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!
According to the most recent APA Stress in America Study, 66% of people reported sleeping more or less than they wanted to since the pandemic started. Previously, I've written blogs (click here or here) about causes and remedies for insomnia. In this interview with psychologist Dr. Jennifer Martin (conducted by the American Psychological Association), additional insights and tips relevant to "coronasomnia" are discussed. This super informative interview is full of great information for those that are struggling with sleep. If you prefer to read, a transcription of the interview is also posted.
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?
Are you tired of missing family and friends, not having a routine, or not being able to go to places or do things you once did? Do you find that you have increased stress and feelings of loneliness due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19)? Has your life or the life of a family member or close friend been affected by infection or exposure? Perhaps you are trying to follow the safety guidelines and are irritated by people that do not. Our mental, emotional, and physical state directly influences our beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors regarding safety precautions and vaccination. With infection and hospitalization rates on the rise this winter, it’s important to take active steps as individuals so that collectively we can drive down the virus spread. For more on reasons why it is hard to follow the recommendations from the Center of Disease Control (CDC), read on.
Life during 2020 has been very challenging. We were forced to make changes to our routines that we weren’t expecting, we experienced significant losses, and we continue to live with unnatural, difficult, and scary circumstances that are in many ways beyond our control and without a clear end in sight. Researchers are studying how people around the world are thriving and preventing problems with depression, anxiety, stress, alcohol abuse, etc. that are becoming more common due to the pandemic, its effects, and coronavirus or health-related worries. How do people successfully cope?
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.
I've been thinking a lot lately about how 2020 has been a year of change and growth. For most people, the challenge to adjust creates stress and worry. As time passes by, we may have a sense that there's not enough time to do everything we need and want to (which can add to stress and feeling discontented). How can we avoid these time pressures and feel satisfied with the moments we live? For this reason, I want to offer 3 ways to continue building hardiness and resilience (in other words, the ability to remain calm in the face of crisis and recover quickly) so that stress levels stay manageable and not overwhelming. This important conversation also applies to the anxiety and worry we may feel with the holiday season/end of year, ongoing pandemic & prolonged stay at home/distancing recommendations, and presidential election.
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.
Announcing "Discovering Our New Normal, Together: Conversations for Whole Person Health" video series
Recently, I had the privilege of partnering with RiseOC Church in Costa Mesa, California to create the 5 part video series, "Discovering Our New Normal, Together: 5 Conversations for Whole Person Health in 2020 and Beyond." In this series, Pastor Jenny Switkes and I review tips and experiences for the areas of stress management, physical & emotional health, social lives, and the work environment. The videos are being released weekly from September 8-September 29. There will be a live question and answer session (unrecorded) on Saturday, October 10 to review questions and comments from the series topics. To view the videos and for more information, visit https://riseoc.church/resources. <3 Be well !!