How to Manage Your Medication, Rather Than Miss It

How hard could it be to manage your medication? You fill the prescription, read the instructions, and place the bottles in your medicine cabinet.

Sure, that part is child’s play, but remembering to take those pills, following the instructions every day, and keeping an eye out for adverse interactions is difficult.

As personal care physicians, we’ve realized there are three types of patients:

  • Those who fill their prescriptions and use them as bathroom decor
  • Those who take their prescriptions diligently…for about a week
  • Those who manage their prescriptions well and don’t forget to floss either
  • If you’re the third person, pat yourself on the back, and move along to one of our other blog posts. Like this one on balancing your hormones naturally.

    But, if you’re here, it’s likely you fall into the first or second category. Don’t worry — most people do!

    In fact, we aren’t perfect either. Yet, we do have a few tips when it comes to organizing and managing your medication, vitamins, and supplements.

    Use a Pill Organizer, Like this One

    Hear us out. We’re big fans of the old lady pillbox. Pillboxes help you take medication every day, even when you’re rushing out the door or on vacation in the Galapagos islands.

    Lucky for you, we’ve found a stylish, discrete, and tech-savvy pillbox.

    The Sagely Smart Weekly Pill Organizer has seven containers which sit on a magnetic tray. The dispensers are large enough to hold fish oil or vitamin D supplements. It’s easy to open, ‘pleasing to the eye,’ and has AM/PM dispensers. Each container is detachable from the tray, so you can tuck it in your purse or pocket.

    You can also download the free reminder app. You type in your medications, set a reminder, and a notification pops up on your phone when it’s time to take your pills. No excuses, right?

    Create a Schedule and Reward Yourself for Sticking to It

    Speaking of reminders — the instructions wrapped around the bottle aren’t suggestions.

    Take it from us. We write prescriptions for natural progesterone frequently and advise our patients to take it at bedtime. But, often, the patient pops the pill in the morning (when they’re more likely to remember).

    While the intention is admirable, the execution leaves them feeling sleepy all day long.

    Timing is important. Sit down with your medication and create a schedule based on the instructions. Set reminders or alarms on your phone (for every day), so you don’t forget.

    Or try setting some “not until” parameters. For example, you’re not allowed to brush your teeth until you take your statin drug. Choose a method (or tasty reward) that’ll work best for you!

    Fill All Your Prescriptions at One Pharmacy

    If you’re taking several prescriptions, we understand the need to hunt down savings. But, there are risks involved when you fill one prescription at CVS and another at Kroger.

    When you go to one location, the pharmacist is aware of all the medications you take. He or she can inform you about potential drug interactions. If you fill your prescriptions at different pharmacies, it may be overlooked.

    They’ll also review the instructions with you so you can stick to that schedule we talked about earlier.

    Be Your Best Advocate and Make Your List

    Of course, your doctors and pharmacists all have your best interest at heart. But you know your body better, and need to play an active role in your healthcare.

    Create a list of all the medications you take. The record will speak for you in case you can’t. Plus, it can be hard to remember everything!

    WebMD has a drug interaction tracker. You enter the names of all your medications, vitamins, and supplements. It will tell you if there’s any overlap, and you can discuss with your doctor whether any interactions are a significant concern or not.

    These are a few best practices to manage your medication, supplements, and vitamins.

    Use a pillbox to get organized and keep your medicine at top-of-mind. Take time to create a list of your medication, the instructions, and if there are any potential drug interactions. Then, create a schedule and stick to it!

    Did we miss a tip? Share how you manage your medication below!

    Do You Feel Off? Here’s the Secret to Balancing Your Hormones Naturally

    How many hours of sleep do you get at night?

    Statistics report 36.7% of adults in Tennessee sleep less than seven hours in a 24-hour period. Guidelines say you need seven hours or more for optimal health.

    If you want to balance your hormones naturally, you need quality sleep.

    Take a second to think about your nightly routine.

    Do you lie in bed reading articles on your phone? Or watch TV until you doze off? Do you wake up multiple times throughout the night?

    We can see you typing now…

    But, Fitbit said I slept eight hours!

    Sure, you might be lying in bed for an appropriate amount of time, but you may not be getting quality sleep.

    The National Sleep Foundation said the key determinants of quality sleep are:

  • Sleeping at least 85 percent of the total time you’re in bed
  • Falling asleep in 30 minutes or less
  • Waking up no more than once per night
  • Being awake for 20 minutes or less after you initially fall asleep
  • How does your sleep stack up?

    When your body is well-rested, it produces more growth hormones, and stress hormones are metabolized. You lower your blood sugar and decrease cravings.

    On the other side of the pillow, sleep deprivation is associated with an increased risk for obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and depression.

    Let’s add menopause and andropause to the pot.

    Hormone imbalances cause weight gain, hair loss, depression, anxiety, hot flashes, low libido, and a general feeling of unwellness.

    Abracadabra, you’re now a hermit.

    When you don’t feel well, it’s easy to close the blinds and hide under the covers. You miss out on living life because you feel drained, frumpy, irritable, and off.

    We wish there were a counterspell to help people naturally produce more estrogen or testosterone.

    But, despite our best efforts or intentions, we don’t get to control the aging process that comes with being human (bioidentical hormone replacement therapy does slow it down though).

    However, you can maximize other things to help minimize the symptoms related to the drop in hormones.

    And that starts with quality sleep.

    Here’s something else to consider.

    We see patients who make the mistake of relying on medication, such as Ambien, to get some shut-eye.

    But taking sleep medication is a short-lived strategy with a long list of bad side effects, from drowsiness and headaches to memory loss and diarrhea.

    So, here’s what you need to do to sleep well, reclaim your energy, and balance your hormones naturally.

    1. Eat a high-protein breakfast in the morning.
    2. Limit your coffee intake to one cup per day (and no caffeine 6 hours or less before bedtime).
    3. Take a magnesium supplement to relieve insomnia.
    4. Stay hydrated throughout the day.
    5. Stop eating three hours before bedtime.
    6. Pick a bedtime, and stick to it!
    7. Skip sleep medication, but, if you need a little assist, try melatonin.
    8. Meditate — it can be as easy as focusing on your breath for five minutes.
    9. Establish a ‘No Pet’ rule for your bed.
    10. Turn off night lights, TVs, and lamps. Immerse yourself in complete darkness.
    11. Keep electronic devices out of the bedroom.
    12. If you like to read before bed, use a print book or an e-reader that doesn’t emit light.
    13. Treat your bedroom as a sanctuary for only sleep and sex.

    Your body functions better when you get quality sleep.

    But, every body is different. People who have a chronic illness, are stressed, or have a history of depression or anxiety may be at more risk for poor sleep. Poor sleep could also be a sign of a medical condition.

    Talking with your doctor or a hormone specialist is the best first step you can take. Then, consider what your habits are each night. How can you improve your chances of falling asleep quickly and staying asleep until morning?

    To balance your hormones naturally, you’ll need a little knowledge and lots of discipline.

    Was there something on this list you could change today to get better sleep?

    Are You Taking Statin Drugs? If So, You Need this Supplement

    You’re home from the doctor; a packet of information in one hand and a prescription bottle in the other.

    You’re on strict orders to lower your fat and carbohydrate intake. Plus, add exercise to your daily routine.

    We’re sorry to say; you’re not done yet.

    If your primary care doctor prescribed a statin drug, such as Lipitor®, Zocor®, or the like, you need to check your coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) levels.

    While your body will produce less CoQ10 as you age, you’re at a higher risk of depletion when you take statin drugs.

    When this depletion occurs, the side effects of statin drugs can increase.

    Those side effects include:

  • muscle pain
  • nausea
  • diarrhea
  • liver and kidney damage
  • increased blood sugar levels
  • Your body makes CoQ10 naturally. In short, it’s the Energizer bunny to your cells.

    Your cells need the energy to repair, build, and fight off intrusion. On any given day, muscle fibers break down and rebuild to get stronger. Old cells are shuffled out the door, and new cells move in.

    But, when your CoQ10 levels go down, the whole system begins to collapse.

    You’ll notice when you’re in short supply of CoQ10. It’ll affect your mobility — your knees might collapse, or you might experience joint pain.

    To replenish CoQ10, you can try adding oily fish and organ meats (like beef liver) to your diet. Or, you can take a supplement.

    CoQ10 is readily available. We won’t go into how to choose a supplement today, but you can read this post for quick tips.

    CoQ10 comes in two forms: ubiquinol, the active antioxidant form, and ubiquinone, the oxidized form.

    Some might argue ubiquinol is a better supplement. Basically, it saves your body one step in the breakdown process. Price wise, there’s no difference. We suggest speaking with your doctor to see which option (and what dosage) would be right for you.

    When you take statin drugs, you’re improving one thing but taking away the benefit of another. But, it’s important not to be leary of taking statin drugs.

    If you add CoQ10, you can protect yourself from the depletion and enjoy the benefit of strong muscles and a healthy heart.

    However, we do recommend seeking more in-depth testing if your primary doctor suggests statin drugs. A cardiologist can perform a higher level of testing to see what would be the best plan for your body — and statin drugs might not be a beneficial option.

    Your physician might also recommend following up with additional blood work. It’s essential you do this, so you know your liver is functioning well.

    Many of our patients book a consultation with us after a physical exam with their primary care doctor. We help people make sense of their lab work and create a customized plan that treats the whole body.

    If you’ve been prescribed statin drugs and are concerned about your CoQ10 levels, schedule a free consultation with us today and we’ll talk to you about the options you have for maintaining quality of life.

    How to Choose Safe Supplements and Vitamins: The Questions to Ask

    Whether you shop at the grocery store, pharmacy, or online, you know too many options aren’t always a good thing.

    Staring at row upon row of vitamins is overwhelming. How do you know which brand to buy? What do the different ingredients mean? And which one contains the correct dosage?

    It’s easy to grab the vitamin bottle that’s on sale and call it a day. But, easy can sometimes mean unsafe. Harmful fillers, additives, and contaminants can block absorption of nutrients, increase cancer risk, and cause allergic reactions.

    In fact, in our last post, we mentioned a patient who was experiencing bladder irritation because of a reaction to the dye in her supplement capsule.

    You can learn more about these harmful ingredients here. Today, we want to focus on helping you choose a safe supplement or vitamin. Read below to discover what questions to ask when searching for a safe, natural brand.

    Narrow Down the List to 3 Smaller Operations

    The work will begin before you create your grocery list.

    Large corporations usually add fillers for easier and faster production. And cheap brands typically mean inexpensive ingredients.

    For example, although two brands contain the same thing — such as cranberry extracts — the reputable companies take the first extraction of the cranberries. The cheap brands get what’s left, which is usually the stem.

    So, skip the bottom of the barrel. And research smaller companies with high standards, good ethics, and an extensive background in herbal medicine.

    Are the products made in the United States? Where are the ingredients sourced? Are they organically and sustainably sourced? Who owns the company? And what are the company’s values?

    In our practice, we give our patients two to three reputable brands to choose from, so they can buy one that best fits their budget.

    Read the Labels

    A simple task but rarely done. You won’t know what’s in your supplement unless you read the label.

    Avoid artificial coloring. While it’s tempting to buy the gummy vitamins, unnatural dyes serve no function other than to make your capsule look pretty.

    You should also avoid products that include fillers, such as hydrogenated oils, magnesium stearate, and titanium oxide. They may be listed in small print as “inactive ingredients.”

    While some inactive ingredients are used to hold the supplement together, most of these ingredients are unnecessary and unhealthy.

    If you’re gluten sensitive or have Celiac disease, you’ll also want to investigate whether the supplement or vitamin contains gluten.

    Opt for a Vegetable Casing

    Do you take medicine for acid reflux? If you do, you know it decreases the acid in your stomach. The vitamin casings are meant to dissolve in stomach acid. So, if you’re reducing the amount of acid in your stomach, the casing will go straight through you and could cause stomach distress.

    When possible, choose a supplement or vitamin with a vegetable casing that can easily break down. It’s safe, natural, and often tasteless.

    In less than an hour, you could prevent unnecessary medical problems by researching reputable companies, reading labels, and choosing a natural alternative to supplements and vitamins. If you want to learn more about natural ways to improve your life, you can read about our bioidentical hormones here.

    Have a friend who may be experiencing an adverse reaction from cheap vitamins? Share this post with them!

    What’s the Difference Between a Personal Care and Primary Care Physician?

    When you’re feeling fatigued, distracted, or depressed, who do you go to for a solution?

    A nurse practitioner? Your primary care physician? A gynecologist or urologist?

    Unfortunately, when it comes to your health, knowing where to go isn’t always clear-cut.

    In fact, one of our most frequently asked questions is

    “What’s the difference between a primary care physician and you?”

    The short answer is with personalized care, you get:

  • A team of professionals who specialize in elder care, urology, and gynecology in a private, unhurried office setting.
  • But the real benefits go beyond the waiting room. And while we aren’t here to replace your primary care doctor, we offer a different look at the bigger picture.

    Below are some of the key (and often unknown) differences between seeking care from a primary care physician and a personal care physician.

    You get solutions that don’t require a prescription pad (or invasive procedures)

    Many of our patients visit us after seeing their primary care doctor, gynecologist, or urologist. Usually, it’s because they’ve received lab work but can’t make sense of the results.

    Their doctor may sign them off with a clean bill of health or write a prescription — either way; there isn’t a clear understanding of why.

    So, here’s how we approach it — we examine the lab work, spend time getting to know, and then walk you through the numbers. For example, why is your vitamin D low? Is the deficiency connected to current medications or a pre-existing disease?

    Why is it important to raise it? How can we do that without changing your current medication or adding more pills to the mix?

    Our goal, in the long-term, is to help you get off medication. We explore alternative options, such as supplements, dietary changes, and exercise.

    Plus, the better you understand what’s going on with you, the more likely you are to participate in improving your health.

    You have time to ask questions and get answers

    How often do you sit in a waiting room for 30 minutes? An hour? Maybe longer? All to see the doctor for a fleeting moment?

    Nothing is more frustrating than arriving to your appointment armed with questions/concerns — just to be hurried out the door.

    Healthcare is our expertise, but listening is our priority. Our days are scheduled to give personalized, quality time to each patient.

    For example, one of our patients was experiencing bladder irritation. She was visiting her doctor for solutions and taking supplements. But nothing was changing. During our consultation, we evaluated every possible cause — from her diet to her bathroom habits.

    By taking the time to investigate the subtle details of her health and lifestyle, we discovered the issue was blue dye in her supplement capsule. Then, we found a non-medicative solution — that’s easily implemented. Our patient now avoids blue dye in her food and supplements.

    You get customized weight management and nutrition plans

    Mythbuster: Not all of our patients need hormone replacement therapy.

    In fact, we may only see you one time. Even if you’re experiencing signs of menopause or andropause, it may not be time to treat your hormones.

    Maybe in ten years, but we may see other areas that can be improved first. Like your sleep, mood swings, weight gain, or deficiencies. We’ll make suggestions on your health, the type of exercise your body needs, and your diet.

    This approach is unique to what we do. We have the training and experience to understand what you’re saying and how it affects your body. We focus on you and not whatever shot or pill is trending.

    Our goal is to work with patients, so they can become a whole person, real person, and vital person. What other questions do you have about personal care? Ask us on Facebook or email us!

    How a Healthy Relationship with Your Spouse Can Reduce the Risk of Dementia

    A recent study shows positive support from your spouse, partner, or close family member can reduce your risk of dementia. Maybe even up to 17 percent.

    Dementia is both well-known and puzzling. It can be caused when the brain is damaged by Alzheimer’s disease or by a series of strokes.

    The symptoms start off minor, but they can become severe and wreak havoc on your daily life.

    Most dementia cannot be cured. But treatments, such as advice, support, therapy, and activities provide a better quality of life.

    While a healthy marriage probably won’t prevent dementia, it can help. Specifically, relationships that are reliable, approachable, and understanding are what reduces your risk.

    And a relationship that’s all those things (and more) starts with communicating, better.

    Don’t click back to Facebook just yet! Because, whether you’ve been married for 5, 15, or 30 years, the way you communicate with your spouse can always be improved. Here are a few tips you can try today.

    Listen…over and over again

    Do you feel bored when your husband gives you a play-by-play of his golf game that day? Or when your wife goes on (and on) about a project she’s tackling at work?

    You might know all the details–or think it’s the same old story in a different package–but showing interest in your partner’s day is a way of getting closer. While it might not (directly) benefit you, it does help your spouse.

    You’re sharing time, space, and love. Even if you know the answer, ask questions to further the conversation or clarify a specific detail. “Wait. Could you show me the new technique you used?”

    If you need to interrupt, ask permission first, “Sorry. Can I ask you a question about your client real quick?”

    Even a simple task like creating a grocery list together can strengthen your communication and produce feelings of well-being.

    Try mirroring

    If you feel a disagreement coming on, apply the “mirroring” technique.

    Listen to your partner’s side of the argument. Then, start with the words, “So what I think I hear you say is….”. Repeat what the other person said (or what you heard in your own words).

    Often what you heard is not what was meant–especially in text.

    Mirroring lets the speaker know if you heard them correctly or if they didn’t communicate their meaning with clarity. If it was wrong, give them an opportunity to re-explain. You can learn more about mirroring here. But, don’t overuse this technique as it can be disruptive and tiring.

    Speak with their love language

    Gary Chapman came up with the idea that men and women have five love languages: affirmation, receiving gifts, quality time, acts of service, and physical touch. It’s important to know which language speaks to you and your partner.

    Not sure what yours is? Pour a glass of wine (or a cup of tea) for you and your spouse. Then, you can both take the test here.

    Not feeling so sharp this week? Read our tips on how to boost your memory in this blog post.

    4 Ways to Protect Your Skin from Menopause

    Skin care commercials can cause a lot of eye-rolling.

    An older woman with perfectly-photoshopped skin uses a facial cream which gives her more perfectly-photoshopped skin. Miracle in a jar?

    Doubt it. And we know you do too.

    So, what can you do to protect your skin from the frustrating effects of menopause, like wrinkling, drying, breakouts, and itching?

    Fortunately, perimenopause and menopause happen slowly over time, which means you don’t have to grab the first product off the shelf. You can get to know your skin (better) and find a routine that works for you.

    Grow-Up Your Skincare Routine

    How long has it been since you updated your skin care routine? If feathered bangs and tanning oil ring a bell, then it might be time to schedule a skin care consultation.

    What worked for your skin at 15, 25, 35, and even 45 won’t cut it now that you’re going through menopause. Your estrogen levels have dropped which causes collagen, an essential protein in skin, to decrease too. Not to mention the loss of fat in your face that causes wrinkles.

    We suggest skipping the guesswork and DIY tricks. Talk to a dermatologist to get customized recommendations and stay one step ahead of menopause.

    Care for Your Whole Body (Not Just Your Face)

    Your face isn’t the only part of your body that experiences changes. But, we probably don’t have to tell you twice.

    Even if you keep your legs, thighs, and arms covered like it’s the dead of winter, your body needs some TLC. Drink eight glasses of water per day to flush your system. And moisturize every morning after showering to reclaim glow and counteract dryness.

    You can also take Omega-3 fish oil supplements to lessen the impact of dryness.

    Keep Your Skin Firm

    As opposed to loosey-goosey, right? Of course, you want tight, youthful looking skin! But achieving this can seem daunting.

    Don’t resign yourself just yet. Try using a glycolic acid moisturizer along with exfoliation to slough off age spots and rough skin. Be careful as glycolic can be irritating (which is why speaking with a dermatologist is important).

    Second, invest in collagen-building cream to improve thickness and elasticity. You should also avoid collagen killers, like smoking, stress, poor hydration, and poor nutrition. And of course, we recommend hormone replacement therapy to help with declining skin elasticity.

    Protect Your Skin from the Sun

    Most importantly, retire that tanning oil and give SPF a job. Decreasing your exposure to the sun will not only reduce your chances of skin cancer but fortify your skin against further signs of aging. For optimal protection, try SPF 30 UVA/UVB.

    Want the perfect solution to your skincare routine? Everyone you talk to will have a different opinion of what works and what doesn’t. There isn’t a wrong or right answer, but you should consider your overall health, skin type, lifestyle, and family history. And getting a personalized, custom recommendation from a healthcare professional will put you one step closer to a routine that fits you.

    Is Your Heart Health Affecting Your Life?

    Few organs in the human body are as vital as your heart. Weighing an average of 11 ounces, the heart transports oxygen, provides your body with nutrients, and removes toxins.

    But what about your heart’s function in the bedroom?

    You’re familiar with the deep sound, la dub, la dub, as anticipation builds up. And the hard pounding in your chest as it gets hot and heavy under the sheets.

    But did you know cardiovascular health can affect your ability to perform?

    One study says men with multiple risk factors for heart disease may be more likely to develop erectile dysfunction.

    The researchers focused on seven risk factors for heart disease: high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, obesity, poor diet, and smoking. You can read more about the study here.

    So the good news is you can take steps to reduce the risk of erectile dysfunction (like you can reduce the risk of heart disease).

    Here are a few ways to enjoy a healthy heart and sex life:

    Exercise and eat a heart-healthy diet

    It’s no exaggeration to say healthy eating and exercise is important for your heart. Just look at these numbers:

    • In 2013, a study reported a 21% reduction in coronary heart disease (CHD) events in men due to higher levels of physical activity.
    • American Heart Association (AHA) reported that active people with high blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and heart disease are less likely to die prematurely than inactive people with the same conditions.
    • Statistics show that 21% of chronic heart disease is attributable to a BMI above 21.

    Ready to get moving? Check with your doctor first. But the AHA recommends moderate to vigorous physical activity 3 to 4 times per week.

    When it comes to the kitchen, control your portion size, eat more vegetables and fruits, choose whole grains, and limit unhealthy fat.

    Reduce your alcohol intake and smoking

    We get it. You’ve been drinking or smoking since you came of age (or at least your parents thought it was your first beer). But, there comes a time in every man’s life where “in moderation” is no longer an option.

    Or as C.S. Lewis put it, “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”

    Want to spice things up in the bed? Set a new goal to reduce (or cut out) alcohol and smoking. Take small steps at first, like only drinking one glass of wine in the evenings. Then gradually trim from there.

    Watch your numbers

    Too many people wait until they visit their healthcare provider to check their cholesterol, blood pressure, and sugar levels. But early detection is what you can save your (sex) life.

    Here are a few apps to help you keep track of your numbers daily.

    • Instant Heart Rate+ for iPhone or Android measures your pulse using your smartphone camera.
    • Blood Pressure Companion for iPhone measures your blood pressure and heart rate while helping you analyze progress over time.
    • Blood Glucose Tracker for Android helps you log and analyze your blood glucose levels and track blood sugars.

    Find a healthcare specialist

    There’s tons of advice, articles, and guidance out there to help you improve your heart health and sex life on your own. But working with a healthcare provider who specializes in hormone therapy is the safest and most effective way to get back on track.

    By combining your health history, lifestyle, lab work, and personal goals, you get a customized treatment plan that returns your body to its natural functions. Here’s more detailed information about customized therapy plans.

    But don’t hesitate to call us today to schedule an in-person consultation. We’ll review your options and talk to you more about how hormone replacement therapy can help your desire and ability for sex improve.

    Falling Behind At Work? Here are 4 Ways to Boost Your Productivity Right Now

    Everybody falls behind at work. We all can’t be perfect, right?

    But with age comes even greater challenges. Symptoms like forgetfulness, fatigue, or cognitive decline can decrease your levels of productivity.

    But don’t order your retirement cake just yet. You aren’t alone.

    The Pew Research Center studied employment data from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 2016, 18.8% of Americans who are 65 years or older reported working full-time or part-time. While in 2012, only 12.8% of older Americans said they worked.

    Researchers expect that number to break the 30% mark by 2022.

    It’s a fact. We’re living longer and healthier lives. That gives us a choice to work past the age of retirement because we can, not because we have to.

    But how do you keep up with younger coworkers who zoom around the office like the Energizer bunny?

    Unfortunately, there isn’t a battery you can buy to help you reach your sales quota or knock out 40 hours of work in one day.

    But there are a few things you can do right now to catch up.

    Ready? Pry open those peepers. And let’s boost your productivity and finish work before the clock strikes 6.

    Listen to upbeat music

    Music can add zen (or rage) to your morning commute. It can empower you to finish that last quarter mile. And it drowns out your coworker who always has an endless stream of gossip.

    And now researchers say happy, upbeat music helps you to be more productive and cooperative at work.

    Check out this article on The Muse. Choose a Spotify playlist that fits your current mood. For example, are you prepping for a meeting or hitting the mid-afternoon slump?

    Hit play and get to work!

    Work smarter (not harder) with your phone

    It’s no secret. With smart phones, we can quickly respond to emails, access our files anywhere, and connect to new opportunities.

    But now we’ve got the stats to support it. One survey shows that people who use their smartphone to get work done are 34% more productive.

    For example, download Todoist. You can assign tasks, create lists with deadlines and reminders, and collaborate on projects. Plus, you get a nice feeling of accomplishment when you tick off a task.

    Procrastinating? Check out The Forest App. It helps you focus on your work–no matter where you are or what fight broke out on Twitter. When it’s time to work, you plant a tree. As long as you don’t navigate away from the app within the set timeframe, the tree grows.

    You can find more apps to increase your productivity here.

    Mingle with co-workers in the break room

    Seems counterproductive, right?

    But in a study last year, Bank of America allowed employees to enjoy break time together. After, they measured a 15-20% rise in productivity and a 19% drop in stress levels.

    So this one’s pretty easy–step away from the desk. Find a co-worker or two. Socialize, spark some conversation, and make a connection. Bounce some ideas off your colleague or find someone to collaborate on that project with you.

    You’ll feel a renewed sense of productivity when you head back to your desk–a suggested 15 to 20 minutes later. You don’t want to upset the boss, of course.

    Take a quick afternoon siesta

    We admit. You may not have the option of taking a quick nap at work. We’ve saved this last tip for the lucky ones who do.

    If you can reserve part of your lunch break for a nap, you can think like you did five years ago.

    Yes, you read that right. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania say a short sleep in the afternoon improves thinking and memory skills. And it makes the brain perform as if it were five years younger.

    The study suggested an hour was best. If you rest for a shorter or longer period, it could actually make your performance worse.

    In short…

    Don’t sit at your desk in silence for 8 hours!

    Turn up some tunes, chat with a coworker, and give your body some rest when it needs it.

    Oh, and make that smartphone work for its hefty price tag. Find some apps that can help you focus and stay on task. Plus, you’ll impress those younger colleagues with how tech savvy you’ve are!

    Still feeling drained? Check out our article for more energy-boosting tips.

    How to Keep Your Memory Sharp: 3 Tips to Try Today

    What’s your biggest concern when it comes to aging?

    Affordable health care?
    Physical health?
    Retirement plans?
    How about memory loss?

    For 35% of older Americans, memory loss is a top concern of aging. And 38% of professionals agree.

    Do you ever….

  • Talk to a friend about a book you’re reading but forget the name of the main character?
  • Start driving to the store, but halfway there you can’t remember where you’re going?
  • Miss appointments, frequently lose your glasses, or forget the steps to your favorite pot roast recipe?
  • These lapses in memory are frustrating, but most of the time, they aren’t a concern for more serious problems, like mild cognitive impairment or dementia.

    And even if you’re healthy, it’s okay to experience forgetfulness as you age.

    However, there are steps you can take to prevent cognitive decline and increase your chances of maintaining a healthy memory.

    First, consider a health screening. An article in the BMJ recommends a memory screen if:

  • You’re 65 or older
  • Have been diagnosed with an illness (for example, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, or stroke disease) which increases the possibility of dementia
  • Or have a family history of dementia
  • Then, read below for easy (we promise) steps you can take to be sharp as a tack.

    Here’s a tip: Jot down notes on everything you learn—and want to try—in this post. Putting pen to paper boosts your memory and the ability to retain concepts.

    Get healthy

    If you’re one of our regular readers, you’ve noticed we talk about healthy choices often.

    But that’s because it works. In 2015, the Boston University School of Medicine found more evidence that exercise is beneficial for brain and cognition.

    People who eat right, exercise regularly, and break bad habits live their life with more vitality and strength. And we’re not talking about bodybuilders or marathon runners. These are average Joes and Janes who make small choices that reap big results.

    For example, they don’t smoke and limit their alcohol intake. And they engage in moderate to intense exercise for 20 to 30 minutes each day.

    Here’s a blog post we wrote with a few suggestions of exercises you can do at home.

    They also eat vegetables and lean meats instead of burgers with fries.

    Can you treat yourself occasionally? Sure!

    But, those occasions are exactly that—a treat. If you want to feel more confident both mentally and physically, then start today with making healthy decisions. Foods that increase memory include avocados, blueberries, broccoli, salmon, walnuts, and—wait for it—dark chocolate.

    Socialize (offline)

    Socializing can also boost your memory. In fact, a study in California reported older women who maintained large social networks reduced their risk of dementia and delayed or prevented cognitive impairment.

    A large social network could be three to five close friends or 15 to 20 acquaintances.

    When you engage socially, you have to process what other people say and then think about how to respond. This activity stimulates your brain.

    Not sure how to escape the hermit life and get social? Make a list of activities you enjoy. Like reading, walking, or cooking. Find groups or classes on Facebook or Meetup that do what you love. Or start your own!

    Reduce Stress

    Whether you’re 25 or 55, stress puts a strain on your brain—or in more technical terms, it increases the stress hormone cortisol and affects brain function.

    Studies show when you’re stressed, electrical signals in the brain associated with factual memories weaken. And areas of the brain related to emotions strengthen.

    That’s why you not only forget your keys but cry about it too.

    So, how do you reduce stress? Easy.

  • Exercise
  • Eat foods that are antioxidant rich—like fruits, veggies, green tea, and dark chocolate
  • Meditate each morning. Here’s a guide for beginners.
  • Notice a common theme here?

    It’s time to ask yourself what’s more important. Spending hours in front of the TV snacking? Or having a strong memory and sharp mind?

    We understand breaking habits and creating new ones is hard—especially as you age. But if you can overcome it, you’ll feel more confident in your interactions with other people.

    Need help getting started? Give us a call. We’ll assess your health and help you create a plan to get your mind back on track.