it turns out to be worse for women than it is for men.

Simply decorating with a less is more approach can help you feel more calm during the day and allow for a better night’s rest. Choose two or three pieces of art to hang on your bedroom walls, and avoid decorating with a lot of accessories. Paint your room with light and airy neutral colors to make your bedroom appear larger.

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Clever, Fun Ways to Take Charge of What You Eat

Jean-talon farmer's marketWhen you want to live a cleaner, more earth-friendly life, a good place to start is changing what you eat. However, it can be difficult to give your family not just healthy food, but meat and produce that is sustainably farmed and raised. It can also be frustrating when you are at the grocery store with limited options and high price tags. Luckily, there are fun ways to put sustainable, clean food on your family’s table. Try these activities that are beneficial for you and Mother Earth.

Gardening

Nothing is more satisfying than eating fruits and vegetables you grew yourself. Gardening is also a fun way to teach your children about the importance of where food comes from.

You can grow produce even in the smallest yards with raised beds and container gardens. OrganicGardening.com suggests using raised beds to help navigate the obstacles that sometimes come with backyard gardening, such as poor soil quality, pests, and weeds. You can also choose whatever organic soil and additives you want. Raised garden beds can be made out of eco-friendly wood and other natural materials or recycled products like old bricks or tires.

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How to Keep Your Eyes Healthy and Sharp After 50

Optometrist adjusting panels of phoropter while examining his paOver 1.6 million Americans over the age of 50 have age-related macular degeneration, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Plus, 20.5 million people over 40 have cataracts and 2.2 million have glaucoma. It can be more difficult to take care of your eyes as you get older, but it’s important for your health. In order to keep your eyes as healthy as possible, follow some simple, yet important, steps.

Have Regular Eye Exams

Many people think their vision is just fine because other than relying on readers to see the menu at their favorite restaurant, they have not had any issues with their vision, explains the National Eye Institute. But, in some cases, eye issues can crop up without you noticing until it is too late. To prevent this from happening, schedule a dilated comprehensive eye exam every two years. This allows your eye doctor to look at the insides and backs of your eyes for any issues.

Before you head to your eye exam, talk with your family members about any genetic eye issues you may have. For example, if your mom has glaucoma or your grandfather had macular degeneration, your eye doctor needs to know. This data allows your doctor to determine if you are at a higher risk for developing these conditions.

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Design Trends That Will be out in 2015

The new year is already here and with that also comes the time to think about some interesting renovations that we can do in our homes. Whether you decide to freshen up your bathroom or change the look of your kitchen, it is best to learn more about the newest trends in the interior design. This way you will be able to choose a style that is modern and interesting and which will improve the thorough look of your home. In this article you will find enough information about the latest trends in the interior design which will help you plan the renovation of your home faster.

There is one thing that every person wants and that is an organized and clean home. It doesn’t matter how many decorative elements you have in your home, if you can’t preserve them always sparkling clean. In case you are having troubles with the disinfection of your real estate property, perhaps the new design trends of 2015 will give you some interesting ideas. They might even inspire you to make radical changes in your home that will freshen it up and make it easier for you to clean. If you are not sure from where to start, however, we can help you by giving you more information about the trends that is better to avoid this year:

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How to Properly Rest and Recover After Working Out

shutterstock_184393751You already know you need to engage in some type of physical activity on a regular basis to maintain a healthy weight and enjoy good health. What most guys do not realize is that it’s just as important to rest and recover afterward as it is to work out. Working out causes muscle trauma, and by giving your body time to rest in between workouts, you allow your muscles to repair and rebuild and be ready for the next time.

Fortunately, you don’t need a degree in physiology to understand the basics of after-exercise recovery. By combining some basic knowledge and common sense, you can be sure that you are allowing your body to repair any damaged muscles and tissues as well as replenish your supply of energy. Consider the following steps:

Step 1: Cool Down

When you are done with your workout, don’t just abruptly stop what you are doing and then for the couch or showers. Instead, spend anywhere from five to 15 minutes doing some type of low-key, cool-down exercise. If you were jogging, spend the final part of your workout walking. If you were swimming laps, take five minutes to paddle back and forth across the pool slower than you were before. Doing this will help your heart rate gradually slow down and prevent your muscles from getting stiff.

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Can’t Sleep? Shiver the energy out of your body and 5 other tips for a Great Night Rest

By Jude Bijou MA MFT

We all know it’s important to get a good night’s sleep. Being well rested is vital to being our best at work and home.

But many of us take our problems to bed, staying up tossing and turning instead of getting valuable sleep. The CDC reports that about 10% of Americans suffer from chronic insomnia. And, according to a study by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, at least 8.6 million Americans take prescription sleeping pills. 

There’s a natural and safer way. Here are suggestions for getting that great night’s sleep you need in order to be productive and happy. 

Shiver and Shake.

Not being able to sleep is related to having too many unexpressed emotions, especially fear. We experience fear as feeling overwhelmed, anxious, confused, agitated, or stressed. Underneath those feelings is a pure physical sensation. If we deal with it on a physical level, we can move that energy right out of our bodies, allowing our mind, body, and spirit to calm down.

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The Women-Helping-Women Movement Is All About Connecting. Here Are 11 Ways to Do It Better.

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By Nancy D. O’Reilly, PsyD

Making meaningful connections with other women can change your life (not to mention the world). Problem is, many of us don’t know how—or where—to do it. Here, I offer 11 tips to help you improve your connecting skills.

Competing with other women is out. Connecting with other women to share ideas, work together on projects, and offer support is in. The changes brought about by the global economy have made collaboration and innovation “must-have” skills, and the great news is that women tend to be naturals at them. And that is why the women-helping-women movement is really picking up steam.

We’re making a shift to what I call “Connecting 2.0.” It’s more meaningful than the “mile-wide and inch-deep” type of connecting we associate with social media. It’s based on sharing and co-creating, not self-interest. It’s authentic, it feels good, and it works.

  This deeper approach to connecting works so well, in fact, that we are creating an ever-expanding network of resources offering expertise and support to women in business, government, education, philanthropy, and other fields. The idea is not just to advance our careers and make money, but to make life itself richer, more exciting, and more creative.

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