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Senior Corner

Betty Rhodes, Senior Corner: Bye bye, blues!

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Hi, my friends.

Let’s talk about ways of losing the blues. Sometimes the blues just move in on you. I’m sure you agree with me that when the blues move in, we’ve got to work on moving them right back out the door.

My knee surgery was five months ago. I've been doing great, couldn’t be more pleased, but the energy has been slow coming back, which drags me down a bit. But I’m not enjoying having Mr. Blues around. I’ve been looking for ways of chasing Mr. Blues away.

I found help through a Mayo Clinic Health System.

My morning consists of feeling a little sluggish. I rely on my cup of coffee to help power me through the day, Mayo Clinic says it’s time to ditch the quick fixes and develop an energy management plan.

Granted, getting started seems daunting, but soon we are promised that once we reap the benefits of a happier, healthier and more productive lifestyle, we’ll be ready to boot the blues out the door and over the hill. Bye-bye, blues!

Our task is to learn to manage our energy as a limited resource, like money in an account. We begin the day with a certain amount to spend which varies from person to person based on age, sleep, stress levels, medical conditions and lifestyle.

So, according to the Mayo Clinic Health System, we’re to think of our energy as a limited resource, like money in an account. We begin the day with a certain amount to spend, which varies from person to person based on factors, such as age, sleep, stress levels, medical conditions and lifestyle. Throughout our day many transactions occur as we withdraw energy from and deposit energy into our account. While we may not always have control over activities that deplete our energy, we can take steps to deposit more energy into our account.

Following are seven tips to increase our energy and to live a happier, healthier, more productive life from the Mayo Clinic. (

(I’m sure I’ve written several columns, lately one the benefits of these tips, but I truly believe that it doesn’t get any better, than these following seven tips.)

1. Eat nourishing food According to the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, a balanced diet high in fruits and vegetables, lean protein, low-fat dairy and whole grains is what we need for optimal energy. You really are what you eat to some extent. Consume a variety of foods from all the food groups to get a range of nutrients to energize you throughout the day. Opt for fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, especially nutrient-dense dark, leafy greens and broccoli, as well as orange vegetables, including carrots and sweet potatoes.

2. Sleep seven to eight hours a night. Getting more sleep seems to be a healthy habit many people need to improve on. We already know that we need at least seven hours of shut-eye each night, so what prevents us from getting it? Think about how you can improve your biggest sleep disruptors and know this: Sleep deprivation can perpetuate serious health conditions, as well as negatively affect our mood, motivation and energy levels. Prioritizing sleep is one of the best things we can do to set ourselves up for a successful, energized day.

3. Keep company with good people. (one of my favorites) Maximize the amount of time that you spend with people you enjoy being around. Connecting with others who radiate positivity and have similar interests will excite and energize you. On the flip side, people you don’t relate to or who have negative outlooks, complain often or make poor choices will only drain your energy account. Be selective in the company you keep.

4. Avoid news overdose. The news is an important way to stay connected to what’s happening in the world. It can be educational, entertaining and even uplifting. Unfortunately, the news too frequently is bombarded with stories of suffering. These stories can skew your view of the world and cause you to focus on your worst fears instead of recognizing the good that surrounds you. You can’t avoid these stories altogether, but try to minimize your exposure when you can, especially during trying times.

5. Get regular exercise. Do you find yourself feeling lethargic halfway through the day? Have you ever gotten winded by simple everyday duties, such as grocery shopping or household chores? Contrary to what you might believe, getting the 150 minutes of weekly activity recommended by the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans can add to your energy account and not subtract from it. How: Exercise relieves stress and tension, strengthens muscles and boosts endurance, which helps your body to work more efficiently during other physical tasks or activities.

6. Do something meaningful each day. What do you feel passionate about? Do you have a special talent that you’d like to practice more often or share with others? Do something you enjoy every day, even if it’s something as simple as cooking a healthy meal or listening to your favorite song. Putting effort into the things that matter most to you will help you utilize and reserve your energy in ways that will bring out the best in you.

7. Think good thoughts for others. Maintaining a compassionate mindset is another way to conserve energy. One example of practicing this way of thinking is called kind attention. For example, try to make eye contact with a stranger and smile, while thinking “I wish you well.” This positive act can, instead, keep you from judging that person. Judging others can cause us to place judgment on ourselves, and that type of negative internal dialogue can be exhausting.

If you don’t mind, I’d like to add a few more ideas Mayo Clinic Health System has recommended: Here are a few simple activities that will help you become more mindful of caring for yourself:

 Monitor your energy Take your energy “temperature” at various points throughout the day, assigning it a number from 1 to 10 with 10 being the highest energy level. Pay attention to the details of your day so you can identify the people or events that impact you the most.

Make incremental changes. Once you are aware of some of the people or events that sabotage your energy, consider your next steps. Rather than tackling everything at once, choose an area that is important to you, and be realistic with the goals you set. For instance, if disorganization in your home is a big source of daily stress, pick one cabinet, closet or drawer to clear out each week instead of overwhelming yourself with doing it all at once. Then move on to your next goal when you feel ready.

Plan and prioritize. Take note of the times during the day when your energy levels tend to be the highest. Decide how you can take advantage of those moments by prioritizing important tasks when you are feeling fresh and productive.

If we take our time with this material, I believe it can make a world of difference in our lives. As I grow older, I appreciate the value of slowing down, when learning something new and taking the project on as if I am taking a class at our Napa College.

Let’s make that found energy work for us.

How about sending suggestions on something you’d like to know more about and I’ll try to find it for us? 

I always enjoy spending time with you.

There are many known ways to kill stress, but none can compare to having a dog. Buzz60’s Maria Mercedes Galuppo has the story.

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