Skin Cancer: Risk and Prevention

8-4-skin-cancer-image(1)For many of us, summertime means fun in the sun—family vacations, relaxing on the beach, exploring mountain trails, biking around the neighborhood. It’s a great time to be outside, get some exercise, and enjoy being with family and friends. But it’s important to remember the need to protect your skin from excessive sun exposure, regardless of your age, skin tone, or race.

 

The Dangers of UV Exposure

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the World Health Organization have both identified UV radiation as a proven human carcinogen. Exposure to these invisible rays is behind 80% of your skin’s aging.

UVA rays are much more prevalent than UVB, accounting for 95% of all UV radiation. And though less intense and unlikely to cause a sunburn, recent studies indicate these rays contribute directly to premature skin aging and wrinkling, and can start the development of cancer in the outer layer of skin. These are the tanning rays, whether from the sun or a tanning bed. They penetrate more deeply than their UVB counterparts, and play a larger role in skin aging.

UVB rays, though less prevalent, are the most common cause of sunburn and reddening of the visible skin layer, and play a larger role in the development of skin cancer. Though harmful year-round, UVB intensity increases from April to October, between 10 am to 4 pm, when so many of us are enjoying time outdoors.

UVA and UVB rays work together to cause damage to your skin, and can ultimately contribute to skin cancer.

 

What is Skin Cancer?

Skin cancer is defined as the uncontrolled growth of abnormal skin cells which results in tumors.

About 95% of skin cancer patients have basal or squamous cell cancers, which are are less serious and more easily treated. These non-melanoma cancers can be caused by various amounts of sun exposure and are generally curable if caught early.

Melanoma, though far less common, is also far more dangerous and is responsible for 75% of skin-cancer-related deaths. Those diagnosed with Melanoma have developed abnormal pigment cells called melanocytes which, if left untreated or undetected, can spread the cancer to other organs.

 

How to Spot Melanoma. The ABCDE Rule:

  • Asymmetry—one half of the mole doesn’t match the other
  • Border—edges are uneven or irregular
  • Color—uneven patches of color
  • Diameter—significant changes in size
  • Evolving—any new spot or mole changes in size, shape, or color

If any of these characteristics become apparent, it’s best to consult with a physician as soon as possible.

 

Prevention

One sunburn every two years triples your risk of skin cancer. It is by far the most common form of cancer, but also the most preventable. Common sense and careful precautions can easily reduce or even eliminate serious risk:

  • Apply sunscreen with SPF of 30 or more for UVB protection and apply Zinc Oxide for UVA protection 20 minutes before sun exposure, and again every two hours
  • Wear clothing, cosmetic products, and contact lenses with UV protection
  • Wear sunglasses with total UV protection and hats to shade face and neck
  • Avoid direct sunlight as much as possible between peak UV hours (10 am–4 pm)
  • Avoid tanning beds (They emit as much as 12 times the amount of UVA rays as the sun!)
  • Know your skin! Perform exams to be aware of any new growths or changes in existing growths

 

 




Mindful Exercise and Wellness

Mindful Exercise

By Cheryl Jones, Director of Mindfulness at Aetna

When it comes to wellness, exercise is often the unsung hero. Regular exercise reduces the risk of disease and other unhealthy conditions, improves our mood, helps control body weight, improves sleep, and increases energy levels.

Over the past decade, there have been numerous studies showing how mindful meditation reduces stress. So, as an exercise physiologist and mindfulness teacher, I decided to combine the two for even greater impact. Here are some questions I am often asked.

What is mindful exercise?

Mindful exercise is about paying attention, in the present moment, to the experience of exercise through kindness and patience. You can think about exercise as physical activity, or as just plain movement.

Can you provide an example of mindful exercise in practice?

Try taking off the headphones and turning off the TV. See if you simply notice the sensations of breathing and moving. You might notice your heart rate getting faster, your body warming up, or perspiration. You may also be aware of your muscles working, pain, fatigue, or exhilaration.

How will it change the way I exercise now?

You’ll likely notice things about your body you’ve never noticed before, and be able to reduce your chance of injury. As you tune into your body you’ll take better care of yourself, in general. Mindful exercise is not “vanilla”, so to speak. It’s a way of moving that will help you create a sense of balance.

Are some exercises more conducive to mindfulness than others?

You can bring mindfulness into any physical activity or sport. Whether it’s going to the gym, walking around your neighborhood, golfing, gardening, or taking a yoga class. By the way, not all yoga is mindful. It’s not “what” you’re doing, it’s “how” you’re doing it.

What do I focus during mindful exercise?

You don’t need to focus, per se, on anything. It’s more of a gentle awareness of whatever is happening in your body, without criticism. You’ll likely notice thoughts and feelings, too. When your mind wanders off, realize what thought has drawn your attention away,  and then bring your attention back to your breath and movement. If an emotion bubbles up, you should acknowledge whatever is true for you. Mindful exercise involves managing distraction and being aware of what is happening within you, and without self-judgment.

My exercise routines are so boring. Will that change?

Bringing mindfulness into an exercise routine can transform it into a practice of self-discovery, and for some a spiritual practice. You’ll learn how to access your inner stillness and connect with the wisdom of your body. As you tune into what your body needs, you’ll likely be more creative with your exercise routines. You may even be more open to trying different types of physical activity.

Will mindfulness change my exercise results?

If you’re doing any type of strength-training routine, mindful exercise will make your workouts more effective. Moving slowly and purposefully will help you become stronger, faster. Your workouts will be shorter because you’ll be doing less reps, and doing them more slowly. You’ll notice the difference between muscle pain and joint pain. You’ll learn to stretch but not overstretch, keeping your body safe.

What other changes might I notice?

Overall, you’ll be more tuned in to your own body and you’ll know yourself better. Your body will always tell you if something is a good idea or a bad one. If your body likes your choice, it will respond with relief. If it doesn’t, the body will tense up. You’ll be better able to manage or reduce stress and stressful thoughts that drain your energy level and keep you up at night. You’ll also be more in touch with your feelings and be able to regulate strong emotions so you can respond rather than react in stressful situations.

How will mindful exercise benefit my life?

Practicing patience and kindness with your body will spill over into other areas of your life. You’ll likely be more patient and kind to other people. The body’s capabilities change from day to day and mindfulness will enable you to be in a place of gratitude for whatever the body is capable of that day. You’ll learn to feel more grateful for the magnificence of your body regardless of size, age, or health status. As you focus on what’s right about your body you’ll focus more on what’s right about your life.




Health Insurance Terms You Should Know, but Were Afraid to Ask About

Health Insurance Terms You Should Know, but Were Afraid to Ask About

March 2016, a study revealed about a quarter of adults in Texas lacked confidence in the meaning of several basic health insurance terms.

So what does this have to do with those of you who live outside the border of the Lone Star State? The study may indicate a potentially greater dilemma: The general lack of confidence in understanding health insurance terms among the nation’s insurance consumers.

Rice University’s Becker Institute Study

The study polled Texans aged 18-64 about their level of confidence in understanding seven health insurance terms. These terms were not legalese or arcane—they were standard terminology used to describe health plan features. The percentages below represent the percentage of respondents who replied they were “not too confident” or “not at all confident” about understanding the terms. (The other two categories respondents could have replied with were “very confident” or “somewhat confident.”)

Health Insurance Terms and Percentage Who Lacked Confidence

  • Premium                  2 percent
  • Deductible                6 percent
  • Co-payment             5 percent
  • Co-insurance           3 percent
  • Max Out of Pocket   2 percent
  • Provider Network     2 percent
  • Covered Service      8 percent

The overall lack of confidence for terms which are important to fully understanding the features of current or future health care insurance greatly influence purchasing decisions.

Health Insurance Terms 101

In the hopes of helping even just one person, we provide definitions for these seven terms.

Premium: The amount that is paid monthly/quarterly or yearly to possess health insurance. If you pay monthly, it is similar to your cable bill. It comes each month and payment keeps the service active. You may not see the premium if your employer helps pay it, as it comes directly out of your paycheck.

Co-payment: A fixed amount (for example, $25) you pay for an insurance-covered health care service. It is normally paid at the time you receive the medical service. The amount can vary depending on the medical procedure or test.

Provider Network: This network is a group of health care providers (hospitals, nurses, doctors, etc.) that have contracted with a health insurance company to provide care at a discount.

Deductible: The amount of money you pay for expenses before your insurance plan begins to pay. For example, if your deductible is $300, and your doctor’s visit costs $2,000, you would pay the $300 deductible and insurance would pay the remaining $1,700. However, if your entire medical bill for the doctor’s visit is $300, you would pay the entire amount.

Co-insurance: Co-insurance is the fee you pay for services, after the deductible.

For example, after an insured individual has paid the deductible, they are responsible for a percentage of the remaining costs, depending on the co-insurance split (80/20, 90/10, and 70/30 are common co-insurance splits). The insured pays the smaller percentage and the insurer pays the higher percentage.

Max Out of Pocket: The most you have to pay for covered services in a plan year. After you spend this amount on deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance, your health plan pays 100% of the costs of covered benefits.

Covered Services: The services, drugs, supply, and equipment which your health care plan covers.

Become Informed and Ask Questions

A health insurance plan is a major investment. It is important to determine each plan’s differences. This way you can choose the best policy or provider for yourself and your family.




Ways to Help You Find Meaning at Work

Ways to Help You Find Meaning at Work

Work takes up a great deal of our lives. The average American will spend about 30 percent of his/her life working. Now of course there are different types of jobs that people believe bring a level of inherent meaning, but even a dream job has times of stress, boredom, and paperwork. And some jobs considered dull can be found to have meaning if one has a certain frame of mind. Regardless of your job, there are things to keep in mind which add perspective and allow you to find meaning at work.

Four Ways to Find Meaning at Work

Remember Why You Work

If you are struggling to find meaning at work, perhaps you need to evaluate exactly why you work. Once you do this, your attitude may change for the better. Obviously, a salary is important, but there are likely other reasons. To discover those other reasons, answer these questions:

  1. Do you want to be an expert in your field?
  2. Do you seek success?
  3. Do you seek a daily challenge?
  4. Do you enjoy helping others?
  5. Do you crave a daily of weekly sense of achievement?
  6. Do you need to create something?
  7. Do you need to get out of bed every day?
  8. Do you seek the camaraderie of others?

How many of these did you answer “yes” to? If you answered “no” across the board, you may want to determine which job might be better suited to you.

Look Beyond Work to Find Meaning at Work

Sometimes work is considered as a means to an end. Perhaps your passions lie well outside the realm of work. You can find meaning at work by understanding that without the salary, benefits, and structure  your job provides, you could not afford fly-fishing supplies, or plane tickets to the streams of Colorado. Even smaller hobbies can provide meaning if you devote time to them each day after work, e.g. painting or gardening.

Keep an Eye to the Future

When you are struggling at a job, it is difficult at times to understand that the job won’t last forever. And it certainly won’t if you decide to invest in your future. Take on extra tasks at work to develop new skills. Perhaps take a chance on that management position you were offered. Gain knowledge through your local community college. Dust off your resume and start to develop areas which can help you find another job. Your current job can be a stepping stone to one which enables you to find meaningful work.

Be Mindful of Meaningful Work Moments

If you are fully present at work, you will discover that regardless of what you do, you have moments throughout the day which you enjoy. Whether these take the form of helping a co-worker, or creating the best widget to date, awareness may surprise you when you add up the number of positive experiences.

It’s All Attitude

You are in charge of your thoughts. You are never trapped or victimized, at least not long term. It’s all about how you view your circumstances. These circumstances (your job) allow you to do what you love outside of work, notice beneficial things during work, and can allow you to prepare for the next step in your life. You infuse meaning, and you can find meaning at work through a positive attitude.




Smart Lifestyle Choices Key to Preventing Disability

Smart Lifestyle Choices Key to Preventing Disability

The thought of disability onset and the inability to work (even for a short time) can be pretty unsettling. Having disability insurance in your pocket is a good idea, and here’s another one:

Preventing disability from happening in the first place.

No, you can’t guarantee your chance of preventing disability (that’s why we have insurance). And in fact, 1 in 4 of today’s 20-year-olds will become disabled before they retire.

But you can prevent or minimize many of the conditions that lead to disability through smart lifestyle choices .

Take arthritis, the nation’s leading cause of disability. Your risk increases with age, but two-thirds of people with arthritis are under age 65. Physical activity can be a key to managing the condition.

“When a chronic condition becomes a disability issue, it also becomes a quality of life issue,” explains Laurie Mitchell. Mitchell is the assistant vice president of global health and wellness at Unum. “And while it’s oftentimes difficult to be active when you’re hurt, that’s when physical activity is the most important. Regular exercise actually helps reduce symptoms and it’s also vital in maintaining a healthy weight.”

And that’s important for people with arthritis, because it commonly occurs with other chronic diseases, including diabetes and heart disease — two more conditions that commonly cause people to miss work. Back pain, cancer and depression are also high on the list.

In fact, regular exercise and a healthy diet are two of the most vital lifestyle choices you can make to increase your likelihood of preventing disability. Obesity is linked to several types of cancer. And exercise can help lessen symptoms of depression. It also helps manage stress, which itself can lead to health problems.

Never Too Late for Choices that Help Prevent Disability

Even if you already have one of these conditions, it’s not too late to take steps (literally!) to manage your likelihood of disability.

“The lifestyle choices we make as we age can help reduce the chances of some conditions escalating into disabilities,” says Mitchell. And, she says, there is a need for education on what it means to eat a healthy diet and live an active lifestyle in order to set ourselves up for consistent and long term success.




A 2016 Report on Financial Well-Being

A 2016 Report on Financial Well-Being

The latest edition of Price Waterhouse Coopers’ Employee Financial Wellness Survey was released in April 2016. It reports on the financial well-being of adults nationwide who are full-time employees. This survey includes the views of 1,600 people.

It is no surprise that this year’s survey reveals greater worry about future financial well-being. Political uncertainty, a slow economic recovery, and wage stagnation are a few reasons that worry 52 percent of respondents in regards to their financial well-being, and 45 percent indicate stress has grown during the past 12 months.

One of the more interesting aspects of this report is the similarities of concerns regarding financial well-being across generations.  Below, we’ve chosen a few of the more interesting findings.

Financial Well-Being Findings Survey

Financial Concerns

Question: What is your greatest financial concern?

Top Concern                             All                   Millennials     Gen X             Baby Boomers

Not having enough

emergency savings                     55%                 60%                 56%                 50%

Not being able to

retire when I want to                    37%                 25%                 37%                 45%

Not able to meet

monthly expenses                       25%                 35%                 25%                 17%

Being laid off                               20%                 20%                 22%                 16%

Not being able to

keep up with debts                      15%                 21%                 14%                 11%

Other                                             6%                   5%                   4%                  10%

Paying for college                         5%                   4%                   8%                   3%

Losing my home                           5%                   5%                   6%                   4% 

From the above,  you can see that all generations are concerned about emergency funds. The second greatest concern for Baby Boomers (the generation closest to retirement) is the inability to retire when they want, whereas Millennials second greatest concern is meeting monthly expenses. It is interesting to note that the 2015 PwC  Financial Wellness Survey found 23 percent of Millennials were concerned about not meeting monthly expenses as opposed to 35 percent in this year’s report. 

Student Loans

Question: How great of an impact do student loans have on your ability to meet your other financial goals? 

Significant impact        Moderate impact          Little impact     No impact

Millennials                             35%                             44%                             17%                 5%

Gen X                                   31%                             35%                              25%                9%

Baby Boomers                      51%                             29%                            16%                  5%

 Each generation found the impact of student loans to be significant. It should be noted that of those surveyed, 42 percent of Millennials, 26 percent of Gen X, and 11 percent of Baby Boomers had outstanding student loans.

Retirement

Question: Excluding home equity, how much in retirement savings do you and your spouse have saved?

                                                            Millennials                         Gen X                    Baby Boomers

Less than $50,000                                   63%                                 46%                              37%

Between $50,000 and $100,000             14%                                 16%                              13%

Between $100,000 and $200,000            9%                                   16%                             14%

Between $200,000 and $300,000            8%                                     9%                             12%

Between $300,000 and $500,000            2%                                    6%                               9%

More than $500,000                                4%                                     8%                             15%

 As you can see from the “Less than $50,000” category, each generation’s retirement savings concern them. Almost half of employees surveyed have saved less than $50,000. Along gender lines, 54 percent of women and 40 percent of men have not reached the $50,000 savings threshold.

Seventy-three percent of all employees are saving for retirement, but that is down from 77 percent in the 2015 PwC study.

In addition, nearly 25 percent of all employees have withdrawn money from their retirement plans.

Insurance

How well insured are the survey participants? 

When it comes to disability or death, the study revealed that 47 percent of all employees are confident that their needs and their dependents’ needs for financial well-being would be met if they died or became disabled.

 Life Insurance

During the year prior to the survey date, 50 percent of all employees evaluated their life insurance needs: Baby Boomers, 58 percent; Gen X, 48 percent; and Millennials, 41 percent.

Disability Insurance

All employees who are covered by disability insurance registered at 52 percent. Those covered from both (Baby Boomers and Gen X) registered at 56 percent. Millennials who are covered by disability insurance registered at 42 percent.

Three Overarching Conclusions

The highlights above are a small portion of the entire report. The authors have found three main conclusions from this year’s report. These conclusions seem obvious, but they now have supporting data.  

  • Added financial stress impacts employees negatively at home and at work.
  • Millennials have an acute financial well-being burden.
    • They likely feel more stress about finances.
    • They likely experience work distractions due to financial stressors.
    • Around half find it challenging to meet monthly expenses.
    • They have student loans that create financial burdens.
  • Employees and their financial well-being is precarious.



Do You Have Job or Occupational Burnout? If So, What Next?

Do You Have Job or Occupational Burnout? If So, What Next?

Burnout is one of those conditions which can quickly sneak up on you. This is especially true if you have one of those personalities where you feel you can do anything asked of you…all while keeping a smile on your face.

But recently, it seems you can no longer keep that smile. Uncharacteristically you have been short with your co-workers. You blame it on your recent onset of unexplained headaches and backaches.

Have you ever thought about the origin of your unexplained aches and pains?

What is Burnout?

Burnout is a state of mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion caused by prolonged exposure to stress. If this prolonged stress doesn’t appear to have an end in sight, you may eventually feel overwhelmed, drained, and unable to keep up with job responsibilities.

Burnout diminishes productivity and energy, leaving you feeling increasingly helpless, hopeless, and potentially angry.

Do You Think You Are Suffering from Burnout?

The Mayo Clinic determined you may be suffering burnout if you answer YES to any of the following questions.

  • Have you become cynical at work?
  • Are you dissatisfied with your achievements?
  • Do you drag yourself to work?
  • Do you have trouble starting work?
  • Have you become irritable with co-workers or customers?
  • Have you started to numb yourself with drugs, alcohol or food?
  • Have your sleeping or eating habits changed?
  • Do you lack energy?
  • Do you feel disillusioned?
  • Do you get unexplained headaches or backaches? 

Overcome Burnout Before You Become Burnt Out

Burnout is reversible. If you take swift action, you may be able to stop the effects of the prolonged, chronic stress that is underlying the condition. Try these steps if you want to overcome burnout.

Manage Your Stressors

Take an inventory of situations that create stress. It is important to identify the stressors in order to combat them.

Explore Options

Is there anything on your stressor list that your manager can help you with? Maybe he/she can change expectations or find a co-worker to help share the burden. What about flex-time, or working an afternoon or two from home? What about attending a seminar or engaging in other means of professional development?

Get Exercise

Yes, exercise almost always helps! Regular physical activity helps you deal with stress. It also helps you focus on something besides work.

Adjust Your Attitude

Cynicism, sarcasm, and anger at work. The cycle of negative thinking, which often worsens over time, is a hallmark of burnout. Immediately consider ways to improve your outlook. Remember why you once enjoyed work and rediscover those enjoyable aspects. Practice gratitude. Think positively. Start implementing random acts of kindness. “Fake it until you make it” does work in regards to attitude.

Get Sleep

Sleep restores your mental and physical health. Aim for eight hours  every night.

Seek Support

Look to those who build you up. Reach out to them for support. They may help you cope with job stress and feelings of resentment.

Assess Interests and Passions

Perhaps it is time to consider another job that aligns more readily with your interests or values.

Banish Burnout

The hopelessness that comes with burnout can feel insurmountable. However, if you take the time to honestly assess the source of your stressors and implement the above recommendations to reduce them, your situation can change. Look at this change as a turning point to a more sustainable career.

image credit Shutterstock




This Thanksgiving Be Thankful for Work

This Thanksgiving Be Thankful for Work

You’ve heard the question before, “If you didn’t have to work anymore, would you?” And you have probably met a few people who respond to this question with, “Yes, I would continue to work. I enjoy work, it gives me structure and a reason to get up every day.” However, you have probably met more people who answer, “No way.” Even if your answer is “no way,” there are still a few things that can make you thankful for work.  This Thanksgiving, we take a look at some of the reasons to be thankful for work.

Six Things That Can Make You Thankful for Work

Unique Co-workers

It seems as if the workplace is a magnet for some of life’s quirkier people. Thank goodness! Think of how uneventful and boring work would be if everyone was similar to you. Be thankful for work mates that are eccentric, like the guy who eats a piece of saran-wrapped carrot cake from the gas station every day of the week. Or the woman who squirms every time someone uses a normal word that falls onto her list of 10 words that should be banned.

Accountability

When you are a part of a work team, you never want to let the team down. Therefore, you pull your weight,  adding as much value to the team as possible. Be thankful for work, with the knowledge that it forces you to excel—it compels you to be your best self.

When you surround yourself with competent, hard-working people, your standard for quality work rises. You learn how to hold yourself and your co-workers accountable.

Problems  

Jobs exist because problems exist. Your job exists because you and your company provide solutions to problems your clients cannot solve on their own. Essentially, you and your company exchange solutions for payment. Be thankful for work problems which create and prolong your job.

Competition

Your competitors demand you take your work to the next level. Competition pushes you, and challenges you and your team. It may even provide an existential threat to your job and your company, without which you may not strive to take risks. Competition also provides a focus, and a “bad guy,” for you and your team to rally against.

Your Paycheck

You knew we would end on the paycheck, didn’t you? A salary may be the most obvious reason to be thankful for work. With people unemployed, it’s worth keeping in mind that every work frustration you endure eventually ends with steady, reliable income.  For every mundane task you complain about, remember there is  a person out there who would love to be doing it in your place.

Paycheck Plus More

The American Management Association administered a poll that asked employees what aspect of work they were most thankful for. What was first on the list? A paycheck? Nope. First on the list was “the professional satisfaction it provides me.” Second on the list was “my co-workers.” Third was “my boss.” Fourth was “salary.” And last was “my benefits.”

According to this poll, there are many reasons beyond a paycheck which makes one thankful for work.




Six Ways to Overcome Imposter Syndrome

Six Ways to Overcome Imposter Syndrome

There are a large percentage of people, most of whom are considered extremely successful, that believe they are fooling people. These people believe their talents are not as developed as others believe them to be. They also believe that someday, people will see them for what they truly are: a lucky fraud, undeserving of any of their accomplishments. These people suffer from Imposter Syndrome.

Imposter syndrome was first described by psychologists Pauline Rose Clance and Suzanne Imes in a 1978 study.

Symptoms of Imposter Syndrome

The overarching symptom can be identified if you answer “yes” to the following question:  Do you feel like a fraud or an imposter? If you need more indicators, a few manifestations of Imposter Syndrome include:

  • Searching for external validation, even from people who would not enhance your self-perception.
  • Considering co-workers and peers more worthy and talented than you.
  • Downplaying your accomplishments in conversations.
  • Attributing your successes to luck rather than quality work.
  • Refusal to apply for jobs or promotions that require you to expand upon your successes.
  • Looking at your failures as personal deficits.

Methods for Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

Even the most successful people in the world have secretly believed, at one time or another, that they are not good at their job.

One study on Imposter Syndrome estimated “that 70 percent of people will experience at least one episode of this impostor phenomenon in their lives.”

When you want to relieve the burden of perceived fraud, remember these points.

You Had and Still Have a Role in Your Own Success 

There is a tendency in those who feel like frauds to be able to successfully and consistently internalize their successes. This is especially true when an opportunity arose which someone made the best of. When an opportunity is provided to someone susceptible to Imposter Syndrome, he/she feels that nothing achieved after the opportunity is deserved. But someone had to say yes” to the opportunity instead of “no.”

There Is a Good Chance Few People Really Know What They Are Doing

The world we live in is the result of a lot of brave people tinkering, failing, and succeeding once in a while. No one knows what’s next: some are willing to take risks in the face of uncertainty, and some aren’t. You’re not an impostor for trying something that might not work.

Stop Comparing Yourself to the Person That Seems to Have It All 

Comparing yourself to the greatest people of all time, or even the company’s greatest employee, is a losing proposition. You will never stack up. All you can do is compare yourself to who you were yesterday. Are you a better person today?

Focus on Your Value, Not Your Proximity to Perfection

Giving your best is not being the best. Also, there is a major difference between bettering yourself and being better than everyone else. To beat Imposter Syndrome, there is a requirement of self-acceptance. You do not have to be perfect, or the best, to be successful.

Appraise Yourself  

If you lack a proper balance of positive feedback from others, guess what? You need to provide yourself with positive feedback. Write a list of all the things you are proud of. List your skills. List your passions. You are very likely better at the things you list than the average person.

Spend Time with Uplifting People

Surround yourself with those who can identify when you are in the dumps, as well as those who know how to pull you from the dumps. Distance yourself from those who consistently remind you of your flaws.

The Silver Lining to Imposter Syndrome

Evidence suggests that feeling like a fraud correlates with success. It is more likely that people who lack this feeling of fraud, may be the true frauds. This is because Imposter Syndrome is related to perfectionism. Imposters want to excel in all they do.  So if you feel you have a bit of Imposter Syndrome, smile to yourself and remember you are likely achieving good things.




The Advantages and Disadvantages of Flu Shots

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Flu Shots

We are currently in the midst of flu season, or put another way, in the midst of flu shot season. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises, “Flu vaccination should begin soon after the flu vaccine becomes available, and if possible, by October. However, as long as the flu virus is circulating, vaccination should continue to be offered throughout the flu season, even into January or later.” Since we’re smack dab in the midst of flu shot season, let’s explore why it seems like there’s such ambiguity around vaccinations, in this case the benefits of flu shots? Should everyone get a flu shot? Do they always work? Can they make you sick?

To answer these questions, we’ve put together a list of pros and cons regarding this yearly ritual.

The Pros and Cons of Flu Shots

Pros:

  • Sometimes different strains of the flu virus begin spreading simultaneously. You may become infected with a strain of the flu virus that is different from the strain that was in your flu shot. The good news is you can still benefit from the flu shot, and possibly have a less severe case even if you do contract a different strain of the flu.
  • A flu shot usually protects you for up to a year, against the strain of the flu virus that was added to the flu vaccine you received.
  • Getting the seasonal flu vaccine can cut the risk of becoming infected with the flu by about 50 to 60 percent among the overall population.
  • It’s estimated that 71 to 85 percent of flu-related deaths happen to people 65 years and older.
  • Between 54 and 70 percent of flu-related hospitalizations  occur among people 65 years and older.
  • Flu shots do not cause you to become infected with the flu.Flu vaccinations contain dead viruses. The flu virus can live in your body for up to a week before you begin to feel sick. So if you get vaccinated and then feel sick, it’s likely you were already infected.

Cons:

  • There can be several side effects from getting a flu shot, including: aches, low-grade fever, and soreness, redness, or swelling at the injection site.
  • The intradermal flu shot may cause toughness and itching at the injection site
  • It’s very rare, but serious allergic reaction can include: fast heartbeat, breathing problems, hives, dizziness, paleness, or weakness. These symptoms normally occur within a few minutes to a few hours after a flu shot is received.
  • There is a small possibility that the flu vaccine may be associated with Guillain-Barre Syndrome (in one to two cases per million).

Who Can Get Flu Shots, Who Can’t, and Who Needs to Talk to their Doctor First

Who Can:

  • Children as young as six months of age.
  • Pregnant women.
  • People with chronic health conditions.

Who Can’t:

  • Children younger than six months of age.
  • Those with life-threatening allergies to the flu vaccine, or its ingredients. These include gelatin, antibiotics, or other ingredients.
  • Those younger than 65 years of age should not get the high-dose flu shot, or the flu shot with adjuvant.
  • Those younger than 18 years of age, or older than 64 years of age, should not get the intradermal flu shots.

Talk to Your Doctor First:

  • If you have an allergy to eggs.
  • If you have ever had Guillain-Barre Syndrome.

The above list of people who should not get the flu vaccine notwithstanding, the decision to get yourself vaccinated during flu season is entirely up to you. Even if you are healthy, those around you–your friends, family, and co-workers–may not be. Getting vaccinated helps you, and those around you, from catching and spreading the virus. We simply want to  educate everyone on the known pros and cons of the flu vaccine.