5 Ways to Find Happiness in the Chaos

busy-mom

Some women launch record-breaking social media campaigns. Some volunteer in Haiti. Some raise three children — while they’re launching their own business, finding time to exercise and (even!) meditate. Danica Kombol, CEO of Everywhere Agency, does them all.

Yet at one point in her life, she wasn’t actually “present” for any of them. In my interview with her for Sharecare Radio (listen to the segment here), she shared how she learned that by not being “present” and prioritizing her health (and sanity), she wasn’t just harming herself, but also her family, relationships, and work. As she puts it, “If mama’s not healthy, nobody’s healthy. The entire fabric of your house suffers.”

Here are some of her favorite tricks to stay in the moment and keep from running on empty: Read more  »

What I Learned About Being Naked

Healthcare

“Naked is trending and sexy right now,” was the marketing email subject line. No surprise there – from ads featuring barely covered naked celebs to totally naked “dating” reality shows – getting naked gets attention.

I’m feeling naked. But I feel neither trendy nor sexy, and I’d rather not have this attention. I’m wearing a thin blue gown, ballet flats and sitting in a cold waiting room for a biopsy, because “the mammogram showed an abnormality.” There are five other women, all in similar garb in the waiting room, and right now the labels on our clothes in the dressing room – and their sizes – don’t really matter. Read more  »

An ER Doctor’s 4 Fast Home Remedies

ginger tea

“What whiskey will not cure, there is no cure for” goes an old proverb. Sore throat? Whiskey and honey. Arthritis acting up? Whiskey and raisins. To some, it’s the original multi-tasking remedy.

In my own home, I don’t raid the bar (well, at least I don’t raid the bar for medical treatments) but that doesn’t mean I don’t occasionally turn to my pantry for home remedies. Of course, being a physician, I’m more than a little skeptical of some home remedies, so here are five that I can truly say are supported by medical evidence…or Grandma. Read more  »

Why “Clean Eating” Isn’t So Clean

Senior woman holding box with vegetables

If I am going to eat something bad for me, I want to know it and enjoy it (hello, raspberry pound cake this past weekend…but I digress). What I don’t like is trying to eat nutritiously and then finding out that my food comes with a side of harmful substances. I especially don’t want to give these substances to my toddler. But, not only can it be overwhelming to know what to avoid, inconsistent labeling makes it even more challenging.

So, what’s a person to do, short of get her PhD in chemistry? (I know that you readers are massively smart and accomplished, and some of you may take that challenge seriously.) You don’t need to — consider this your cheat sheet. Read more  »

The 7 Best Anti-Aging Beauty Secrets

Face cream woman

“I want to look older.” Said no one ever (no one over 20, that is).

Six weeks after my daughter was born, I saw them. Lines! Crow’s feet! When did that happen? Of course, I’m proud of the life experiences that brought these lines. But that doesn’t mean I won’t put up a little bit of a fight to prevent them. Fortunately, we have many options now – from minimal to more involved treatments. Unfortunately, there is also a lot of hype and false claims around skin care products and anti-aging treatments. So, to tell us what really works, I asked two of my favorite dermatologists — Amy Kim, MD, dermatologist at MetroDerm in Atlanta and Brian Raphael, MD, dermatologist and fellow at Skincare Physicians in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.

Consider this your à la carte menu for getting skin that’s smoother than a baby’s you-know-what. Read more  »

4 No-Fail Ways to Curb Your Inner Critic

Free Happy Woman Enjoying Nature. Outdoor. Freedom concept. Beauty Girl

“Mediocre.” “Procrastinator.” “Wavering.” This is how my friend described herself –- and I was stunned. She is, in fact, successful, beautiful, and somehow manages to bake goodies for her family in her free time. Yes, bake! (I am baffled, because I do not understand baking, nor how one finds time). But, on this day the negative self-talk was winning, seemingly steam-rolling all of her successes.

Can we talk about that negative inner monologue we all have? Why do we tolerate self-vitriol that we wouldn’t aim at our worst frenemy? This week, I want you to see yourself as I–or your mother/sister/best friend—see you. I promise, you are doing a better job–and are far more fabulous — than you usually let yourself believe. Plus, since we all need a little bit of help, don’t forget to use the fourth tip –- liberally. Read more  »

How to Wear High Heels Pain-Free

Woman wearing polka dot high heels

The higher the heel, the closer to God, I say. My husband (an orthopedic surgeon), on the other hand, says the solution to high-heel pain is to not wear them.

I’m keeping my heels. But I’m considering a new husband.

Okay, maybe not. But as an ER doctor, I’ve treated women with injuries related to their heels – including a recent one who fell after getting her heel caught in cobblestones. A recent study showed that not only are high heels prone to cause foot pain and ankle injuries, they can lead to foot and ankle sprains, fractures, and other injuries related to falls. ER visits for high-heel-related injuries have doubled since 2002 to an estimated 14,140 injuries in 2012.

So, there are fashion emergencies and fashion emergencies. Darling, I don’t want you to be either one, so I won’t tell you to avoid heels, but I will tell you how I make them wearable. Read more  »

Germs You Don’t Need to Worry About

mother washing her children hands

For the record, a few of the things my toddler put in her mouth this week include the dog’s soccer ball; her foot (how does she even DO that); and a cracker that fell on the kitchen floor (hey, the floor was cleaned that week…)

All in the name of a strong immune system, I say. Germs are everywhere, and at last check, wrapping a bubble around your child isn’t feasible. The fact is, children depend on exposure to some germs for immune system development. On the other hand, there are bugs like the flu, MRSA and C. difficile, which you do want to avoid. So, when can you five-second rule it and when does your child need a full-scale hose-down (or at least a thorough washing of hands)? Read more  »

Quick Snacks to Fuel Your Day

Eating during the work

ER doctors don’t get lunch breaks. Getting to eat – even a quick snack – can feel like a cross between The Hunger Games and Survivor. Finding a minute between patients, fending off competitors for the last peanut butter and graham cracker in the staff room and secretly inhaling said snack before the “Infection Patrol” (staff who discard food in patient areas) throws it out is a challenge worthy of reality TV.

The same probably goes for your day — whether you’re working in the ER or the office or driving the kids among their multiple activities, finding time to eat something healthy can seem impossible.

It’s not. Plus, after many long [hungry] shifts in the ER, I’ve learned that to operate at peak capacity, what you eat is as important as eating at all. Good news: You don’t have to be Martha Stewart (I wouldn’t even know where to begin) to have an arsenal of healthy snacks on hand. You’ll also find that many of these snacks are perfect foods for weight loss. Read more  »

Squeezing in Fitness

It was 6 a.m. and I was talking myself into getting on the treadmill. As much as I wish I were a morning workout person, let’s just say I’d prefer a cappuccino at that hour. But sometimes the only way to fit in a workout is to, well…fit it in. Which is how I found myself pressing the start button, willing my feet to move and hoping my stomping didn’t wake the baby.

Between working in the ER, at Sharecare and raising a family, I can find an excuse or two to not work out. I’m sure you can, too. Yet, no matter what my week looks like, I squeeze it in. Why? Exercise benefits me far more than the 30 minutes it takes. Not only do my runs energize me, help me think and be more productive, they give me a great way to release tensions and frustrations (which my family will tell you makes me more tolerable). So instead of being a time sink, it’s really more of an investment in my day.

But research has shown that how and when you exercise matters – both in terms of benefits gained along with your ability to stick with it. Here are the things shown to help you both find the time and make your workout work for you. Read more  »