From the moment I became an independent adult, it seemed like time was flying by- with each year passing faster than the last. I began to reflect on how to make time slow down for the enjoyable moments and how to lengthen and create times for relaxation and renewal. On this note, researchers are studying how people spend their free time and how it affects their sense of well being and enjoyment in life. How can we take care of the things that matter and still have time to enjoy our lives?
In their research, Sharif, Mogilner, and Hershfield (2021) discuss how many people experience this idea of “time poverty” and a sense of unhappiness due to stress and having too many things to do and not enough time. They wanted to study if having a significant amount of time to do whatever we wished would actually result in greater happiness and wellbeing.
What’s going on, Sequoia Counseling community! I am in a great mood today because it is the 4th of July holiday weekend ! This is a time to celebrate our country and the freedoms and gift we have to live here. As I think about the concept of independence, I also think about our ability to live independently, without relying upon the care of others. What can we do to live our best lives and prevent future health/mental health issues? The answer is to develop lifestyle habits that target your whole person health!
A 2009 study of 23,000 adults found that basic life habits such as eating healthy, not smoking, exercising 3.5 hours a week, and maintaining a healthy weight resulted in an 80% reduction in chronic disease! Specifically, the researchers concluded that 93% of diabetes, 81% of heart attacks, 50% of strokes, and 36% of cancers would be prevented! That is amazing news!
One of the most common emotions we experience as we emerge from the pandemic is anxiety. Psychologist Dr. Ellen Hendriksen comments that anxiety is particularly triggered by the high levels of uncertainty we face- uncertainty about vaccines, society reopening, new normal workplace, and the COVID-19 virus and variants.
I also believe that a high level of anxiety comes with the unfinished business that we had pre-pandemic. What goals, decisions, or projects were put on hold? What conversations and relationship growth were avoided, stunted, hindered, or forgotten due to relational distancing? Perhaps old depression or anxiety symptoms are re-surfacing with thoughts of returning to pre-pandemic living. To be certain, the pandemic and its effects had a depressing and anxiety provoking effect on some level for everyone. How can we best thrive in this new phase?
Healthcare providers and staff, essential workers, and caregivers have demanding jobs and at times high stress levels. These elevated stress levels affect our ability to engage in healthy coping behaviors. Not only do we lose energy and motivation for healthy behaviors, we tend to engage more in unhealthy behaviors. This of course can be problematic over time. What are some manageable ways to develop healthier lifestyle practices? By prioritizing our wellness (our physical, psychological, and spiritual health) - we can prevent breakdowns in our physical/psychological health and functioning and increase our effectiveness in daily our roles.
Life during the COVID-19 pandemic creates so many different emotional reactions, including disappointment, fear/anxiety, and frustration. Under normal circumstances, when we strive for growth, change or achievement, we may encounter challenge and adversity. With the COVID-19 pandemic, maintaining normalcy and stability and just surviving is difficult. Whatever your current circumstance, here are some ways to cope when things don’t go as planned.
Stigma around mental illness conditions has troublesome consequences for persons living with mental illness. Stigma continues even though public awareness is growing and persons living with symptoms are seeking help more often.
Examples of mental illness stigma beliefs include:
Social comparisons can lead to strong anxious feelings, low self-esteem, and hesitation to take risks or engage in personal growth. At the same time, social comparisons can help us determine what is normal or healthy and help us to improve our performance and behaviors appropriately. When does comparing ourselves to others become harmful and unhealthy? How can we stop comparing ourselves in unhelpful ways?
Moderate to high levels of stress over time affects our health and quality of life. Stress is a factor in health symptoms and conditions such as heart disease, glycemic control, weight management, immune system functioning, and all types of pain. It can affect moods, behaviors, attention and concentration, and performance related outcomes. When we are stressed and not well, we aren’t able to participate in our daily lives as we would like.
This is a new video blog posted on the similarities and differences between seasonal flu (influenza virus) and corona virus (SARS COV2) & coping strategies for limiting overworrying as we enter the cold and flu season. ❤ Be healthy, safe, and well !
CDC COVID19 safety precautions:
CDC information on season flu vs. corona virus:
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This article on cultivating high performance teams recently came to my attention. Whatever our present work circumstances, it holds some wise truths about healthy environments that apply to any number of industry work “teams”. I invite you during this season of change and personal reflection to also spend time considering your career trajectory and what is/isn’t working.