How to Stop or Prevent Muscle Cramps

Muscle cramps attack suddenly, but usually only last for less than a minute. It is a common occurrence although it can be very painful for some individuals.

What causes muscle cramps and can it be prevented? What should you do if you have cramps?

How Does It Start

Most of the muscle cramps occur on the legs and is caused by strenuous activities, like exercise. It can also occur suddenly at night for no discernible reason.

Muscle cramps can happen to anyone, even healthy people who exercise regularly, but some are more susceptible to such an event. Individuals with tight calf muscles as a result of a sedentary lifestyle, accumulation of fluid in the lower leg through inactivity, dehydration and low levels of electrolytes, and a pre-existing nerve condition and thyroid problems will increase the chances of having muscle cramps.

In rare cases, muscle cramps mimic the symptoms of other medical conditions such as tetany, peripheral arterial disease, illusory muscle cramps, and involuntary muscle contractions.

What are Its Symptoms

Besides the legs, cramps can sometimes occur on the arms and abdomen. The intensity of the cramps can vary from nearly unnoticeable tics to very painful contractions. It could also last from a few seconds to a full 15 minutes depending on its cause and might even recur several times. The affected area might feel hard to the touch and could also twitch and distort depending on the intensity of the cramping. Fortunately, most muscle cramps are benign and will go away on their own without any treatment.

How to Prevent It

Some people are more likely to experience muscle cramps more frequently than others depending on their lifestyle. Athletes for example, tend to have cramps if they fail to condition their body or after an intense training session. The elderly are also prone to muscle cramps because of muscle atrophy caused by inactivity. To prevent muscle cramps, you should warm up by stretching properly before exercise and live an active life in general.

Avoid twisting or arching your back when stretching, however, because it can lead to injuries. Stay hydrated always and eat a healthy diet especially if you’re pregnant, because calcium and magnesium deficiency can also cause muscle cramps. Avoid prolonged exposure to heat or cold and avoid sitting or standing in the same position for a long time.

How to Treat It

Muscle cramps do not need any treatment, because they will usually go away on their own. However, you need to stop what you’re doing when you’re experiencing cramps. You can massage or stretch the affected area while waiting for the cramps to stop. You could also apply a hot compress on the cramping muscles, or a cold compress if your muscles feel sore, especially after an intense workout. If your cramps are severe, however, you need to see a doctor to determine its cause. It could be a symptom of a serious problem with your nerves, circulation, or hormones.

What Can You Do About Varicose Veins?

There are ways to reduce the appearance of varicose veins and to prevent more from appearing. The goal of the combination of the different treatments should be to reduce the symptoms and improve the appearance of the individual.

Medical Procedures for Varicose Veins

While varicose veins might be a cosmetic problem for most people, some individuals experience symptoms that interfere with their routine; such as, swelling, pain, heaviness, throbbing legs, cramps, and itchy legs. They are also common among the elderly and the pregnant women.

Medical procedures for varicose veins aim to reduce the inflammation caused by the loss of the natural elasticity of the veins. Some procedures will remove or close the veins that cause problems in the blood flow, but you have to visit only a licensed doctor to prevent any complications.

The following are the most common medical procedures for varicose veins:

  • Sclerotherapy – The procedure involves the injection of a chemical into the veins to close them off. However, this is only recommended for mild to moderate cases.
  • Laser Surgery – The doctor uses laser on the varicose veins so that they fade. If you don’t like the idea of injections and cutting some veins, this procedure is the one for you.
  • Microsclerotherapy – This procedure is recommended for individuals with spider veins. The doctor will inject a small amount of chemical that will scar the inner lining of the veins, resulting in the closing off of the small varicose veins.
  • Endoscopic Vein Surgery – A tube with a tiny camera is inserted into the varicose vein, while a surgical device at its tip will close up the vein. This procedure, however, is recommended only for severe cases, especially on veins that cause sores on the surface.
  • Endovenous Ablation Therapy – The doctor will utilize radiowaves or laser to produce heat that will pass through a small tube attached to the varicose veins. The temperature will help close up the veins.
  • Vein Stripping and Ligation – This procedure is recommended for severe cases and will tie up and remove the veins.
  • Ambulatory Phlebectomy – Small cuts are made in the skin to remove the small varicose veins close to the surface. Recovery time is fast and there are almost no complications.

Changing Your Lifestyle and Habits

To ease some of the symptoms, you need to make changes in your diet, exercise, and routine.

The doctor might recommend that you wear compression stockings to help with the blood circulation, but use only the type that is appropriate for your condition.

Avoid sitting or standing for prolonged periods, so you should take some time to stretch and walk around at work during breaks. While resting, you should elevate your legs to ease the circulation and avoid wearing tight clothing or shoes.

Exercise regularly and lose excess weight to ease off the pressure in your legs. A healthy diet can also help if you choose food with anti-inflammatory properties. Avoid food that are high in sugar, trans fat, caffeine, alcohol, and sodium. Instead, your plate should consist of fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains, and fish and other seafood.

How to Teach Your Kids Proper Hygiene

Personal hygiene should be taught first at home not only because it will speak volumes of your own hygiene, but it will help your kids avoid hygiene-related illnesses. Explaining hygiene, however, can be tricky especially when kids love to put things in their mouth, explore, run, climb, and just touch everything they see interesting.

Make bath time fun. The prospect of washing should not be terrifying for a child, so make it a pleasant experience every time. You can use bath toys or fill a small tub where they can soak it to make it fun. It’s also important to teach them how to wash different parts of the body because some parts like the neck, armpits, back, and feet are often overlooked. You can also show them how to clean their hair by encouraging them to wash their doll’s hair.

Check their teeth. Show your child how to do it properly by brushing together. You can also encourage them to care for their teeth by showing pictures or watching fun videos about dental health. By the time the child is about 8 years, he/she should be able to perform the task without your assistance.

Encourage regular handwashing. This is the most basic of good hygiene habits and must be taught to toddlers. Tell them that is okay for them to play on the dirt or explore outdoors or use the bathroom as long as they wash their hands after and wash it again before they pick up food. using a hand sanitizer or alcohol might not be enough to get rid of the caked dirt.

Teach them about sneezing and coughing etiquette. There is a proper way to wipe the nose and to cough without passing your germs. Show them that it is good practice to cover one’s mouth and nose when sneezing and coughing. If they do not have a tissue, they can also cough or sneeze into their sleeve. It’s better than covering with their bare hands because then they will need to wash it.

Teach them to handle food properly even if they can’t cook yet. Remind your kids about the proper way of handling food when you’re not around to assist them. Basic food hygiene include washing hands before handling food, covering their mouth and nose to avoid contaminating food with droplets, using a clean cloth to wipe stains, and storing food after a meal.

Make sure they know proper toilet habits. Toddlers should at least be taught basic toilet habits such as washing hands so that potty training is easy. You would not want your child getting humiliated for still pooping in their undies when they begin school.

Set a self-care routine. Bathing, brushing the teeth, using the toilet, and preparing or storing food should be part of the routine. These are lifelong skills that will get them far when they are adults but are often overlooked today by overprotective parents. Consistency and practice build character and confidence, but leading by example is much better especially for other tasks like trimming nails, combing/brushing hair, using body products, handling dirty clothes, and keeping a clean home.

A Guide to Different Lipstick Types

Not all lipsticks are made equal. There are hundreds of varieties for every mood, theme, and characteristics for your every need. So, how do you pick from so many choices? Let’s look at the most common types of lipsticks you’ll find in shops in Singapore.

Matte

This type of lipstick has low moisture content and shine-free. Matte is perfect for you if you don’t like the glossy finish of a lipstick but love the smooth and even texture, pure color, and younger-looking lips. You need to have at least one matte lipstick because it can be worn for various occasions.

Sheer

Often confused with cream lipsticks, sheer or satin lipstick has a high oil content and less wax which means it is a good choice for those who need to wear makeup daily. It will not dry out easily and even has moisturizing qualities, but you need to reapply a sheer lipstick after a few hours because it does not stay long.

Cream

Slightly similar to sheer, cream is much easier to apply because it glides on your lips. Cream lipstick has a higher wax content, which means that it can stay on four hours. It also usually contains nourishing ingredients.

Pearl

Sometimes labeled frosted, pearl lipstick has a sparkly, glistening effect that will make lights reflect off your lips. You need to apply a moisturizer first before applying a pearl lipstick because they can cause the lips to dry.

Gloss

If you love eye-catching colors and finish, then this is the one for you. It is perfect for going to parties, nighttime events, and classic daytime look. Choose a gloss lipstick that is lightweight if you want to use something outdoors especially during hot days.

Stain

Almost similar to matte, this type of lipstick has little to no shine. They are for people who like only the color or those who want to layer colors.

Metallic

Also called glitter, metallic lipsticks are for those who like matte lipstick but want bolder colors. They are highly pigmented but are creamy and have minimal shimmer. The effect is a rich color that will make your lips looks like jewels.

Lustre

If you’re a fan of MAC products, you will find lipsticks labeled under this. It is for those who like the sheer finish but want better coverage, moisturizing qualities, and higher pigmentation. The only issue with this is that you need to reapply them after a few hours.

High Shine

Do you hate the stickiness of glossy lipsticks but you like the finish? High shine has a super shiny effect because of its emollient base and fine shimmer characteristics. They are also ultra hydrating, more pigmented, buildable, and will not easily fade.

Moisturizing

This lipstick contains hydrating and moisturizing ingredients to keep your lips soft and smooth. They have a shiny or wet finish.

Long Wearing

If you don’t want the hassle of reapplying your lipstick, a long-wearing transfer resistant variety is for you. They usually stay on for eight hours and more.

Why Do Some People Prefer Drinking Warm Water?

You always hear that people should drink 8 glasses of water a day. If you practice that already, you may already understand how healthy it can be. But if you observe, you’ll actually find that there are others who prefer drinking hot water. How different is it and are there any benefits? Here are some reasons why people prefer drinking warm water and maybe you’ll be convinced to do it too.

1.  Can still rehydrate you even in hot weather

The hot climate in Singapore will, of course, leave you looking for something cold to drink and cold water is very accessible. But drinking warm water may have its benefits as well. For one, our body doesn’t have to adjust to the temperature of the cold water. When it’s hot outside and you drink cold water, your body will have to take more energy to convert the cold water down to a temperature the body can adjust to.

2.  Improves digestion

One great benefit of drinking warm water is that it aids our digestion. This has something to do with the point above. Our body temperature does not have to adjust drastically to warm water compared to cold water. So when we drink warm water, it can help our stomach break down food a lot faster. It can also keep the blood vessels in our digestive system more active overall.

3.  It can also improve circulation

When we drink warm water, our blood circulation briefly improves. This is because warm water can make our blood vessels expand. That means it’s easier for the blood to circulate throughout the organs and around the body.

4.  Can help cleanse the body

Another advantage of drinking warm water is that it helps our internal body temperature rise temporarily. At this time, you can expect to release a decent amount of sweat. That can help eliminate any excess toxins still left in the skin or the body.

5.  Helps you get a deeper and better-quality sleep

Warm water also has a calming effect on our nerves, which then makes it easier for us to relax. That simply means it will help us get to sleep faster. Not only that, because our nervous system isn’t on high alert, we can enjoy a deeper sleep. So, if you’re one of the many Singaporeans who have difficulty sleeping, this might just be for you. 

6.  Makes you feel less pain

The above mentioned about warm water aiding circulation is also connected to how it helps reduce pain. Drinking warm water can help alleviate muscle aches, for example, because it allows our blood to travel through the muscle tissues faster. In addition to that, the calming effects and also ease the tension around the muscle.

Self-Discovery in Singapore

Singapore has been known to be one of the busiest countries in Asia but is it possible to find solace in a place deemed as way too career oriented? Friendship, purpose, love, and even self-discovery are questions not frequently asked when it comes to Singapore but this is why these questions need to be addressed. Being raised in Singapore means you are already used to the competitive lifestyle as perfection turns into the definition of success as the culture demands high grades and perfect performance from residents as young as five years old.

Tutorials have become a daily routine as people strive for that perfect GPA and overtime has become just another regular day at the office. Does Singapore seem like a place that kills your spirit? Well, think again! One of my favourite experiences in Singapore walking around slow placed doing the exact opposite of what most Singaporeans do. Most Singaporeans seem as if they want to get to where they’re going as soon as possible.

The most attractive word for most Singaporeans is “efficiency” which may be a dreadful word for the freethinkers of this world who like to grasp everything around them but do we really have to fear that specific word? Go to Singapore and take a look around as people are pouring their lives into the pursuit of success and although it may differ to self-discovery, it is actually the same thing as they are also chasing after something.

There are two major beliefs of life, existentialism and essentialism. Existentialism is the belief that we are born without purpose and though it may seem quite negative, it is actually a very comforting belief as it prompts us to create meaning of our own. You see, existentialism looks as life as a blank canvas and our actions as the paintbrush, existentialism teaches us the value of our actions. Essentialism on the other hand believes that the point of life is to find the meaning or calling of life which was already there for you from the start.

Why is knowing these two different beliefs important? Because they shape your perspective on Singapore. Are you planning to go to Singapore to find yourself or to build yourself? Imagine a busy crowd, would you strive to walk faster towards their direction or would you go against the flow and make your own path? Singapore is the land of opportunity. Now, once again, will you find yourself? Or will you build yourself.

The Subtlety Beauty of Wood Carving and Why You Should Try It

You’re just walking around Singapore and suddenly find yourself in front of a woodcrafts shop. You check inside and consider picking up wood carving as a hobby. Though wood carving attracts the attention of only a few people, it definitely has a therapeutic feel to it. If you want to inspire your inner craftsman, read on!

Wood carving is for anyone

The best thing about wood carving is that it requires nothing from you. You don’t have to earn a degree or be physically active. The only things you really need are the tools for carving and the willingness to learn. Learning just the basics can take you far already. This is also the beauty of working with wood. Because it’s an element of nature, you can be confident that you can just carve it and create something good. Even making a spoon (usually the first you learn to make) can be very satisfying in the end.

Working with wood

Let’s segue for a bit to the beauty of working with wood as mentioned in the first point. The thing about wood is that it’s sentimental. Unlike plastic and metal, wood grows old just like us. When you carve something out of wood, it has a certain romanticism to it. You have the memory of creating something, and as you get old, it also changes with you. It’s quite a beautiful sentiment really.

It’s just like meditation

One common impression regarding wood carving is that it’s meditative. Just like pottery and other similar forms of art. And it really is very much that way. Carving takes a considerable amount of focus and mindfulness, especially because you’re holding a sharp tool. When you get into the process and start carving, it can be easy to lose yourself in the moment. Whenever you’re feeling stressed, turn to wood carving!

You’re playing your part in helping the environment

Some may think that it’s counterintuitive. You’re cutting down wood to carve, how can you save the environment? That’s not exactly the case though. You can make a variety of carvings even with just one trunk. And it also doesn’t mean that a tree is always being cut down. Some carvers even just buy waste wood from furniture makers. That way nothing is wasted! Plus, making wooden utensils leaves almost no carbon footprint.

Don’t be afraid to try it out

We’re all looking for something we’ll love doing. And you won’t be able to find yours if you’re not willing to try things out. If you find wood carving the perfect hobby for you, then awesome! If you think it’s not really interesting, no problem. At least you’ve experienced it and you’ve learned something.

6 Ways to Give Healthy Criticism

No matter where you work in Singapore, you’ll never see a person who likes being criticized. The thing is though, feedback and criticism are important for growth whether it be professional or personal. That’s why it is important to come up with ways to give healthy and constructive criticism. Let’s just straight into it!

Do it privately

There’s really no exception to the statement that nobody likes to be criticized in public. When a person feels embarrassed or humiliated, it will be quite hard for him/her to simply take it as just a simple mistake to correct. Of course, that’s not what you want if you’re aiming to provide healthy criticism. Find time to talk to the other person in private. Your criticism will have more value that way.

Use the Feedback Sandwich

The feedback sandwich is basically positive-negative-positive. First, you start off by saying the admirable things that the other person has done. Then, you go and provide the criticism; what’s wrong, what mistakes the other person is making, and how to improve. Lastly, round it out by reemphasizing the positives you mentioned earlier as well as the positives you expect after providing the criticism.

Avoid being vague

Giving vague feedback will only end up confusing the other person as to what he/she did wrong. You’ll make it much easier for yourself and the other person by simply being specific. When you’re being specific, you can immediately give the other person actionable feedback. “Make an outline focusing on the sales for this project” is better than “make a presentation for this business plan”.

Don’t make it personal

Let’s say you have a certain co-worker who you don’t exactly see eye to eye with. If he makes a mistake, try your best to avoid giving criticism that’s too personal. When giving feedback, target the situation itself and not the person. It will be hard to resist the temptation especially if you hate the other person. But that will only lead to more problems in the future. We’re not aiming for toxic workplace culture here!

Give recommendations

Though it’s good that the other person gets your feedback, it would be much more helpful if you can give him recommendations as well. Offer some advice on what he can improve or what he can specifically do to get the right things done. There are still chances wherein he’ll just hear out your feedback and not do anything about it. Giving recommendations allows the other person to take action himself.

Just be kind

It’s pretty obvious that you won’t be able to provide healthy criticism if you’re being hostile towards the other person. People already have a hard-enough time accepting even light criticism. If you come at them harshly, they’ll only beat themselves up even more. So try to always maintain a positive and respectful tone.

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