Filters – living through the stresses in our society

Filters - so you can hear the love
Use filters to manage stress and bad news to preserve your health.

I was sitting at a stoplight one block from UNC-Charlotte preparing to turn on to WT Harris Boulevard when it felt like at explosion of sirens went off.  Suddenly there were rescue vehicles coming from everywhere. There were fire trucks, police cars, ambulances, marked and unmarked vehicles with lights and sirens.  It was completely disorienting.  I then watched motorists make all sorts of bad decisions.  Some tried to speed through intersections in front of emergency vehicles.  Some pulled to the right, some pulled to the left, some just stopped where they were.  It was complete chaos with these first responders trying to weave their way through the confused masses to get to the emergency.

It was a couple of hours before I learned that a gunman had entered campus and started shooting in a classroom on the last day of classes for the semester.

It was a few hours after that when I learned of the heroism of Riley Howell who ran toward the gunman and saved many lives while losing his own.

And it was a few hours after that when another life was lost just off campus in an altercation.  This lost life didn’t receive as much attention, but was still a precious life lost.

Then, as were moving our daughter back from Clemson a couple of days later, she received notice of a senior killed when he hit the back of a stopped dump truck on the highway.

In the midst of all of this loss I have talked with several parents of college students.  Some are grieving and throwing themselves into remembrance events.  Some are shocked and having difficulty resuming daily life.  Some are having nightmares and anxiety.  Some are carrying on as if nothing happened.

Healthy Responses

What are healthy responses to the events around us?  Certainly no day carries a guarantee of safety or ease.  And, rarely does a day carry a certainty of difficulty.  Most days arrive, and we use our toolbox of skills and emotional intelligence to get through them.

So what is in your toolbox of skills?

  • Who are the key people who support you?
  • How do you relieve stress?
  • How much attention do you give to the news?
  • How have you been hurt in the past?
  • How have you dealt with that past hurt?
  • What is your source of hope?

Filters as tools

As a healthcare provider, I have encountered countless people with negative health outcomes related to a lack of tools to handle stress and negative events.

Some of these negative health outcomes have included chronic pain, anxiety, depression, isolation, heart attacks, strokes, phobias, and deep anger.

Consider these filters to enhance a healthier response –

  • Gratitude– What is going right in your life? For what can you be thankful?
  • Who/what is higher than you– deity, person, other that can help guide and protect you?
  • Past events– When have you been stressed or in a bad situation in the past and now you are on the other side? You survived.  If all of those events in the past were survivable, how can that bring you hope in this situation?
  • Perspective– What is the worst possible scenario you can imagine? If you can imagine that, your reality is most likely to be much better than that.
  • Let it go– How have you learned to forgive and move on?This is one of the most freeing acts you can take for your own health.

Retirement stress

Are you nearing or past retirement and feel like you’re surrounded by stress and worry?  We can help!

Contact us today at www.retirewellness.com, call 410-472-5078, or e-mail me at michelle@retirewellness.com.

BIBLICAL APPLICATION

I have this mental image of the devil with a bullhorn blasting messages of doubt, insecurity, worry, what-if’s, self-deprecation, and other ugliness right into my brain.  His messages are so noisy and chaotic!  They can pull me down and sit on me to pin me to the ground if I don’t take action.

Do you ever feel the same way?

Jesus is speaking into my other ear with messages of love, acceptance, strength, mercy, and grace. He does not use a bullhorn.  In fact, if I don’t make an effort, I won’t even hear his sweet call.

This is what I picture is happening to each person I meet.

So, how do we tune out the bullhorn and relax into the loving messages?

Here are a few tips that I know to be true.  (Now don’t ask if I practice them every day. I 100% know that my day is so much better when I do, and I still mess up and skip these life-sustaining practices regularly.)

  1. Thanks to the advice of a Godly friend, I use an app called ‘Remember Me’ to keep favorite verses on my phone. When I have a minute here, 5 minutes there, I work to memorize these key verses.
  2. Spend TRULY quiet time focused on God and hearing His voice each day.
  3. Stay in the Word. Keep dedicated Bible reading time and really pray and think about what you are reading, asking God to explain.  It’s amazing what you will learn!
  4. Think outside of yourself. Be aware of the people around you.  Reach out to friends in need.  Reach out to friends who you don’t know are in need (they all have the bullhorn in their ear).
  5. Let God guide your path. Satan will keep you so busy you can’t catch your breath.  Let God quiet you and focus you on what matters.

Here are some favorite verses about God’s deep, unfathomable love for you to get you started!

Romans 5:8 ESV

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

1 John 4:19 ESV

We love because he first loved us.

John 3:16 ESV

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

1 John 4:16 ESV

So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.

Use those filters and have a blessed week!

Michelle

 

 

 

 

Take in-date medications in 2018!

New Year’s Resolution, Remove Expired Medications

Take in-date medications in 2018!
As you start 2018, take the time to dispose of expired medications

The new year is upon us. I hope your 2017 has been full of happy memories and joyous occasions. Now, as we move on to 2018, I have a New Year’s challenge for you. I challenge you to take only in-date medications; remove and properly dispose of expired meds.

WHY worry about the expiration date?

Sometimes we think expiration dates are just there to make us keep buying new medicine. But, in reality, there are TWO big reasons expiration dates are important. Extensive research is done when medications are created to determine for how long they are effective and safe. This date, when either changes, is the expiration date.

Past this date the medicine will not work as well. If you take a medicine to control your blood sugar that is expired, it might not lower your blood sugar as much. If you take an expired medicine for pain, your pain might not go away.

The other risk is a safety risk. Chemicals change over time. Have you ever opened an outdated bottle of aspirin? It smells like vinegar. That is because it changes into new chemicals over time, one of which is vinegar. Other medicines change into chemicals that can be extremely dangerous.

It is not worth the risk.

HOW do I check and dispose of expired meds?

Go through ALL of the medications in your house, cars, purse, etc. Check the expiration date on each one. If it is expired, put it in your discard pile. (But don’t throw it in the trash just yet, there are two more steps).

Next remove all labels that contain information about you or your family. Shred or cut up the label. If you can’t get the label off, scratch out your name and prescription number at least. This is one of many forms of possible identity theft.

Now comes the tricky part. What do you do with all of these medications? There is not an easy answer. In order of ‘best options’, dispose of them in one of these ways:

  1. Take them to a ‘Medication Take-Back’ event sponsored by the Drug Enforcement Agency. Or call the DEA’s Registration Call Center at 1-800-882-9539
  2. Talk with your local pharmacist to see if you pharmacy can dispose of medication. Check this link for participating pharmacies: http://disposemymeds.org/medicine-disposal-locator/ Or, your pharmacist should know who in your community does dispose of medication, if there is a source.
  3. Follow the guidelines in this recently updated FDA directive: https://www.fda.gov/forconsumers/consumerupdates/ucm101653.htm
  4. Dump them out of their bottles and put with kitty litter, coffee grounds, or something else that you can’t eat. Then, seal the container and put it UNMARKED in a garbage bag and out with the garbage.
    1. DO NOT flush the medication or put it down the drain. This leads to it reaching the water supply. This used to be encouraged, and now many medicines/hormones/chemicals have been found in the water supply.
    2. Ultimately, putting them in the trash can lead to them being in the water supply as the trash breaks down and leaches into the ground.
    3. This is why an official ‘take-back’ event is the safest option.

REPLACE the medications you occasionally use

As you are sorting out your expired medicines, keep a list of those you use so you can replace them. If it is a prescription medicine, your can see on the label if there are refills remaining. Note, for non-controlled medicines, there are usually available for up to a year. For controlled medicines, the time might be shorter. If you are beyond that time, and you still need the medicine, call your physician to inquire about another prescription.

As you are replacing medicine, over-the-counter medicine, vitamins, and supplements, know that generic versions are just as good as brand. I purchase generic for my family. They have been carefully tested and regulated by the Food and Drug Administration to assure they contain the same key ingredients and work the same.

This is an important step in your New-Year’s fresh start. It is important for your safety and the safety of your family.

Happy New Year!

For more information about expired medication and proper disposal, contact us at www.medsmash.com/contact, call 410-472-5078, or e-mail michelle@medsmash.com.

BIBLICAL APPLICATION

We are entering a new year. It can be a time to think of fresh starts and hope for the future. It is a great time to reflect on how your life has been changed through your faith.

At the moment we give our life to Christ, we know that our old self is gone. We now live a NEW life in Christ.

Ephesians 4:22-24

To put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

Philippians 3:13-14 ESV

Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

Philippians 3:13-14 ESV

Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Galatians 2:20 ESV

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

What a refreshing reminder! Bask in the glow of your new life in Christ as you enter this new year.

I challenge you to take a challenge I FINALLY took in 2015 and again in 2017. Read the Bible from cover to cover. I have read my Bible, participated in Bible studies, had several Bible-based lessons, but I had never actually read it start to finish. It has been so enlightening! So many things make more sense. And I hear from those who have done this several times, the insights are new and different each time.

I am praying you will be richly blessed in 2018,

Michelle

 

Medications to avoid when over age 65

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Since 1991 there has been a group of geriatricians and other physicians identifying medicines that might be inappropriate in people over age 65. Dr. Mark Beers originally led this group, so it is called the ‘Beers Criteria’. This list has been updated every few years. The most recent update was this month.

The medications on this list have SAFER and/or MORE EFFECTIVE options available.

Some of the reasons for medications to make the list include:

  • blood pressure lowering medicines that cause more dizziness and falls than other options
  • medicines with anticholinergic (very drying) effects that can have several negative effects including worsening memory
  • anxiety medicines that cause thinking/memory problems and falls
  • depression medicines that cause several problems
  • allergy medicines that cause drowsiness, driving accidents, and falls
  • medicines that are cleared from the body through the kidneys which slow down with age
  • medicines that are cleared from the body through the liver which can slow down with age
  • medicines that are ok at low doses but dangerous at high doses
  • medicines that can cause delirium
  • medicines that can worsen memory
  • medicines that can cause constipation
  • medicines that can make urination with prostate enlargement even more difficult

This year, for the first time, guidelines for safer options to replace these dangerous medicines were written. This is exciting news!

If you are over 65, please talk with your prescribers about these lists of potentially inappropriate medicines and these lists of safe alternatives.

For a personal evaluation of your medicines, please contact www.medsmash.com.

Biblical Application

In your daily walk with God, what are the most effective steps and activities? What does the Bible say you should do regularly?

And, where are the pitfalls? What should you avoid?

Just as the Beers List guides prescribers to select the most beneficial and safest medicines, the Bible guides our spiritual practices. Your heart, your tongue, your thoughts, your study, your time, and your actions are included in this guidance.

Romans 12:2 ESV

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Colossians 3:5-10 ESV

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.

James 1:19-20 ESV

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

Ephesians 4:32 ESV

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

James 1:22-27 ESV

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

There are certainly many more verses that guide our lives. These can be a start in developing a strategy to avoid inappropriate, dangerous behaviors and replace them with life-giving, holy options.

Blessings,

Michelle