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Maggie DeMellier

Maggie DeMellier

Maggie DeMellier has been Health Journeys go-to customer service representative and marketing associate since March 2012. She worked as a surgical technician and pharmacy technician before she earned a BA in Mass Media Communication at The University of Akron. She operates a freelance writing business, specializing in medical ads, news articles, police blotters, features and business writing.  She was a teacher at a career college for six years, and earned a MA in Forensic Psychology in 2010. Maggie is the co-author of Parenting by Law or Grace, published by Synchronisity Press, in 2004.

It's National Nurses Week, time to reward your favorite nurse. My favorite nurse wants money to go golfing. Yours might prefer our Renew & Recharge Gift Pack.

Everyone has a favorite nurse story. And it usually ends with, "I don't know what I would have done without her," or "Had it not been for him, I would not be here." Even more often, people survive and thrive and never realize they would not be here, had it not been for her or him or them.

If you ask nurses, they will tell you that's okay. They're not in it for praise or glory. Nor is nursing a profession you enter for the money, perks or glamour. Ask a nurse, "What do you make?" and you will probably hear the universal answer, "I make a difference."

Mother's Day is all about love, and families of all kinds. It comes early this year, May 10, so don't miss your chance to honor someone special with a gift to soothe the senses.

Biological mother, adoptive mother, stepmother, mother-in-law, grandmother, expectant mother, aunt, sister, neighbor, friend—to anyone who provided nurturing, understanding and love when you needed it, whether that person is living or not, Mother's Day offers you a chance to say thank you.

When you think of Mother's Day, what usually comes to mind is a special day or memory, your first Mother's Day or the first time you gave or received that special creation, made by someone with tiny hands and a huge, loving heart. You might remember a day when you were able to be with someone in some special way or the last Mother's Day you spent with someone you love.

It's April, and all around us life springs forth, affirming and renewing itself. Spring can be a particularly difficult time for people who are experiencing fertility issues. It often feels as if the whole world is doing something they have been unable to do.

About ten years ago, I taught play and music classes for children, and often taught a class for newborns. The babies were bounced on laps for songs, then placed in a circle, so they could visually interact with each other. The moms (and on occasion, a dad) sat in an outer circle and had sharing time.

They spoke candidly of insecurities about parenting, physical exhaustion, roller-coaster emotions and the wonders of parenting, like the internal, red-flag that tells you to go and check on your infant. Many shared stories of prior challenges with infertility.

Purple Up! For Military Kids

If you're reading this on April 15, it's not only tax deadline day, it's Purple Up! We are encouraged to wear purple to raise community awareness and support of military children. If you missed the 15th, you have the rest of April. The DOD has designated April the Month of the Military Child, to honor the unique challenges faced by military youth, and celebrate their ability to adapt.

"Parent deployments, frequent moves, a new school every few years, a constant rotation of friends, and, most of all, the threat of a parent being killed in combat--these facts of military life make them more prone to stress and anxiety, but military children are also found to be quite resilient in the face of those demanding pressures."—David Moore, from The Resilliency of the Military Child

We see daily news reports of alcohol-related accidents and deaths, many of them involving underage drinking. As a police reporter for two decades, I saw that a large number of incidents that required police action (and some that had tragic consequences) could have been avoided, had alcohol use not been a factor.

This April marks the 29th annual Alcohol Awareness Month, and the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) theme, For the Health of It: Early Education on Alcoholism and Addiction, seeks to raise awareness that alcohol consumption starts early and it has a particularly deleterious effect on underage drinkers and the people around them.

During Stress Awareness Month, we are reminded to identify our sources of stress, do what we can to reduce them and find stress management strategies that work. We are also reminded that long-term stress can lead to a plethora of problems, such as headaches, indigestion and insomnia and increase our risk for conditions like heart disease and depression.

For information on long-term effects of stress reduction techniques, read Years Later, Stress Training Pays Off for Cancer Patients by Kathryn Doyle for Reuters Health.

The best stress management strategies are the ones that work for you and fit with your lifestyle. Sitting on a park bench observing nature can be an effective stress-buster. Physical exercise is one of the most popular and effective ways to de-stress, and it works better when it involves an activity you enjoy.

Along the Road
by Robert Browning Hamilton

I walked a mile with Pleasure.
She chattered all the way.
But left me none the wiser
For all she had to say.
I walked a mile with Sorrow.
And ne'er a word said she,
But oh, the things I learned from her
When Sorrow walked with me!

Lately, we have been getting an unusually high number of calls from people who are grieving the loss of loved ones or choosing to send audio programs to others who are grieving. I am moved by the heartfelt sincerity in their voices, whether they are lost in grief and seeking something to help them, or bewildered about how to help a grief-stricken friend or relative.

March was named for Mars, the Roman God of Protection, considered to be a fierce warrior, once you woke him up. According to mythology, upon the outbreak of war, the people had to shake the sacred spears and shout "Mars Vigila," or "Wake up Mars."

March lives up to its name with unpredictable weather, blustery winds, late-season snow storms and an occasional blissful glimpse of spring (once it wakes up).

The best thing about March is that it's not January or February. The six more weeks of winter predicted by Punxsutawney Phil have passed, Daylight Saving Time is here and spring is surely on the way.

Daylight Saving Time (DST) was created to save energy resources, but many people feel it saps human energy resources by contributing to the existing problem of sleep insufficiency, which the Center for Disease Control has declared a national epidemic.

The phrase, Spring Ahead and Fall Back, was created to help us remember which way to turn the clocks in spring and fall, to accommodate DST. The phrase, Easier Said than Done, describes our feelings about losing an hour of sleep to make the change.

In most areas of the Western World, DST begins on Sunday, March 8, when we turn our clocks ahead and lose an hour (that day is only 23 hours long-yikes!). Whether you like it or not, you have no choice but to get in line—and be sure you do it an hour early.

Spring Forward and Fall Back is an old saying that helps us remember which way to turn the clock for the time changes in spring and fall, but for some of us, still in the grip of a freakishly brutal winter, springing forward feels more like falling back.

Sleep Awareness Week is the National Sleep Foundation's (NSF) annual public education campaign to raise awareness that sleep is as necessary to good health as food, water and air. This year's event, March 2-8, ends on the day we begin Daylight Saving Time—an excellent time to raise awareness about the need for adequate sleep.

Most adults need 7-9 hours of sleep each night. If you're getting the minimum seven hours (or even less) and you have to wake up an hour earlier, without going to bed an hour earlier, this puts you in the danger zone of being sleep-deprived.