May you all have a safe and fun holiday! Check out what our OMI staffers are thankful for here.
May you all have a safe and fun holiday! Check out what our OMI staffers are thankful for here.
With the holidays right around the corner, many people are starting to make travel plans. They are booking flights and hotels and getting ready to fly and drive to see loved ones. Visiting family and taking part in fun holiday traditions is something we all look forward to, but the required traveling isn’t always easy, especially when you are traveling to a different time zone. So how can we prevent jet lag from ruining holiday travel?
According to the American Sleep Association, “Jet lag is a physiological condition caused by disturbance to the body’s natural circadian rhythm, or internal clock.” It most likely affects those who travel by air across more than two time zones. However, it can also affect those who travel for longer than 12 hours at a time. Some symptoms of jet lag include insomnia, disturbed sleep, fatigue, digestive problems, dehydration, difficulty concentrating, nausea, irritability, headache, dizziness, coordination problems, and sometimes memory loss. We’d all prefer to arrive at grandma’s house without all this excess “baggage,” so here are a few tips to prevent and alleviate jet lag.
Sleep With Your Destination
If you plan to sleep while traveling, schedule your zzz’s as if you had already arrived. Set your watch to the local time of your destination, and sleep only if it is nighttime there. If it is daytime when you arrive, try to stay awake until your normal bedtime. If you absolutely need to nap, do so for less than two hours to ease your transition to the new time zone.
Be Mindful of Your Seat Selection
The location of your seat on a plane can greatly affect your quality of sleep and your likelihood of preventing jet lag. If you are planning to sleep on a flight, choose a window seat that is far from heavy traffic areas of the plane. A first-class or business-class seat is always preferable for better sleep, since they are wider and provide more leg room. If that is not a viable option, choosing a window seat will still prevent you from being disturbed if other passengers get up during the flight. It also allows you to control whether or not the window shade is up or down, and consequently controls the amount of outside light streaming in through the window during the day. You can also easily position a pillow or neck rest against the window. Choosing a seat away from high-traffic areas like bathrooms and flight-attendant seating will reduce disturbances from people moving around. Additionally, sitting in the middle or front of the plane is preferable, because the back of the plane is bumpier during take-off and turbulence.
No Tech Before Sleep
As noted in one of my previous blog posts, the blue light emitted from phone, computer, and tablet screens delays the body’s release of melatonin, the hormone that helps you feel sleepy. If you are trying to sleep, stop using electronics an hour before you’d like to fall asleep.
To Drink or Not to Drink
Many people believe alcoholic beverages will help them sleep. Initially, they can make you feel tired, but they can also dehydrate you, especially at high altitudes. While alcohol can help you fall asleep, you are likely to wake easier and more often and wake up feeling groggy. Whether you are trying to sleep or to stay awake, it is best to avoid alcoholic beverages while traveling to prevent jet lag. Instead, bring a water bottle, and ask the flight attendant to refill it throughout your flight.
Need Coffee, Will Travel
Though caffeine can help you stay awake, it can cause dehydration. It is important to stay hydrated when traveling, especially when trying to prevent symptoms of jet lag. The high altitude and dry air in a jet plane can hasten the onset of jet lag. If you are like me and are intent on having your pre-flight cup o’ joe, follow it with at least 8 ounces of water to keep you hydrated.
Comfort is the key to feeling rested or preparing for a good sleep when you arrive at your destination. You can be completely prepared, well-rested, hydrated, and on-schedule, but when traveling on commercial flights, you can’t control things like room temperature, the volume of the pilot/driver’s announcements, or how many times the flight attendants push the beverage cart up and down the aisles. Prepare for comfort by dressing in layers and packing a blanket, neck pillow, eye mask, earplugs, and/or noise-canceling headphones. You’ll be thankful to have your personal comfort kit in case of the unexpected screaming child or chilly cabin temperature.
So now that you have a few good travel tips, you can be sure to arrive at your holiday destination without allowing jet lag to tag along.
Darker days are upon us.
This Halloween night we will all be setting our clocks back an hour to end Daylight Savings Time, which adds an extra hour to the weekend!
I look forward to this change every year. It ushers in fall, winter, and the holiday season. I also love thinking about how I will decide to spend that extra hour of weekend time. I fantasize about being extra productive, as if that one hour is going to allow me to finally check off my whole weekend to-do list without batting an eye.
Sleeping in always wins. It takes me some time to get used to waking up weekday mornings when it is still dark outside. Taking back that extra hour of sleep this weekend will feel good, knowing I will have quite a few dark mornings in my near future.
So go ahead and do the same. Enjoy that extra hour to relax and recharge!
With Halloween just around the corner, there are a lot of tempting treats that don’t pack much of a nutritional punch. There are many ways to make Halloween snacks both healthy and fun. You can arrange fruit and veggies to look like a skeleton or jack-o-lantern, cut out spooky faces in cheese or bread, or add edible candy eyeballs to pretty much anything.
10 apple slices
whole peanuts or almonds
Spread peanut butter between two apple slices and position to look like an open mouth. Place whole peanuts on peanut butter to look like teeth.
mozzarella cheese sticks
Directions: To make the broom, slice the mozzarella stick across in thirds. Use a knife or scissors to cut a fringe pattern on the lower half of the cheese. Insert a pretzel stick into the cheese, making the broomstick, and tie a chive around the top.
Yummy Mummy Hot Dogs
crescent roll dough
ketchup and mustard
Wrap up a ghastly treat for your little goblins and ghouls. Use crescent roll dough cut into thin strips to wrap your “mummies” from head to toe. Cook the dogs for 15 minutes at 350 until golden brown. Make sure to leave room for the mummies’ faces, which the kids can design with mustard or ketchup and a toothpick.
Now that you have some delicious options for healthy Halloween treats, you can be sure to have a fun and tasty holiday!
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Temperatures are falling, and we are at the advent of cold and flu season. If you are looking for a natural alternative to fight the flu, you should try a “thieves” essential oil blend.
During the Black Plague in medieval Europe, thieves would pickpocket the dead. It was an anomaly as to why those thieves were not falling ill. The thieves’ secret protector was a blend of essential oils they procured from Asian spice dealers. That is how this super-blend got its name.
I found the following recipe on Sophie Uliano’s blog.
Use a dark glass dropper bottle.
Make the blend by adding the following oils to to your dropper bottle. You can double the recipe if you want:
10 drops clove essential oil
9 drops lemon essential oil
5 drops cinnamon leaf essential oil
4 drops eucalyptus essential oil
3 drops rosemary essential oil
Please note that the essential oils should be high quality, pure and ideally organic. They won’t be effective if they are not.
How to use it:
As it’s strong, you add just one drop of your Thieves Blend to four drops of a carrier oil. You carrier oil can be any plant oil you have to hand: olive, sweet almond, grape seed etc.
Once diluted you can:
You can use it every day, and especially when you sense or know you have been around germs!
Safety patch test:
I strongly advise that everyone do a simple patch test before using any new essential oil. Once you have created your blend, dilute as described above, then rub a few drops on your inner wrist or forearm, cover with a Band Aid, and leave for 12 hours. Then check for any redness or swelling. Most people will see nothing, but it’s prudent to check.
Pregnant women should avoid this blend.
Autumn is a great time to organize your house, your family, and your pets. It is also a good time to reevaluate your green footprint. Many people clear out warm-weather clothing, reorganize their kitchens for upcoming holiday feasts, and store camping equipment until next season. Why not extend that to your pets? While you prepare for the coming season and the holidays that come with it, keep in mind there are many things you can do to lessen that footprint, especially if you have furry family members.
Adopt and Spay or Neuter
If you are looking for a cuddly Christmas gift, consider adoption. Adopting a pet not only saves a sweet animal from euthanization, but also reduces the amount of resources used at shelters to care for the animal. Spaying and neutering pets reduces the homeless pet population, which provides similar benefits as adopting an animal.
Healthy Food, Healthy Pet
Pet food is mostly meat-based. Choose minimally processed foods made with locally raised meat, eco-friendly fish, and organic vegetables. If you prefer, you can make your pet’s food, but make sure to ask your pet’s vet for a list of healthy options first.
Pet waste is a huge problem for the environment. Not only is it laden with dangerous bacteria that are harmful to wildlife and our fresh lakes and rivers, but the plastic bags that people use to dispose of it litter our landfills. Opt for biodegradable bags to dispose of your pet’s waste.
Additionally, cat litter, especially the clay-clumping variety, is also not biodegradable and is full of cancer-causing chemicals that are harmful to both your cat and the environment. The clay is strip-mined, which ruins entire ecosystems and strips land of the nutrients needed to grow vegetation.
The chemicals in many household cleaners are harmful to your pets. Use natural enzyme-based cleaners to eliminate pet stains and odors. Natural cleaners, such as lemon juice, baking soda, and vinegar or natural cleaning products are healthy options for household cleaning. Lifekind has a great line of green cleaning and personal-care products, including the natural enzyme cleaner pictured above.
Don’t forget your yard. Many animals, including my sweet boxer, Trooper, love to eat grass. Make sure to protect them by using only natural products in your yard and garden.
You can also use biodegradable shampoos and conditioners for your furry friends, or make your own.
Pets are easily entertained. A little yarn, a piece of scrap material, or a cardboard box will keep your cat playing for hours. My dog prefers attention and a human playmate, rather than playing with a toy. Trooper would much rather take a hike in the woods or have a wrestling match with his “daddy” than chew on a store-bought toy. If you prefer to purchase a toy for your pet, stay away from anything plastic, and preferably purchase toys made with organic or recycled materials.
There are also many great options for organic or natural pet products, including pet beds. OMI offers some great organic pet beds made with certified organic cotton, organic buckwheat, and/or 100% natural rubber latex.
Remember to donate gently used toys and gear to pet shelters, too.