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Health & Wellness
Twenty years ago, I undertook a small research study to look at the benefits of meditation for parents caring for their very sick children at home. At that time, there was a growing body of evidence as to the benefits of meditation. Now, the powerful benefits are undeniable. This time-tested practice has been scientifically proven...
After years of struggling to find effective ways to treat the pain she was experiencing from fibromyalgia, Tanya Billmeyer knew that there must be other options, not only for her but for others. Then, she tried floating. The positive experience she had suspended in an over-sized sensory deprivation pod prompted her to open Float and...
Did you know that one of the side effects of the pandemic is weight gain? “Pandemic Pounds” and the “Quarantine 15” are nicknames for the extra weight that many people have gained in the era of COVID-19. After all, some of us might not be able to be as physically active. Parents are trying to...
Recently, I woke up like it was Christmas Day. I was ecstatic, and not because of anything more than the fact that I was getting a babysitter for the day. When you are at home with four little kids all day and a husband who works all the time, you start to become used to...
To be your best self, be resilient. While watching this year’s annual patriotic pops concert, “A Capitol Fourth,” on PBS, I was touched to see Vanessa Williams, the co-host, in great voice and gorgeous at 57. Resilience has brought her a long way since 1983. That’s when she surrendered her crown as Miss America because...
Caregivers are all around us — family caregivers and professional caregivers. They spend much of their time and energy tirelessly caring for others, and they rarely receive the appreciation or recognition they deserve. Have you ever wondered how you show your appreciation for all that they do? I have a few ideas for you: Offer...
Life can be stressful. With everything that is going on now in the world, we are noticing that more people are overwhelmed, anxious and depressed. On top of everything else, the stress within our lives obviously hasn’t stopped. The medical community has recognized that stress has a significant impact on our health, inflammation, increased risk...
If you are a caregiver, you know how important it is to carve out time for play, enjoyment and engagement. Often when caregiving, the most prominent areas are doctor’s appointments, three balanced meals per day, medication management, dentistry, bathing and other daily tasks. Although those areas are so important in a care plan, it is...
I read not because I have found the time for it, as so many people say they long to do, but because I can’t imagine not reading. It’s one of those things you just do, like putting the coffee on in the morning and locking up at night. A day without reading is like a...
There is a wealth of information available that explains how eating right and exercising can help our bodies stay healthy during this pandemic. But there are many things we can do to keep our mind and spirit strong, as well. Consider adopting these strategies to help you remain calm, brave and resilient as we face...
Whether you prefer pop, rock or hip-hop, the kind of music on your workout playlist can make a difference. According to a new study, high-tempo music can reduce the amount of perceived effort of a workout and help boost cardiovascular benefits more than slower tempos. The tempo of the music needs to equate to about...
Remember when you were a child, and you spent hours and hours building a fort in the backyard — so much so that when your mom called you in for dinner, you considered skipping dinner so you didn’t have to stop? Or, in my case, I spent hours and hours trying to emulate my inspiring...
A local nonprofit organization made a life-changing surprise gift on Saturday when it presented Dubuque resident Jamie Koppes with a custom van. Koppes, 41, has spina bifida. A well-known fixture in the volunteer community, she donates her time to the American Red Cross and is on the board of Ark Advocates, an organization that assists...
It doesn’t take much recreation to give your body a boost. “Exercising, especially when just starting, can be a scary endeavor,” said Krista Viertel, a physical therapist at MercyOne Dubuque Medical Center. “However, research shows that just 150 minutes per week — approximately 20 minutes a day — can achieve health benefits.” Nicole Hutchison, owner...
GALENA, Ill. — Kathy Willauer sprung a surprise on her sister, Linda Hartlep. “I told her, ‘I signed you up for goat yoga,’ and she said, ‘Oh, no you didn’t,’” Willauer said. Oh yes, she did, and Willauer and Hartlep were in attendance during a class at Original Goat Yoga Galena, where six young goat...
“I always can be distracted by love, but eventually, I get horny for my creativity.” — Gilda Radner Where do ideas come from? A pragmatist might say from daily life. A scientist might say from the hippocampus, the horseshoe-shaped part of the brain that houses emotion and memory. A poet might say from the Muses...
This month brings me to my 39th lap around the sun. I remember a time when that seemed like an ancient age, like when you heard your mom or dad say they were 39, and you thought that was incredibly old, and they basically were done having any fun in life. I am not even...
In a time in which we are trying to keep physically, mentally and financially healthy, the experts encourage us to harness nature’s power for your family. One of my heroes is John Muir (1838-1914). He was an influential Scottish-American naturalist, author, environmental philosopher, glaciologist and early advocate for the preservation of the wilderness in the...
As I sit and write this column, the kids have been back and forth from the kitchen to May’s room about 10 times each. For what? I am unsure at this point. They are being quiet. They are not fighting. Nothing is exploding or burning down. So, I am just going to enjoy the peace....
Whether you live in the city or country, you are fortunate to have access to plenty of nature right outside your front door. The Mississippi River, open fields, parks, flowing creeks and clusters of woods are all part of our daily landscape living in the tri-state area. Having close access to the natural world is...
I was introduced to Pilates 20 years ago, while living in Southeast Asia. The balancing effect experienced in my mind and body kept me coming back for more, and I couldn’t get enough of the ever-evolving physical challenges. It was exciting to be building such new layers of strength. Eventually, through the healing of a...
If I am going to be completely honest, I am sure that you are getting an overload from everyone in the health and fitness industry about setting your New Year’s resolution goals. I know. I have been in the industry, and for years, I have been front in center telling you how I am going...
Do you recall when your kids were little, and you went to the doctor with Cheerios in your hair? Well, that is how most caregivers feel, and often, that is how your loved one feels, too. There is so much going on when caregiving is taking place that it really isn’t about beauty and fashion,...
When infertility blocks your journey to parenthood, you might become weary, overwhelmed, anxious, angry or filled with grief. Infertility is a stressful and frustrating life experience. But there are options to explore that might help with underlying causes of infertility. Visceral manipulation and infertility: Visceral manipulation is a complementary or alternative manual therapy that assesses...
A colleague of mine recently had her first baby, who at the time of this writing will be 5 months old and chunky as all get out (the baby, not the colleague). The little one also is in the throes of her first fever/cold combo, and no one in her house is getting much sleep....
We know that seniors are full of wisdom and have much to offer our society. They are key to our communities and important to the upbringing of our youth. But do you know the benefits and specifics of how seniors impact the youth? Youth who have regular interaction with a senior mentor experience the following...
We know that seniors are full of wisdom and have much to offer our society. They are key to our communities and important to the upbringing of our youth. But do you know the benefits and specifics of how seniors impact the youth? Youth who have regular interaction with a senior mentor experience the following...
We asked local moms what they do for a little “me time.” Here’s what they had to say. Hopefully, you’ll find some ideas for self-care. “I love to go for a hike. When I’m out, I look for fun things to take photos of and share with my daughter. I also love to just go...
Along with the joy of bringing a baby into the world, physical changes from pregnancy and postpartum conditions might cause unexpected effects on the body. It’s important to proactively discuss these topics with your doctor to stay informed, know you aren’t alone and understand what effective solutions are available. Hair loss Triggered by a change...
“Have couple friends, and do fun outings with them.” “Make sure you have a core group of girlfriends.” “Make play dates for your kids. Join a ‘mommy and me’ group.” We have so many people offering us this advice — not to mention the social media feed of happy couples doing happy things all of...
“Have couple friends, and do fun outings with them.” “Make sure you have a core group of girlfriends.” “Make play dates for your kids. Join a ‘mommy and me’ group.” We have so many people offering us this advice — not to mention the social media feed of happy couples doing happy things all of...
One of our closest relationships in our lifetime is with our parents. And as our parents get older, they might need help. While every situation is different, it can be challenging to know the right approach to take when supporting them through their golden years. Here are a few practices to keep in mind: Always...
Looking back 10 years, we met love in a completely different way than we do today. Dating apps, social media and video calls have made it much easier for us to meet new people. Our dating habits are, as many other things, changing in time. Experts from the global dating app happn have predicted the...
On one particularly uneventful day, Elizabeth Pape looked out her window from her sofa to find a group of women sprinting up and down her street. “They’d run to the stop sign, turn around, run back,” she said. “I was like, ‘What are these girls doing?’” Leading the pack was the petite Krissy Mueller, a...
The word empathy is receiving a lot of attention. Educators list empathy as a 21st Century skill that is essential to instill in children today. Empathy can be defined as the ability to deeply connect with others by looking at the world through their eyes in order to understand their thoughts, feelings, and actions. In...
If I am going to be completely honest, I am sure that you are getting an overload from everyone in the health and fitness industry about setting your New Year’s resolution goals. I know. I have been in the industry, and for years, I have been front in center telling you how I am going...
If I am going to be completely honest, I am sure that you are getting an overload from everyone in the health and fitness industry about setting your New Year’s resolution goals. I know. I have been in the industry, and for years, I have been front in center telling you how I am going...
A young girl, crouched down and curled in a fetal position, is a figure that appears in several creations by Allison Poster. The image clad in black and white is a raw representation that personifies a traumatic period in the life of the Dubuque artist. One piece shows her locked in a cage, immersed in...
If I am going to be completely honest, I am sure that you are getting an overload from everyone in the health and fitness industry about setting your New Year’s resolution goals. I know. I have been in the industry, and for years, I have been front in center telling you how I am going...
Because humans are complex creatures, wellness includes different dimensions of life that are all interconnected. When we look to reinforce and enhance our wellness, most people consider the physical realm as the highest priority. This dimension encompasses understanding your body as it relates to physical activity, rest and nutrition. As you might imagine, it involves...
Because humans are complex creatures, wellness includes different dimensions of life that are all interconnected. When we look to reinforce and enhance our wellness, most people consider the physical realm as the highest priority. This dimension encompasses understanding your body as it relates to physical activity, rest and nutrition. As you might imagine, it involves...
For the past couple of years, we’ve been witnessing the health and wellness industry shift more toward mind, body and spirit rather than just fitness classes and athleisure wear. In addition to spinning, fitness studios are adding in more classes with a focus on mindfulness. Yoga also has been gaining popularity as people are experiencing...
Hosting house guests during the holidays? For happier guests and hosts alike, you’ll want to be sure you’re equipped to accommodate all your over-nighters. Here are a few pointers: Special considerations You’ll likely know of any special considerations you will need to make for individual guests, but if you aren’t sure, ask in advance. For...
Work-life balance refers to balancing time for work and other areas of life, such as social time, self-care, family, leisure, etc. Without it, we become overwhelmed with stress, which can lead to poor health, poor productivity and, in general, unhappiness. Why are we always striving for this balance and never achieving it? Can we ever...
One of the most frequent questions that I am asked about caregiving is, “What should we do differently for the holidays when we are caregiving?” This is difficult because we place so much importance on tradition for the holidays. Our expectations typically are very high with the ultimate “Norman Rockwell” holiday as the goal. I...
I wish I could sit here and tell you how to entertain for the holidays, but I have to be honest with you. I am not a good host. I am not really creative at this point in my life. I don’t love when a lot of people are coming over. I am not a...
It has been said that change is the only constant in life. Change can be a deliberate choice we make, or it can be thrust upon us unexpectedly, such as in the loss of a loved one through death or divorce, the onset of a life-altering illness or the end a career due to downsizing....
When kids go back to school, the germs come out to play. It doesn’t help that there is an increased risk for illness as the months progress. School, colder weather, holidays and diets can play a role in decreased immune function during the fall and winter. One of the most frequent questions I’m asked in...
As we learn about ideal holiday gifts in this issue, it sparked a thought of what gifts that caregivers need. Caregivers need the gift of time. This is one of the most generous and supportive things you can offer the caregiver. Consider dedicating an hour per month or an hour per week to plug in...
Your heart starts pounding. You have a sense of impending dread. A wave of nausea takes over and you begin to feel lightheaded. The thought of buying a special gift for a special someone sends you into a tailspin. Put those anxiety-inducing thoughts aside. Art often is thought of as the niche of the rich...
I don’t know about you, but every year when the gift-giving season approaches, I think to myself, “How am I going to cut back on my expenses? I know: I am going to put a lot of thought into gift-giving, and I am going to enjoy the season.” Then, as it approaches, I think of...
From the time you learn how to walk to later in life when you face challenges at school or work — or especially if you’re riding a horse. It’s become a cliche. “If you fall, get back up, shake it off and try again.” Nowhere, perhaps, is that advice more appropriate than in ice skating....
There is no end to the things we have yet to do. There is no final goal. Any accomplishment usually is followed by another door opening another challenge. It’s inevitable. You think you might have achieved your final goal — like getting engaged or married, or getting a coveted new job or losing 25 pounds...
Reflexology is an ancient therapy that has been used around the world for thousands of years, traced back to ancient Egypt, China, India, Japan and Korea. Today, it can be found in health care systems of many countries including Great Britain, China, South Africa, Denmark and the United States. Reflexology is described by many people...
One of the most important responsibilities in caregiving is to be the sunshine in someone’s storm. It is far from easy, but I work with hundreds of women who do just that every single day. Did you know that 65% of family caregivers are female? The average female caregiver provides up to 20 hours of...
If it weren’t for the services of Opening Doors in Dubuque, a women by the name of “Q” most likely would have taken longer to get her life back on a positive path. “Opening Doors offers hospitality and opportunity to homeless women, alone or with children, who need emergency, transitional or permanent housing and related...
When you find peace within yourself, you will find peace floating all around you. What does that mean? As a woman in this world, it can be so easy to try to live up to all of these crazy expectations of what other’s say beauty is. But beauty lies within. It took me many years...
Unfortunately, too many of us know someone — a family member, friend or colleague — who is affected by breast cancer. In fact, breast cancer accounts for nearly one in three cancers diagnosed in U.S. women, according to the American Cancer Society. Since there is no cure for breast cancer, more needs to be done...
Did you know that our ancestors did not eat every two hours? Did you know that they did not eat low-carb, low fat, low this and low that diets? No, they didn’t. And you can look back at pictures from the old days and see how most of them do not have much extra weight...
Proper diet isn’t just about what we’re eating. It’s about everything that we’re consuming in our lives, from the way we move to our relationships, satisfaction with career, spirituality and our connectedness to the world around us. I’ve spoken with many women who know what they should be eating and how they should be moving...
One of the most important and many responsibilities in caregiving is to make certain that you optimize your loved one’s enjoyment in food, and ultimately, impact their favorable nutrition. Your loved one might be experiencing some changes with their appetite, and/or a health condition might be interfering with their desire to eat. The secret to...
Everyone thinks that caregiving is something that comes naturally to us when it is needed. The reality is that it requires a very disciplined specific skill set. Some of the skills needed are inherent, but others require specific education and study. So, off to school we go to learn that very specific knowledge. Learn all...
When it comes to column writers, personality is everything. If you spend time around Addie Graffin, it doesn’t take long to find out she has plenty of it. The 38-year-old who lives in Platteville, Wis., wears many hats. She is a stay-at-home mom to two sets of twins, ages 3 and 5; a wife; a...
It’s the time of year for many to think back-to-school. But what about also thinking back-into-fitness? Fall is the time of year for many to resume a regular routine and look for indoor fitness options and regular nutritious meals. But with so many options available, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. This...
Taking care of the people around them is almost every woman’s first priority. This “second shift” tends to lean toward women in many homes all over the world. Women often are the household workers. They are the main caretaker for children, the planners and the cleaners. All of these tasks can lead not only to...
What can you do to help empower women caregivers? Did you know that women are caregivers in 85 to 95% of cases? In order to reduce the burden of caregiving on women, there is a need for the community to find ways to creatively offer a hand. There are several kind and simple actions that...
Americans are known to overeat, abuse credit cards, marinate for hours on social media and break New Year’s resolutions before the end of January. Self-discipline doesn’t seem to be a strength. And achieving it — and the success that can come with it — might never have been harder than it is in this instant-gratification...
As a child growing up in Montreal, Stephanie Helmer, M.D., unknowingly prepared to be a heart surgeon by practicing the cello. “If you’re preparing for a performance, every note has to be perfect and everything has to sound right,” Helmer said. “You go over phrases until it’s perfect, or as close to perfect as you...
People often don’t realize that there are distinct stages of caregiving. Caregivers ask me early on in the process how we can best prepare to begin caregiving. In many ways, this is the most important step. As with anything in life, you have to ready yourself for that role. And these decisions are not straightforward...

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Walking the talk: Julia Theisen embraces a greater calling on her health and wellness path
August 7, 2020
A wellness wonder: Inside Dubuque’s Float and Fly Wellness Studio
August 7, 2020
Gain the ‘Quarantine 15’? Here are ways to shed pandemic pounds and get back on track
August 7, 2020
Teach kids about the importance of self care
August 7, 2020
Reflection: Tapping into your resilience
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