Health Highlight

Your Weekly Wellness Encouragement

Safety Tip

According to the National Criminal Justice Reference Service, the majority of identity theft incidents (85%) involved the fraudulent use of existing account information, such as credit card or bank account information. With more of us visiting the ATM around the holiday season, here are some helpful tips to avoid having your bank accounts accessed without your permission and protect your personal safety at an ATM.

1. At night, make sure there is ample lighting and the ATM is clearly visible from the street. Also, don't select an ATM at the corner of a building, as corners create a blind spot.

2. Protect your PIN (Personal Identification Number). Most ATM Fraud is committed to individuals who know the ATM cardholder. Don't write your PIN on your card or keep it in your wallet. Avoid using numbers that are easily identified (such as birth date).

3. For your personal safety, minimize your time at the machine by having your ATM card ready when you approach the machine, prepare all transaction paperwork prior to arrival at ATM so you know what to do as-soon-as you get there.

4. Do not use an ATM that appears unusual or offers options with which you are not familiar or comfortable. This ATM scam is called skimming and is one of the most common techniques to steal account information. Use your bank's ATM and avoid stand-alone ATMs to reduce the risk of fraudulent use of your funds.

5. Count your money later, not at the ATM.

5. Never leave a receipt behind - even with a complete transaction. Discarded ATM receipts are a primary means of identity theft and account fraud. Shred receipts before discarding them.

More ATM Security & Safety Tips, see here.

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Fitness Focus

As sundown occurs earlier and because it's cold outside, I often feel less motivated to leave my house and go to the gym. However, I know I'll feel better 10 minutes into my routine. I've created a grab-bag of effective tools to get me motivated when I'm feeling less than enthused: try adding music to a current playlist or creating an entirely new playlist the night before a workout, tracking your fitness progress, or creating a Pinterest board with inspirational quotes, images, and fitness workouts. (Seriously, have you SEEN Michelle Obama's arms?!!! That's enough to get me moving!).

The biggest motivator is find the fun in your workout. If you find it difficult to self-motivate, maybe you're doing the wrong activity. Pick activities you like and make them something you look forward to doing. Remember, exercise does not have to happen in a gym! Garden, go for a walk, rake leaves, ride a bike, go to a yoga, tai chi or dance class, hula hoop or grab a friend and throw a frisbee! Something to get up and start moving. 10 minutes is better than no exercise at all.

Frankly, you may not want to leave your house at all. That's fine. For my fellow TV Lovers I present an indoor option: "43 Workouts that Allow You to Watch an UNGODLY Amount of Television!" Enjoy and get moving!

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Money Matters

The high on the weather report today is 53 F and in the coming months, it's only going to get colder. As the temperatures drop, utility costs will rise. There are easy ways to cut high energy costs at home such as cleaning your furnace filter every 2 months, unplugging home electronics when not in use, seal air leaks, and get a pair of fuzzy slippers.

For more quick fixes for big returns, see The Simple Dollar's "20 Money-Saving Tactics for Winter."

Mental Outlook

Personal admission - I get my best ideas in the bath room. For years, I had no idea why. Turns out, the mind often solves problems not head-on but laterally while we are day-dreaming or in default mode network (DMN). The DMN is one of 5 resting state networks directly related to task-independent introspection or self-referential thought. Basically, the DMN allows us to create our first-person narrative of ourselves by reflecting on what we've learned from past actions and/or decisions. For more on mental downtime, see this great article from Scientific American on mental downtime. However, the brain only activates this portion of itself when it is not focused on a specific task.

And remember, "You are an arrow. An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward. When life is dragging you back with difficulties, it means that it's going to launch you into something great. So just focus, and keep aiming." -Anonymous

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