How Worry Was Hurting Me And Those I Love Most

4F5A12B4-200D-41D1-94CD-547A2A5F0FACNote: This article was scheduled for today’s publication months ago, well before the world turned upside down with the COVID-19 pandemic. Unlike ever before, it’s nearly impossible not to feel the weight of stress and worry bearing down. If you’re like me, there was always “enough” worry to contend with before the pandemic erupted. How much harder it is today to breathe deeply and stay calm while stuck indoors, digesting the daily news and facing the unknowns of coronavirus fallout. This personal story includes wise words from a friend and from a seasoned therapist, but if needed don’t hesitate to call the CDC stress-anxiety hotline for help.

IMAGE CRED: @KatieAbey

On social media I recently posted the meme, “Didn’t get much sleep last night but I did get a few solid hours of anxiety in,” followed by a trail of laugh-cry emojis. Many responded, piling on with a lot of LOLs and high-fives, much as I’d encouraged.

But truthfully, I wasn’t laughing on the inside. Worry wasn’t just waking me at night. Its presence was coloring my mood and clouding my judgment about what to say and how to say it. My worry was more than my problem — it was seeping into my family life and poisoning the air. It started innocently enough when my first child was born and intensified as my second appeared.

Read in full on AARP The Girlfriend.

 

 

3 Skin-Care Tips for Dealing With Melasma

“In my 40s I noticed my skin gradually changing to reveal light splotchy shadows around the sides of my face and over my upper lip. Summer’s unforgiving sunlight seemed to intensify their appearance. My dermatologist diagnosed me with a mild case of melasma, a skin condition that commonly appears when hormones are in flux, and prescribed Retin-A.

Now in the throes of perimenopause at 50, my melasma continues to be on my mind. In my youth I battled zits to achieve a great complexion. Today, my focus is on addressing discoloration in order to maintain healthy, clear skin.”

Read in full on AARP Disrupt Aging.

The Girlfriend’s Guide To Threading

I first encountered threading while living in the Middle East for a few months. Middle Eastern women vastly prefer the art of threading, an ancient method of hair removal, over waxing. Why? By using two pieces of 100 percent cotton thread to whisk away hair, threading is natural. Yaaass, bring on the applause! No chemicals. No strong cocktail of potentially irritable ingredients. Nope, just a spool of thread. Gliding quickly over the skin’s surface, the intertwined strands of thread instantly remove hairs from the root of the follicle, so regrowth is slow, meaning threading lasts longer. Fewer appointments = more $ and time for other things — like sipping latte with your girlfriend, girlfriends.

Hmm. Not bad.

And? My brows were gorgeous, shaped to perfection. Threading allows for greater precision than waxing because the threading tech can create the perfect brow-shape for your face by swiping away one hair here or a short row there.

Read in full on AARP, The Girlfriend.

The Girlfriend’s Guide To Essential Oils

Essential oils have won me over because they stand ready to meet today’s smelly challenges, and more.

So, how do I love thee, essential oils? Let me elaborate here:

1. Last time I opened my washing machine I nearly fell over backward after inhaling rank mold and mildew. It was disgusting. I bet I’m not the only one with a smelly washing machine,no? To banish the stench, I recommend following this formula, which includes 20 drops of any antifungal essential oil. Antifungal oils include: citronella, eucalyptus, geranium, lavender, lemongrass, orange, palmarosa, patchouli, peppermint and tea tree.

2. Shoe deodorizer fueled by the power of natural essential oils? Yassss, please! Try Poo-Pourri’s spray, Shoe-Pourri. It deploys cedarwood, eucalyptus and grapefruit to extinguish shoe odors and earns a solid five-star rating from over a hundred customers. You also might want to try Natural Shoe Deodorizer Spray, which seeks to eliminate odors with antibacterial and antifungal oils.

Read in full on AARP The Girlfriend.

What Happened When I Touched Base With My Oldest Friends

On the heels of hearing a string of bad news about friends of friends losing loved ones or reeling with a sudden cancer diagnosis, I sent a flurry of love-ya-friend texts to my band of merry girlfriends around the country ranging in age from 40 to 70-something. Moving numerous times throughout 27 years of marriage has helped me understand the value of true friendship and learn to fiercely protect and nurture these friends. My girlfriends have faithfully supported me over time, first hanging out in the same town and eventually separated by hundreds of miles. My text reads something like this:

“Hey, dear friend. Just blasting into your world to remind you how deeply I value our friendship! I’ve always appreciated and relied on your counsel and words offering direction, encouragement over the years. Thank you for being in my life.”

Read in full at AARP, The Girlfriend.

Are You Cold All Cold All The Time? You may want to get your thyroid checked.

Parked in front of the school a few years ago to watch for kids blasting out of the building, I jumped out of my Jeep Wrangler to chat with my girlfriend Carmen, who also was waiting for her 8th grader. I was cautiously dressed to combat the crisp fall weather. Why take any chances? Shivering with cold is no fun.

So I’d dutifully donned my signature fuchsia scarf and swaddled it securely around my neck. My puffer coat reached to the top of my knees. Really. Sensible. And my furry beanie? It’s warm and cute — nailed it: a win-win.

I gave Carmen a quick hug, and she asked what was up with all my winter gear. It was then I realized Carmen wasn’t wearing much — I mean, a fleece vest?

“I’m the classic cold-girl-type,” I automatically chirped. Maybe, maybe not, Carmen challenged without missing a beat, as only the best of friends will do.

Read in full at AARP, The Girlfriend.

Help! Friend Needed Immediately! I adore my dog, but I need a real bestie.

While out of town visiting friends, we went around the dinner table and shared our goals and hopes for the rest of the year. Foolishly, I took the exercise to heart. There was an awkward pause after I blurted, “I’d like to make a friend — just one friend!”

The others’ comments didn’t disclose anything, so mine really stuck out. How I wish I’d come up with something bland like, “Finally moving forward on our kitchen remodeling project. Yay for us!” Since I couldn’t retract my statement, my honest words just hung there eliciting lots of sympathetic aahs amid pats on the back. Blech. I’d been honest, and it was awkward, but even more, I realized just how much this desire for a friend was bugging me since I couldn’t stop my words from rolling out.

Read in full on AARP, The Girlfriend.

The Top Winter Foot Problems And What To Do About Them

“Every winter I sigh when I send my cute summer feet underground into socks and boots for the season. There they go, buh-bye, all sun-kissed and wonderfully moisturized, flaunting a sassy pedicure. Perpetually covered, they will not see the light of day all winter. Let’s be honest, when spring comes my feet are not ready for public consumption. Oh no, they are pasty white and wrinkly from being cooped up in winter boots. You’ve heard — if not seen — what a broken arm looks like after it’s healed and emancipated from its plaster cast, right? Pale. Yep. Wrinkly. Yep. A bit unsightly. Yep.”

Read in full on AARP, The Girlfriend.