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The Season of New Beginnings!

Ah, why hello April! It seems as though spring is already in full swing! We herald the return of the sun's warmth, the renewal of life and the reappearance of green and color everywhere! A beautiful thing, that spring! And in that same vein, we should all make an effort to learn to welcome change with the same hospitality that mother earth does. Change can be beautiful if you are brave enough to evolve with it, after all. :)

Stress-free is the best way to be!

Did you know that April happens to be Stress Awareness month? Stress is a universal issue. Stress happens to us all. Sometimes it's unavoidable, other times it may be unbearable. That's why taking time for yourself to decompress must be made a priority.

Stress is not restricted to simply afflicting your mind; it is proven that it affects us on a cellular level as well. Long-term stress can even lead to a wide range of illnesses-from headaches to stomach disorders to depression. Understanding the connection between mind, stress and health can help improve your well-being and health, while better managing your stress.

The Fight or Flight Response
One of our most basic survival mechanisms, the flight or fight response is a sympathetic stress response that's "hard wired" into our nervous systems. This automatic response is necessary for mobilizing quick reflexes when there is imminent danger, such as swerving to avoid a car crash.

When you perceive a threat, stress hormones rush into your bloodstream-increasing heart rate, blood pressure, and glucose levels. Other hormones also suppress functions like digestion and the immune system, which is one of the reasons why chronic stress can potentially leave you more vulnerable to illness.

Danger triggers the stress response - but, unfortunately, so can work conflicts, worry over debt, bad memories, or anxiety. Although one bad day at work won't compromise your health, weeks or months of stress can dampen your immune response and raise your risk for disease.

Combat Your Stress
If you suffer from chronic stress and can't influence or change the situation, then you'll need to change your approach. Be willing to be flexible. Remember, you have the ability to chose your response to stressors, and you may have to try various options.

  • Recognize when you don't have control, and let it go.
  • Don't allow situations you cannot change make you anxious.
  • Take control of your own reactions, and focus on what makes you feel calm and in control. This may take some practice, but it pays off in peace of mind.
  • Develop a vision for healthy living, wellness, and personal/professional growth and set realistic goals to help you realize your vision.

Relax and Recharge
Be sure to make time for fun and relaxation so you'll be better able to handle life's stressors. Carve some time out of your day - even 10 to 15 minutes - to simply take care of YOU. Also, remember that exercise is an excellent and efficient stress reliever.

Everyone has different ways they like to relax and unwind. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Take a walk
  • Read a book
  • Go for a run
  • Enjoy a movie or TV program
  • Have a cup of tea
  • Play a sport
  • Spend time with a pet, friend or loved one
  • Meditate
  • Listen to music
  • Do yoga
  • Pamper yourself (get a massage/pedicure, etc.)

While you can't avoid stress, you can minimize it by changing how you choose to respond to it. The ultimate reward for your efforts is a healthy, balanced life, with time for work, relationships, and fun.


Springtime Sillies


Actual Facts About April Fools' Day

Whether you happen to be a prankster yourself or not, surely you are familiar with April 1st (better known as April Fools' Day). It's such a fascinating celebration, but how and when did it originate? Read on to learn the answer to this and even more regarding the annual day for pranksters and jokesters!

  • The earliest recorded reference to April Fools’ Day was in Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales in 1392.
  • Although historians believe April Fools’ began in France, no one is entirely certain. One belief is that it began with a calendar change in the 16th century, when Pope Gregory XIII adopted the Gregorian calendar, and New Year’s Day was moved from April 1 to January 1.
  • The French call April 1 Poisson d’Avril, or “April Fish.” French children sometimes tape a picture of a fish on the back of their schoolmates, crying “Poisson d’Avril” when the prank is discovered.
  • In Scotland, April Fools' lasts two days. Victims of pranks are called gowks (cuckoo birds). The second day is known as Taily Day, and pranks involving the backside are played. Supposedly, it is the origin of "kick me" signs.
  • In England, depending on where you live, instead of being called “fool” on April Fools’ Day, you could be called a “noodle,” “noddy,” “gobby” or “gob.”
  • April Fools' Day is observed throughout the Western world. Practices include sending someone on a "fool's errand," looking for things that don't exist; playing pranks; and trying to get people to believe ridiculous things.
  • Even Mark Twain had something to say about April Fools’ Day: “This is the day upon which we are reminded of what we are on the other three hundred and sixty-four.” (Pudd’nhead Wilson, 1894)
  • According to a 2010 national study, 68% of advertising and marketing executives consider April Fools’ pranks unsuitable; only 3% found pranks “very appropriate.”
  • It seems like the Internet has made it so much easier to organize an April Fools' Day prank on a large scale. Google, YouTube and Hulu have organized hilarious and nearly believable April Fools' Day pranks in the past. Plus, any company or individual with a Twitter account can now send out a practical joke in 140 characters or less, which they do in droves. 

Culinary Corner

With the arrival of springtime, we thought we would share some light, refreshing recipes with you all! First we have an egg casserole utilizing delicious veggies that are currently in season. Next recipe, also using the produce you'll find in season, we have a strawberry-rhubarb almond scone (topped with an almond glaze made from scratch!). Both sound quite fitting and perfectly delightful to serve for a spring-inspired brunch with family or friends! 

Spring Vegetable Egg Casserole

Strawberry-Rhubarb Almond Scones

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Absolute Health Care has been providing professional home care and elder support services for over 20 years.