Pets: Children’s Saving Grace Both During & After COVID-19

“The researchers found that parents in dog-owning families were 30 percent less likely to report conduct and peer problems with their toddlers in comparison to families that don’t own dogs.”~ Concerned About Your Kid’s Social Development? Getting a Dog Can Help

“Researchers evaluated 643 children for signs of anxiety. They found that only 12 percent of kids who have dogs met the clinical criteria that would prompt health care professionals to further screen for anxiety… Being with dogs can lower levels of cortisol (which is associated with stress), decrease blood pressure and heart rate, and increase levels of oxytocin (which is associated with social bonding).”~ Kids, Dogs and Mental Health: Do dogs prevent anxiety?

“Whether your friend is feathered, furry or scaled, pets can have a significant impact on our lives and our mental health. Studies have shown that having pets leads to a number of mental health benefits, such as decreased anxiety and depression, improved self-esteem and creating a sense of purpose.”~ Pets and Mental Health: How Furry Friends Can Impact Your Child’s Life

The Therapeutic Connection Between Pets, People, & COVID-19

Why do I begin with articles preaching the connection between pets and children’s mental and emotional well-being,

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Emojis, Mood Swings, & You

Have you ever looked at your frequently used emojis list on your cell phone after you’ve let a young child text emojis to someone? After the grinning and proud child hands back your phone, the emojis in the frequently used list vary from pizza to unicorns to high-heeled shoes to dinosaurs to countless other images that seem to have zero connection to each other. This is a visualization for sudden mood swings, which PsychCentral defines as “a noticeable change in one’s mood or emotional state.”

Combating Mood Changes

Unlike the jump from pizza to unicorns to high-heeled shoes to dinosaurs in the above analogy that make the child giddy with happiness,

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THE BATTLE OF THE BOWEL Spoiler: Aging is the Underdog

“The first thing to understand is that what goes in is supposed to come out- albeit in a very different form and with some nutrients missing. We eat and drink to sustain our bodies and after the digestive system extracts the necessary ingredients from our ingestion, the wastes are excreted as liquids in urine and solids in feces.”~ Medical University of South Carolina

The above quote is a perfect segway into a conversation about bowel movements and aging. Although it would be nice for bowel movements to treat us with the same consistency and gentleness as they did in our younger years,

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You’re Never Too Old to Hear “Go to Bed!”

She’s exhausted.

After a school day of dodging gossip and stressing about tests and her reflection in the bathroom mirror, she enters an afternoon and evening of merry-go-round extracurriculars and an eat-when-you-can dinner. With the little energy she has left, she crawls into bed and hoovers her phone within a few inches of her face, the light from her tiny screen illuminating her bedroom and pulling her into a hypnotic social media-induced trance. Within seconds, she falls into the social media dark hole,

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The Word Workaholic: Friend or Foe?

Workaholic.

This word is said to be coined by minister and psychologist Wayne Oats in 1971. And as we near the 50 year anniversary of this word’s existence, the debate continues on whether or not being dubbed a workaholic is something to be proud of or not.

Perfect Balance Is an Urban Legend

July 5th is National Workaholics Day, and it’s a day that’s meant to remind people to balance their personal and professional lives. But is perfect balance actually obtainable?

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Summer Outings are Not an Excuse to Give Health the Day Off

Sodium-Packed Chips
Sugar-Infused Soda
Icing-Drenched Donuts
Perfectly-Rectangular Poptarts
Fried This
Fried That
Processed This
Processed That

The above represents one typical day of snacking and slurping on a camping trip. It’s not that any of the above items should be banned, it’s that having all the above items in a single trip is a swift uppercut to both your physical and mental health.

As the summer sun calls to families and outside excursions like hiking,

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Create a Guilt-Free Zone & Tell Them “Go Play”

“Go play.”

Most adults heard these two words on repeat their entire childhood. They heard them so much so that now when thinking back on their younger years, those two words conjure a smile and feel like a portal to a world they wish they could return.

Independent Play is Crucial in Child Development

Experts agree that independent play, a time when a child plays alone without siblings or parents or anyone else, is crucial to a child’s development. The following are thoughts from a few of those experts:

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Destination: Blamesville. Passenger: 1. Baggage: Poor Health

It’s that time of year, again.

Father’s Day is right around the corner, and children everywhere, young and old, are scampering off to find the perfect gift to honor their dad. Some will lean toward tradition with a new tie, some will usher a mischievous grin and chuckle with a gift that summons an inside joke, while others will pull at the heartstrings with a gesture that is emotional and sentimental. With all this thought and love wrapped around fathers in June, it’s no wonder that June is also Men’s Health Month.

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PTSD: Wreaking Havoc from the Inside Out

One would think Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness Month would be one of the historically gloomy months. The time after Santa visits and before the flowers bloom. This is not the case. June is PTSD Awareness Month. It’s during the time of year when boats skim the water’s surface while they hold an entourage of people who are elated with their sun-kissed bodies and seemingly have no worries other than how much fuel is in the boat and whether they brought enough snacks and drinks to last until nightfall.

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Negativity, Children, & Dr. Seuss: Self-Talk Matters

Muffin top.
Big-boned.
Sausage roll.
Cottage cheese.
More wobble than a gobble.
Crescent rolls bursting along its seam.

The negative talk too many people think and say about their body is heartbreaking. There is nothing funny about feeling insecure, and there is nothing heart-warming about someone who makes a joke or spews sarcasm at their own expense.

Words Hold Power

Anxiety Disorders Association of Victoria, Inc. (ADAVIC) was spot on when it said, “Even though you may expect only teenage girls to engage in negative body talk and body shaming,

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