Posts tagged with "health"

Pyometra in Pets

Providing a home for a furry friend can bring an abundance of love into the lives of owners. Many pet owners want to provide the best care possible for their dog or cat, but in order to do this, a key factor is remaining educated. Many know that spaying and neutering are common procedures for household animals, but what exactly are these procedures and what are their benefits? What are the risks, such as pyometra, of negating this responsibility?

With the surge of difficulties the pandemic has brought to being a pet owner, staying vigilant and prepared for the animals owners love is essential. With adoption rates of all kinds of cats and dogs exploding during the pandemic, first-time Gen Z and millennial pet owners might find the world of pet care complicated. Low-income families, whether they are new or already pet owners, have already faced additional hardships during the pandemic, with exorbitant fees for pet emergencies being an additional possible challenge.

In cities and neighborhoods where unfixed and stray animals are common occurrences, the risks of pyometra and other health concerns for humans and animals alike are increasing. In Houston alone, there are a million stray dogs. Other cities like Detroit and the Bronx neighborhood of NYC are challenged, while the geographic regions of the South and the West of the United States are where more strays end up in shelters. With millions of animals without a home, unfixed, and challenged with health issues, it is a serious concern for the U.S., especially those who choose to own pets.

Yet there are solutions, in preparedness through pet insurance and applications to nonprofits, as well as cases in which emergency assistance is possible. Veterinarian Dr. Lauren P. Davidson provides 360 Magazine with insights on these ideas as more, with a focus on keeping owners informed and your pet healthy and happy.

Can you break down what exactly is a spay or neuter?

Spay is the term used to refer to the common veterinary surgery that removes the uterus (the womb) and ovaries of a female animal. Medically, this surgery is known as an ovariohysterectomy. This surgery makes the animal incapable of having offspring.

Neuter is the term used to refer to the common veterinary surgery that removes both testicles of a male animal. This surgery results in the inability of the male to impregnate a female.

What are the ramifications of not having your animal fixed sooner rather than later?

First and foremost, by having your dog or cat spayed or neutered, you prevent them from having unwanted puppies/kittens. Additionally, in the female, you prevent uterine infections (also called pyometra) from developing as well ovarian cancer. Furthermore, by removing the ovaries, the main source of hormones that influence the development of mammary (or breast) cancer is removed and there is a great reduction in the risk of developing this type of cancer. As female animals get older, the surgery can also become more complicated due to the size of the animal or if they have already had multiple litters of puppies/kittens.

In males, the chance of testicular cancer is completely removed once the testicles are surgically removed and there is a reduction in the development of prostate disease as well.  Additionally, neutered male animals typically become less aggressive which results in a lower risk of fighting or aggression toward their owners or other animals.

What are the signs of a female dog having pyometra?

Pyometra, or infection of the uterus, only occurs in female animals. The signs of pyometra in non-spayed female animals can often be non-specific, but early warning signs include the animal feeling unwell, such as vomiting, refusal to eat, lethargy, increased thirst, and frequent urination. She may also appear to be uncomfortable because pyometra is a particularly painful condition for dogs while being somewhat less so for cats. Fever can also be observed.  Symptoms of a pyometra usually begin four to eight weeks after the animal is in heat, and include:

  1. Drinking more than usual.
  2. Vomiting
  3. Pus leaking from vulva/vagina.
  4. Bloated abdomen (tummy)
  5. Panting and weakness.
  6. Off food.
  7. Urinating more than usual.
  8. Collapse

How soon should they be admitted into a veterinarian’s care or ER? if not treated, what will happen to a female cat/dog?

If any of these signs are observed and your animal is not spayed, you should seek veterinary care as soon as possible. If vomiting, fever, or lethargy are noted, the condition is usually more urgent and emergency care (ER) should be sought out if you are unable to immediately visit your regular veterinary clinic. If you have any doubts or are concerned, take your animal to the ER. Since many of the signs of pyometra can also be caused by other medical conditions, it is important to get your pet assessed by a veterinarian as soon as possible.

If left untreated, pyometra can cause your animal can go into shock, kidney failure, or develop severe dehydration. Pyometra is a medical emergency that can be fatal if left untreated.

Are there any resources besides the ASPCA that a pet owner can reach out to online? 

There are several resources online, but as with all things, make sure you consult reputable sources such as your veterinary clinic’s website.  However, do not try to diagnose your animal by what you read online.  You are not a veterinarian and diagnosis and treatment of your animal should be left to a veterinary professional.

Since the pandemic, it has been increasingly difficult to procure an appointment with any veterinarian or pet care facility. In this type of event, what should a pet owner do?

Many veterinary clinics hold a certain number of appointments for emergency or urgent care cases.  Call your veterinarian and inform them of what the problem is and they should be able to provide guidance. Alternatively, you can take your pet to your nearest emergency veterinary clinic (ER).  Keep in mind that many clinics, regular and ER veterinary clinics alike, are not allowing owners to come inside due to the COVID pandemic. Please follow the guidance of the clinic and cooperate with these modified practices to keep everyone safe.

Why is pyometra surgery so expensive?

Pricing of all surgeries includes the procedure itself, anesthesia, required medications for pain, and other medications and materials that are necessary to support your animal through a successful surgery. Post-operative care and the time and expertise of the veterinarians and veterinary technicians are all considerations in pricing as well.

How long is the recovery time

Typically, sutures or surgical staples may be removed by the veterinary clinic in about two weeks.  During this time, it is very important to keep your animal as calm as possible and limit activity to reduce the risk of disturbing the incision site. Your pet may also have to wear a cone to prevent them from licking the incision site which would delay healing.

Is pyometra surgery easily performed? Are there any known complications? If so, why? What factors can be attributed to surgery complications? Age, overall health, or pre-existing conditions?

No, this surgery is not easily performed. Oftentimes, animals that have pyometra have complicating factors, such as fever, dehydration, and metabolic changes that require fluid support and medication. As with all other surgeries, pre-existing conditions must be identified to ensure the animal can be given anesthesia safely, and even still there is always a mild risk of complication.

In this surgical procedure, the veterinarian is removing the uterus which can be filled with a large amount of pus. Therefore, if not done carefully, a general infection can occur. Animals, especially dogs that have had several litters of puppies or those that have been allowed to have several heat cycles, can have very thickened uterine walls which tend to bleed more and make the surgery more complicated. Likewise, animals, where the infection has lasted for days on end, can have a very fragile uterus which makes it even more challenging for the veterinarian to perform the surgery. Due to the serious nature of this condition, we strongly recommend avoiding this scenario completely by spaying your animal.

Is there any way we can or should better educate pet owners about pyometra?

Generally, the ramifications of not spaying your pet, pyometra being one of them, are reviewed by your veterinarian when you first adopt them. Online information sources are also helpful in educating yourself on this condition and others related to not spaying your pet. Don’t be afraid to ask your veterinarians questions!

Once a female cat or dog has successful surgery, can pyometra reoccur?

This is a great question. In uncomplicated, successful surgeries, pyometra should not occur after spaying.  However, there is a small percentage of animals that may develop what’s called a “stump pyometra”. This usually occurs secondary to the presence of a small amount of ovarian tissue left behind during the original spay procedure. Under the influence of ovarian hormones, the small amount of uterine tissue that may remain at the base of the uterus can subsequently become infected. These cases are rare and can be quite challenging to diagnose.

How important is pet insurance? Are there any programs for low-income pet owners to assist with covering such a surgery?

Pet insurance is a great way to put your mind at ease when emergencies arise. There are many plans available which cover major emergencies, routine visits, and vaccinations as well. Check with your home or auto insurance company first to see what plans are available for pet insurance.  Alternatively, there are pet-specific insurance companies and credit-based plans that clinics often have available if you do not already have an established plan.

There are several low-cost veterinary clinics and not-for-profit organizations across the country that assist with veterinary care costs. An online search of national humane organizations and even breed-specific organizations can lead you to multiple resources. Keep in mind, however, that before applying for aid, you should read the organization’s eligibility guidelines, which are usually available on their website. Also, carefully read the application and provide any necessary documentation that would show you meet the eligibility requirements for assistance. The best-case scenario is to explore these options before an emergency occurs.

Is there anything you wish to add that we haven’t already gone over?

Owning a pet can bring a wealth of joy and happiness to your life! It is a long-term commitment and one that can be quite expensive over time. Pyometra is one medical condition that can be prevented by spaying your pet early on. Take the time to learn as much as you can about pet ownership before you decide to make that commitment and be sure to consult with your local veterinarian to provide the best care for your pet.

Nursing Home Staff Shortages

Amidst the perseverance of the COVID-19 pandemic, the healthcare industry has taken a massive blow. There are intense staffing shortages in the field, and the public is suffering from these scarcities. The Washington Post gave a detailed report on these worsening staff deficiencies, more specifically in long term care facilities.

Nursing homes tend to lessen the stress on hospitals as recovered patients typically move there after being released. Without proper staffing, though, facilities have not been able to take in patients from hospitals. A specific example of this misfortune stems from the Terrace View nursing home in Buffalo, New York. The home is currently not running at full capacity, and there are up to 22 beds not being used due to lack of staff.

The Washington Post article elaborates on this disaster, highlighting another facility affected. “That means some fully recovered patients in the adjacent Erie County Medical Center must stay in their hospital rooms, waiting for a bed in the nursing home. Which means some patients in the emergency department, who should be admitted to the hospital, must stay there until a hospital bed opens up. The emergency department becomes stretched so thin that 10 to 20 percent of arrivals leave without seeing a caregiver — after an average wait of six to eight hours, according to the hospital’s data.”

Many long-term care facilities across the country are facing these same troubles. The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) found 58% of nursing homes are cutting down on arrivals, again, because of the shortage of staff members.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) found that 425,000 long term care workers left the industry since February 2020. Though other industries have seen economic growth since the onset of the pandemic, nursing homes have not had the same luck. “Remarkably, despite the horrific incidents of death and illness in nursing homes at the outset of the pandemic, more staff departures have come during the economic recovery. As restaurants and shops reopened and hiring set records, nursing homes continued to bleed workers, even as residents returned.”

These troubles are heightened in more rural areas. The article, too, depicts the story of Diakonos Group in Medford, Oklahoma, that had to shut down since there was simply not enough staff. The facility provided care for patients with mental health needs, but after the pandemic started, they found that their staff had endured too much. Diakonos Group CEO Scott Pilgrim explained that although the business offered a raise in hourly wages, bonuses and overtime, employees continued to leave, and they could not withstand these absences.

AHCA/NCAL urges lawmakers to work with the long term care division of healthcare to fix this staffing crisis and devote resources to employ caregivers. As hospitals continue to be directly affected by this catastrophe, change must be made as soon as possible. AHCA/NCAL encourages Congress to take action and ease these tensions placed on both hospitals and long term care facilities.

Alex Bogdan for use by 360 MAGAZINE

Tips to Maintain a Healthy Back

With the COVID-19 pandemic reaching another surge this holiday season, its more important than ever to stay safe, protected and healthy. With the pandemic continuing throughout the winter season, it’s easy to forget that the chilling winter weather can result in the muscles and ligaments of our bodies to contract and tighten significantly more. The muscles and ligaments that strengthen the back and spine, as well as the shoulders and knees, are considerably impacted by these seasonal changes.

From the Pinkston News Service comes a series of tips from Dr. Rita Roy, Chief Executive Officer of the National Spine Health Foundation, on how to protect and keep your back healthy during these frostier months.

Stretch regularly

Implementing a consistent stretching routine can lower your risk of injury, and can even elevate the healing process of a previous injury. Engaging in basic back stretches such as the child’s pose or cat-cow and enhance strength and flexibility to your spine.

Wear proper footwear

Dr. Rita Roy encourages everyone to be mindful of the shoes that you plan to wear depending on the weather you may be dealing with. Make sure that your footwear is a fitting size, by trying them on in-store first, if you can. Ensure that your shoes have proper lining to keep you warm during the chilling temperatures. Making note to purchase a set of footwear that has non-stick rubber soles and treads on the bottom of the shoe for an extra level of safety from slipping. Remember to also take those shoes off when you head indoors, replacing them with socks or slippers, so you don’t run the risk of slipping inside as well.

Be aware of your surroundings

If you know that you may be heading outside, make sure to pay attention to what surfaces you step foot on. To get ahead of the game, keep up on the weather conditions heading your way. If you live in an area with a lot of icy roads and sidewalks, make sure to take your time, walk slowly and steer clear of carrying large items along your path. Make sure to look around you and use the objects that are not moving to your advantage; hold onto a handrail or tree to give yourself some extra balance. Keep your eyes peeled and watch around you to avoid unwarranted hazards.

Stay active

While winter follows the holiday season, this may warrant a lot of eating, sitting around and mood shifts. Seasonal depression is ever apparent through this time of year, so it’s extremely crucial to get your body moving to aid the dreariness that comes with winter. Moving around in between meals through exercising can help you in more ways than you may know.

Don’t overextend yourself

While it is crucial that you keep exercising, be sure to not overreach these efforts. The end of the holiday season raises a whole new set of physical activities, such as, hanging Christmas lights and shoveling snow. These unique tasks pose risks to the body because these are not activities that are regularly carried out year-round. Shoveling snow can cause intense stress to your back. It is vital that you use proper techniques and equipment when carrying out these tasks. Give yourself well-needed breaks and time to rest while participating in these endeavors.

Always wear a seatbelt

This may seem like a misplaced tip among the rest, but nonetheless this one is exceptionally valuable. Studies have found that a large amount of weather-related auto accidents happen throughout the winter, and around 76,000 people become hurt in accidents that result on snowy or slushy roads. Back pain can result from a mere low-speed fender-bender since the body was not anticipating the impact. So, keeping your seatbelt on can limit these sudden movements.

Five Ways Ice Baths Help Post Workout

If the idea of taking an ice bath sounds terrifying, don’t freak out just yet. Ice baths are incredibly beneficial for a number of reasons, and are especially great for athletes and people who maintain a regular workout routine. An ice bath is a practice that involves submerging a substantial part of your body in a tub of ice or ice water for a certain amount of time to achieve a number of benefits. If this doesn’t already make you want to look for an ice bath for sale, here are five ways ice baths can help you post-workout.  

It Aids in Muscle Recovery

One of the reasons ice baths are so popular with athletes and people who exercise regularly is because they can help the muscles recover after an intense workout. This is due to the fact that when you are exposed to cold water, the blood vessels in your body constrict and become smaller. When you get out of the water, the sudden change in temperature causes your blood vessels to quickly re-open, which helps to release the metabolic waste products from your body.

It Can Improve Your Mental Health

Regular exercise has been proven to have a positive effect on mental health, which is why taking an ice bath after a workout can be all the more beneficial. Taking ice baths has been proven to increase relaxation and focus, even if the ice cold temperatures can be a bit shocking at first. After your first ice bath, you will probably find the experience to be relaxing and refreshing. If that isn’t “cool” enough (get it?), studies have shown that taking two cold showers a day can decrease depressive symptoms.

It Can Help Improve Your Quality of Sleep

Taking ice baths has been shown to improve quality of sleep, which is great news for anyone struggling with insomnia or any other sleep disorders or issues. This is because sleep and mental health often go hand-in-hand, and because ice baths can be great for your mental health, your quality of sleep will likely improve as well. Spending just 15 minutes in an ice bath can have a positive impact on your central nervous system, which not only helps you fall asleep but helps you feel great overall.

It Can Boost Your Immunity

Studies have shown that taking ice baths can help boost your immunity, which many people will find especially helpful during the current times we’re living in. According to research, those who take cold showers as opposed to hot showers are almost 30 percent less likely to take a sick day from work or school. If you’re someone who gets sick often or simply wants to avoid getting sick, try incorporating ice baths into your daily routine. A better immune system means more productive days at the gym and a better post workout feeling.

It Activates the Nervous System

Taking ice baths triggers a nervous system response that activates the immune, cardiovascular, and endocrine systems, which can help improve hormone production, as well as sleep, metabolism, circulation, AND can help keep your stress levels low. Pretty cool, right? 

yoga illustration by Heather Skovlund for use by 360 Magazine

Six Hobbies That Relieve Stress

Some hobbies are excellent stress-relievers, as physical activity puts us in a meditative state. Doing something we enjoy triggers the release of dopamine. When you use your body or hands, your mind focuses on the task at hand. Add a bit of creativity to your life! Discover six simple activities that can give you a break from the constant barrage of stress.

1.   Dance

Research conducted by Pennsylvania State University has demonstrated the stress-relieving effects of dancing. Endorphins released in your body make you feel good. If you don’t have a Delta 8 hemp flower on hand, try dancing to feel better quickly!

It does not matter if you choose free dance, instructed dance, or dance workouts. YouTube has a plethora of tutorials for any style, from hula to ballet. All you need is some space and inspiring music to get your groove on!

2.   Drawing, sketching, coloring, or painting

Any of these activities will take your mind off the things that worry you. Focus on a creative project to de-stress. According to a study by Harvard, drawing and painting are particularly effective in this regard.

You don’t have to be an artist to experience the benefits! Download an app for digital sketching (for example, Procreate), buy an adult coloring book, or find some classes at your local Art supply store, museum, or library. The internet has a wealth of free information, including fun tutorials.

3.   Writing

Different forms of writing, from journaling to letters to writing stories, alleviate stress. Jotting down your emotions is a proven way to feel better. Even 10-minute writing sessions are guaranteed to bring positive effects.

4.   Playing a Musical Instrument

Listening to music and creating it can make you feel happier and more content. By playing an instrument, you will not only express yourself but also trigger an emotional release. According to a study in the Federal Practitioner, “there is evidence that playing an instrument elicits brain changes that positively influence cognitive functioning and decreases stress.”

Learning to play music is easier than before, as there are so many digital tools to help you. First, you can download apps for learning to play the guitar, piano, and other instruments. YouTube is packed with tutorials. Finally, you can always find private or group lessons. If you are too busy to learn, even listening to your favorite playlist will improve your emotional state.

5.   Knitting

This is another meditative activity connected to calmness and happiness. You can find a treasure trove of step-by-step videos on YouTube. Every week, schedule a time for a meeting, alone or with a friend! The positive effects of knitting have been shown in a study published in the British Journal of Occupational Therapy.

6.   Photography

You do not need a high-end camera to experience the positive effects of photography. Even simple snaps with your smartphone can melt your stress away! Go outdoors and take photos daily to improve your well-being, slow down and find meaning in small things.

Women's Month illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Regaining Vaginal Balance with Flower Power

As women, we are always trying to find balance in our lives. We look to balance our time, money, and responsibilities as well as balance our mental, emotional, and physical health. Although, what about finding balance down there? Vaginal health is an important part of a woman’s overall health. When vaginal problems arise, they can affect self-confidence, fertility, sex drive, and put stress on a relationship. There are many factors that can impact vaginal health such as sex, infections or illness, hygiene, hormone levels, or vaginitis (vaginal inflammation). Typical symptoms that warrant a doctor visit include vaginal redness or itching; a change in odor, color, or amount of discharge; vaginal bleeding between periods, after sex, or after menopause; a mass or bulge in your vagina; or pain during intercourse.

To help maintain a healthy vagina, there are some helpful tips: do not scratch if it itches, wear cotton underwear, avoid thongs, use unscented tampons, do not leave tampons in for more than eight hours, practice safe sex, wipe from front to back after using the toilet, avoid products with a lot of fragrance like detergents and soaps, and avoid talc and powders. If you are concerned about symptoms of vaginal irritation or odor, there are over-the-counter products you can take including creams, gels, and vaginal suppositories.

About 30 percent of women struggle with vaginal odor, but that does not necessarily mean it is due to being unclean or unhygienic; it is just an imbalance. The vagina is an extraordinary self-cleaning organ but must be acidic to maintain its cleanliness and fight infection. When a woman’s pH levels are imbalanced, this can lead to vaginal issues like odor. What is pH, and why is it so important? The pH is the number that measures how alkaline (the opposite of acidic) something is. When the pH number is seven and under a substance is more acidic, and when the pH number is seven or more it is more alkaline. A healthy vagina has a pH of about four and a half or lower. A particular balance of healthy microbes in the vagina helps keep it acidic to protect against infection. Some of these healthy microbes, bacteria called Lactobacilli, keep the vagina acidic by producing lactic acid and hydrogen peroxide. If the vagina becomes less acidic, then most likely there are not enough healthy microbes to protect it from infection. As estrogen and progesterone levels change, so do the levels of healthy bacteria and the pH of the vagina. Douching can also affect vaginal pH levels, but there are some over-the-counter products that can help bring your vaginal pH back to healthy levels.

Flower Power is a vegan vaginal suppository specially designed to help naturally restore a vagina’s self-cleansing powers. It contains boric acid, an oceanic mineral that has been used for hundreds of years for its acidic, antiviral, and antifungal properties. Boric acid has been recommended by gynecologists for over 100 years, and until now, it was only available with a prescription at a compounding pharmacy. At Flower Power, they believe a natural product like their suppositories should be available to all women from the comfort of home. Flower Power’s capsules are free of fillers, dyes, and flow agents and are cruelty-free and made in the USA. Flower Power co-founder Naomi Moore says, “Unfortunately, many things such as douching, sex, fabrics, exercise, sugar, even detergent can throw off the pH. And, once the vagina’s pH is off, the bad stuff thrives, and it’s difficult for it to rebalance things again.” She adds, “Flower Power helps rapidly bring the vagina’s pH back to its natural levels, so it can continue to be the remarkable germ-fighting machine that it’s designed to be!”

Flower Power vaginal suppositories are easy to use, incredibly fast-acting, and many women see a decrease in odor after one use. They can easily be used overnight by simply inserting the suppository capsule into the vagina before bedtime, and as it dissolves, it starts to work its magic in four to twelve hours. OB-GYN Dr. R. Mabborang says, “Boric acid suppositories, like Flower Power, help restore the vaginal mucosa to more acidic levels. This allows the vagina to help fight microorganisms that can cause itch and odor. Flower Power does it better—their products are made in the USA and utilize vegan capsules – something that is likely far safer for the vaginal flora.” Pharmacist Dr. Amy Asghar says, “We’ve compounded boric acid for patients for years. It’s proven to be safe and incredibly effective with vaginal burning, odor, and itch. Flower Power uses the highest quality ingredients in a vegan capsule, bringing pharmacy quality products to the comfort of home.”

Not only does Flower Power help numerous women balance their vaginal health, but they also take their business to the next step. With every Flower Power purchase, a portion of the profits will be donated to a women’s charity of your choice. Also, if you are not happy with your results, Flower Power offers an easy refund policy. Flower Power’s mission is to help women regain confidence with safe, natural solutions. They are incredibly confident in the remarkable products they make and believe that all women should be open and honest about their vaginas. Flower Power’s vaginal suppositories are incredibly potent and quickly eliminate embarrassing vaginal odor (and excess discharge) leaving you feeling clean and confident. The precise dose of pure boric acid works as a potent antifungal and targets the nasty Candida albicans and the more resistant Candida glabrata yeast strains. Their boric acid is also the finest, most comfortable powder around with absolutely no irritating granular fillers.

Women are raving about this amazing product. Flower Power is giving women the opportunity to take control of their vaginal health from home naturally and effectively. With so many women struggling with vaginal odor and other similar issues, it is reassuring to have a product that truly works and puts women first.

cookware illustration by Alex Bogdan for use by 360 Magazine

Six Winter Tips for Restaurant Management

The restaurant industry has witnessed more than its fair share of change over the preceding months. Now, just as things are starting to return to normal, the seasons have turned, demanding still more alterations.

You do need to do things differently in today’s world, but many of your tried-and-true practices from yesteryear will also benefit your customers. Here are six winter tips for restaurant management to increase your profit margin.

1. Improve Your Visibility

By 5 p.m., winter skies obscure your eatery under the cover of darkness. While humans can see with low light levels in partial darkness, it takes our eyes several hours to adjust. You might have the most clever billboard out front during daylight hours, but it won’t draw a single customer once the sun goes down unless you illuminate it.

Signs are the most visible communication tools a restaurant has. Ensure you use proper spelling and grammar on your signage — you don’t want to end up getting poked fun at on a subreddit forum after someone posts a picture. Use large, easily legible fonts, especially if your venue lies along a public thoroughfare like a highway. Potential customers don’t have time to interpret funky cursive at 55 mph.

Your graphics also matter. Think about what customers want. If you serve alcohol at your establishment, a beer bottle or cocktail glass lets thirsty travelers know where they can rinse a little road dust off their tongues. When it comes to food, think comfort this season — a mouthwatering roast or pie gets salivary glands flowing. 

2. Address Customer and Staff Safety Concerns

Despite public opinion cries of “hold, enough,” the Covid pandemic continues. Vaccines mean fewer restrictions and more reasons for restaurateurs to rejoice — but you still need to protect vulnerable customers and staff members alike. Doing so can increase your profits as you gain a reputation for an eatery that cares.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), you should change your layout to ensure all tables remain six feet apart. You should continue to limit seating capacity to encourage social distancing. Doing so may require you to adjust other policies. For example, you might decide to start taking reservations, even if you previously operated on a walk-in basis.

Additionally, it would help to keep and possibly expand your delivery and take-out options. If you don’t have a dedicated fleet, you can often find smaller delivery apps that provide service at a fraction of the price of large names like GrubHub. Adding extra touches — like various sauces and condiments — to take-out bags keeps customers coming back for more. Allow for as much customization as possible.

3. Update Your Menu With Seasonal Ingredients

Top chefs know that cooking in season results in improved overall nutrition and more delicious flavor. You should update your menu to reflect what’s in season and take advantage of local produce vendors.

For example, now is the time to add plenty of braised kale and steamed broccoli to your menu as they come into season this time of year. Other good choices include winter squash, collard greens, rutabagas, sweet potatoes, mushrooms and turnips.

Get creative with your drinks menu, too — cocktails can significantly pad your bottom line. Invent beverages unique to your venue so that if customers have a craving, they have to come through your door. Mexican restaurants can create a signature margarita. Those venues hoping to draw holiday traffic can craft red and green cocktails that make folks feel festive.

4. Adjust Your Hours of Operation

If you’re like many restaurants, you probably keep consistent hours of operation during ordinary times. You’ve no doubt noticed that the present is extraordinary.

Therefore, you might have to adjust your hours of operation based on customer demand and staff availability. Some venues choose to do so by closing certain days of the week. Others open a bit later or close earlier.

Base your business practices around the clientele you typically attract. For example, you might consider switching from lunch and dinner to an exclusive brunch-through-early-afternoon business model if you notice that you get slammed with corporate customers from nearby office buildings around noon but hear crickets in the evening. Could you bring on more midday staff, expand delivery options to local offices and curtail your dinner service?

5. Attract Large Groups and Avoid Slow Times

If you’re still struggling to rebuild from pandemic slowdowns, you might have to get a bit creative. Can you fill empty seats by attracting large groups, thus cutting back on your slower hours?

For example, many organizations are now returning to in-person work. Others are experimenting with hybrid solutions because many staff prefer telework arrangements. Could you partner with such local businesses, offering meeting space during your slower afternoon times? Their organization could replace a full month of conference room rent while increasing your traffic and sales.

Likewise, happy hour discounts and specials are the perfect way to drive business right now. Those who have grown weary of telecommuting welcome the opportunity to once more mix and mingle with colleagues in the afternoon. Find a low-cost appetizer special that people love and upsell your drinks, perhaps crafting special cocktails for this traditional social time.

6. Reward Your Staff Members

Many restaurants had a tough time finding staff members. In the hospitality industry, your team works together to create an experience for your customers — a job they can do more readily when they aren’t worried about how to pay their rent.

While the federal minimum wage remains at $2.13 for restaurant employees, you know that your staff deserves better. The living wage for a family of four is $68,808 per year, which breaks down to $16.54 if there are two wage-earners in the home, twice that if the individual is a single parent. Please consider increasing the hourly rate and implementing policies that ensure your workers receive fair compensation.

For example, some establishments include gratuity on the check to eliminate the risk that customers will dine and go without tipping. Others get rid of the tip system altogether, opting instead to find new sources of revenue or raise prices. Experiment and see what works best, including your team in the process. Ask for their input and democratically choose the best process.

Winter Tips for Restaurant Management

The restaurant industry knows how to overcome changes, especially after recent events. Implement these six winter management tips to improve your bottom line.

Heather Skovlund for use by 360 Magazine

Ten Benefits of Increased Blood Circulation

Blood circulation makes your mind and body thrive, but it doesn’t always flow as it should. Various health conditions could make your body struggle to get oxygen to your vital organs. These 10 benefits of increased blood circulation may encourage you to speak with your doctor and fix this issue before it becomes a significant health concern.

1. Additional Oxygen to Your Brain

Your brain never takes a break like the rest of your body does while you’re sleeping or relaxing. It’s constantly processing memories and directing your bodily functions, so everything becomes affected if it doesn’t get enough oxygen. When lifestyle changes or medications improve your circulation, you’ll immediately notice a difference because your brain can thrive again.

2. Improved Moisture Retention

Blood helps every part of your body, including your skin. You might not think about it often, but reduced circulation could cause dry skin problems. Washing your hands too often or living in a dry environment isn’t the only factor in keeping your skin from becoming itchy or splitting open around your knuckles.

Your skin cells won’t stay healthy if they don’t get the essential oxygen they need through your blood. Help it nourish your skin cells and promote their functionality by increasing your circulation with assistance from your doctor.

3. Strengthened Immune System

Red blood cells are vital for your health, but blood also contains white cells. They fight bacteria and illness to keep you from getting sick or help you recover. You might not think about them very often, but they’re always at work so you can live your best life.

Poor circulation prevents white blood cells from remaining strong enough to strengthen your immune system. Don’t wait until you’re sick during flu season to start enjoying this necessary benefit of circulation. Help yourself remain happy and healthy by improving your blood flow throughout the year.

4. Reduced Tingling in Extremities

If your body parts don’t get enough blood flow, it could affect your nervous system. Consider how your arm feels when you wake up after sleeping on it all night long. It’s tingly and uncomfortable, but it quickly returns to normal as blood flows through your veins again. Certain conditions can cause severe problems that feel similar but disrupt your lifestyle because they aren’t easily resolvable, like sleep-induced numbness.

Thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS) is one such issue that often stems from poor circulation. It compresses nerves and causes tingling in fingers and other extremities. Increased blood circulation reduces that sensation along with any prescribed TOS symptoms. Talk with your doctor if you think you might have this condition and need assistance with improving your blood flow.

5. Better Digestive Functionality

Your digestive system can make your life feel effortless or cause you to stay at home with stomach pain. It can’t process nutrients and break down waste if there’s less blood flow to your organs. Blood is like gas in the engine of your digestive system, so top it up regularly by improving your blood flow. You may suffer from extensive digestive problems if your circulation isn’t working as well as it should.

6. Reduced Risk of Diabetes

Plaque buildup in your veins and arteries could be the reason your blood circulation isn’t working well. Sometimes that buildup is an underlying symptom of undiagnosed diabetes, so make an appointment with your doctor if you think that might be a possible health concern.

Improved circulation reduces your risk of diabetes because it makes you proactive in monitoring your health and nutrition. Your blood sugar management and improved diet will cause less buildup and improve your odds of living without diabetes.

7. Continual Physical Improvement

Whether you’re an athlete or want to generally improve your physical endurance, strengthening your stamina is one of the best benefits of increased blood circulation. More blood flow sends more oxygen to your muscles when they need it the most, like during strength training exercises or moments of physical exertion.

Cardiovascular endurance relies on increased oxygen flow so your muscles can repair themselves after your workout. You’ll improve your gym routine and become stronger after that crucial repair process. Without enough oxygen circling through your blood, your physical fitness goals may not be possible.

8. Easier Waste Processing

Your kidneys continually process your blood. They remove any toxins and send the resulting urine to your bladder, but that’s difficult to do if they don’t get enough oxygen and blood flow. Without it, toxins will build up in your blood. You’ll begin to suffer from a chemical imbalance that leads to acute kidney failure and death.

Waste processing is one of the benefits of increased blood circulation because it directly supports every other bodily function. Chat with your primary care physician if you’re concerned about this effect of poor circulation and need help increasing your blood flow.

9. Routine Bowel Movements

When people become constipated, their medical advisors often recommend adding more physical exercise to their routine. Along with proper hydration and fiber intake, exercise gets your heart rate up and increases your blood flow. Additional blood to your digestive system helps it work properly and regulate bowel movements.

10. Less Daily Stress

Stress is an unavoidable part of life, but there are a few ways to manage it. Besides self-care habits and adjusting your lifestyle, you can also improve your blood circulation. Your brain might experience a buildup in stress hormones because it isn’t at the top of its game.

Imagine finishing a stressful day with a casual walk down a nature trail or around your neighborhood. The slight physical activity immediately boosts your circulation and oxygenates your brain. It will monitor your hormone production more efficiently and decrease your stress by helping your blood easily reach your brain.

Improve Your Blood Circulation

Now that you’ve read about a few benefits of increased blood circulation, consider how these changes would improve your life. Your doctor will help you identify anything that’s decreasing your circulation and prescribe the best lifestyle changes, treatments or medications so you can enjoy these health benefits once again.

Heather Skovlund for use by 360 Magazine

Multivitamins: Are They Worth It?

Multimineral and multivitamins are two of the most common and most popular supplements in the world. It’s obvious as to why that is since they are supplements that help your body be healthier. Over the decades, their popularity has increased exponentially, and it seems that even today, they are still as relevant as sliced bread. 

More or less 50% of Americans take them, especially the older population. People take it for various reasons, too, like compensating for their poor diet or even to help them lose weight. Certain diseases are brought about by the lack of vitamins in our body, for example, scurvy or beriberi. 

However, these conditions are certainly rare in the US since the country has accessible food supplies. So is there any reason to take multivitamins? Plenty. But if you’re still not convinced, here are some things you should know about multivitamins.

What are Multivitamins?

Multivitamins are supplements with many different types of vitamins and minerals, and sometimes, some brands incorporate other helpful ingredients. Since this supplement has no standard, every brand has its formulas and ingredients, resulting in varying nutrient compositions.

Multivitamins also come in different forms, such as pills, powders, capsules, tablets, and chewable gummies. Most brands typically recommend taking two per day for the full effect. That said, make sure to check the label before consuming. Also, be sure to check on your doctor to see if you’re allowed to take multivitamins. Some doctors even recommend some multivitamins themselves.

Multivitamins can be found in drugstores, discount stores, supermarkets, or online if you don’t want to get out of the house.

Nutrient Deficiency

One of the reasons why people take multivitamins is their poor diet. A poor diet lacks an essential mineral or something else that is essential for humans to be healthy. Not to mention that many people don’t only have a poor diet, but also poor eating habits. With that combination, it’s no surprise that many people lack vitamins and minerals in one way or another.

A balanced diet consists of good protein sources, healthy fats, fruits, veggies, and whole grains. This kind of diet has enough vitamins and minerals that a human needs. However, not everyone has the time or energy to prepare one. Not only that, but certain age groups and human conditions are in danger of lacking the essential vitamins.

For example, suppose you’re in the older age group. In that case, the risk of having a poor diet resulting in a lack of vitamins and minerals is higher for various reasons. One example is when an individual has a more limited diet because of health conditions or a poor appetite due to medications.

Pregnant women are also at risk of nutrient deficiency. Getting enough folate is essential for a pregnant woman. This vitamin is important because it reduces the risk of your baby having a spina bifida or anencephaly. Fortunately, you can get this nutrient from various multivitamins for women.

Multivitamins against Whole Foods

When it comes to essential vitamins and minerals, nothing beats what nature provides. This is because most of the vitamins and minerals that you get from whole foods are vastly superior to those you get from supplements. There are even studies that recommend you to consider some things first.

Take broccoli as an example. Broccoli and other cruciferous products have components that are considered anti-cancer and reduce inflammation. Although there are some studies that show that multivitamin supplements have negative effects on the human body, they are in a controlled environment, and the cases these studies have shown are only rare instances.

But of course, not all multivitamins come with health risks and even better in providing some vitamins in our bodies. For example, folic acid is essential for pregnant women since it reduces the risk of certain conditions. That said, folic acid is best when taken in a supplement.

So Which Multivitamins Should You Choose?

Multivitamins come in various forms and sizes like tablets, capsules, powders, and even gummy bears. Their packaging advertises their specific combination of vitamins and minerals. However, supplements are a multi-billion industry, and there are thousands of designer brands out there which makes it hard to choose. 

With that in mind, look for one that contains the Recommended Allowance amounts and the USP approval. This seal ensures that the combination of vitamins and minerals is contained in the supplement. Also, USP conducts tests that ensure that the multivitamins you’re about to make don’t have harmful substances like heavy metals and pesticides.

Final Words

If you’re already eating a balanced diet with lots of water, fruits, and veggies, then you may not need to take multivitamins. If you’re considering taking them, make sure to talk to your doctors first. If they allow it, you can even ask them for recommendations.

yoga illustration by Heather Skovlund for use by 360 Magazine

How an Ayurvedic Lifestyle Helped Me to Overcome PTSD

By Beth Lauren, certified Ayurveda Wellness Counselor, founder of Sangha NYC and author of Reeling: Misadventures in Moviemaking, Money and Love

It can be challenging to assess how the mind contributes to a person’s overall physical health. Still, the mind-body connection is now widely accepted by Western medical traditions as it has been by Eastern medicine for centuries.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychiatric condition that can occur in people who have experienced a traumatic event such as combat, a severe accident, or sexual assault. Studies have shown that the hyperarousal symptoms of PTSD may also put a survivor in a constant state of stress and anxiety. It’s common knowledge that both put tremendous strain on a person’s body, increasing the risk for physical health problems including cardiovascular disease, asthma, chronic pain, sleep apnea, and a host of gastrointestinal disorders.

The mind and body work together in both harmony and disharmony. For years PTSD troubled my mind and continued its descent through my body, resulting in bouts of IBS, sleep apnea, and insomnia. PTSD was my enduring legacy as a rape survivor. I was just 12 years old at the time of my assault. I would be 46 when I first began to process this violent and painful experience that was too much for both my brain and body to handle for 34 years.

Five years later, I became an Ayurveda Wellness Counselor and adopted the daily routine, or dinacharya, an Ayurvedic lifestyle recommends practitioners follow. And now, at the age of 55, I’m experiencing the best mental and physical health of my life.

Ayurveda is an ancient healing system. Using a holistic approach, Ayurveda balances manas (mind), shareera (body), and atma (soul) for optimal health. The goal of practitioners is not merely to prevent and cure disease but to focus on optimizing physical, psychological, and spiritual well-being. Managing both mind and body together is the approach needed to treat symptoms of PTSD successfully.

Ayurveda also offers a personalized methodology that is well-suited for treating the individual needs of those who have PTSD. No one’s pain is the same. How trauma manifests in the body can be affected by climate, pre-existing health issues, age, genetics – so many factors.

An Ayurvedic way of living: diet, daily routine, yoga, and meditation 

On my journey, I found that I wanted my body and soul to follow once my mind was free from suffering. I began by paying close attention to how my eating habits affected my mood, digestion, and weight. It wasn’t just what I put into my body, but when I ate—the time of day and my state of mind when I was eating contributed to my malfunctioning digestion. Emotional eating was an issue for me, as it is for so many survivors, especially women. How many television shows and movies have we all seen where the heroine soothes her broken heart with a pint of ice cream?

In Ayurveda, food is medicine, not a consolation prize. Choosing foods that are in harmony with the season, grown locally, and favor one’s dosha—the energetic force of nature that comprises one’s unique body constitution—is essential for following an Ayurvedic lifestyle. I also found that eating primarily hot cooked foods and adding warming spices such as turmeric, cardamom, cumin, and cinnamon nourished my body and brain.

The more I learned about what an Ayurvedic lifestyle could offer, the more it seemed intuitive. Simple adjustments such as having my largest meal for lunch instead of dinner made sense to me. Why wouldn’t I give my body as much waking time as possible to digest heavy foods?

Digestive strength is paramount in Ayurveda. Maintaining strong agni or digestive power supports the body’s immunity, and a robust immune system is essential for managing daily stressors. Digesting doesn’t just apply to nutrition. We are constantly digesting our thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Healthy agni is key to a calm and peaceful state of mind, so all three don’t overwhelm us.

My daily practice includes 1-2 cups of Cumin, Coriander, Fennel (CCF) tea, a traditional Ayurvedic blend that supports digestion and gently detoxifies the liver. CCF’s calming and cooling qualities work well with all constitutions.

Several Ayurvedic herbs nourish and calm the brain and body, but the one I recommend as the most productive is ashwagandha.

A powerful herb in Ayurvedic healing, ashwagandha has been used in India for centuries for a wide variety of conditions, including stress, anxiety, insomnia, joint pain – the list is endless, and it includes some of the most common PTSD symptoms. In Ayurveda, specific herbs are adaptogens, which help the body cope with external stresses such as toxins in the environment and internal stresses such as anxiety and insomnia. Ashwagandha is one of them.

Yoga is so much more than a way to stretch and strengthen muscles. Daily practice can provide mental clarity and peace, providing a spiritual and psychological foundation for Ayurveda. It’s no mystery why certification as an Ayurveda Wellness Counselor includes a yoga module. For me, slow-paced yoga postures such as paschimottasana (seated forward bend pose) and matsyendrasana (half spinal twist pose) help to keep me calm and relaxed.

Given that the mind-body connection is fundamental to Ayurveda, it’s evident that meditation would be, like yoga, an integral component of its practice. Meditation helps us to attain awareness and harmony by experiencing inner calm and deep relaxation. While the violence I survived will always produce lingering feelings and thoughts resulting in anxiety, sadness, and eyes that fill with tears, all those emotions are less charged now. Those memories no longer imprison my body and brain. I can honestly write that a 5,000-year-old modality has been a massive part of my recovery, and for that, I am very grateful.

ABOUT BETH LAUREN

Beth Lauren spent over a decade in the film industry as a writer, producer, and director. She poignantly and humorously documents the devastating journey to produce her second feature in her memoir, Reeling: Misadventures in Moviemaking, Money, and Love. Beth wrote and produced the feature film, Fairytale of New York, which premiered at the New Filmmakers Series 2000 in NYC. She wrote, produced, and directed the short films: Immaculate Concoction and Getting Ned, in addition to co-producing and consulting on several plays and short films.

She is a certified Ayurveda Wellness Counselor and is the owner of Sangha NYC, where she offers virtual and in-person Ayurvedic counseling services and products. Sangha NYC enjoys a partnership with Nirogam, one of India’s largest and most trusted suppliers of Ayurvedic medicines. Beth is the Well-Tech World Summit organizer, which will take place in Dublin, Ireland, in March 2022.