June 9th, 2020
well·ness – noun
the state of being in good health, especially as an actively pursued goal.“measures of a patient’s progress toward wellness”
As the definition suggests, wellness is something you work on and doesn’t happen by itself. I hope that you use the summer to work on your wellness goals. It isn’t magic, we all know what we need to do but below is a reminder of some things you can do.
How to be happier
Try our 6 tips to help you be happier, more in control, and able to cope better with life’s ups and downs.
You may also be interested in our selection of mental health apps and tools in the NHS Apps Library.
Manage your stress levels
If you have a lot of stress in your life, find ways to reduce it, such as learning a few time-management techniques.
Introduce regular exercise and time to yourself. These are positive changes. Taking control of your time in this way can effectively reduce stress.
If you have feelings of anxiety along with your stress, breathing techniques can help. Try this breathing exercise for stress.
Doing things that you enjoy is good for your emotional wellbeing.
Simple activities like watching sports with a friend, having a soak in the bath or meeting up with friends for coffee can all improve your day.
Doing something you’re good at, such as cooking or dancing, is a good way to enjoy yourself and have a sense of achievement.
Try to avoid things that seem enjoyable at the time but make you feel worse afterwards, such as drinking too much alcohol or eating junk food.
Boost your self-esteem
Self-esteem is the way you feel about yourself.
The best way to improve your self-esteem is to treat yourself as you’d treat a valued friend, in a positive but honest way.
Notice when you’re putting yourself down, such as thinking, “You’re so stupid for not getting that job”, and instead think, “Would I say that to my best friend?”. You probably wouldn’t.
Tell yourself something positive instead, such as: “You’re a bright person, you’ll get the next job”.
Have a healthy lifestyle
Limit your alcohol intake
When times are hard, it’s tempting to drink alcohol because it “numbs” painful feelings.
But it can exaggerate some feelings and make you feel angry or aggressive. It can also make you feel more depressed.
Read more about the effects of alcohol on your health and get simple tips to help you cut down.
Choose a well-balanced diet
Making healthy choices about your diet can make you feel emotionally stronger. You’re doing something positive for yourself, which lifts your self-esteem.
A good diet helps your brain and body work efficiently, too. Aim to have a balanced diet that includes all the main food groups.
Do some exercise
Even moderate exercise releases chemicals in your brain that lift your mood.
Choose an exercise that you enjoy. If it helps, do it with a friend or listen to music. Adults should aim for 150 minutes a week.
Get enough sleep
Around 7 to 8 hours is the average amount of sleep an adult needs for their body and mind to fully rest.
Writing a “to do” list for the next day before bed can organise your thoughts and clear your mind of any distractions.
Talk and share
Communication is important, whether it’s with a friend, family member or counsellor.
Talking things through helps you to release tension, rather than keeping it inside. It helps strengthen your relationships and connect with people.
Lots of people find talking to a counsellor about things that are troubling them very helpful.
Build your resilience
Resilience is what allows you to cope with life’s ups and downs.
Making something worthwhile out of painful times helps your resilience grow.
Starting a support group to help others, or making something creative out of bad experiences by, for example, writing, painting or singing, can help you express pain and get through hard times.
Watch the video below to learn more about anxiety:
The world is complicated right now. There is a pandemic threatening our health and social unrest threatening our society. This can bring on feelings of helplessness and depression. You may be asking, “What can I do to help the world, the people around me and myself.” I suggest you start with yourself because that is what we have the most control over.
Watch the video below to see an example of racism that Neil Degrasse Tyson experienced:
The ideas below are not cures for depression, but move people in the direction of less helplessness and less frustration. To decide what you can influence is a powerful counter-action to the helplessness of depression. If this has been deepening for you during “The Great Pause.”
- Decide on at least one thing you can do each day that is productive. Notice it when you do it. You are influencing a positive outcome. If you can act, you are not helpless. What is the one thing you will do today to be active.
- Accept that you are not in control, but you are not at the mercy of your frustration. You can influence your mood by taking substitute actions that meet some, if not all, of your needs. You will be able to get out the way you prefer at a later time, but for now, you can do positive activities to lighten your depression. Think of three needs that you have that are not being met. Pick one of them and create a plan to feed that need that is healthy and positive. Just do it!
- See the beauty that exists. Look at the changes in weather and the greening of the world around you as Spring occurs. Observe how the earth is cleaning itself up and take this moment to really look at the clear skies and water. You are not in control of this process and if you contemplate the beauty that occurs without your control, it might awaken a sense of hope in you. Spend 15 minutes today just observing your environment using all your senses: touch, seeing, smelling, hearing and taste. Every time you feel that you are thinking about anything else, bring yourself back to your senses. Watch the video below.
- Remember that this is not forever. And while you are paused, see whom you can help to get through this. Stepping outside of your own feeling of helplessness to act to help others will help them and you. Identify one person that you can get help from. Who are they?
May 26, 2020
Gratitude is such a powerful emotion, one that can make your life better in so many ways. It’s quite difficult to feel depressed or sorry for yourself when you are feeling gratitude. There are a multitude of benefits from keeping a gratitude journal which is a simple notebook where you write down daily what you are grateful for. People who keep a journal exercised more regularly, reported fewer physical symptoms, felt better about their lives as a whole, and were more optimistic. It also showed that people who kept the journal were more likely to make progress towards their goals
Overall, there was a greater sense of feeling connected to others, a,more optimistic view towards life and better sleep quality.
If you would like to experience some of these great benefits, why not try some of these simple ways to make gratitude a part of everyday.
Here are 40 simple ways to make gratitude a part of everyday. Try five of them today and let me know how it works out!
- Keep a gratitude journal and add to it everyday.
- Tell someone you love them and how much you appreciate them.
- Notice the beauty in nature each day.
- Nurture the friendships you have, good friends don’t come along every day.
- Smile more often.
- Watch inspiring videos that will remind you of the good in the world.
- Include an act of kindness in your life each day.
- Avoid negative media and movies with destructive content.
- Call your mom or dad more often.
- Cook meals with love, think of the people you will feed.
- Volunteer for organizations that help others.
- Don’t gossip or speak badly about anyone.
- Spend quality time with your kids, or your lover.
- Remember to compliment your friends and family when they look good.
- Write a card to someone you haven’t seen in a while and tell them something nice.
- Add to your gratitude list daily, at least one more thing each day.
- When you think a negative thought, try to see the positive side in the situation.
- Commit to one day a week when you won’t complain about anything.
- Try to take note when people do a good job and give recognition when it’s due at work.
- Reward effort, if someone does something nice for you, do something nice for them.
- Meditate with your gratitude list, giving thanks for all your good fortune.
- Live mindfully, not worrying about the past or future.
- Thank the people who serve you in the community — the shopkeeper, the bus drivers, etc.
- Say thank you for the little things your loved ones do for you, things you normally take for granted.
- Post quotes and images that remind you to be grateful around your house.
- Call into an elderly neighbor and say thank you for their presence in your life.
- Call your grandparents and tell them you love them.
- Embrace challenges and turn them into opportunities to grow.
- Send love to your enemies or people you dislike.
- Be thankful when you learn something new.
- See the growth opportunity in your mistakes.
- Help your friends see the positive side to life.
- When times are bad, focus on your friends who are at your side.
- When time is good, notice and help others.
- Make a gratitude collage, cut out pictures of all the things that you are grateful for.
- Make gratitude a part of family life, share it with each other during meal time.
- Practice gratitude at the same time every day to make it a habit.
- Focus on your strengths.
- Share the benefits of gratitude with family and friends.
- Share gratitude each day by posting a tweet, Facebook post or Pinterest.
Be the change you want to see in the world by making gratitude a part of each day. If we all practice gratitude more regularly, the world will be a better place.
May 18, 2020
the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.“the often remarkable resilience of so many British institutions”
the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity.“nylon is excellent in wearability and resilience”
1. Which activity helped Steven overcome his obstacles?
2. Why did Steven require surgery?
3. Which professional athlete did Steven mention?
4. Which of the following are true of Steven?
5. According to Steven, the best way to deal with an obstacle is to throw a pity party.
May 12, 2020
We all experience mental health!
Click on the link above and watch the video
Some value their independence so much that asking for help seems like a weakness.
Others find it hard to open up to others. They may have a gazillion excuses why it’s not important to reach out. Some would say they don’t want to be a burden. But is it really bad to reach out to people?
The author Maya Angelou once said,
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
Have you ever had that feeling when you want to share what’s going on in your life but you just can’t seem to get it out? You shouldn’t be carrying that weight!
There are three basic reasons why you should try to reach out for support in your difficult and challenging times and three suggestions how to do it even if you feel uncomfortable or scared.
WHY REACH OUT
Reason #1: Put Things in Perspective
Getting support helps you put things in perspective. We tend to be emotional when things don’t go our way and more chaos means more emotions. We then tend to think with our hearts rather than with our mind. Reaching out to someone gives you a different perspective that can help you put certain things in their rightful place.
Reason #2: Dealing With Feelings and Thoughts
Reaching out will help you sort your feelings and thoughts. Has anyone ever advised you to write down your feelings? Well, it also works to talk about them, not specifically to get advice but just to let them out. It has the same effect as writing your thoughts when you’re feeling so overwhelmed. Pour out what’s going on inside of you so you will be able to feel lighter.
Reason #3: Feeling Safe
There’s nothing like a sense of belonging during difficult times. When you go through tough times you can feel like you are bearing all the weight alone. You feel nobody can understand what you’re going through. But you are not alone! There are many people around you that can support you. Just remember they are not mind readers. Sometimes you just really need to reach out in order for them to know how to support you.
And you will also feel more secure than you did before the support.
Getting support doesn’t just mean having someone listen to you. It also means you get access to information, advice, guidance and other kinds of assistance from different people.
This can help you with your decisions and even with your actions. Doesn’t security sound good during tough times? Know that you are not alone in your struggles.
HOW TO REACH OUT
Even if you want to get support, do you still feel uncomfortable and unsure how to do it? It’s easy to think of different reasons why you don’t need to get support. But if you’re struggling, a little help will really go a long way.
Here are three tips to follow if you don’t know how you can reach out for support:
1. Decide who to talk to
When reaching for support, find someone you feel comfortable with or you know can give you the support you need. There is no fixed rule on who you can approach for support. You can ask your friends and family for advice who will be the best person to approach. Or you can try with talking about one small detail first and see who can be there for you.
2. Go outside the situation
Sometimes it’s best to get an outsider’s perspective on things. Some close friends or family may be biased, especially when you’re talking about something related to them. An outsider’s perspective can show you the bigger picture. That is why support groups are effective because you don’t feel judged and you get honest unbiased support. If there’s a support group for your specific struggles around your area then don’t be afraid to join it. You can also start by reading other people’s stories online to see what resonates and reaching out to them.
3. Honesty is always the best policy
Once you’ve decided to reach out for support, don’t filter the information. You are reaching out for support, not judgment or criticism. People love to help others! Always remember that. Be honest and you will get honesty in return. And hard as it may seem it first, you’ll feel great after getting it off your chest!
Create your wellness playlist and earn a gift card! Send me list at least five songs (email@example.com) that you listen to when you need a boost. A few of these will be shared during our morning and lunch time zoom meetings. Let me know if you want to be credited or remain anonymous.
May 5th 2020
Watch the video below about habits of happy people. Record or write a paragraph talking about which habits you already do and which two you are willing to try TODAY!
April 28, 2020
Now that we are on week 7 of social isolation, people are worried about sickness and the end is not in sight, many people are feeling sad. It is important to keep focused, healthy and moving forward in different ways. Some days might be better than others and that’s OK, but I would like you to try each of the ideas below and complete the activities under the flyer.
- Call or talk to someone about your feelings. This can be family, friends, your cat, your pillow, your journal, your teacher, a tree etc.
- Reach out to someone who may need your help. Do you have a friend, family member or aquaintance who you haven’t heard from lately?
- Eat a healthy meal with lots of vegetables.
- Do you have any sadness that is making it hard to sleep, eat or focus? Are you feeling a sickness or pain that you are ignoring? There are counselors and doctors who are seeing patients online. Don’t wait till this is over.
- Do not go to social media for news! If the news is going on all day in the background turn it off and put some music on or go here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
- Go outside and walk.
- Create something. Art is very therapeutic by keeping your mind occupied and expressing your feelings.
April 23, 2020
Mindfulness is a good way to cope with stress. Watch the video below on YouTube and complete the body scan exercise.
A popular exercise for mindfulness is called the Body Scan. It requires very little in the way of props or tools, and it is also easily accessible for most beginners.
Would you like to follow a Body Scan right now? Try this 30 minute guided narrative by expert and founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Jon Kabat Zinn:
- Step 1: the Body Scan begins by lying on your back with your palms facing up and feet falling slightly apart. This exercise can also be done sitting on a comfortable chair with feet resting on the floor;
- Step 2: Lie very still for the duration of the exercise, and move with awareness if it becomes necessary to adjust your position;
- Step 3: Begins the Body Scan by bringing awareness to the breath, noticing the rhythm, the experience of breathing in and expelling out. Don’t try to change the way you are breathing but rather just hold gentle awareness on the breath;
- Step 4: Pay attention to the body: how it feels, the texture of clothing against the skin, the contours of the surface on which the body is resting, the temperature of the body and the environment;
- Step 5: Bring awareness to the parts of the body that are tingling, sore, or feeling particularly heavy or light, note any areas of their body where you don’t feel any sensations at all or are hypersensitive.
A typical Body Scan runs through each part of the body, paying special attention to the way each area feels. The scan usually moves systematically through the body, e.g. starting at the feet and moving upwards as follows:
- Toes of both feet;
- The rest of the feet (top, bottom, ankle);
- Lower legs;
- Pelvic region (buttocks, tailbone, pelvic bone, genitals);
- Lower back;
- Upper back (back ribs & shoulder blades);
- Hands (fingers, palms, backs, wrists);
- Arms (lower, elbows, upper);
- Face and head (jaw, mouth, nose, cheeks, ears, eyes, forehead, scalp, back&top of the head);
- The “blowhole” (Fleming & Kocovski, 2007).
After the Body Scan is complete you can slowly open your eyes and move naturally to a comfortable sitting position.
Since we are socially isolating with a few people who may be sharing our home with it can cause problems with relationships. If you feel like you are in an abusive relationship in your home please talk to your case manager or advocate.
Read the chart below and think of three relationships (partner, family, friend) you currently are in, or have been in the past. For each relationship create a three column chart like the one below. Then answer yes or no for each item numbered 1-6 in all three columns. Remember that no relationship or person is perfect! But, if you answered yes to more than half of the items in the unhealthy relationships column and more than one from the abusive relationship column it might be a red flag
Stress and Coping
Click on the link below for a quick one minute relaxation video
Outbreaks can be stressful
The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) may be stressful for people. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. Coping with stress will make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger.
Stress during an infectious disease outbreak can include
- Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones
- Changes in sleep or eating patterns
- Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
- Worsening of chronic health problems
- Worsening of mental health conditions
- Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs
Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations
How you respond to the outbreak can depend on your background, the things that make you different from other people, and the community you live in.
People who may respond more strongly to the stress of a crisis include
- Older people and people with chronic diseases who are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19
- Children and teens
- People who are helping with the response to COVID-19, like doctors, other health care providers, and first responders
- People who have mental health conditions including problems with substance use
Take care of yourself and your community
Taking care of yourself, your friends, and your family can help you cope with stress. Helping others cope with their stress can also make your community stronger.
Ways to cope with stress
- Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
- Take care of your body.
- Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
- Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
If you, or someone you care about, are feeling overwhelmed with emotions like sadness, depression, or anxiety, or feel like you want to harm yourself or others
Know the facts to help reduce stress
Sharing the facts about COVID-19. Understanding the risk to yourself and people you care about can make an outbreak less stressful.
When you share accurate information about COVID-19, you can help make people feel less stressed and make a connection with them.
Call your healthcare provider if stress gets in the way of your daily activities for several days in a row.
People with preexisting mental health conditions should continue with their treatment and be aware of new or worsening symptoms. Additional information can be found at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Disaster Preparedness page.