The Wellness Word

December 2017


We often put a tremendous amount of pressure on perfection, which can cause anxiety and overindulgence. Fortunately, it doesn't have to be that way. Keep the holidays fun and your waistline trim with these tips!

Don't try to diet during the holiday. Allow yourself to indulge in that cookie you've had your eye on or that warm apple crisp that just came out of the oven. Set a goal of maintaining your current weight.

Do pace yourself. Savor the flavor by eating slowly and choosing your food carefully and purposefully.

Don't go to a party on an empty stomach. Snack on some protein before leaving the house, like chicken or cottage cheese. This will help you eat less while at the event.

Do make the effort to continue a regular exercise program. Exercise not only keeps calories at bay, but it can also reduce the stress of social events and family get togethers.

Don't let a hectic holiday schedule force you into the fast food drive thru lane. Prepare and freeze quick, healthy meals. That way if you're in a rush, you've already got some options.

Do keep an eye on portion sizes. Instead of eating a large amount of food, eat a large variety of foods.

Make decisions about what you're going to eat. Weight management is all about moderation and making healthy decisions.

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Quiet a Cough:
  1. Have a tea party. Warm drinks help thin mucus, making you less likely to cough.
  2. Linger in the shower. The moisture from the steam helps reduce throat inflammation that may cause a cough or hoarseness.
  3. Raid the candy jar. If you don't have a cough drop, sucking on a piece of hard candy or sugarless mint works just as well - anything in the mouth helps calm the cough reflex.
  4. Ask your doctor about an inhaler. If your cough lasts more than a week, your airways may have become hyperreactive, which is what happens to asthma sufferers.

Soothe a Sore Throat:

  1. Put it on ice. Numb aching airways with cold beverages, frozen yogurt, or ice pops. Steer clear of juice, which tends to be acidic and could sting a sore throat.
  2. Pass the salt. Twice daily, mix 1/2 teaspoon of salt into a cup of warm water and gargle it. This will help draw fluid out of the inflamed throat tissue.

Curb Congestion:

  1. Sip some soup. Soup thins mucus in your airways, reducing stuffiness. A recent study also found that chicken vegetable soup reduces the activity of inflammatory white blood cells that can cause cold symptoms.
  2. Spice up your diet. Cayenne pepper, garlic, and curry open clogged passageways and make breathing easier.
  3. Spray away. Use an over-the-counter decongestant nasal spray twice a day. Do not use for more than five days, or you could become dependent.

Fight the Flu:

  1. Medicine matters. Take acetaminophen or ibuprofen to reduce inflammation. You'll need plenty of sleep to strengthen your immune system, so opt for ibuprofen before bed.
  2. Get vaccinated. It takes roughly two weeks for your body to develop protective antibodies. There are two ways to receive the vaccine: the traditional shot containing dead flu virus or the nasal spray containing a weakened form of the live virus. *It is normal to feel congested, tired, or have a headache for a day or so after receiving a live virus!*
  3. Considering the H1N1 shot? The CDC encourages families to get both a seasonal flu shot and an H1N1 flu vaccination. Speak with your doctor or pediatrician about what's right for you and your family.

Ease Earaches:

  1. Opt for Ibuprofen. Taking ibuprofen every 6-8 hours will help reduce the pressure in the Eustachian tube and relieve the pain.
  2. Grab some chewing gum. Chew sugarless gum to help open the Eustachian tube. Gum that contains xylitol has an added antibacterial effect, so it could even help prevent a secondary infection.

Natural Cures:

  1. Vitamin C. While it won't prevent a cold, it may help reduce symptoms and shorten the duration by a half day or more. Take 250 to 500 mg when the first symptom hits and then daily for as long as you're ill.
  2. Zinc. This may prevent the virus from replicating, so your cold won't hit as hard or last as long. Some doctors recommend taking lozenges; take one at the first sign of sickness and continue taking them for two to three days. *Limit intake to two per day.*

When to see a Doctor:

Cold Red Flags

  • your symptoms are worsening after one week or haven't gotten better after 10 days
  • you have one dominant symptom, which means you may have a bacterial infection
  • you develop a fever

Flu Red Flags

  • your cough is getting worse and becoming productive
  • your have shortness of breath, pain when you cough, and/or a fever of 102+
  • if symptoms wane and then return stronger than before and are accompanied by a fever, check with your doctor - this is a sign of H1N1 infection

"Colds are responsible for 22 million lost schools days every year" NIH


In the United States, emergency rooms treated 251,800 toy-related injuries in 2015, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Roughly 34% happened to children under the age of 5.

Keep the children in your life safe by considering these tips:

- Ask yourself or the parent if the toy is right for the child's ability and age. Consider whether other smaller children in the home that will have access to the toy.

- Avoid purchasing toys with sharp, spikes, rods, or dangerous edges.

- Look for the letters "ASTM." This designation means the product meets the national safety standards set by ASTM International (American Society for Testing and Materials).

- Do not purchase toys with long strings or cords, especially for infants and very young children as these can become wrapped around a child’s neck.

- Magnets, like those found in magnetic building sets and other toys, can be extremely harmful if swallowed. Seek immediate medical attention if you suspect a child may have swallowed a magnet.

Before letting children play with toys: Inspect toys for safe, sturdy construction, explain how to use the toy, and fix or throw away broken toys.

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Help your furry friend stay warm and healthy throughout the winter season by utilizing some of these tips...

(1) Temperature: Some dog breeds are blessed with thick fur that keeps them warm naturally, even in very cold temperatures, but dogs with thin coats may need to wear a sweater or coat when out for winter walks

(2) Go outside when the sun shines: If your dog feels the cold, try to walk him in the late morning or early afternoon hours when temperatures are a little warmer, and avoid early morning or late evening walks

(3) Keep indoors: Don’t leave pets outdoors alone when the temperature drops. A good rule of thumb is to go out with them and when you’re ready to come in, they probably will be too

(4) Cozy bedding: Warm blankets can create a snug environment; raised beds can keep your dog off cold tiles or concrete, and heated pet beds can help keep the stiffness out of aging joints

(5) Protect from heaters: Dogs will often seek heat during cold winter weather by snuggling too close to heating sources. Avoid space heaters and install baseboard radiator covers to avoid your pet getting burned

(6) Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize: Dry and cold weather can do a number on your pet’s skin. Help prevent dry, flaky skin by adding a skin and coat supplement to their food. Coconut and fish oils are easy foods that can help keep your pet’s skin and coat healthy

(7) Watch for overfeeding: Although dogs may need an extra layer in winter, make sure it comes from a coat and not a layer of fat. Unless your dog lives outdoors during the winter, they usually won’t need any additional calories during the winter chill

(8) Hydration is key: If your dog spends time outdoors in your yard, make sure they have access to a water bowl, check it often and break ice that forms on top

(9) Keep 'em groomed: Your dog needs a clean, well-groomed coat to keep them properly insulated. This is especially important if your dog spends a lot of time outdoors. After bathing, dry your dog thoroughly, especially before allowing them outside

(10) Paw care: If your dog has furry feet, trim the hair that grows between his pads to prevent ice buildup between the pads. Winter salt on city sidewalks can also burn your dog’s pads and is toxic, so after walks around the neighborhood, rinse or wipe your dog’s paws to remove any salt

(11) Snow removal: When you clear snow in your yard, pile it away from fences to prevent your dog from climbing over. Snow and ice often accumulate on rooftops and if the sun is out or as temperatures rise, this accumulation can slide and injure your dog

(12) Location: If you’re walking or playing in unfamiliar areas, keep your dog close. It’s easy for him to venture onto unsafe surfaces such as frozen ponds or lakes. These may be covered in snow and not easily visible

(13) Avoid exposure to toxins: Antifreeze tastes sweet and dogs (as well as some children!) will readily lick or drink it. Antifreeze is extremely toxic and just a small amount can be fatal

(14) Do not leave unattended in a vehicle: Just as cars can get dangerously hot in summer, freezing cold temperatures are equally dangerous for your dog in winter. Leaving the car running involves additional risks, including carbon monoxide poisoning if the car is parked in a garage

(15) Special care for arthritis: Cold weather will often aggravate existing medical conditions in dogs, particularly arthritis. It’s very important to maintain an exercise regimen with your arthritic dog, but be mindful of slippery surfaces and make sure your dog has a warm soft rest area to recuperate after activity

These tips can be applied to any outdoor animal that you have!


The perfect healthy treat to take to gatherings.


  1. 8 to 10 cups assorted fresh vegetables
  2. 1 large bottle low-fat Red Wine Vinaigrette or Balsamic Vinaigrette Salad Dressing

To prepare:

Wash and cut vegetables into bite size pieces, or leave whole if appropriate. Place vegetables in a non-metallic covered container or zip-lock bag, and pour dressing over vegetables. Marinate in the refrigerator for several hours, up to 24, before serving. Drain vegetables thoroughly and place on a serving platter or vegetable tray.

Nutrition Facts: per 1/2 cup

45 calories, 2g total fat, 2g dietary fiber, 1g protein, 8g carbohydrate, 35mg sodium

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"I find that "staying healthy" becomes more and more difficult as my children grow older and my responsibilities seem to increase every time I get out of bed. With that said, I always try to carve out time for "me." My time is running. I am not the fastest kid on the block - in fact, I had a parent tell me that they saw me walking once when in fact I was running! For me, running is my time to get away from everything. It would be so much easier to put on my sweatpants, lay on the couch, and watch Netflix (which I also like to do), but I find that getting out and running is where my true JOY happens. I lace up my shoes, put on some stylish running gear (if nothing else, you have to look good), and turn on Pandora on my iPhone. Right now, my favorite Pandora Station is "Gonna Fly Now," - Rocky music. When I run, I love that I simply go wherever I want. I can turn left or right when I come to a cross street. I can run in the country past some cattle, reminisce as I make my way around IU's campus, hit the B-line, or try different trails in the state parks. Again, I am not fast, and I don't care to be. I simply like to get out where I can have some "me" time with my music, some sights, and my thoughts. Without running, I am sure I would be unhealthy physically, mentally, and emotionally. I need to run more... but that's another conversation for another time!"

Thanks for sharing, Glen!


Any questions can be sent to or you can call (317) 766-1032

The mission of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program is to collect new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December each year, and distribute those toys as Christmas gifts to needy children in the community in which the campaign is conducted. The goal is to provide each child with 2 new toys.

To make a donation, fill out a family toy request form, or to find the nearest toy drop off site, please visit:

Additionally, ALEX AND ANI is donating 20% of the purchase price from the Ugly Sweater Charm Bangle to the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation from November 2017 to February 2018. You can find this bracelet ($38) on ALEX AND ANI's website. A picture of the bracelet is below.


Plan your self-care routine:

  • Schedule some "me-time" in your calendar. Don't consider self-care habits to be optional - maintaining your foundation of healthy habits is important.
  • Be active. Make physical activity part of your daily routine, whether you do it all at once or in small increments. Doing less is better than doing nothing at all.
  • Get enough sleep. Adequate sleep will help you maintain your weight, emotional wellness, and health.

Plan your time:
  • Create a master calendar of events and activities that you don't want to miss this holiday season.
  • Organize your time by ranking activities by priority level. Focus first on the high priority items. Reschedule appointments that can wait until after the holiday festivities are complete.
  • Work to maintain your personal and time boundaries. Don't overextend your holiday commitments. It's okay to say "no"!

Plan for health in the year ahead:

  • Give a gift that supports good health in the coming year. These include: a subscription to healthy cooking magazines, a heart rate monitor, in-home walking DVD set, gift card for a produce market, fruit-of-the-month club membership, or a CD with exercise music.


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Alarm Clock + Exercise: This alarm clock doubles as a dumbbell. This comes with a motion sensor, which won't allow the alarm to shut off until you've completed 30 curls
{Dumbbell Alarm Clock, can find on various websites}

Personal Smoothie Maker: This allows you to make your smoothie right in the bottle!
{Oster MyBlend Personal Blender, Kohl's, $39.99}

Self Massage Tool: Treat post-workout stiffness and knots with a self massager designed to get everywhere, even the hard to reach aches
{TheraCane, available on Amazon and Walmart sites}

Pancakes that Pump You Up!: Protein-packed pancake mix that is free of GMO's and comes in a variety of different flavors
{FlapJacked, $8.99}

Fast Drying, All Weather Socks: No matter how sweaty the workout, these lightweight, breathable socks will keep feet warm in winter, cool in summer and will never slip or bunch
{Darn Tough, prices vary}

Towel that Cools You Down: After (or during) a hot or humid workout, dip this towel in warm water, wait for it to get nice and cool, wrap it around your neck (or wherever) and enjoy sweet relief
{Frogg Toggs, $9.99-$12.99}


Bilingual Poetry: A Community Reading

Friday, Dec. 1st, 7-8:30pm

Noise Gallery

Take a trip to the Noise Gallery (103 N. College Ave, second floor, next to The Tap) for a bilingual poetry reading by members of the Bloomington community.

If you are interested in reading, email:

This is a free event.

La Gran Milonga: A Winter Tango Ball

Friday, Dec. 1st, 7-10pm

416 North Indiana Avenue

Bloomington, IN

Celebrate the season with dance and music! The event is free and open to all ages and all levels of experience.

This event is free to attend.

Winterfest: Storytelling

Sunday, Dec. 3rd, 2-3:30pm

416 North Indiana Avenue

Bloomington, IN

Winter is the perfect time to tell some stories or hear some stories. Come make puppets, storybooks, and other crafts that tell a story. Storytelling by Bloomington Storytelling Guild.

This is a free event.

Energize! After School

Tuesday, Dec. 5th, 4:30-5:15pm

308 West 4th Street

Bloomington, IN

*This occurs only on Tuesdays - 12/05, 12/12, & 12/19*

Join us for free fitness, free food, and free fun! Energize After school is a Partnership between WonderLab and the YMCA. Each 45 minute class will focus on a different aspect of healthy living and feature hands-on active learning, a healthy snack, and WonderLab approved science experiments. Activities include: building an articulated hand, extracting DNA from fruit, exploring grains under a microscope, and testing your own heart health.

This is recommended for children aged 6 -12.

This is free with museum admission.

Holiday Tradition: The Magic of Toy Trains

Friday, Dec. 1st, 10am to Saturday, Dec. 30th, 4pm

202 East 6th Street

Bloomington, IN

While it’s difficult to imagine a Christmas tree without a train chugging around it, they’ve only been paired together for little over a century. Three American toy companies; Lionel, Marx, and American Flyer, helped revolutionize the industry and spark the imagination of children wishing to be the conductor of their own trains. Their dreams often came true Christmas morning. This exhibition tells the story of how the Christmas tradition came to be, how companies developed and expanded the industry, and how these trains became a mainstay in popular culture.

This event occurs daily - $2 entry fee for adults, $1 for children 6-17, free for children 5 and under

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