How to Choose Between Career and Family

Traditionally, a woman will give up some or all of her career when she is ready to start a family. It is still generally expected for the woman to take on the lion’s share of the housework and the rearing of children. Of course, there are exceptions and men become househusbands, but overall it is still seen as the woman’s role. However, many women now also have high flying careers, which they have worked very hard for, and do not feel comfortable having to give that up, even in part. Is it really necessary to choose between career and family or can both co-exist? If they can co-exist, then how do you manage the two? And if it has to be one or the other, how do you make that decision?

Is it Possible to Have a Career and a Family?

This day and age, there can be two reasons for both parents, or in a single parent household the only parent, having a career. The first reason is by choice, the second is by necessity. Either way choosing to work when having a family does not, in any way, make you a bad parent. It is unfortunate that having a career when having a child means that the amount of time you spend with your child is significantly reduced, but what truly matters is the quality of the time you spend with your child when you are with them, as well as the quality of the childcare you arrange whilst you are at work. There is a wealth of options available for working parents, such as nurseries, playgroups, child minders or friends and family.

Try, as much as you can, to find childcare arrangements where your own values and morals are respected an instilled on the child as well of course. Although perhaps not ideal, as you will have less time to spend with your child, it is clearly possible to have both a career and a family life. The focus should always be on quality, not quantity – spending a little time with your child but that time being meaningful is better than spending a lot of child with your child but not having an impact on their lives.

How to Choose Between Career and Family

You may be the type of person that feels a career and a family do not mix and that at least one parent should be at home with the children. For this, you should be applauded, of course. Two main decisions need to be made first, being firstly the decision between what is more important to you – having a career or having a family. If you choose having a family, you will need to decide which one of the two parties will need to give up their career.

The first decision then, is whether you want a family or a career. It can be very hard to weigh these issues up against each other, as both can seem so important. Ask yourself whether it is possible to put either on hold – could you wait for a few more years before having a family? Could your career start again in a few years? It is not so much a case of putting off the decision then, but it could potentially allow you to have the best of both worlds. However, it is important to remember that if you postpone having a family, you may find yourself in the exact same situation several years later, when your career has advanced even further and you may find it even harder to give it up. Of course, from a biological perspective, waiting to have children cannot go on forever either.

Next, ask yourself why you want a career and why you want children? Do you want a career because you have something to prove, or is it something you truly enjoy and couldn’t do without? Do you want children because your biological clock is ticking, or do you feel your life will not be complete without a child to love and cherish?

Weigh up all these issues and try to determine what is the most important to you and when, this can go a long way towards helping you make up your mind.

Once you have made a decision to have a family and to have one parent stay at home, the time will come to decide which one of you needs to give up their career. It would be very easy to say that the highest earner will continue to work, for financial reasons of course. However, this is not always the best solution. It is important to determine which one of the two enjoys their career the most and which one feels most committed to furthering their career. Another aspect to consider, potentially, is which career is most likely to develop further.

It is also important what your views and values on child rearing are – perhaps you feel it is the woman’s role to stay home with the family, in which case the decision is also made. However, in this day and age, it is just as possible – although still not common – for the man to become a househusband and stay home with the children.

Whichever one of you decides to be the stay at home parent, it is important to have some strong decisions about expectations in relation to the child rearing, just as you would with a different child carer. You need to ensure that you both agree wherever possible on how the child is being raised, even if you are the one continuing their career. And you also need to make sure that the decision of who continues with their career has been taken soundly. This means that you cannot at a later stage resent that party for continuing on with their career whilst you had to stay at home.

Another solution, if possible, is for parents to "take turns", whereby one party works for a few years and the other party works for another few years. Many companies will now allow you to take a career break, meaning you will be able to return on the working ladder even if you have been out of it for several years.

How to choose between career and family is very difficult and it depends on a lot of factors. It is by no means impossible to have both a career and a family anymore, although you do need to have a balance between the two: if both parties work 70 hours a week, there will be no time left to look after the children. Of course, there is a strong argument to saying that if you choose to have children, you choose to take on that responsibility and in effect forfeit your rights to a career.

However, this is not always possible and certainly not necessary if you ensure that the time you do have with your child or children is quality time and by making sure that you have the best possible childcare available, that follows on your own feelings and beliefs about child rearing. If you do feel the decision needs to be exclusive: either a family, or a career – make sure you make a fully informed decision and that you stand by this. Giving one of the two up needs to be a very conscious choice.

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5 Ways That Stress and High Blood Pressure Are Linked

In cartoons and films, characters who are highly stressed or angry will often have high blood pressure. This is a tool that the writers can use in order to quickly convey a character's stressed personality and at the same time get a laugh. Whenever we hear an exasperated wife say to her husband: 'remember your blood pressure!' we know that she's the put-upon type and that he's constantly railing and ranting.

But how about the reality? Are stress and high blood pressure really linked? And if so, to what degree and what causes this connection?

Are Stress and High Blood Pressure Linked?

The short answer to this question is yes. Stress and high blood pressure are linked in many ways and as soon as you find yourself getting acutely stressed, your blood pressure will rise. What's more, if you are chronically stressed (i.e. if you suffer from ongoing stress) then you will be likely to have chronically higher blood pressure too.

What Causes the Link Between Stress and High Blood Pressure?

So what causes this link? In fact there are several ways in which stress and high blood pressure are correlated, many of which are causative as well (meaning that one causes the other). Here we will look at five examples of things that cause this link.


When you are stressed this increases your production of the stress hormones norepinephrine and adrenaline. It is well known that these substances can increase the heart rate and are responsible for what is known as the 'fight or flight response'. As the heart is the 'pump' that creates blood pressure and pushes it around our body, any increase in heart rate will automatically result in an increase in blood pressure.


But it's not the heart rate that increases alone. At the same time, an increase in stress will also cause vasoconstriction. What this means is that your blood vessels (arteries and veins) will become narrower thus creating a smaller passageway for blood to get through. Again this necessarily increases blood pressure because it means that you have the same amount of blood only now packed into a relatively smaller amount of space. These two factors alone are more than enough to result in a strong link between stress and blood pressure.

It's important to recognize that this process in itself is not actually a bad thing. The whole idea of the stress response is that it puts the body in a state where it will be better able to deal with danger. This makes us hyper sensitive, more aware, stronger and faster. An increase in blood pressure actually helps this process, because it means that blood and oxygen will be more quickly and efficiently delivered to the brain and the muscles. The problem with chronic stress though is that this state continues for too long – indefinitely even – and this ends up placing a heavy strain on the heart.

Blood Viscosity

Research shows that stress can also elevate blood viscosity. This term refers to the actual thickness of the blood and the reason this happens is that the body is once again preparing itself for a skirmish by making the blood more likely to clot should you get cut or injured. This can prevent excessive blood-loss and in principle would be beneficial in the short term. Thicker blood is another way that stress and blood pressure are linked – because more pressure is required to circulate a thick substance around the body versus a thin one.


Stress can also increase bad cholesterol (LDL) though it's not fully understood how or why. One theory is that stress increases energy in the body which when unused can end up getting converted back to fatty deposits. At the same time, stress can also lead to bad eating habits due to hormonal changes and this can once again increase blood pressure.

Weight Gain

As mentioned above, stress can also encourage bad eating habits, which also leads to high blood pressure. When we are stressed, an increase in cortisol causes our body to use up available blood sugar which makes us more likely to want to eat junk food. This combined with the fact that eating comfort food is one way to feel better when you're very stressed means that you're far more likely to raid the fridge when you have high anxiety.

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[ Foot Health ] Experiencing Foot Pain, Bottom-Of-Foot Pain Or Toenail Fungus?

Foot health is a topic that many people try to avoid. The foot isn't exactly a part of the body that we normally associate with the words pretty and sexy. The foot is typically protected from the outside world via a pair of socks and shoes.

All sorts of foot-wear exists these days and they come in different shapes and size. We wear this kind of foot-wear to protect our feet. Foot health relates to looking after the well-being of our feet. Ensuring that our feet our healthy is what foot health is all about.

There are many different kinds of problems that can occur to our precious feet. Foot pain, bottom-of-foot pain and toenail fungus are three common problems that occur. Our feet need to be taken care of and washed on a daily basis.

There are a few types of foot pain. Bottom-Of-Foot pains are a common occurrence because we use that part of the foot so much. They are constantly taking a pounding from everyday activities such as walking and standing.

A medical term for bottom-of-foot pain or ball-of-foot pain is metatarsalgia. Metatarsalgia is a painful condition which affects the metatarsal region of the foot. The metatarsal region is the area just below the toes. We also call this region ball-of-foot.

The disorder can affect the bones and joints at the ball-of-foot. The problem typically occurs because of excessive pressure being applied on the region over long periods of time.

Most of the time, the problem can be fixed by wearing the correct foot-wear. Foot-wear that is uncomfortable to wear is more than likely going to cause pain and discomfort.

Toenail fungus is another condition that affects the toenails. Fungus can develop on the toenails due to poor hygiene. The feet need to be cleaned on a regular basis and at least once a day. Bacteria naturally live on the surface of our skin on the feet.

The number of bacteria that live on our feet really depends on whether or not we clean our feet properly. If we wear shoes and socks throughout the day, bacteria can grow and spread. Inside shoes and socks, the conditions for bacteria and fungal growth are just right.

It is very important that we take foot health seriously and wear comfortable foot-wear that allows our feet to feel safe and relaxed. Shoes must be designed to absorb most the impact when walking and running. Massages might be able to relieve sore feet.

In conclusion, if you are experiencing foot pain, bottom-of-foot pain or toenail fungus, then we need to ensure that we are wearing the right foot-wear and keeping our feet clean.

Chun-Lam Samuel Lo has written other articles regarding foot health. If you are interested in getting more information on topics such as toenail fungus then head to his blog at:

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7 Tips for Foot Health

Foot care is an essential routine activity that should be done by all individuals to achieve optimum wellness. Our feet contribute an important role in our activities of daily living which generally involves standing, walking and moving around. The lower body extremities especially the feet appear to support the entire weight of a person bringing them to be the most overused part of the body. To help prevent damage and promote foot care, here are seven tips to promote foot health.

Inspect and palpate your feet regularly. Keeping track with your feet will help you notice any changes or foot irregularities when it suddenly differs in foot colour, thickness, temperature, skin turgor and note for cracks. Also check for the capilliary refill of your toenails that will indicate adequate blood oxygenation. Any growth or change on the foot is not considered normal and should be consulted to a physician.

Wash your feet on a daily basis making sure to clean and wash in between the toes. Wet skin is very vulnerable which is prone to cracking and lesions since the skin become inelastic. Make sure you let your feet completely dry by using a towel to prevent skin from impairment.

Trim and cut your toenails. Be careful not to overly trim your toenails to prevent from skin damage and injury. For ladies and lasses who enjoy pedicures and nail art, make sure not to prolong the nail paint over a week. Use a mild nail polish remover to completely cleanse the nail polish. Prolonged paint will cause the nails to be brittle and may lead to certain foot problems.

Select the appropriate shoe and shoe size for your feet. When buying a new pair of shoes, consider and prioritize the comfort it will bring your feet and not after the shoe style. The best time for shoe fitting is during the day when the feet are at its largest.

As much as possible, avoid walking and running barefooted at your home. Walking barefooted may lead to an incident that may impair and aggravate the condition of your feet. It is best advised and wise to put on your slippers even at home to prevent any possible accident.

After a long stand, walk, run, a tiring and stressful day at work, lifting your legs against the wall will benefit your foot and legs venous return which promotes blood circulation. It is said that promoting venous return can aid in preventing formation of blood clots and plaques in the feet due prolonged standing, blood pooling and inadequate circulation.

Lastly, never disregard any foot or ankle pain even though you have a strong pain threshold and tolerance. Any pain connotes that there is an inflammation or any underlying cause within. It is better to consult your doctor or a podiatric physician to help diagnose and treat the pain.

For diagnosed type one or type two diabetes, caring for your feet plays a major role in maintaining your health. Foot lesions and wounds are the common cause of leg amputation for diabetic people. Make sure to routinely check and do foot care as recommended to prevent amputation from happening.

The author writes about giving valuable tips to promote foot health for acute and ongoing foot problems and how to treat ankle pain.

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Wellness Travel: Tips for Eating Right when you Travel

Wellness Travel: Tips for Eating Right when you Travel

Even wellness travel means dining out and dining out comes with a host of forces that can work against you on the wellness front. Take advantage of the following guiding principles to transform this high risk eating endeavor into one that provides sensory pleasure without sacrificing your health or sabotaging your waistline. 

Eat out, but eat smart during your wellness travel by adhering to the following strategies:

    Avoid the “Great White Hazards” (white flour products, white potatoes, white rice)
        Request that bread not be brought to your table, or have it removed as you sit down.
        Ask for vegetables, beans or salads to replace white rice, potatoes and pasta sides.
        Avoid pasta entrees.
        Always substitute whole grain bread for white bread when available.

    Control Your Portions (your biggest challenge)
        Request that your server package half of your meal in a take-home box before you are served.
        Have an appetizer as your main dish.
        Split an entrée with your dining partner.
        Request a smaller portion.
        Avoid large buffet lines and all-you-can-eat restaurants.  Studies show the more quantity and variety available to us, the more we eat.

    Rein in Your Appetite – the hungrier you are, the more you eat.
        Eat a light and healthy snack an hour before you are to dine.  An apple or a small handful of nuts are an excellent choice.
        Have a side salad or a broth/tomato based soup as a starter.  Studies confirm that you will eat less of the entrée meal if you do this.
        For more on this topic, check out my free, video tip "Reining in Your Appetite."


    Eat as Many Fruits and Non-Starchy Veggies as Possible
        Studies confirm that these foods, because they are “big” in volume from fiber and water, quite literally “fill your tummy up” while providing a relatively low number of calories.  The name of the game is “bulking up” meals with as many healthy, yet low calorie fruits and veggies as possible.
        Consider entrée salads.
        Choose appetizers that provides fruits and/or veggies.
        Ask for extra vegetable sides or a double order of a veggie side.

    Do Your Fats Right! 
        Request that your foods be prepared in canola or olive oil
        If not available, request that all butter, sauces, dressings and gravy be put on the side so you can control the portions.
        Avoid “hearty sauces, deep-fried, creamed or crispy” appetizers or entrees.  This wording almost always means big doses of unhealthy fats.
        Avoid fatty cuts of red meat – burgers, meat loaf, bacon, ribs, sausage ect.

    Beware of Liquid Calories
        Excess calories from beverages, especially sweetened beverages like tea, sodas and fruit drinks mount very quickly.  Unfortunately, studies show that liquid calories do not have the appetite suppressive effects provided by the equivalent amount of solid food calories and are particularly fattening.
        Limit alcohol to 1 drink.  A glass of red wine is the healthiest choice.  Alcohol has a disinhibiting effect and increases the likelihood of dietary indiscretions.


Sugary drinks warning signs change habits of US teens

Signs warning shoppers how much exercise they need to do to burn off calories in sugary drinks can encourage healthier choices, US research suggests.
A study of teenagers' purchasing habits found they bought fewer sugary drinks and more water when the signs were up.

The most effective sign said it took five miles to walk off the 250 calories in a sugary drink.

Public Health England said the study showed simple health messages worked.

Study leader Dr Sara Bleich, associate professor at the Bloomberg School, John Hopkins University, said people do not understand calorie content on its own on a label.

"What our research found is that when you explain calories in an easily understandable way such as how many miles of walking is needed to burn them off, you can encourage behaviour change."

For six weeks, the brightly coloured signs were displayed in corner shops in neighbourhoods in Baltimore, in full view of young customers buying sugary drinks.

Four different signs were used in the shops. Two translated the calories in the drinks into the amount of exercise needed to burn off those calories.

One sign said it would take 50 minutes of running to work off the 250 calories - or 16 teaspoons of sugar - contained in a 590ml bottle of fizzy drink, sports drink or fruit juice.

The remaining signs listed the sugar content of the drink and the calories contained in the drink.

A can of fizzy drink, which is 330ml in size in the UK, contains around nine teaspoons of sugar.

To find out the impact of the signs, the researchers - writing in the American Journal of Public Health - interviewed children aged between 12 and 18 years old leaving the shop.

Out of the 35% of those interviewed who said they saw the signs, 59% said they believed the sign and 40% said their behaviour had changed as a consequence.

Before the signs were put up, 98% of drinks bought in the shops were sugary ones. After six weeks, this was reduced to 89%.

During the time the signs were on view, sales of larger bottles of fizzy drinks went down from 54% to 37% of all purchases.

The percentage of teenagers who chose to buy no drink at all in the shops increased from 27% to 33%.

This change in behaviour continued for several weeks after the "exercise" signs were taken down, the study adds.

In total, more than 3,000 drinks purchases were observed by the research team.

Dr Bleich said the findings could help in the fight against obesity,

"This is a very low-cost way to get children old enough to make their own purchases to drink fewer sugar-sweetened beverages and they appear to be effective even after they are removed.

"Using these easy-to-understand and easy-to-install signs may help promote obesity-prevention or weight loss."

Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at Public Health England, said: "This is an interesting study which demonstrates that we need to use a range of clear, simple messages to help people follow healthier diets.

"This is one of many possible approaches and PHE continues to keep the evidence base for behaviour change under review."

PHE says Change4Life uses "sugar reveals" in its campaigns which have been proven to have an impact on a person's selection of drinks.

Dr Tedstone added: "We all need to make sure we get our six to eight glasses of fluids a day not from sugary drinks but from water, lower fat milk, no added sugar or sugar-free drinks."

Kawther Hashem, a nutritionist at campaign group Action on Sugar said that any measure which helps draw attention to the dangers of consuming too many calories - was "a good thing, especially if it converts awareness into people taking positive action and switching to less calorific drinks".

She said it was also critical that soft drink manufacturers were made to reduce the sugar content of their drinks.

One quarter of all adults and one in five children in the UK are classified as obese.