Winter morning energy boost

If you are one of those people who has trouble getting going on dark winter mornings, I have a potentially great tip for you.

Do you have a floor lamp in your bedroom? Do you have one in your main room? And if you work from home, do you have one in your office? Or some kind of other suitable table lamp?

Go find yourself one or more daylight bulbs. Nothing fancy. Just an ordinary daylight bulb, like this one:
Philips LED A60 E27 Edison Screw Cool Day Light Bulb, Frosted, 6500 K, 13 W (100 W)
or this one (bayonet):
Ecozone Biobulb, Energy-Saving Daylight Bulb, Bayonet Cap B22, 25W Equivalent to 100w, 1750 Lumens, Full Spectrum, Daylight White 6500k, Uses 75% Less Energy.
or this one (also bayonet, but this one uses more energy):
AURAGLOW 9w LED B22 Bayonet Light Bulb, Daylight Cool White, 60w EQV
or this one:
Bright Full Spectrum Energy Saver Natural Cool Daylight (6500K) low energy 11w = 55w Edison Screw ES E27good for SAD (Seasonally Affected Disorder) Compact Twisted Spiral Light Bulb.

(No, I am not talking about seasonal affective disorder and I am not talking about the lighting equipment that is available for treating that.)

In the morning, light helps kick shut down our serotonin production and boost our adrenaline. They go through a daily cycle.

Our morning coffee helps – if you are the morning coffee type – but in midwinter, even my morning coffee is not enough to jump-start my day.

Switching on a daylight lamp in the morning makes me feel much more active – alive, no longer sluggish – from the get-go.

Some of us have another challenge throughout the entire year. My office space happens to get little daylight and I started noticing that I would often be off to a great start until I went from my kitchen into the office and sat down at my desk. So in the morning, I now always switch on a daylight lamp there. It helps a lot!

One word of warning. Although it can be tempting, certainly if you notice the boost in your energy level you get from a daylight lamp, do not leave such a lamp on too late in the day as a habit. Because that can end up making you very sleepy!

It’s a matter of balance. Like most things in life.

The Ultimate Brainchild

Earlier this year, I translated and adapted Richard Bintanja’s second novel. (The original is in Dutch.) The title of the translation is The Ultimate Brainchild. In his daily life, Richard is currently a professor of climate change.

I know Richard in real life because his wife and I became members of a professional network for women in science and technology a long time ago. I even spent some time at their home after my unplanned re-emigration from the United States to my native the Netherlands.

I have also edited some of Richard’s scientific publications because I’ve always had excellent writing and language skills, and as you probably guessed by now, I too have an extensive science background. (And, as you likely know if you’ve been to my web site before, I’ve been self-employed for a long time.) One of his papers is still the greatest I have been lucky enough to be able to work on. It literally made me sit up. It was for Nature, and I knew right away that it would be accepted.

Translating one of Richard’s non-scientific works was a very interesting experience for me and I want to share with you why.

Apart from the fact that I rarely read books in Dutch, this is not the kind of book that I would have selected for myself, to read. I normally look at a few pages, and I may read a few pages, but if it does not pull me in straight away or the pace is too slow, I tend to give up. I often go for fast-paced American thrillers and crime novels.

But this, and I only discovered this because I translated the book, is a book that has to be read in full before you can judge it. That is very interesting. Does this mean that I too have become part of the people who want “instant gratification”? I am still chewing on this…

The book is very well crafted (featuring brain scientist George Walder) and, of course, you don’t  fully appreciate that until you arrive at the end, when everything has come together. I can imagine it as a film. There is enough action in it to make it work, enough suspense and enough that sparks curiosity. A good script writer could easily add a few scenes here and there or adapt a few scenes here and there to give it what it would need to be turned into a film. (No, I am not kidding. I believe that this book has many elements – including some nudity, by the way – and a storyline that would work very well in a film.)

The book contains a division into persons who have a certain ability and people who don’t. There is even a parallel universe in it, which really threw me at first because I didn’t know what it was about until much later. (The book increasingly produces a sense of delight as you progress through it.) So it is also a book that could potentially yield new insights about equality and inequality for some people.

Now, ask me anything you want! About this book or the context of the above.

Great eye drops

Clinitas Soothe Lubricant Eye Drops

  • Also available in larger packages if you use them daily.
  • Quick, soothing, effective relief for dry, gritty, irritable eyes
  • Gentle and preservative-free.
  • Contain highest available sodium hyaluronate concentration for eye drops (in 2013 when I first bought them, but this still seems to be the case). Sodium hyaluronate occurs in (on) your eye naturally as well.
  • Also suitable for people wearing contacts.

The excellent packaging makes this product very suitable for occasional use. You won’t have to throw most of it out again soon, as is usual with other types of drops. The purchase price may be higher relative to plain eye drops (that don’t contain hyaluronic acid), but if you use them only occasionally, they are likely cheaper than when you buy a cheaper product, which you will need to discard soon after opening. A big plus is the lack of preservatives, as many people are sensitive to preservatives commonly used in eye drops.

These drops are syrupy because of the highly soothing hyaluronic acid (found in many of our body’s tissues). So when you use them, give them a few minutes to work their way into your eyes and wait for the temporarily blurred vision to disappear.

I purchased mine for the first time around Christmas 2013, when I started using eye medication that was turning my eyes gritty. Their expiry data was July 2015. My Boots branch no longer sells them and last time I needed such eye drops in a hurry, I bought BioTrue by Bausch+Lomb, a bottle with a pump, containing drops that also have a high hyaluronic acid content.

Occasionally, one of my contact lenses will fold and find its way into the crevasse at the top under my upper eye lid. It sucks when that happens. The only solution that works for me is using this type of eye drop – containing a lot of hyaluronic acid – to wash them out. Saline does not do the trick.

I also apply a rubbing/pushing motion on top of my closed eyelid, toward the bridge of my nose. Eventually, the lens will appear in the corner of my eye.

(What can sometimes also help when something gets under the upper eyelid is pulling the upper eye lid down over the lower lid.)

I am not the only one this happens to. Neither are you. One woman even had 27 contact lenses removed from an eye: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-40630852

As this story shows too, one of the problems with growing older is that we start taking a heck of a lot of stuff for granted because we (are made to) believe (certainly here in the UK) that various kinds of discomfort and malfunction are a natural part of growing older.

But unless you are actually ill or have a particular condition, the only thing you can’t do a lot about is wrinkling of the skin. Everything else should be able to keep working more or less the way it’s always done. Provided you do your bit and look after yourself well.

(Yes, it gets harder, takes more work, more dedication. Some things do change and not all of us have lucky genes. There is an article somewhere about an extremely fit older woman; if I find it again, I’ll post it here, to show what I mean. This is not it – https://seniorplanet.org/aging-with-attitude-ballet-dancer-john-lowe/ – but it is a very worthwhile read/watch, as is this: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1236395/Meet-flexible-older-woman-defies-age.html.)

But that’s just an aside.

Anyone can use and benefit from these eye drops.

I don’t like the eye drop bottles with a pump, by the way, because they are clumsy and get eye drops all over my face. And the bottle with any remaining fluid needs to be discarded at some point after opening. But the drops themselves are perfectly fine.

More recommended reading

These are business books that contain a few life lessons as well. The story about RJR Nabisco is a fast-paced account – it’s been called a thriller – about business and banking practices (junk bonds and whatnots) and of course a portrayal of Ross Johnson and others. (It’s not for everyone, and not for every moment because it requires enough time.)

The book about Greggs gives you the inside view of how Greggs came about and grew into what it is today. It’s a good read and may change how you think of Greggs, the big chain it is today that started as a mom & pop undertaking not unlike my own parents’.

Hilary Devey’s Bold as Brass is suitable for everyone – unless you happen to be a misogynist. It’s a touching book, showing you how Hilary grew up in Britain, the many personal and professional challenges she had to overcome and how she developed Pall-Ex. Throughout her life, Hilary climbed many steep cliffs and was pushed off a few too.

  1. Barbarians At The Gate
  2. Bread: The Story of Greggs
  3. Bold As Brass

Five books about Britain

I haven’t read the fifth one yet, but take for granted that it’s highly informative. The first one is pretty heavy reading, more suitable to browse and read when anything catches your eye about how the tea tradition came about for instance or that alcohol used to be seen as good sustenance for hard-working people. Do that often and you’ll learn a few things you didn’t know yet.

The other four are much easier reads.

The Making of the English Working Class (Penguin Modern Classics)

Rich Britain

The Making of Modern Britain

SHOPPED: The Shocking Power of British Supermarkets

A History of Modern Britain

Three books I recommend

They make very good reading. The first book helps you develop an understanding of the principles behind laws (and partly also why judges sometimes decide the way they do). The second book is handy for when you are doing business with companies in other countries, and the third one can make you see where people from other cultures and countries are coming from. Concepts like “truth”, “time” and “pain” are not as fixed as we tend to think but have strong cultural components.

  1. Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do? 
  2. Trust: The Social Virtues and the Creation of Prosperity
  3. When Cultures Collide, 3rd Edition: Leading Across Cultures 3rd by Lewis, Richard D. (2005)