FitITproNews: Stress relief

In this issue:

Editor’s Corner. Maintaining your mental health. Hearing aids for mild hearing loss. Go to the gym! The 3 – 5 second rule. Technology to treat the effects of technology. Jaws of life.

Feeling stressed over life, the universe, and all that? Go grab a pair of dumbbells! Photo by Boxed Water Is Better on Unsplash

 

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Editor’s Corner

Mitch Tulloch is the Senior Editor of FitITproNews and a recovering fat IT pro who lost 50 lbs in midlife and is now on his way to becoming a fit IT pro. Mitch is a widely recognized expert on Windows Server and cloud technologies who has authored or been Series Editor of numerous books/ebooks from Microsoft Press. Mitch is also the Senior Editor of WServerNews and has written frequently for TechGenix.

 

Hey everyone! Welcome to the March 2022 issue of FitITproNews, the world’s only newsletter devoted to helping “recovering fat IT pros” make progress on the journey towards strength and health!

I’m sure that most of our readers are experiencing elevated stress over the Ukraine/Russia situation and because of the fallout this situation is likely having on the economy in your country—rising prices, increasing borrowing costs, and so on. Because of this I just want to give you a simple reminder that exercise is a terrific way to reduce your stress level and help you cope better with the challenges of life and problems you may be facing.

Whether it’s going to the gym, running in the park, playing sports with friends, or just lifting dumbbells in your basement, working out brings many health benefits and is a much better use of your time than staying glued to watching the news on your phone. Life goes on, and then it doesn’t. But for now, let’s live instead of hiding in fear and mental anguish.

So make a resolution to get back into your exercise program today, you won’t regret it. See also Robin Camp’s article below for more ways of dealing with stress, and enjoy the articles by our other columnists in this month’s issue of FitITproNews. Feel free to send us feedback on any of the topics we’ve covered — we love hearing from our readers!

Cheers!
Mitch Tulloch, Senior Editor

 

Maintaining your mental health (Robin Camp)

Robin Camp works as tech support for an Orthodontic Practice Management Software company called New Horizons Software ( www.nhsoftware.com). As a professional photographer on the side, Robin does fashion, glamour weddings and more in his spare time (www.dancingwithlightphoto.com). You can also now find him working out on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/fitittech/.

 

With the world attempting to fall apart around our ears, it is important to remember to address your mental health along with your physical health.

***Please note that I am not a mental health professional and the following advice is simply based on my own attempts to maintain my sanity.***

Despite the stigma here in the US, it is vital to maintain your mental health for yourself as well as those around you.

The following “guidelines” have helped me as I try to make sense of the world and provide some sense of normalcy for my family.

  1. A) When you are feeling overwhelmed or helpless, look for something small you can accomplish. It may seem meaningless to clean a closet with all the enormous problems in the world, however the small act of doing something you CAN accomplish can help you regain your sense of control.
  2. B) Establish boundaries. You should be informed and know what is going on in the world, but when you are with friends and family, turn off the news for a few minutes and enjoy the company of your loved ones. Just like you, they are probably overwhelmed and in need of some normalcy.
  3. C) Write a letter or call that friend or family member you have been meaning to get back in contact with. Reach out to people. Establish contact. It will comfort them and give you a sense of purpose.
  4. D) Focus on what you can control. Maybe you can’t stop a tragedy, but you can donate to a charity that is helping the hungry, caring for the wounded, finding shelter for the homeless. Although you can’t stop gas prices from rising, you can give a blanket or a sandwich to someone less fortunate and make a difference in their lives. Look for what you CAN do. Acknowledge what you can’t do, but devote your energy to what you CAN do.
  5. E) One thing I have been working on and still find very difficult, is to look for reasons to compliment people, even total strangers. It is incredibly awkward, but a simple compliment, the acknowledgment of someone’s existence and value, can make a huge difference in their day.
  6. G) Focus on what you are thankful for and let those around you know that you are thankful for them. Individually we can’t change the world, but the little things add up and can make a big difference in your life and the lives of those around you.

“Why do we fall? So we can learn to pick ourselves up.”

~Alfred Pennyworth~

 

Hearing aids for mild hearing loss (Sarah Trammell)

Sarah Trammell is an application analyst at a university in Georgia. She became interested in health and fitness issues when she began making diet and lifestyle changes to lose weight back in 2007 and learned even more when trying to track down what to do about other health issues beginning in 2011 with not much input from doctors. You may follow her blog at ihatemyglutenfreelife.com.

 

If you know you have hearing loss or believe you do, then it may be worth it to be tested by an audiologist to see if you can benefit from hearing aids. Even if you feel you function fine without hearing aids, you can still reap benefits from wearing them.

When I was a teenager, I was helping to babysit some kids over the weekend. I didn’t realize what was happening until it was too late, but one of the children approached me with a cap gun, pointed it at my left ear, and pulled the trigger. I was terrified and thought I would lose the hearing in my left ear. I was so thankful that I got away with only mild hearing loss. I found that I could function normally day-to-day. The only time I really was aware of the loss was at night. I found that when I slept on my right side, I could avoid being bothered by nighttime noises like crickets outside or ticking clocks inside.

As I was fighting to get the correct diagnosis for my dizziness and balance issues, I had hearing tests done. The first couple of clinics that tested my hearing acknowledged the mild hearing loss but didn’t offer to do much else other than monitor it, in the case of the first one, or nothing at all, in the case of the second one. I saw yet a third clinic because I was still not satisfied with the diagnosis for my dizziness and balance issues. They wanted to do a hearing test there as well. They got very similar results to my other hearing tests, but this time they recommended I get hearing aids. I was surprised as no one had ever suggested it before. The woman who spoke to me gave me a brochure to read and told me to think about it. One thing that sold me on trying hearing aids was reading in the brochure that they could help the brain. This article also has more information, https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/in-the-journals-hearing-aids-may-help-improve-brain-function. I was told that they may also help with my dizziness and balance issues. I decided to make an appointment for an evaluation.

My evaluation was scheduled not long after that hearing test. At the evaluation, I selected the hearing aids I wanted, and I returned about two weeks later for the fitting. Initially, I did notice some difference in my hearing. It seemed more balanced. I think over time I just got used to it, so I don’t notice as much of a difference anymore. I can tell that I do feel better in general when I’m wearing them. I haven’t noticed a difference in my dizziness and balance issues, however. One thing I noticed leading up to the time I got hearing aids is that I was struggling with wearing earbuds. When I would work without wearing them, I could tell I felt better than when I was wearing them. I decided to stop wearing any kind of earbud or headphone until I got my hearing aids. I think I may have been dealing with some hearing fatigue, https://www.audiology.org/consumers-and-patients/hearing-and-balance/fatigue/. I bought some over-the-ear headphones to wear with my hearing aids, and I found I was able to wear the headphones without the issues I had noticed previously once I started using them with my hearing aids. Overall, I’m pleased with my hearing aids and plan to continue wearing them.

If an audiologist tells you that you need hearing aids and if you decide to go in for an evaluation, one thing you may want to do before you go to your evaluation is research the types of hearing aids and see if one stands out as a type that you’d most like to try and ask for more information on that type. I have a receiver-in-the-canal style of hearing aid, but I wish I had asked more about the in-the-ear type of hearing aid, especially one of the larger types that could take a larger and longer-lasting battery. I wonder if I would have like those better if I had tried them. Whether or not I may try them in the future, I don’t know. Rechargeable models are just starting to become available. I may think more about it and ask about them when I’m ready to get a new pair. When you go for your fitting, make absolutely sure that the audiologist puts the right size dome on your hearing aids if you get a style that uses them. I ended up ordering domes off of Amazon because the ones the audiologist gave me were too small. Also, when cleaning the domes, I recommend using alcohol wipes instead of the brush that’s included with the kit the audiologist gives you with your hearing aids. My audiologist told me to use the brush to remove dried wax but did not mention much of any other cleaning. Over time, my ears began to itch pretty badly, especially after putting in my hearing aids. When I began wiping the domes with alcohol wipes instead, the itching mostly went away. I wipe the domes with an alcohol wipe daily.

To improve your hearing, your brain health, and potentially other issues, consider being tested to see if you need hearing aids if you suspect you have hearing loss or know you do, even if it’s a mild hearing loss. You may end up concluding that getting hearing aids is a very worthy investment!

 

Go to the gym! (Kris Kane)

Kris Kane is a North Yorkshire based personal trainer, martial arts instructor and general fitness enthusiast. You can find him on Instagram at @koachedbykris and also view him professionally on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/kris-kane.

 

I’m a big advocate of going to the gym, especially weight training….

Why?

Let’s start with the physical benefits:

  • It helps to build and maintain your lean tissue (Which after the age of 30 will naturally start to decline)
  • It improves the tone and shape of your body
  • It’s a more effective use of your time than other training methods
  • There are many ways to keep progressing without having to increase the length of a session
  • More muscle = more calories your body will burn

Then we have the mental and wellbeing benefits:

  • It makes you feel good
  • Improves your mood and reduces stress
  • A chance to catch-up with friends
  • You get to socialise, which if you work from home etc can be isolating
  • Listen to your favourite music
  • Feeling strong improves your confidence
  • Being around other people with similar goals is uplifting
  • The training goals you achieve in the gym can push you in other aspects of life

Note that some cardio is beneficial, but don’t use all of your gym time on it!

Whatever day you have had, if you make your workout non-negotiable, you’ll always feel better for it!

If you like the idea of lifting weights, but have no idea where to start feel free to drop me a message!

Important note – Even if the gym really isn’t appealing, many of the associated benefits crossover to many other activities and sports. And if you don’t currently do any form of exercise, why not give something you think you might enjoy a try, and see how it makes you feel J

Check out my website today and claim your FREE Coaching Blueprint call to discuss the steps required to achieve your goals.

–Kris

 

 (Judith Shipps)

Judith Shipps is a System Administrator who works for a company in the U.S. electric power industry. She has cerebral palsy.

 

One of the hardest things about working out and getting fit is just getting started. You cannot wait until you feel like working out. You never will. Most humans don’t like change.

One of my physical therapists, Kim, says that if you don’t move into position within 3 seconds of thinking about stretching – you will mentally talk yourself out of doing it. I recently saw a presentation with a variation of this rule. “If you have an impulse, and you don’t perform an action – you have pulled the emergency brake and killed the idea.” (Robbins, 2012).

Based on the 3 – 5 second rule, I have learned to identify times when I am more likely to skip working out. Two of the biggest times are holidays and travelling. Holidays are an excuse to make bad food choices, are hectic, and a disruption of routine. Travelling is very stressful depending on the distance, and I am often in situations that are outside of my comfort zone.

The next time you have the impulse to work out, just do it. Even if it is just to stand up and march in place for 2 minutes. Don’t let those 5 seconds pass before you take action and kill the idea.

References:

 

Technology to treat the effects of technology (Kris Lall)

Kris Lall works as a product manager in the tech industry for an enterprise software manufacturer. As a youngster, Kris was consumed with soccer before technology came along. Now he’s consumed with both. You can find him on Twitter at the not-too-surprising handle @krisoccer.

 

Most knowledge workers I know complain of chronic pain, likely caused by repetitive stress associated with sitting behind a keyboard too many hours per day. At various points in my career, I’ve been faced with soreness in my shoulders and numbness in my arms. I could never be entirely sure whether the pain came from my repetitive actions behind the keyboard or from participating in non-contact (well, really contact) sports like flag football, basketball, volleyball, and soccer. Oh, and one can’t eliminate aging from playing a part.

People in constant pain will try almost anything to overcome it. When I started feeling pain and numbness in my right arm several years ago, I switched my computer mouse from my right side to the left, which had a couple of effects. One is that it reduced repetitive stress on my right arm, correspondingly reducing the pain, and it forced me to improve my left-handed fine motor skills. Even though I’m extremely right-handed, it now feels mostly natural to use my left hand to drive the mouse.

Later, when pain showed up in my neck and shoulder area, I took advantage of my medical benefits to go see a couple of specialists, including a physical therapist and a physiatrist. I didn’t have a lot of faith in physical therapy (PT) because I’d never tried it. However, after participating in PT exercises for several weeks, including onsite at the PT facility, the pain (thankfully) significantly subsided.

I recall the pain doctor – or physiatrist – locating my pain by softly pinching different areas of skin on my back with fingers from both of his hands and then verifying with me where the pain was the worst. The physiatrist ended up giving me shots in the neck as part of the treatment.

Due to demand, the market is coming up with new approaches to address chronic pain. My wife has had knee pain for several months now and, while researching solutions, came across a “new” device that performs something called transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation or TENS, which works by sending electrical impulses to reduce pain signals being sent to the brain, as well as relaxes muscles. These signals are believed to also stimulate production of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers.

TENS devices may help reduce pain caused by a wide range of conditions, including arthritis, knee pain, neck pain, sports injuries, and more. So it might be worth a try if you’re a chronic pain sufferer and are looking to try something new.

Caption: A “TENS” device performing transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. Credit: WikiCommons

The $64 million question is does it work? Like many solutions that produce difficult-to-quantify results, your mileage will vary. My wife claims she had immediate relief of patellofemoral pain in her left knee the first time she tried TENS.

Further, I interviewed a friend at a dinner party who swore that TENS has eased chronic pain in his shoulders and lower back. I’ve been doing TENS for a couple of weeks now to see if it can help with shoulder pain, and the jury is still out. If I notice any notable progress, I’ll provide an update in a future column.

In summary, whether you frequently work out, spend lengthy hours behind a keyboard, or age, repetitive stress will eventually lead to some sort of pain, which will hopefully be temporary. If it becomes chronic, you do have more options than ever, including electrical nerve stimulation. Technology to treat the effects of, well, technology!

References:

 

Jaws of life (Lana Khazari)

Lana Khazari is a Technical Support Analyst for the Corporation of City of Windsor, Ontario, Canada. She is also a Precision Nutrition Coach, Personal Trainer, Fitness Instructor and a Yoga 200-RYT Instructor. You can find her online at lanakharazi.com.

Do you ever catch yourself at work deeply enthralled in a work task and then notice your jaw is tight and your brows are furrowed? For the 40+ hrs a week I hang out on my computer, I’m not always aware of when and at the intensity of which I do this, but I do notice it. The vertical wrinkles between my brows provide evidence. So do my flattened teeth.

On a recent trip to the dentist, I was labeled a “grinder” and prescribed a mouthguard. I’m convinced it’s because the office knows I have the insurance to cover the $600 of melted plastic. I promised I’d make it work but shamefully removed it at 3 am the first night and midnight on the second attempt. Even though I know I should, I’m still in denial. Even though I’ve chipped one of my molars.

Dentists report increases in cracks, broken, and damaged teeth due to pandemic stress. The evidence is anecdotal but believable, and certainly a reason not to delay oral health care and the profit on mouthguards. Teeth grinding and clenching are signs of the body’s attempts to address or process emotions like fear, anger, grief, and rage. A stiffened jaw is also a sign of TMD (temporomandibular joint disorder, most commonly referred to as TMJ).

Remember that everything above the head is mostly bone, with the jaw the only thing moving freely. It helps us breathe, speak, eat, and digest. When we become angry or defensive, the jaw tightens; a prehistoric reflex evolved from an animal’s need to protect and defend its survival. The primitive response is a self-defense mechanism deep in the brain’s limbic system. When attacked or overwhelmed, the muscles of the jaw contract. So do the shoulder and neck. You’ll notice someone in distress has their shoulders raised and their head forward. Sometimes when the body and mind are suddenly surprised or overwhelmed, the jaw may “drop.”

Suppose you are like me and experience grinding or clenching, increased tooth pain or sensitivity, tired or tightened jaw muscles, or worse, lockjaw. In that case, we both need to balance out the sympathetic nervous system of response – or fight or flight – response. It helps to reduce stress, practice good sleep, and self-care activities like exercise, warm baths or listening to music.

Yoga also has a lot to offer here and is often overlooked for relieving tension in the jaw. As a yoga teacher, I often hear complaints about the hips, knees, shoulders, and back. Most students don’t think yoga is something that could help their jaws. Yoga is beneficial because it activates the parasympathetic nervous system (a.k.a. The “rest and digest” response). This effect alone helps balance out the “fight or flight” response and reduce overall stress.

The following practice is a great way to help dissolve tension in the jaw. And it can be done right where you are sitting. You can do this at your desk at work or on your car ride home. I learned this from Tia Little’s “Yoga of the Subtle Body,” and takes approximately 5 minutes. Read the following instructions slowly to follow along with this jaw release practice:

  1. Inhale, while you exhale, allow your tongue to drop to the floor of your mouth and behind your lower teeth. Repeat a few more times.
  2. Imagine releasing and softening the skin below your ears.
  3. Imagine the skin in the center of your chin beginning to soften. Imagine the skin on the upper jaw and around your mouth is starting to melt down.
  4. Continue to allow your jaw to loosen so that your lower jaw bone (mandible) drops away from your upper jaw bone. Allow your lips to separate. Back teeth are also separating. Continue to breathe and flatten your tongue on each exhale.
  5. Open your mouth about the width of 2-3 fingers. Place the heel of your hand onto the bony end of the chin.
  6. While resisting with the heel of your hand, slowly begin to move your lower jawbone forward and backward.
  7. Now place the heel of your hand (or fist) on the right side of your jaw. Slowly move your jaw side-to-side a few times. Push with the jaw and resist with the hand.
  8. Place the hand on the left side and slowly move your jaw side-to-side a few times again.
  9. Slowly close the jaw and notice the release of strain or tension in the face, jaw, and ears.

Lastly, only if you want, smile. Smiling also helps to relax the tight muscles of the jaw.

 

Andrey Sarantsev

Andrey is 62 years old and resides in Russia, Moscow. He is a former scientist at Moscow State University (Physics) and has worked for IBM as an IT Architect for the last 18 years. He was dedicated to Shotokan karate in his early years, then later practiced bodybuilding and now plays tennis and exercises with not-so-heavy-weights just to be in good shape.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Unfortunately because of the current situation in Russia and the Ukraine, Andrey says he is unable to continue writing for us at this present time. And since IBM recently announced it has suspended all operations in Russia this probably means he will lose his IT job as well. So we ask our newsletter readers to keep Andrey in their thoughts and prayers during the difficult days that lie ahead for him. We’ll keep his picture and bio here in our newsletter as a reminder for us all to keep doing this, and with the hope that he’ll one day be able to return to being a regular columnist for FitITproNews. Thank you.]

 

IT pro toolbox

AD ACL Scanner is a tool with GUI used to create reports of access control lists (DACLs) and system access control lists (SACLs) in Active Directory:

https://github.com/canix1/ADACLScanner

Beyond Compare is a multi-platform utility that combines directory compare and file compare functions in one package:

https://www.scootersoftware.com/

PolicyPak is a modern desktop management solution that empowers you to easily configure, deploy, and manage policies for on-premises, MDM, and cloud Windows environments:

https://www.policypak.com/

myLG is an open source software utility which combines the functions of the different network probes in one network diagnostic tool:

http://www.mylg.io/

 

Send us your feedback!

Got feedback about anything in this issue of FitITproNews? Email us today!

 

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