Today is the day we honor our Mothers. And contrary to the way the saying goes, as it turns it, it might be Mother, not Father, who knew best:
- Wash your hands. Washing your hands is one of the best ways to prevent illness and stop the spread of germs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Be sure to cleanse thoroughly with water as hot as you can stand it and soap for at least 20 seconds every time.
- Button up. How many times did your mom tell you to button your coat or zip up your jacket as a kid? She had a good reason: Cold weather stresses the immune system, making you more susceptible to infection.
- Eat your vegetables. Numerous studies have confirmed that a diet rich in vegetables can strengthen your immune system and reduce your risk of developing heart disease, stroke, obesity, diabetes, and even some cancers.
- Turn off the TV. Studies have shown that there's a direct link between TV watching and low literacy rates, obesity, and a sedentary lifestyle. Some experts also believe that TV promotes violent behavior and high-risk activities.
- Stop touching your face. Not only does touching your face increase your risk of getting sick; it can also lead to acne, no matter how old you are. When you touch your face, the bacteria on your hands transfers to the new surface. From there, bacteria settle in your pores and create blemishes.
- Eat your breakfast. Eating a healthy breakfast boosts your metabolism and helps to maintain a healthy body weight. In addition, a 2005 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that women who ate breakfast every day had significantly lower LDL and total cholesterol levels than women who skipped it.
- Go to bed. It's important to go to bed at a reasonable time, maintain a constant sleep cycle, and get at least seven or eight hours of shuteye each night. Getting the proper amount of sleep helps you maintain a healthy body weight, while sleep deprivation can result in irritability, dangerous driving, and a higher disease risk.
- Wear sunscreen. Remember, any amount of suntanning represents skin damage on the cellular level and, over time, could result in cancerous tumors. For this reason, experts recommend avoiding UV exposure completely during high-intensity hours and, if you must expose your skin to the sun, using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15.
- Practice safe sex. Remember those embarrassing sex talks? Your mom wasn't trying to humiliate you—she was trying to protect you. Remember, there's still no cure for AIDS, and sexually transmitted diseases can cause pelvic pain, infertility, urinary problems, and neurological complications.
- Just say no. Each year, illegal drugs cause about 10,000 deaths in the United States, and drunk driving accounts for another 16,000. Tobacco-related diseases, including heart disease and lung cancer, kill 450,000 Americans each year.
History of Mother's Day
In the United States, Mother's Day was loosely inspired by the British day and was imported by social activist Julia Ward Howe after the American Civil War. However, it was intended as a call to unite women against war. In 1870, Julia Howe wrote the Mother's Day Proclamation as a call for peace and disarmament. Howe failed in her attempt to get formal recognition of a Mother's Day for Peace. Her idea was influenced by Ann Jarvis, a young Appalachian homemaker who, starting in 1858, had attempted to improve sanitation through what she called Mothers' Work Days. Jarvis organized women throughout the Civil War to work for better sanitary conditions for both sides, and in 1868 she began work to reconcile Union and Confederate neighbors.
When Jarvis died in 1907, her daughter, Anna Jarvis, started the crusade to found a memorial day for women. The first such Mother's Day was celebrated in Grafton, West Virginia, on 10 May 1908, in the church where the elder Ann Jarvis had taught Sunday School. Originally the Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church, this building is now the International Mother's Day Shrine (a National Historic Landmark). From there, the custom caught on — spreading eventually to 45 states. The holiday was declared officially by some states beginning in 1912. In 1914 President Woodrow Wilson declared the first national Mother's Day as a day for American citizens to show the flag in honor of those mothers whose sons had died in war.
Nine years after the first official Mother's Day, commercialization of the U.S. holiday became so rampant that Anna Jarvis herself became a major opponent of what the holiday had become. Mother's Day continues to this day to be one of the most commercially successful U.S. occasions. According to the National Restaurant Association, Mother's Day is now the most popular day of the year to dine out at a restaurant in the United States.
For example, according to IBISWorld, Americans will spend approximately $2.6 billion on flowers, $1.53 billion on pampering gifts — like spa treatments — and another $68 million on greeting cards for Mother's Day. Mother's Day will generate about 7.8% of the US jewelry industry's annual revenue this year, and Americans are expected to spend close to $3.51 billion in 2008 on dining out for Mother's Day, with brunch and dinner being the most popular dining out options.
And for those of us hundreds of miles away from our Moms, maybe a nice blog proclamation in addition to what should be arriving in the mail will work as well.
Happy Mother's Day, Mom! I love you!
Thanks for reading.