Tips for a Healthy Summer

Tips for a Healthy Summer

To help you take care of your body and mind, we have created a list of tips for a healthy summer. As the seasons change, so do the routines of many individuals. Summer offers the perfect opportunity to make positive changes into your life. By incorporating what may even seem like small changes into your routine, you can greatly benefit your physical and mental health.

Get Active

Physical activity, even in small amounts, can be greatly beneficial to the health of your body and mind. Summer is the perfect time to get active outdoors by kayaking, swimming, and more. To avoid the heat, however, we suggest exercising in the early morning or evening.

Hydrate

With the increased temperature it is essential to maintain hydration. Drink water throughout the day rather than waiting until you’re thirsty. By staying hydrated you are helping your body sweat and cool down naturally.

Stay Safe When In the Sun

Prolonged amounts of time in the sun can be very harmful to your skin. Most skin cancers are caused by overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun. It is important to protect yourself when planning to spend time outside this summer. There are many ways to protect yourself from the sun. Sunscreen, with a SPF rating of at least 30, is an essential part of protecting yourself when outside during the summer. In addition you can cover your skin with protective clothing and try to stay in the shade.

Get Rested

With the changing of your normal routine your sleep schedule may be disrupted. Try your best to maintain consistent wake up and sleep times as you would throughout the year. By getting at least 8 hours of sleep a night, you will feel more rested and energized during the day.

Eat Fruits and Vegetables

Summer is the perfect season to purchase or grow many fresh fruits and vegetables. Take advantage of the variety of in season produce and try to incorporate more into your diet. 

Learn More

To learn more, we recommend speaking with your healthcare provider. For those looking to read more tips for a healthy summer, the following resources are suggested:

CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/resources/infographic/healthy-summer.html

American Cancer Society: https://www.cancer.org/latest-news/how-to-have-a-happy-healthy-summer.html

Resources for LGBTQIA+ Health

Resources for LGBTQIA+ Health

For those who identify as part of the LGBTQIA+ community, finding health resources can be challenging. According to NAMI, individuals who identify as part of the LGBTQIA+ are at a higher risk for mental health disorders. There are many factors that can contribute to this increased health risk, some of which include discrimination, rejection, and harassment. Regardless of your identity, feeling unaccepted as who you are can be very damaging to one’s mental health. 

At NW Mind-Body Wellness our providers are equipped with the skills to help LGBTQIA+ individuals better their mental health. As a team, we aim to create a safe space in health care for all. If you are looking for a new provider for therapy and/or to manage your medications, we recommend filling out a “Contact Form” on our website.

The following list consists of various resources for health related issues for those who identify as part of the LGBTQIA+.

Mental Health Resources

LGBT National Help Center: http://www.glbthotline.org/

  • The LGBT National Help Center was established in 1996 and supports the community by providing free confidential resources and peer support.

The Trevor Project: https://www.thetrevorproject.org/

  • The Trevor Project offers a 24/7 call and text line for those who are struggling and need to speak with a counselor right away. In addition, the also offer many informational articles and resources related to LGBTQIA+ mental health.

National Alliance on Mental Illness: https://www.nami.org/Your-Journey/Identity-and-Cultural-Dimensions/LGBTQI

  • NAMI offers information on many different mental health conditions. In addition, they have specific information regarding the health of those who identify as part of the LGBTQIA+ community.

 

Physical HEalth Resources

Fenway Health: https://fenwayhealth.org/the-fenway-institute/

  • Fenway Health aims to optimize health care and treatment for LGBTQIA+ individuals.

Health Professionals Advancing LGBTQ Equality:https://www.glma.org/

  • Health Professionals Advancing LGBTQ Equality is one of the oldest associations for LGBTQIA+ health. With their skilled team of health care professionals, they aim to inform and spread awareness on health. 

Further Help & Learn More

To learn about more resources for mental and physical health, we recommend contacting your health care provider.

If you or a loved one is feeling suicidal, please get help right away. Call 911 or the Suicide Prevention Lifeline (available 24/7) at 1-800-273-8255.

What is Juneteenth?

What is Juneteenth?

Celebrated annually, Juneteenth commemorates the emancipation of enslaved African Americans. Juneteenth is now recognized as a federal holiday, and has also gained attention worldwide. However, many individuals still don’t know the meaning and significance behind Juneteenth. To help spread the message and meaning behind Juneteenth, we have created the following list as an overview of the holiday and its origins.

Origin of Juneteenth

In Galveston, Texas on June 19th, 1865, troops arrived to the state to help ensure the freedom of enslaved individuals. The Emancipation Proclamation had been signed two and a half years prior, but this date marked a new era of freedom.

While in Texas, U.S. General Gordon Granger read General Orders No. 3: “The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free.” The words of Granger helped signal freedom to Texas’ 250,000 individuals. 

Although it took awhile for the full effects of emancipation to be seen, Juneteenth was created as the newly freed individuals celebrated. 

Juneteenth Today

In June of 2021, Juneteenth was officially recognized as a federal holiday. This came after years of work and advocating. Many have attributed the holiday becoming federally recognized to lifelong advocate, Opal Lee, who has became known as the “Grandmother of Juneteenth.” At 89 years old, Miss Lee walked from her home in Fort Worth to Washington, D.C. to call on lawmakers to make Juneteenth a federal holiday. In addition, she received over 1.5 million signatures to help pass the holiday. The determination of Opal and many others helped Juneteenth become what it is today.

In the past few years, celebrations of Juneteenth have continued to grow. These celebrations include parades, films, as well as educational resources. Many view the holiday as a day to remember how far we have come and the changes we have made. Through this progress, light shines for future growth. Although there is still work to be done, together we can use our voices and actions to help ensure the freedom of all.

Learn More

The history of Juneteenth has been centuries in the making and continues to grow. We encourage everyone to learn more about the holiday and its meaning. To read more, we recommend the following links:

History.com – “What is Juneteenth?”: https://www.history.com/news/what-is-juneteenth

National Museum of African American History and Culture – “The Historical Legacy of Juneteenth”: https://nmaahc.si.edu/explore/stories/historical-legacy-juneteenth

NPR – “What is Juneteenth and How is it Observed?”: https://www.npr.org/2021/06/17/1007315228/juneteenth-what-is-origin-observation

 

Mind-Body Connection

The relationship between physical and mental health is commonly referred to as the mind-body connection. Emotions can affect one’s physical health, and one’s physical wellbeing also can affect their mental health. Due to this strong connection, it is vital to take care of both your mind and body to improve your overall wellness.

The following list consists of five examples of the mind-body connection.

Stress

A prime example of the connection between mind and body health is stress. Whether the source of stress is work, money, or anything else, the symptoms are often both mental and physical. As stress begins to overwhelm a person’s mind, they may also experience high blood pressure, fatigue, nausea, or other physical symptoms. 

Nutrition

What we eat has a clear relationship to the health of our bodies, but it also can influence the health of your mind. The foods we eat can affect our energy levels, mood, and more. An example comes from Mental Health UK, who found that eating protein can help regulate your mood.

Sleep

Sleep is essential for the health of the mind and body. When sleep deprived, people often find that they can’t think as clearly, along with experiencing other mental symptoms. Sleep deprivation has also been linked to weakening immune systems and other physical symptoms. However, with quality rest, many people find that they feel more energized during the day, think sharper, feel calmer, and more.

Meditation

Meditation can do wonders for physical and mental health. Many people have found that mediation helps them feel relaxed and find a sense of calm. The effects are experienced in both the mind and body. While mediation can help ease one’s mind, they may also find themselves feeling less tense or physically on edge. 

State of Mind

While one’s state of mind may not directly affect their physical health, it can certainly provide encouragement. Oftentimes, those in good mental health find it easier to take care of their bodies. The same can also go for one who is struggling with their mental health, they may struggle to take care of their physical health.  Increasing one’s mental health can cause a domino effect and influence their physical health.

Learn More

To learn more about improving the health of both your mind and body we recommend contacting your health care provider. 

To read more about the mind-body connection, the following resources are suggested:

Mental Health UK: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/a-to-z/p/physical-health-and-mental-health

NAMI Hearts & Minds: https://heartsandminds.nami.org/

Perinatal Depression

Perinatal Depression

Perinatal depression is a form of depression that is experienced during pregnancy and/or and after the birth of a child. It is common for women to experience feelings of worry or sadness a few days after giving birth. However, if these symptoms persist, they may be signs of perinatal depression.

SIgns and SYMPTOMS

The signs and symptoms of perinatal depression are often overlooked, and viewed as just part of the pregnancy. Contrary to that belief, the symptoms of perinatal depression can be very serious and it is important to treat them as such. Common symptoms of perinatal depression include, but are not limited to:

  • Feeling sad or hopeless
  • Sleep problems, whether sleeping too much or too little
  • Anxiety
  • Feeling low on energy
  • Loss of interest in once enjoyable activities
  • Uncontrollable crying
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Feeling guilty or worthless
  • Changes in eating habits, leading to weight loss or gain 

Causes

There is no single cause of perinatal depression. Research suggests that its cause can be a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Many of the hormonal changes experienced before and after birth have been linked to parts of the brain that are associated with depression. In addition, the life changes that come from welcoming a child can be very overwhelming, and may worsen symptoms.

Treatment

Treatment is important for the health of the mother and baby. With treatment, symptoms often subside. Various methods of treatment are used, and it is important to find what works best for you. Treatment vary but plans commonly include:

  • Support groups
  • Psychotherapy
  • Medication
  • Light therapy

Finding TREATMENT AND RESOURCES

Ways to Spread Kindness

Ways to Spread Kindness

There are many ways to spread kindness towards others. Even the smallest acts of kindness can make a big difference in someone’s day. By spreading kindness, you can improve your own mental health as well. According to Mental Health UK, being kind to others can help improve your self-esteem, confidence, and overall happiness. 

The following list consists of fifteen ways to spread kindness towards others.

Volunteer at a local organization.

Offer your skills to mentor others.

Give a compliment to a stranger.

Call a friend or family member.

Pick up trash or litter from a public space.

Help someone with their groceries or bags.

Donate to those in need of help.

Write an inspiration note to someone.

Show your appreciation and gratitude.

Give a stranger a compliment.

Offer to run errands or help a busy friend.

Help an elderly neighbor with their chores.

Bring a treat to share with your coworkers.

Offer to take a photo for a couple or family.

Write a thank you note for someone.

 

 

Learn More

To learn more ways to spread kindness, as well as the benefits, we recommend the following resources.

Mental Health UK: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/kindness/kindness-matters-guide

Mayo Clinic: https://www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/speaking-of-health/the-art-of-kindness

Tips for Improving Self-Esteem

Tips for Improving Your Self-Esteem

Many individuals struggle with low self-esteem. When low self-esteem becomes a long term problem, it can negatively affect one’s mental health. Self-esteem is often built from the experience’s in one’s life. However, there are many ways to improve your self-esteem. Those with high self-esteem tend to be less vulnerable to the ups and downs of life, and less commonly have anxiety or depression. Improved self-esteem can offer many benefits and help you live a more positive life.

The following list consists of five tips for improving your self-esteem.

Use Positive Affirmations

Use positive affirmations to recognize your successes as well as to believe in your ability to reach your goals. The way that we talk to and treat ourselves matters. Many people greatly benefit from using positive affirmations to help boost their self-esteem.

Challenge Negative Thoughts

People commonly think negatively about themselves. Whether it comes in the form of self-doubt, anger, or anything in-between, it can be harmful to view yourself this way. When you find yourself thinking negatively, try to challenge these thoughts. Many times, you will realize that these negative thoughts are in fact far from the truth. Try your best to replace negative or harmful thoughts with more positive ways of thinking.

Identify Your Strengths

Everyone has strengths, but not everyone realizes them. Take time to recognize your strengths and develop them. Knowing what your strengths are can boost your self-esteem and help you combat feelings of doubt.

Set Limits and Learn to Say “No”

Sometimes in the pursuit to please others, we over burden ourselves. Recognize your limits, and own wants and needs. It is okay to say “no” to others in order to protect your own mental health. 

Build Positive Relationships

Our self-esteem is often influenced by those around us. If you are surrounded by negative people, it can be hard to view yourself in a positive way. Focus on developing healthy relationships that build you up, rather than bring you down.

More RESOURCES

Pride Month: Pioneers of the LGBTQIA+ RIghts Movement

To start this pride month, we would like to recognize pioneers of the LGBTQIA+ rights movement. Without the work of these incredible activists, the movement would not be where it is today. By recognizing the activists who paved the way, we can both honor them and learn from them. Together we can continue working towards creating a world that is safe and welcome to all.

Marsha P. Johnson

Johnson, who was a transgender African-American woman, was on the forefront of the rebellion at Stonewall. She is known for her incredible perseverance as she advocated for her rights and those of the LGBTQIA+ community. She often put her own safety in jeopardy to spread her message. Her legacy will forever live on and inspire others.

Frank Kameny

Kameny is know for being one of the earliest gay rights activists. He was fired from his job with the U.S. government because of his sexuality, and began protesting this inequality. He also hlped in persuading the American Psychiatric Association to no longer view homosexuality as mental disorder in 1973.

Keith Haring

Many recognize Haring’s name due to his renowned art career. His art, however, held significant meaning behind it. Much of his art was aimed at spreading awareness about AIDs and drug use. For these reasons, he is regarded as an important figure in LGBTQIA+ history.

Michael McConnell and Jack Baker

McConnell and Baker were one of the first couples to push for their right to marry. Although their story began far before, their advocacy helped lead to the 2015 decision by the Supreme Court ruling that is was constitutional for same-sex couples to marry.

Audre Lorde

Lorde described herself as “black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet.” Her writings focused on civil rights and the complex relationship between race and sexual orientation. The messages she shared still resonate for many today, as they have helped create an understanding of the human experience. 

Learn More

This list only provides a small fraction of those who have helped promote the rights of LGBTQIA+ individuals. The movement is where it is today thanks to hundreds of thousands of individuals. 

Check back throughout this June to learn more about the history of the LGBTQIA+ rights movement, as well as about current leaders, resources, and more.

 

Overview of Bipolar Disorder

Overview of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a serious mental illness that causes extreme mood swings. Those with bipolar disorder will experience episodes of mania and depression. The disorder’s symptoms can affect one’s mood, energy levels, and ability to think clearly.

Mood swing episodes typically occur rarely, but can occur multiple times in a year. In between episodes, some individuals may not experience any symptoms.

Types of Bipolar Disorder

There are three types of bipolar disorder, each with their own defining characteristics. 

  • Bipolar I Disorder: defined by severe manic episodes lasting at least seven days, as well as depressive episodes lasting at least two weeks
  • Bipolar II Disorder: defined by pattern of depressive and hypomanic episodes, but not manic episodes as severe as with Bipolar I
  • Cyclothymic Disorder: defined by periods of depressive and hypomanic symptoms lasting for at least two years, however, the symptoms do not meet the diagnostic requirements for a hypomanic episode and a depressive episode

SYMPTOMS

People having a manic episode may:

  • Feel jumpy or wired
  • Be distractible 
  • Have decreased need for sleep
  • Talk fast or more than usual
  • Have heightened self-confidence
  • Think they can do many things at once
  • Engage in risky activities
  • Feel “up” or related
  • Feel irritable
  • Experience a loss of appetite

People having a depressive episode may:

  • Feel slowed down
  • Feel sad or hopeless
  • Have trouble sleeping or be sleeping too much\
  • Decreased ability to think or concentrate
  • Be forgetful
  • Talk slowly
  • Have little or no interest in activities that are normally enjoyable
  • Feel empty

Treatment

Treatment can often provide individuals relief from symptoms. Plans may vary but commonly include a combination of:

  • Psychotherapy
    • Psychotherapy (talk therapy) helps reduce symptoms of bipolar disorder for many. This type of therapy aims to help individuals identify and change negative emotions, thoughts, and behaviors.
  • Medication
    • Some medications may help decrease the symptoms of bipolar disorder. Many people work with their health care provider to try a few medications before deciding which is best for them. 
    • The medications used to treat bipolar disorder include mood stabilizers, second-generation antipsychotics, and antidepressants. In addition, medications used for sleep or to decrease anxiety may be prescribed.

Finding TREATMENT AND RESOURCES

  • To learn more about bipolar disorder, we recommend contacting your health care provider.
  • To read a further overview of bipolar disorder, the following resources are suggested:

Sleeping Better at Night

Sleeping Better at Night

Sleeping better at night can help improve your physical and mental health. The CDC recommends that adults aim for 7 to 8 hours of sleep nightly. However, many struggle to meet this goal. In 2014, a study by the CDC found that over 35% of American adults get less than 7 hours of sleep nightly.

Luckily for those who struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep, there is hope. The following list contains a variety of self care tips to help you start sleeping better at night.

Make Your Environment Comfortable

Try to make your sleep environment as comfortable as possible. This can be done by having a fan or heater to regulate the temperature, using soft bedding, and more. It is important to find what makes you comfortable. In addition, try to eliminate any light pollution that your room may have. A dark and comfortable room is ideal for sleep.

Stick to a Schedule

Try to stick to a routine wake-up and bed time that allows for 7 to 8 hours of sleep. By staying on a schedule you will likely find yourself feeling more well rested. 

Be active During the Day

Exercise during the day can make it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep at night. Being active may provide you a boost during the day, but in turn help you rest at night. However, try to avoid physical activity late in the day so that the boost of energy it may cause won’t keep you up.

Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine at Night

Both alcohol and caffeine can have stimulating effects which can interfere with sleep. Try to avoid these beverages late in the day in order to improve your sleep at night.

Make a List

Oftentimes people are kept awake at night by thoughts of what they need to do, upcoming events, and more. Before going to bed make a list of the things you want to remember for the next day. This will allow you to set aside the thoughts for the night, but not forget them. 

Take Time to Relax

As you winddown at night, take time to relax before getting in bed. For many reading, meditation, taking a bath, and more can help them relax. Find what makes you relax, feel comfortable, and ready for bed.

Further Help & Learn More

If you continue to have trouble sleeping, it is important to consult with your healthcare provider. Together, you can create a treatment plan that is right for you.

To learn more about sleeping better at night, we recommend the following links:

Sleep Foundation:https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-hygiene/healthy-sleep-tips  

Mayo Clinic: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/sleep/art-20048379

CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/about_sleep/sleep_hygiene.html