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.

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/

Earth Day: Connections Between Nature and Health

This Earth Day, we encourage you to learn about the connections between nature and health. For many, spending time outside can be healing and serve as a form of stress relief. The health benefits of nature are backed by numerous studies, including one by the European Centre for Environment and Human Health. In this study, the over 20,000 participants spent two hours outside weekly. The vast majority experienced improvements in their psychological wellbeing, as well as physical benefits. The leader of the study, Mathew White, analyzed the results and claimed in his findings that, “nature is not only nice to have, but it’s a have-to-have for physical health and cognitive function.” Although the benefits of spending time in nature may vary, there is substantial evidence backing up the positive effects that time outside can have on one’s health.

There are many ways that you can make the most of your time spent outdoors. The following consists of our recommendations to help you better your health by spending time in nature.   

01

Observe with all of Your Senses

Nature often provides beautiful scenery to look at, but the outdoors can also be enjoyed through your other senses. Take time to experience nature and soak it in.

02

Go on a Hike

Hiking doesn’t have to be rigorous. There is an endless number of hiking trails, many suited to beginners. Hiking can help improve your fitness and also benefit your mental health.

03

Spend Time With Others

Spend time with friends or family outdoors. Not only will you receive health benefits from the outside, but human connection is also vital to our wellbeing.

04

Discover a New Hobby

Finding an outdoors hobby that you enjoy can serve as great motivation to get out. Whether you may enjoy kayaking, gardening, bird watching, or anything else, all provide an opportunity to do something you love and experience the benefits of nature.

Additionally, try combining an existing hobby with the outdoors. Whether you enjoy reading, drawing, or anything else, try engaging in that activity outside.

05

Ground Yourself

Many find that spending time in nature can be grounding. Take advantage of the tranquility that the environment provides, and use the opportunity to balance yourself.

06

Find What Works for You

Everyone’s wants and needs vary, so it is important to find what works for you. There are endless ways to enjoy nature. Take the time and experiment to find out what is best for you.

Learn More

There are many resources available to help you learn about the benefits of nature, and how you can receive them. The following list contains resources that we recommend.

 

Self Care for Mind and Body

Self Care for Your Mind and Body

By practicing self care for your mind and body, you are setting yourself up for overall wellness. There is a direct relationship between the health of one’s mind and body. By understanding the connection between physical and mental health, you can take the steps you need to achieve both.

There are many methods of practicing self care. Everyone’s needs are different so it is important to find what works for you. The following consists of ideas to help you get started on your self care journey.

Prioritize and Set Goals

Thinking about all that you need to get done can often cause stress. Take time to prioritize your to-do list and decide what can wait. For complicated tasks, you can make them feel more manageable by breaking them down into smaller parts. At the end of the day, try to reflect on the goals that you achieved. 

Practice Gratitude

Take time to think about what you are grateful for in life. You may also find it helpful to write these things down, that way you can reflect back on them. By bringing focus to the joys in life, we spend less time thinking about the negatives and often feel happier.

Get Physical

Exercise can be greatly beneficial to the health of your body and mind. Even in small amounts, exercise can improve your health. Try to make exercise enjoyable by finding a form of physical activity that you enjoy. This will help you stay motivated and consistent with your activity. 

Improve Your Nutrition and Hydrate

A balanced diet and proper hydration can help improve your overall health. With improved nutrition, you may find yourself feeling more energized and focused throughout the day.

As nutritional needs vary, we encourage you to speak with your healthcare provider to help you create a plan tailored to you.

Stay Connected with Others

Reach out to friends and family for support. Connecting with others can help you build a sense of belonging and improve your mental health.

Know Your Limits

Recognize your limits and learn to say “no” when necessary. When you begin to feel overwhelmed, it can be hard to shake the feeling. Remind yourself that it okay to take a step back for the sake of your own health.

Make Time For Yourself

Prioritize taking time to make yourself happy. This may be done in many ways, such as by reading a book, playing a game, or by doing anything else that might make you happy. Taking time to engage in something that you enjoy can help relieve stress and motivate you to reach your other goals.

Learn More

There is no “one way” to practice self care for your mind and body. Rather, there are many steps you can take towards improving your overall health. It is important to find what works best for you.

To learn more about self care, we recommend speaking with your healthcare provider.

To read more about how to practice self care for your mind and body we recommend the following links:

Psychology Today: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/click-here-happiness/201812/self-care-12-ways-take-better-care-yourself

NIMH: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/caring-for-your-mental-health

NAMI “Self Care Inventory”: https://www.nami.org/NAMI/media/Extranet-Education/HF15AR6SelfCare.pdf

Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder that can effect one’s ability to interact with others, communicate, learn, and more. As the symptoms and severity of ASD varies person, the disorder can be seen as a “spectrum.” Some individuals are mildly impaired by symptoms, while others may be severely disabled.

Although autism can be diagnosed at any age, symptoms generally appear within the first two years of life which makes it seen as a “developmental disorder.” According to the CDC, males are four times as likely to develop symptoms of ASD. However, people of all genders, ages, and demographics can develop autism spectrum disorder.

SYmptoms

The signs and symptoms of autism varies by person, but typically the disorder causes difficulties in communication and interaction, restricted interests, and repetitive behaviors. While symptoms vary, they commonly include:

  • Social communication and interaction symptoms
    • Avoiding eye contact
    • Not responding to one’s own name
    • Appearing to not listen to people who are talking
    • Facial expressions or body language that does not match what is being said
    • Trouble adjusting behavior in varying social settings
    • Difficulties understanding other people’s point of view
    • Talking in length about a specific favorite subject without observing if others are interested or wanting a chance to speak
    • Difficulties making friends
  • Restrictive and repetitive behavior symptoms
    • Having an intense, lasting interest in specific topics
    • Overly focused on interests
    • Trouble transitioning or changing routine
    • Repeating certain behaviors that are often unusual
    • Feeling more or less sensitive to sensory input (including sound, light, touch, and more)

In addition to the challenges one with autism may face, there are also common strengths individuals with ASD may have. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Being able to learn and remember many details
  • Excelling in math, science, or art
  • Strength in visual learning

Causes and RIsk Factors

Although the primary causes of autism spectrum disorder currently remain unknown, studies have shown genes and other environmental factors may both play a role in the development of autism. Contributing factors to may include:

  • Having older parents
  • Having a low birth weight
  • Having a sibling with autism
  • Having certain genetic conditions

Treatment

It is best to begin treatment for ASD as quick as possible after diagnosis. With the help of early treatment, individuals can receive proper care and accommodations to help them succeed.

As ASD has varying severity and symptoms, treatment needs to be individualized. A health care provider can help determine the best path for treatment. Treatment plans may include a combination of:

  • Medication
    • Medications may be used to help treat symptoms of ASD. Often, medication can help provide relief from symptoms of hyperactivity, attention problems, aggression, anxiety, depression, and more.
    •  
  • Behavioral and Psychological Treatment
    • Individuals diagnosed with autism may be referred to a health care provider who can help them learn communication and behavioral skills. Treatment interventions are typically intensive. In addition to the health care providers involved, often caregivers and family members play an important role in these programs.
    • Behavioral and psychological interventions may help those with ASD learn better social, communication, and life skills. Also, the programs can help reduce behavior patterns that interfere with daily functioning and life.

Learn More

National Public Health Week

National Public Health Week

National Public Health Week (NPHW) is recognized annually on the first week of April. The week aims to bring awareness to the importance of public health. This year, the theme is “Public Health is Where You Are.” Access to healthcare varies by where you are physically and societally. However, as a country we can promote equitable healthcare for all, regardless of location. Together, we can prioritize and make access to mental and physical healthcare a reality for everyone.

Each day of National Public Health Week has a specific theme. Daily, an important issue connected to public health will be highlighted. The following features information about some of this year’s NPHW topics, and how they relate to public health.

Community: Collaboration and Resilience

The community we live in can drastically affect our accessibility to healthy living resources and healthcare. By working together, we can help reduce these discrepancies in health. There are a variety of ways one can help work towards these goals. A few ways people can help their community are to donate to food shelters, volunteer at local events, or advocate for health equality.

 

 

Health is a Human Right

Many citizens do not have access to basic health services. These include, but are not limited to, seeing a doctor, getting mental health care, and being able to visit an emergency room. 

Studies have shown strong connections between poverty and lack of healthcare. People often are faced with the choice of paying for living expenses or being able to receive healthcare. Due to this, many go without receiving necessary care. 

Together we must stand up to inequality and work towards health for all, as health should be a human right.

 

 

Mental Wellness: Redefining the Meaning of Health

Mental health is a critical piece to overall health and wellness. Many people live with mental illness, but not everyone has access to mental health services. Unaddressed mental health conditions can create difficulties in one’s work, relationships, and overall life. Advocacy for mental health is vital, as together we can bridge the gap. 

 

 

Learn More

To learn more about National Public Health Week, we recommend the following resources:

NPHW: https://nphw.org/

APHA: https://www.apha.org/Events-and-Meetings/APHA-Calendar/2022/NPHW-2022