I quit smoking 30 years ago after my father had his first heart attack at age 50. To quit was not easy but since then I’ve enjoyed good health and saved thousand of dollars not buying cigarettes.
Here are some general hints for friends and family to help a smoker quit:
- Do respect that the quitter is in charge. This is their lifestyle change and their challenge, not yours.
- Do ask the person whether they want you to ask regularly how they’re doing. Ask how they’re feeling – not just whether they’ve stayed quit.
- Do let the person know that it’s OK to talk to you whenever they need to hear encouraging words.
- Do help the quitter get what they need, such as hard candy to suck on, straws to chew on, and fresh veggies cut up and kept in the refrigerator.
- Do spend time doing things with the quitter to keep their mind off smoking – go to the movies, take a walk to get past a craving (what many call a “nicotine fit”), or take a bike ride together.
- Do try to see it from the smoker’s point of view – a smoker’s habit may feel like an old friend that’s always been there when times were tough. It’s hard to give that up.
- Do make your home smoke free, meaning that no one can smoke in any part of the house.
- Do remove all lighters and ash trays from your home. Remove anything that reminds them of smoking
- Do wash clothes that smell like smoke. Clean carpets and drapes. Use air fresheners to help get rid of the tobacco smells – and don’t forget the car, too.
- Do help the quitter with a few chores, some child care, cooking – whatever will help lighten the stress of quitting.
- Do celebrate along the way. Quitting smoking is a BIG DEAL!
- Don’t doubt the smoker’s ability to quit. Your faith in them reminds them they can do it.
- Don’t judge, nag, preach, tease, or scold. This may make the smoker feel worse about him or herself. You don’t want your loved one to turn to a cigarette to soothe hurt feelings.
- Don’t take the quitter’s grumpiness personally during their nicotine withdrawal. Tell them that you understand the symptoms are real and remind them that they won’t last forever. The symptoms usually get better in about 2 weeks.
- Don’t offer advice. Just ask how you can help with the plan or program they are using.
via Helping a Smoker Quit: Do’s and Don’ts.
Today, emerging evidence recognizes that both work-related factors and health factors beyond the workplace jointly contribute to many safety and health problems that confront today’s workers and their families. Traditionally, workplace safety and health programs have been compartmentalized. Health protection programs have focused squarely on safety, reducing worker exposures to risk factors arising in the work environment itself. And most workplace health promotion programs have focused exclusively on lifestyle factors off-the-job that place workers at risk. A growing body of science supports the effectiveness of combining these efforts through workplace interventions that integrate health protection and health promotion programs.
via CDC – NIOSH Total Worker Health.
The consequences of sleep deprivation.
In the short term:
- Decreased Performance and Alertness: Sleep deprivation induces significant reductions in performance and alertness. Reducing your nighttime sleep by as little as one and a half hours for just one night could result in a reduction of daytime alertness by as much as 32%.
- Memory and Cognitive Impairment: Decreased alertness and excessive daytime sleepiness impair your memory and your cognitive ability — your ability to think and process information.
- Stress Relationships: Disruption of a bed partner’s sleep due to a sleep disorder may cause significant problems for the relationship (for example, separate bedrooms, conflicts, moodiness, etc.).
- Poor Quality of Life: You might, for example, be unable to participate in certain activities that require sustained attention, like going to the movies, seeing your child in a school play, or watching a favorite TV show.
- Occupational Injury: Excessive sleepiness also contributes to a greater than twofold higher risk of sustaining an occupational injury.
- Automobile Injury: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates conservatively that each year drowsy driving is responsible for at least 100,000 automobile crashes, 71,000 injuries, and 1,550 fatalities.
The good news for many of the disorders that cause sleep deprivation is that after risk assessment, education, and treatment, memory and cognitive deficits improve and the number of injuries decreases.
In the long term, the clinical consequences of untreated sleep disorders are large indeed. They are associated with numerous, serious medical illnesses, including:
- High blood pressure
- Heart attack
- Heart failure
- Psychiatric problems, including depression and other mood disorders
- Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
- Mental impairment
- Fetal and childhood growth retardation
- Injury from accidents
- Disruption of bed partner’s sleep quality
- Poor quality of life
via Chronic Sleep Deprivation and Health Effects.
Antibiotics and similar drugs, together called antimicrobial agents, have been used for the last 70 years to treat patients who have infectious diseases. Since the 1940s, these drugs have greatly reduced illness and death from infectious diseases. However, these drugs have been used so widely and for so long that the infectious organisms the antibiotics are designed to kill have adapted to them, making the drugs less effective.
Each year in the United States, at least 2 million people become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics and at least 23,000 people die each year as a direct result of these infections.
via CDC – Antibiotic / Antimicrobial Resistance.
Seasonal flu vaccines have a very good safety track record.
- The flu vaccine is available by shot or nasal spray.
- Get your flu shot or spray as soon as the vaccine is available in your area.
- It is especially important to get the vaccine if you, someone you live with, or someone you care for is at high risk of complications from the flu.
- Mild reactions such as soreness, headaches, and fever are common side effects of the flu vaccine.
- If you experience a severe reaction such as difficulty breathing, hives, or facial swelling, seek medical attention immediately.
via Vaccination & Vaccine Safety | Flu.gov.
Unfortunately, work-related stress doesn’t just disappear when you head home for the day. When stress persists, it can take a toll on your health and well-being.
In the short term, a stressful work environment can contribute to problems such as headache, stomachache, sleep disturbances, short temper and difficulty concentrating. Chronic stress can result in anxiety, insomnia, high blood pressure and a weakened immune system. It can also contribute to health conditions such as depression, obesity and heart disease. Compounding the problem, people who experience excessive stress often deal with it in unhealthy ways such as overeating, eating unhealthy foods, smoking cigarettes or abusing drugs and alcohol.
via Coping With Stress at Work.
Electronic cigarettes, also known as e-cigarettes, are battery-operated products that deliver nicotine, flavor and other chemicals. They turn nicotine, which is highly addictive, and other chemicals into a vapor that is inhaled by the user. Most e-cigarettes are manufactured to look like conventional cigarettes, cigars or pipes. Some people believe that e-cigarettes are safer than traditional cigarettes, but their safety has not been fully studied. People who currently use e-cigarettes have no way of knowing how much nicotine or other potentially harmful chemicals they are inhaling.
via Smoked Tobacco | TheRealCost.gov.
Exercise and physical activity benefit the body, while a sedentary lifestyle does the opposite – increasing the chances of becoming overweight and developing a number of chronic diseases.
- Only about 30 percent of adult Americans report they get regular physical activity during their leisure time—and about 40 percent of Americans say they get no leisure-time physical activity at all.
- The Nurses’ Health Study found a strong link between television watching and obesity. Researchers followed more than 50,000 middle-aged women for six years, surveying their diet and activity habits. Findings showed that for every two hours the women spent watching television each day, they had a 23 percent higher risk of becoming obese and 14 percent higher risk of developing diabetes. It didn’t matter if the women were avid exercisers: The more television they watched, the more likely they were to gain weight or develop diabetes, regardless of how much leisure-time activity and walking they did. Long hours of sitting at work also increased the risk of obesity and diabetes.
- Researchers at Tokyo Medical University found an association between spending less time watching television and a lower risk of overweight and obesity in older adults, regardless of whether participants met physical activity guidelines. The study followed 1,806 participants between the ages of 65 and 74. Participants were put into one of four categories based on television viewing time. The less time spent watching television, the lower the participants’ risk of becoming overweight or obese.
- Another study analyzed the global effect of inactivity on the increase of diseases. The researchers estimated that physical inactivity accounts for 6% of the burden of heart disease, 7% of type 2 diabetes, 10% of breast cancer, and 10% of colon cancer. Inactivity also causes 9% of premature mortality. These staggering statistics put the true dangers associated with inactivity into a global perspective.
via Staying Active | The Nutrition Source | Harvard School of Public Health.
As long as you’re working, juggling the demands of career and personal life will probably be an ongoing challenge. Consider these ideas to find the work-life balance that’s best for you:
- Track your time. Pay attention to your daily tasks, including work-related and personal activities. Decide what’s necessary and what satisfies you the most. Cut or delegate activities you don’t enjoy or can’t handle — or share your concerns and possible solutions with your employer or others.
- Take advantage of your options. Ask your employer about flex hours, a compressed workweek, job sharing, telecommuting or other scheduling flexibility. The more control you have over your hours, the less stressed you’re likely to be.
- Learn to say no. Whether it’s a co-worker asking you to spearhead an extra project or your child’s teacher asking you to organize a class party, remember that it’s OK to respectfully say no. When you quit accepting tasks out of guilt or a false sense of obligation, you’ll have more time for the activities that are meaningful to you.
- Leave work at work. With the technology to connect to anyone at any time from virtually anywhere, there might be no boundary between work and home — unless you create it. Make a conscious decision to separate work time from personal time. When you’re with your family, for instance, keep your laptop in your briefcase.
- Manage your time. Organize household tasks efficiently, such as running errands in batches or doing a load of laundry every day, rather than saving it all for your day off. Put family events on a weekly family calendar and keep a daily to-do list. Do what needs to be done and let the rest go.
- Bolster your support system. At work, join forces with co-workers who can cover for you — and vice versa — when family conflicts arise. At home, enlist trusted friends and loved ones to pitch in with child care or household responsibilities when you need to work overtime or travel.
- Nurture yourself. Eat a healthy diet, include physical activity in your daily routine and get enough sleep. Set aside time each day for an activity that you enjoy, such as practicing yoga or reading. Better yet, discover activities you can do with your partner, family or friends — such as hiking, dancing or taking cooking classes.
via Work-life balance: Tips to reclaim control – Mayo Clinic.
The effects of stress tend to build up over time. Taking practical steps to maintain your health and outlook can reduce or prevent these effects. The following are some tips that may help you to cope with stress:
- Seek help from a qualified mental health care provider if you are overwhelmed, feel you cannot cope, have suicidal thoughts, or are using drugs or alcohol to cope.
- Get proper health care for existing or new health problems.
- Stay in touch with people who can provide emotional and other support. Ask for help from friends, family, and community or religious organizations to reduce stress due to work burdens or family issues, such as caring for a loved one.
- Recognize signs of your body’s response to stress, such as difficulty sleeping, increased alcohol and other substance use, being easily angered, feeling depressed, and having low energy.
- Set priorities-decide what must get done and what can wait, and learn to say no to new tasks if they are putting you into overload.
- Note what you have accomplished at the end of the day, not what you have been unable to do.
- Avoid dwelling on problems. If you can’t do this on your own, seek help from a qualified mental health professional who can guide you.
- Exercise regularly-just 30 minutes per day of gentle walking can help boost mood and reduce stress.
- Schedule regular times for healthy and relaxing activities.
- Explore stress coping programs, which may incorporate meditation, yoga, tai chi, or other gentle exercises.
If you or someone you know is overwhelmed by stress, ask for help from a health professional. If you or someone close to you is in crisis, call the toll-free, 24-hour National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).
via NIMH · Fact Sheet on Stress.