We traditionally celebrate Older Americans Month (OAM) each May. OAM is a time to acknowledge the contributions of past and current older persons in our country, in particular those who defended our country. Every President since Kennedy has issued a formal proclamation during or before the month of May asking that the entire nation pay tribute in some way to older persons in their communities. OAM is celebrated across the country through ceremonies, events, fairs, and other activities.
Brain Awareness Week is the global campaign to foster public enthusiasm and support for brain science. BAW was founded by the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives and the European Dana Alliance for the Brain, and is coordinated by the Dana Foundation. This is the 27th annual BAW which will be observed March 14-20 in 2022.
Winter is upon us and those longer hours of darkness coupled with the colder temperatures can make many people experience those “winter blues.” Add the complications of COVID like continued distancing from others and the mental fatigue experienced by the longevity of the pandemic, and I’m afraid we are going to see more people experiencing those blues this season.
In a previous article I emphasized how ongoing stress can cause negative physical and mental effects on the body and how practicing self-care or stress management techniques can reduce or maybe prevent those negative effects from happening. Many strategies were suggested, but how do we make the time to do them? There are many ways to stay on track and help you stay accountable.
“If you don’t make time for your wellness, you will be forced to make time for your illness.”
This was an anonymous quote that I recently reshared on Facebook since it truly resonated with me. I had been experiencing months of heavy stress and was not making the time for self-care – and was starting to physically feel the negative effects.
On Friday, July 23, 2021, the Olympic Games begin in Tokyo, Japan. There are 11,091 athletes estimated or expected to compete. My image of an athlete is an individual who is passionate, dedicated, determined, goal orientated, healthy, confident, motivated, and much more. Being prepared for the Olympics doesn’t happen overnight. These athletes had to have such a positive and strong mindset to be motivated to train during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of us are not Olympic athletes, but may struggle with being motivated at times.
When I hear someone sing beautifully or see beautiful art, I am mesmerized as these are not gifts that I feel I possess. Though, I still sing in my car and my home. No matter how I sound, it brings me much joy. However, painting wasn’t something that I engaged in for fear of disaster. Anyone else have that same fear? During this past year, I stopped playing sports due to the pandemic and decided to try my hand at <gasp> painting as a new stress outlet. There have been the good, the bad, and the ugly – yet, I have thoroughly enjoyed them all.
Something we have all listened to since we were children is, “Eat your fruits and vegetables.” Even though we always heard this from parents or guardians, they rarely gave a reason behind it other than “They’re good for you.” Let’s look at some of the aspects of healthy foods, why they are classified as such, and what foods contain these benefits.
When someone asks you to think about health, wellness and fitness, you usually think about physical health, exercise or nutrition. Throughout a person’s lifetime, they should not only concentrate on improving and maintaining their physical health, but also be working on their cognitive or brain health. Since this is Brain Health Awareness Week, I would like to share a few things you can do to maintain a healthy brain. Getting enough good, quality sleep is important along with eating a heart healthy diet and exercising regularly.
Wintertime brings many difficulties. Wintry weather can be a deterrent to do things outdoors, and it can feel very unmotivating to want to do anything, especially with temperatures at freezing and snowfall being increasingly frequent. However, it does not mean that you cannot stay physically active; you just need to find some workarounds.
Resilience: the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or significant sources of stress—such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems, or workplace and financial stressors. As much as resilience involves “bouncing back” from these difficult experiences, it can also involve profound personal growth. The good news is that resilience is not a trait that people either have or do not have.
Winter is upon us and those longer hours of darkness coupled with the colder temperatures can make many people experience those “winter blues.” Throw in a pandemic where we are isolating from others, and I’m afraid we are going to see more people experiencing those blues and maybe worse this season.
The holidays are fast approaching, and what is usually a fun time of preparation and anticipation for many is now clouded by uncertainty with COVID-19. With the surge in cases and the severity of the disease, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, suggests celebrating Thanksgiving with members of your own household who consistently take measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 or with others virtually to lower the risk of spread.
In the last article I shared with you many characteristics of people who manage well during difficult times. I would like to highlight several more for you in this article. Again, when faced with adversity, resilient people:
The World Health Organization identifies stress as the global health epidemic of the 21st Century – and that was BEFORE the current pandemic! Everyone experiences stress and sometimes it can be perceived as positive by helping to motivate us to get things accomplished. However, if we accumulate stress and do not manage it effectively, it can become chronic and result in negative effects on our minds and bodies.
Reoccurring and distressing memories, flashbacks, nightmares, avoiding specific places or activities, feeling hopeless, memory loss, feeling detached from family or friends, always being on guard, trouble sleeping, and irritability are only a few of the extensive list of symptoms individuals with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) face on a daily basis.
When adults are stressed or anxious about our day to day lives and activities, we can find ways to cope through multiple outlets. Exercise, meditation, diet changes, sleep patterns, and venting to those around us are only a few examples of options to relieve stress. Children, on the other hand, need help to alleviate their stress and anxiety. According to Dr. Amy Przeworski of Case Western Reserve University, anywhere from 10% - 20% of school-aged children show symptoms of anxiety.
Between the chaos of work, balancing your family activities, and keeping up with household chores, when do you find the time for yourself? Do you check in with your mental well- being often? When do you find the time to relax?
It goes without saying that life as we know it has changed. The demands from working remotely, pressures from homeschooling, worries about finances, family, health, jobs, and security have caused us to experience an incredibly stressful period of time. Seemingly endless demands and concerns can put additional stress on our time and resources.
I have always been an outdoorsy nature person. When I was a kid, I spent most of my time outside – my parents had the hardest time getting me to come back inside at the end of the day. My love of nature continues, and I share my passion for it with anyone who will listen! I always drag my family to state parks, zoos, and botanical gardens. However, times have changed drastically, with the popularization of technology, along with urbanization, and people spend way less time outdoors and around nature.
Nearly 50 million adults in the United States face the reality of Americans managing a mental illness every day. During the month of May, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) joins a national movement to raise awareness about mental health. May is officially National Mental Health Month, and highlights mental health issues and provides a time for our nation to acknowledge mental illness.
When we cannot see friends or family members, remember there are many ways for us to still connect. Human connections promote wellness, here are ways to reach out to family and friends who may be alone. Reframe your thinking. Instead of focusing on the negative, flip the script and think about the positive ways you can use this time. Start by reaching out to those who are important to you and deepen your relationships.
It is safe to assume that many adults today remember being told at one time or another by their disciplining parents, “You are grounded and are not to leave the house.” This typically meant separation from friends, playing outside, and taking part in planned activities. Even if it’s been a while since the age of being grounded, the social distancing plan underway may bring back feelings of “having one’s wings clipped.”
With the anticipation of the holidays, there can also be that feeling of dread – how are you going to get everything done on an already busy schedule? For many people, the extensive preparations they engage in to pull off those picture-perfect holidays create so much stress, that they can’t even enjoy themselves. The “picture-perfect” part is where much of the stress originates from. Many of us want everything to be “just right” and try to pattern our holiday plans with visions of TV specials, Norman Rockwell prints, and Martha Stewart magazine pictorials in our heads.
In 2018, approximately 20.3 million people aged 12 or older had a substance use disorder (SUD).
As New Year's Resolutions start to fade, we hear more and more excuses for why we are not ab