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12 Winter Getaways

February 1st, 2015 | Comments Off on 12 Winter Getaways | Posted in Misc

shutterstock_240639580Area Resorts and Inns Offer Good Packages in the Cold Months. Instead of buying your love a cashmere sweater, how about fishing lessons at a Pennsylvania resort, a night at a downtown hotel that includes a bath drawn by a butler, or the always-welcome spa.

Chocolate Heaven

Even for adults there is something magical about the never-ending supply of chocolate at the Hotel Hershey in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

In winter, the hotel, designed to resemble European castles Milton and Catherine Hershey admired during their travels, sweetens the pot even more. Holiday family packages feature everything from caroling and a two-mile light display to special events featuring the reincarnation of Charles Dickens and characters dressed as Hershey Kisses.

Some guests will find their sweet dreams in the three-story spa, where a long list of treatments can be had amid stained-glass windows and pecan paneling.

Hotel Hershey, 800-HERSHEY; www.hersheypa.com. Deluxe accommodations are $185 an adult per night ($110 in the less-formal Hershey Lodge). Packages are available, including a spa special that starts at $204 a night and includes accommodations and several treatments. Travel time from Washington: 2H hours.

Special Spa

ANOTHER HAVEN FOR SPA-LOVERS IS NEMACOLIN WOODlands Resort & Spa in Farmington, Pennsylvania. The spa is perhaps the best, and most beautiful, on the East Coast.

The resort is top-notch. There are 36 holes of golf, a 140-acre sporting clays facility, an equestrian center, skiing for downhill and cross-country enthusiasts, and an art collection to admire.

Need a last-minute gift? At Nemacolin’s Auto Toy Store–a collection of vintage cars and motorcycles, many with celebrity histories–there is a Mercedes Gullwing for $350,000.

The Asian-themed spa offers more than 60 treatments. Don’t think you can spend that much time or money in the spa? Schedule appointments à la carte. Rooms in the townhouses are the most reasonable, from $215.

For the outdoorsman, consider an Orvis Fishing Trip with four hours of instruction, license, and equipment rental, for $175.

Nemacolin Woodlands Resort & Spa, 800-422-2736; www.nwlr.com. Travel time from Washington: 3 hours.

Decked Out

BRANDYWINE VALLEY IS A PRETTY DESTINAtion any time of year, and during the holidays the area’s du Pont chateaus have special programs and decor.

Through January 4 at Winterthur–home to 89,000 masterpieces of American decorative art–the table settings, Christmas trees, and other holiday displays are recreated from paintings, sketches, and other images.

Other estates open for tours are the Hagley Museum, which contains memorabilia from five generations of du Ponts; Nemours, a French-style chateau; and Longwood Gardens, with its glorious gardens and greenhouses.

Brandywine Valley Inn in Wilmington, Delaware, is an elegant and reasonably priced base for visiting the estates. The Museum Package, $230 a couple for two nights, includes a deluxe guestroom plus tickets to Longwood, Winterthur, and Hagley. The Winterthur Connoisseur Package includes a choice of a Winterthur-decor suite ($291) or room ($228), a two-day pass to Winterthur, and a one-hour escorted tour.

Brandywine Valley Inn, 800-537-7772; www.brandywineinn.com. For more information about the area, see www.hsd.org or call 800-228-9933. Travel time from Washington: 2 hours.

House of Glass

AT CHESTNUT COVE B&B, SITUATED ON A creek in Virginia’s Northern Neck, you can curl up in a window seat with a good book. If your gift recipient likes to do more, treat him or her to the inn’s two-day stained-glass school.

At the inn, guests awaken to the aroma of freshly ground coffee, homemade muffins, and a hot breakfast. The contemporary single-story house, in Farnham, has two guest rooms decorated with whimsy by hosts Barney and Bob Harris, who are stained-glass artists.

The class is limited to four participants. Everyone–beginners are welcome–brings home a framed piece, ready to hang.

Chestnut Cove B&B, 804-394-3142; www.zekiahglass.com. Rates: $174 or $194 a room for two nights, including breakfast and lunch. Classes cost $175 a person for 16 hours of instruction, with lunch, plus $10 to $50 for supplies. For information on the area, contact Northern Neck Tourism Council, 800-393-6180; www.northernneck.org. Travel time from Washington: 2H hours.

Let It Snow

HOT MINERAL SPRINGS HAVE ATTRACTED travelers since the 1600s to the Homestead, one of the country’s grandest resorts. But, like other four-season resorts, it has developed a long list of other activities.

One of the newest offerings is a culinary school featuring instruction by chefs such as Galileo’s Roberto Donna. Through March, the weekend sessions range from $296 to $394 a person a night, based on double occupancy, and include accommodations, breakfast and dinner, and a chef’s coat and hat to wear at home.

The Homestead’s new snowmaking system is also debuting this season. Choose from nine downhill runs, a half-pipe for snowboarding, and a tubing park. A winter package starts at $129 a person a night, based on double occupancy (up to two children stay free in the same room). The rate includes breakfast–don’t miss the warm doughnuts–and dinner. Most activities are à la carte.

If you don’t care about skiing, take advantage of low prices through March, when the weather is often mild enough for golf.

Money saved during low season can be spent at the spa. The $149 Highlands Honeysuckle Experience, one of many choices, begins with a honeysuckle soak followed by a full-body exfoliation, a honeysuckle oil application, and a warm body wrap of muslins that have been steeped in honeysuckle.

The Homestead, 800-838-1766; www.thehomestead.com. Travel time from Washington: 4 hours.

Quick Getaway

LANSDOWNE RESORT, NEAR LEESBURG, eight miles from Dulles International Airport, is Washington’s closest resort. Amenities include a challenging golf course, a health club and spa, indoor and outdoor pools, lighted tennis courts, and four restaurants.

Overdue for quality time with a good friend? The Girlfriends Shopping Package is tempting for a holiday gift-buying marathon or to perk up one’s own wardrobe. Through January, for $119 a person a night ($179 single), guests receive a bag filled with treats from Leesburg Corner Premium Outlets (www.premiumoutlets.com/leesburg), breakfast, and a $55 pedicure that’ll soothe your soles after a long day of hunting and gathering.

Throughout the year, Lansdowne schedules three-hour cooking classes. For $55 to $75 a class, participants learn to prepare romantic dinners, hors d’oeuvres, holiday cookies, or soups that you devour as the class progresses. Call or check the Web site for current themes, including a Guest Chef Weekend in July with Todd Gray of Equinox.

If you like to plan ahead, consider a gift certificate to next September’s annual Churchill Dinner, celebrating the life of Sir Winston Churchill. The $150-a-person black-tie dinner is a cigar lover’s dream, pairing cigars with food and wines. Hardball’s Chris Matthews enjoyed himself at the 2003 dinner, which featured Churchill biographer James C. Humes.

Lansdowne Resort, 877-509-8400; www.lansdowneresort.com. Rates start at $119. Travel time from DC: 30 minutes.

Walking Through the Snow

THE ONLY CROSS-COUNTRY SKI RESORT IN Maryland, Savage River Lodge is a classic mountain retreat on 45 forested acres just west of Frostburg.

The rustic-yet-polished lodge is surrounded by 15 miles of cross-country ski trails. A Nordic Center offers ski and snowshoe rentals, private and group lessons, and guided ski and snowshoe tours.

The lodge also features a restaurant, bar, library, and sitting areas on either side of the massive stone fireplace. Guests stay in two-story log cabins a short walk from the lodge. Roll out from under a down comforter to find homemade muffins and juice in a basket by the door. Four-legged friends are welcome, too. Don’t ski or cook? Stay in your cabin and ring for a massage.

Savage River Lodge, 301-689-3200; www.savageriverlodge.com. Rates: $190 a cabin a night, double occupancy. Travel time from Washington: 2H hours.

King of the Mountain

GOLF AND TENNIS ARE POPULAR AT THE four-season Wintergreen Resort in Virginia, but Skiing magazine called this mountaintop retreat “home to the best ski area in the South.” In addition to skiing and snowboarding, Wintergreen has two snow-tubing parks.

Wintergreen Adaptive Skiing is a nonprofit whose mission is to teach the joys of alpine skiing to individuals with a disability. Volunteer instructors typically work one-on-one with a child or adult with a disability, using sit-down ski equipment.

Although there is a lodge, most visitors stay in condominiums and homes, many with views of the Blue Ridge and all with kitchens. Rentals range from studio apartments to seven-bedroom homes and come with access to all of the resort’s facilities, including a spa and fitness center, outdoor tennis courts, and hiking trails.

Wintergreen Resort, 800-266-2444; www.wintergreenresort.com. Rates through March 23 range from $133 a night for a two-person studio to $747 for a seven-bedroom house. The greatest savings occur from March 9 through 23, when that seven-bedroom is $524 a night. Travel time from Washington: 3H hours.

Happy Holidays

A PRIME EXAMPLE OF ITALIANATE ARCHItecture, the 48-room Keswick Hall is set amid lush formal and informal gardens in the hills outside Charlottesville, Virginia.

Complete with an Arnold Palmer golf course, three pools, five tennis courts, a renowned restaurant, and a complement of trained butlers, Keswick has been ranked by Condé Nast Traveler as one of its World’s Best Places to Stay.

Special meals and other celebrations will be featured from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day. Fires will roar in the nine drawing rooms, and activities will include holiday stories read by the fire, tastings of fine wines, snooker games, and spa treatments.

On Christmas morning, Father Christmas will appear. A black-tie-optional New Year’s Eve dinner will start with tapas from Spain and take diners through the seafood, veal, and lamb dishes of Italy, France, Asia, and Australia. A four-piece band will serenade with swing, salsa, and classic rock.

Keswick Hall, 800-274-5391; www.keswick.com. Christmas packages start at $375 a room for one night, including lunch or dinner for two and afternoon tea. New Year’s Eve packages start at $620 a room for one night, with New Year’s Eve dinner, afternoon tea, and New Year’s Day brunch for two. Additional nights start $195. Travel time from Washington: 2 hours.

Awash in Luxury

REOPENED IN SEPTEMBER AFTER EXTENSIVE renovation, the Madison Hotel at 15th and M streets is pure Washingtonian–locally owned and operated. The restaurant features a mural of downtown DC, circa 1800. President and Mrs. Kennedy glamorized the hotel’s 1963 opening.

The decor is classic, and the beds are clouds of dreamy duvets and linens. If you like, call the concierge and ask to have a butler draw your bath. Choose from a menu that includes Dead Sea mineral salts, scented candles, or rose petals. Bathside snacks include Champagne, brandy, and petit fours.

In the gift shop, souvenirs created by the Tiny Jewel Box for the hotel include handmade beveled glass boxes with copper beading, decoupaged with late-18th-century prints. A nine-inch version with images of the White House and President and Dolley Madison is $350.

Madison Hotel, 202-862-1600; www.themadisondc.com. One night’s accommodation with the bath butler starts at $209.

Now You’re Cooking

THE GREENBRIER IS AN AWARD-WINNING REsort that was born in the Allegheny Mountains of West Virginia 225 years ago. This travel-magazine favorite has every activity known to man, woman, and child, including three golf courses, a golf academy, a classy spa–even hot-air ballooning.

One of the least-expensive pleasures here is a $65 gift assortment of handmade chocolates–although you can enjoy the chocolate shop’s aroma for free.

Higher up the food chain are cooking courses with Anne Willan, a Bon Appétit Cooking Teacher of the Year who founded Ecole de Cuisine la Varenne in Paris in 1975. Students learn easy recipes grounded in French techniques during demonstrations and optional hands-on sessions.

La Varenne at the Greenbrier is a five-day program scheduled four times during March and April. The $2,903 per-person price ($5,392 double occupancy) includes accommodations, all meals, unlimited golf and tennis, a one-hour spa treatment, and a welcoming reception. A three-day program is also available, with different instructors, throughout the year, starting at $1,456.

The Greenbrier, 800-624-6070; www.greenbrier.com. Rooms start at $228 a person a night and include breakfast and dinner. Travel time from Washington: 4H hours. *

Sitting by a Fire

WINTER WEATHER IS MILD IN ST. MICHAELS, Maryland–it rarely snows. With proper attire, long walks, bicycling, historic tours, and browsing the chain-free shops are enjoyable; dedicated hackers hit the town’s links.

The 80-room Inn at Perry Cabin is a luxurious base. Guest rooms are filled with antiques and beautiful fabrics. Camp by a fire–in your room or in one of the public rooms–for a game of chess or backgammon or just to read with a brandy.

For Christmas and New Year’s, prices start at $355 (double occupancy) and include one night’s accommodation and a holiday dinner. Christmas dinner will feature butternut-squash soup with chestnuts; Chesapeake oysters poached in Champagne; oysters wrapped in smoked salmon with crème fraîche and caviar; roast goose with caramelized apples, baby Brussels sprouts, and apple-smoked bacon; and linzer streusel tart with gingerbread ice cream.

Inn at Perry Cabin, 800-722-2949; www.perrycabin.com. Talbot County Visitors Bureau is at 410-822-6681, www.tourtalbot.org. Travel time from Washington: 2 hours.

History Lessons

WINTER IN COLONIAL WILLIAMSBURG OFfers two opposite experiences. While its renowned holiday decorations attract crowds, after the holidays it is quiet. Interpreters at the museums and historic buildings have plenty of time for questions and conversations.

Williamsburg Inn is an exquisite home base. A two-night Holiday Decorations package includes a walking tour, lunch in a tavern, and admission to the Colonial attractions. Add a day of unlimited golf for $99 a player. Available from December 12 through January 4, this package starts at $263 a person a night.

If you want to avoid the holiday crush, book the Golden Horseshoe 40th Anniversary Golf Package. The Golden Horseshoe has two well-regarded courses just a chip and a putt from the inn. The Gold Course is ranked by Golf Digest as one of Robert Trent Jones Sr.’s six “Must Play Masterpieces.” The package includes accommodations, two days of unlimited golf (one day on the Gold Course and one on the Green, with cart), a 40th-anniversary shirt, and a sleeve of balls. Rates start at $159 a person a night at Woodlands Hotel & Suites and go up to $194 for a stay in a Colonial house and $314 for the Williamsburg Inn.

Colonial Williamsburg, 800-HISTORY; www.colonialwilliamsburg.com. Travel time from Washington: 2H hours.

Source: washingtonian.com

Avoiding the Flu

February 1st, 2015 | Comments Off on Avoiding the Flu | Posted in Live Well, Work Well

shutterstock_221544541Flu season is worse than usual this year, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has stated that this year’s flu epidemic is showing elevated activity.

Even if you got the flu shot this year, you might still be susceptible to getting sick. Each season, the flu vaccine is designed to protect against the flu viruses that researchers determine are most likely to circulate that year. This is why the flu vaccine is more effective some years than others. This year, the flu vaccine may not protect well against the more severe influenza A (H3N2) virus that is circulating. However, the CDC still recommends the flu vaccine as it should offer at least partial protection.

According to the CDC, the flu commonly spreads through droplets made when people cough, sneeze and talk, as well as when people touch something with the flu virus on it and then touch their mouths, noses or eyes.

Children, pregnant women, the elderly, and those with disabilities and other health conditions are at increased risk of getting the flu. Whether or not you have been vaccinated, you can still take measures to protect yourself and others from the flu.

  • When possible, avoid close contact with sick individuals.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water. If you can’t wash your hands, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Don’t touch your mouth, nose or eyes.
  • Disinfect potentially contaminated surfaces, especially in shared areas such as the office kitchen.

In addition to keeping yourself healthy, you can help protect others from getting sick from your germs.

  • Cover your nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing.
  • Stay home for at least a day after your fever is gone, with the exception of getting medical care.

If you do get sick, aside from keeping your germs to yourself, here are a few suggestions for getting better as quickly as possible:

  • Rest as much as possible.
  • Drink plenty of water, broth and other clear fluids.
  • Relieve symptoms by gargling with salt water, putting a humidifier in the room and covering yourself with a warm blanket.
  • Talk to your doctor about a prescription antiviral medication to help with the flu.
View more Live Well, Work Well tips here.

Bet You Didn’t Know

February 1st, 2015 | Comments Off on Bet You Didn’t Know | Posted in U-Tube

Bet You Didn’t Know: Valentine’s Day

How did St. Valentine become associated with love and romance?
Get the full story behind the holiday.

Feb 2015 Festivals and Events

February 1st, 2015 | Comments Off on Feb 2015 Festivals and Events | Posted in Spotlight on the Community

George Washington Birthday ParadeThe Washington, DC area and its surrounding communities in Maryland and Virginia host lots of annual festivals and special events. All dates, prices, and activities mentioned are subject to change, so please check the official website or call to confirm information. Please note that most of these events are held each year and the dates are updated as available.

Washington Auto Show
Through February 1, 2015. Washington Convention Center, 801 Mount Vernon Place, NW Washington, DC. This special event features more than 700 new vehicle makes and models, live entertainment, celebrity guests and new car giveaways.

Super Bowl Parties in Washington DC
February 1, 2015. Looking for a fun place to watch the game in Washington, DC? As the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks compete for the winning title, local restaurants are offering special food and drink promotions. See a guide to some of best parties in the DC area.

Winter Theater in Washington DC
With dozens of performances around the region, here is the schedule of the top shows for the 2015 season.

Washington Wizards Basketball
See NBA games live at the Verizon Center or enjoy the national broadcasts throughout the season.

Washington Capitals
The NHL Hockey team plays at the Verizon Center. Find information on tickets, schedules and more.

Chinese New Year Events
Throughout the month, enjoy a variety of special celebrations honoring the Year of the Sheep in the Washington, DC area.

Black History Month
Throughout the month of February, remember the contributions of African Americans in the United States with numerous events and cultural programs.

150th Anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s Assassination
Through May 2015. This year marks 150 years since the assassination of Abraham Lincoln at Ford’s Theatre in Washington DC. Commemorative programming will be held at a variety of venues throughout the city including theatrical performances, commemorative ceremonies, an overnight candlelight vigil, walking tours; free panel discussions and much more.

Summer 2015 Camp Fairs in Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia
Various dates in February. Do you know what your kids are doing this summer? Attend a camp fair and find out about a variety of day and sleepaway camps in the Washington, DC area.

Chocolate Lovers Festival
February 7-8, 2015. Old Town Fairfax, Virginia. Enjoy a festival of everything chocolate! See the Chocolate Challenge, an arts contest featuring breathtaking art made completely of chocolate, sample chocolates, historic re-enactments, children’s activities, craft show and more.

Cupid’s Undie Run
February 13-15, 2015. Run around the U.S. Capitol Building in your Valentine’s themed undies to raise money for the Children’s Tumor Foundation.

Valentine’s Day
Find suggestions for Valentine’s Day in the Washington, DC area, including romantic restaurants, romantic getaways, chocolates, flowers, gift ideas and more.

George Washington’s Birthnight Banquet and Ball
February 14, 2015, 5:30 to 11 p.m. Ballroom of Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, Alexandria, Virginia. Enjoy an 18th century banquet and English Country Dancing, a dessert collation, toasts, and character re-enactors.

President’s Day in Washington, DC
February 16, 2015. Visit Washington, DC on President’s Day and pay tribute to America’s most famous leaders. Find out about special Presidents’ Day events held throughout the Washington, DC area.

Discover Strathmore
February 16, 2015. Strathmore Music Center, North Bethesda, MD. The annual open house features performances and participatory concerts and art activities for young audiences. The event is free and a great opportunity for families to explore the performing arts.

Mardi Gras Celebrations in Washington, DC
Celebrate Fat Tuesday at a variety of events including parties, parades, balls and family days.

Clarendon Mardi Gras Parade
February 17, 2015, 8 p.m. Arlington, VA. The parade celebrates Fat Tuesday.

DC Fashion Week
February 18-22, 2015. The week-long event highlights fashion design, clothing merchandising and modeling.

Washington Jewish Film Festival
February 18-March 1, 2015. The annual event shows films with Jewish themes and encourages a dialogue about a variety of issues.

Intersections Arts Festival
February 20 – March 7, 2015. Atlas Performing Arts Center. The arts festival at the Atlas Performing Arts Center in Washington DC, features visual art, film screenings, literary readings and dance, musical and dramatic productions by more than 30 artists and cultural institutions.

Calvert County Restaurant Week
February 20-March 1, 2015. Enjoy special fixed-price menus at many of the county’s best restaurants.

DC Rollergirls
February 21, 2015. DC Armory, 2001 East Capitol Street, SE Washington, DC. Enjoy watching the region’s all women’s roller derby team compete.

Annapolis Restaurant Week
February 23-March 1, 2015. Dozens of restaurants in Historic and greater Annapolis will be offering three-course, price fixed meal selections at a cost of $15.95 for lunch and $29.95 for dinner.

Washington, DC Independent Film Festival
February 25-March 1, 2015. See the latest feature, short, animation and documentary films by local, national, and international filmmakers.

Capital Home & Garden Show
February 27- March 1, 2015. Dulles Expo Center, Chantilly, VA. Enjoy a one-stop shopping resource with hundreds of exhibits with the latest remodeling and decorating products and services.

Source: dc.about.com

Things Successful People Do

February 1st, 2015 | Comments Off on Things Successful People Do | Posted in Lifestyle

11 Things Successful People Do On Sunday Nights


Successful people spend quality time with their friends and families on Sunday nights. Most people will tell you they aren’t looking forward to Sunday evening.

In fact, a 2013 poll conducted by Monster.com found that a whopping 78% of surveyed adults worldwide experience the “Sunday night blues” on a regular basis.

Sundays are the dreaded conclusion to a relaxing reprieve from our chaotic work weeks — and many of us get a twinge of melancholy just thinking about our return to the office Monday morning. Sundays are also the time we start dwelling on our unsettled business and stressing about upcoming deadlines and projects.

Even if you love your job and typically look forward to getting back into the swing of things, “it’s easy to feel a bit of trepidation on Sundays about the stresses waiting for you on Monday morning,” writes Laura Vanderkam in her book, “What The Most Successful People Do On The Weekend.”

Here’s what successful people do Sunday nights:
They spend quality time with their families, friends, and significant others. Successful people know that their weeks will be jammed and that they are likely to be unavailable, says Roy Cohen, a career coach and author of “The Wall Street Professional’s Survival Guide.” So they make the most of their Sunday nights by spending time with their loved ones.

They plan something fun. “This idea may be the most important tip,” Vanderkam writes. “This extends the weekend and keeps you focused on the fun to come, rather than on Monday morning.”

Vanderkam quotes Caitlin Andrews, a librarian, who says her extended family gets together for dinner almost every Sunday, alternating houses. “It takes my mind off any Sunday night blues that might be coming on,” Andrews says.

You might also make Sunday a movie or spa night, or you could join a Sunday night bowling league.

They organize and plan for the week ahead. Some successful people like to look at their calendars on Sunday night and set goals and deadlines for the upcoming week, says career coach Marsha Egan. The trick is to do this without stressing yourself out.

They exercise. Take a walk, play a game of tennis, or go to a class at the gym, Egan suggests.

Vanderkam writes in her book that reality TV producer Aliza Rosen does hot yoga at 6:00 p.m. on Sundays. “It’s a great way for me to sweat out the toxins of the week and center myself for Monday,” Rosen told her.

They eat something healthy. It might be tempting to wind down with a couple glasses of your favorite Cabernet, but as licensed counselor and Urban Balance CEO Joyce Marter points out in an article for PsychCentral, alcohol is a depressant that will leave you feeling less energized in the morning.

“Instead, make a healthy meal and enjoy with some herbal tea or some seltzer water with lemon,” she writes.

They catch up on reading that has been neglected. Many successful people read every night before bed , so Sunday-night reading is part of their routines.

They follow up on commitments. “When we make promises [during the week] there is never enough time to follow through,” Cohen says. Sunday nights often allow us the undivided time to respond to emails and fulfill our commitments.

They relax. When you know that the week ahead will be full, a good night’s sleep and a healthy meal are essential. “Fuel for the body and mind,” Cohen says.

They reflect. The dying embers of the weekend can be a good time to take a step back and catalog your feelings, especially if you’re having a case of the Sunday night blues. Writing down your thoughts on a piece of paper can help you get to the bottom of what’s bugging you, or give you the perspective that things aren’t so bad after all.

Either way, the process will provide you with valuable emotional release, University of Texas at Arlington organizational behavior professor James Campbell Quick tells the Huffington Post .

“It’s a catharsis to get it out on paper … It’s like flushing a toilet: You get it out on paper and you have flushed your system out,” Quick says.

They volunteer. “[Another] great way to end the weekend is to volunteer,” Vanderkam writes in her book. Nothing will take your mind off any stresses in your life like serving people who are less fortunate, she says. “It’s a way to connect with humanity before everyone goes their separate ways for the week.”

They end Sunday on a high note. “Monday will come regardless of how you feel, so try to engage in positive thinking and reflect on positive experiences before ending your weekend,” says Michael Woodward, Ph.D., organizational psychologist and author of “The YOU Plan.

“Sunday night routines help us to anticipate the week ahead and to prepare for the unexpected,” Cohen says. By doing some or all of the above, successful people are able to start their work week off on the right foot.

Source: finance.yahoo.com

February is American Heart Month

February 1st, 2015 | Comments Off on February is American Heart Month | Posted in Lifestyle

February Is American Heart Month: Are You at Risk for Heart Disease?

heartmonth_456pxDuring the month of February, Americans see the human heart as the symbol of love. February is American Heart Month, a time to show yourself the love. Learn about your risks for heart disease and stroke and stay “heart healthy” for yourself and your loved ones.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD)—including heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure—is the number 1 killer of women and men in the United States. It is a leading cause of disability, preventing Americans from working and enjoying family activities.1 CVD costs the United States over $300 billion each year, including the cost of health care services, medications, and lost productivity.1

Understanding the Burden of CVD

CVD does not affect all groups of people in the same way. Although the number of preventable deaths has declined in people aged 65 to 74 years, it has remained unchanged in people under age 65. Men are more than twice as likely as women to die from preventable CVD.2

Having a close relative who has heart disease puts you at higher risk for CVD. Health disparities based on geography also exist. During 2007–2009, death rates due to heart disease were the highest in the South and lowest in the West.

Race and ethnicity also affect your risk. Nearly 44% of African American men and 48% of African American women have some form of CVD. And African Americans are more likely than any other racial or ethnic group to have high blood pressure and to develop the condition earlier in life. About 2 in 5 African American adults have high blood pressure, yet fewer than half of them have the condition under control.

Many CVD deaths could have been prevented through healthier habits, healthier living spaces, and better management of conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes.2

Take It One Step at a Time

You can control a number of risk factors for CVD, including:

  • heartmonth_a200pxDiet
  • Physical activity
  • Tobacco use
  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure
  • High blood cholesterol
  • Diabetes

As you begin your journey to better heart health that can last a lifetime, keep these things in mind:

  • Try not to become overwhelmed. Every step brings you closer to a healthier heart, and every healthy choice makes a difference!
  • Partner up. The journey is more fun—and often more successful—when you have company. Ask friends and family to join you.
  • Don’t get discouraged. You may not be able to take all of the steps at one time. Get a good night’s sleep—also important for a healthy heart—and do what you can tomorrow.
  • Reward yourself. Find fun things to do to decrease your stress. Round up some colleagues for a lunchtime walk, join a singing group, or have a healthy dinner with your family or friends.

Plan for Prevention

Try out these strategies for better heart health. You’ll be surprised how many of them can become lifelong habits!

Work with your health care team. Get a checkup at least once each year, even if you feel healthy. A doctor, nurse, or other health care professional can check for conditions that put you at risk for CVD, such as high blood pressure and diabetes—conditions that can go unnoticed for too long.

Monitor your blood pressure. High blood pressure often has no symptoms, so be sure to have it checked on a regular basis. You can check your blood pressure at home, at a pharmacy, or at a doctor’s office. Find more information at CDC’s High Blood Pressure Web site.

Get your cholesterol checked. Your health care team should test your cholesterol levels at least once every 5 years. Talk with your health care professional about this simple blood test. You can find out more from CDC’s High Cholesterol Web site.

Eat a healthy diet. Choosing healthful meal and snack options can help you avoid CVD and its complications. Limiting sodium in your diet can lower your blood pressure. Be sure to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables—adults should have at least five servings each day. Eating foods low in saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol and high in fiber. For more information on eating a healthy diet, visit CDC’s Nutrition page and ChooseMyPlate.gov.

Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese can increase your risk for CVD. To determine whether your weight is in a healthy range, health care professionals often calculate a number called body mass index (BMI). Doctors sometimes also use waist and hip measurements to measure a person’s body fat. If you know your weight and height, you can calculate your BMI at CDC’s Assessing Your Weight Web site.

Exercise regularly. Physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight and lower cholesterol and blood pressure. The Surgeon General recommends that adults should engage in moderate-intensity activity for at least 150 minutes per week. Remember to incorporate exercise into your day in different ways: take the stairs instead of the elevator, or rake the yard instead of using the leaf blower. Exercising with friends and family can be a great way to stay healthy and have fun. For more information, visit CDC’s page on physical activity.

Don’t smoke. Cigarette smoking greatly increases your risk for CVD. If you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you do smoke, quit as soon as possible. Your health care team can suggest ways to help you quit. For more information about tobacco use and quitting, see CDC’s Smoking & Tobacco Use Web site and Smokefree.gov.

Limit alcohol use. Avoid drinking too much alcohol, which can increase your blood pressure. Men should stick to no more than two drinks per day, and women to no more than one. For more information, visit CDC’s Alcohol and Public Health Web site.

Manage your diabetes. If you have diabetes, monitor your blood sugar levels closely, and talk with your health care team about treatment options. Visit CDC’s Diabetes Public Health Resource for more information.

Take your medicine. If you’re taking medication to treat high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, or another condition, follow the instructions carefully. Always ask questions if you don’t understand something. If you have side effects, talk with your health care team about your options.
Need more inspiration? The “28 Days to a Healthier Heart” tips can inspire you throughout February and all year long. Follow Million Hearts® on Facebook and Twitter for even more ways to protect your heart and live a longer, healthier life. Million Hearts® is a national initiative to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017.

Together, we all can prevent and manage heart disease, one step at a time.

Source: cdc.gov