Tips to help you build resiliency and positively influence physical and emotional well-being.
December- Navigating Holidays during uncertain times
Make the Most of Your Holidays
The coronavirus pandemic is part of our everyday life now, which means the holidays may be a little (or a lot) different again this year. But it doesn't mean that they need to be cancelled. Here are some tips.
- Acknowledge that this year may not look like previous years, and that’s okay. No one should feel pressure to match elaborate dinners or big feasts as in years past.
- Focus on the things you can do. Which elements of your holiday celebrations are the most important to you and your family or group of friends? This might mean fixing one or two favorite recipes. Or trying a completely different, nontraditional menu.
November- Substance Use during Uncertain Times
Persons who are isolated and stressed – as much of the population has been during the past two years – frequently turn to substances to alleviate their negative feelings.
Experts advise against excessive use of substances such as alcohol or marijuana to help reduce stress, anxiety, and loneliness. While drugs and alcohol may help you feel calm in the short term, they may heighten fear, anxiety, withdrawal, and depression in the long term.
Positive coping mechanisms have healthier long-term outcomes. Fortunately, there are a lot of good options that you can try. Check out these 8 tips and add your own healthy ideas to the list.
October - Anxiety and Your Health
What is Anxiety
Everyone experiences anxiety now and then. It's a normal emotion. For example, you may feel nervous before taking a test, dealing with a problem at work, or before a job interview. Anxiety is a natural biological reaction to very real everyday stresses. In today's world, that reaction helps prepare us to deal with things we must face, and gives us energy to take action.
Symptoms of Anxiety
While symptoms may vary from person to person, the body typically reacts in a very specific way.
Building a Social Network
Human beings are social creatures. We need the companionship of others to thrive in life. Being socially connected can ease stress, anxiety, and depression, boost self-worth, provide comfort, prevent loneliness—and be especially helpful during stressful times.
Your Social Support Network
A social network is made up of friends, family, and peers. If you want to improve emotional well-being and your ability to cope with stress, surround yourself with at least a few good friends and confidants. A coffee break with a friend (even virtually), or a phone call to a family member are all good ways to develop and foster lasting relationships. Here are a few other ideas:
- Volunteer. Pick a cause that’s important to you and get involved. You’ll meet others who share values.
Bridging the Generation Gap
Differences between generations, or the “generation gap,” can result in a variety of challenges, including miscommunication and disagreement. “Generation gap” often brings up memories of conflict over taste in music, career choice, political affiliation, and lifestyle choices.
For many Asian and Asian American families, typical generation gap conflicts are compounded by an “acculturation gap” – where children of immigrant parents adapt to a new culture faster and in a different way than their parents.
What We Mean By Self-Care
Self-care is what you do to take care of yourself to stay physically, mentally, and emotionally well. Research suggests self-care promotes positive health outcomes, such as fostering resilience, living longer, and becoming better equipped to manage stress.
Here are a few self-care tips to get you started.
Take time for you. Even if it is 10-minutes each day relaxing by yourself, a little solitude can help you unwind.
Sleep better. Your behavior during the day and especially before bedtime can have a major impact on the quality of your sleep.
Returning to Work: Feeling Anxious? You’re Not Alone
After more than a year of sheltering in place, many employees have concerns about returning to the work-place. They’re grappling with questions about what work will look like in the coming months, when will they need to go back to the office, and what expectations their employers might have. If you’re feeling anxious about so many uncertainties, know that you are not alone. Here are some helpful tips for making the transition back to work less stressful.
Mentally prepare. Take some time before going back to work to think about your concerns or worries. Walk through scenarios that you might encounter to help you feel more at ease. Imagine successfully navigating these situations. Imagery is a powerful tool that can help you cope with anxiety-filled circumstances.
Take Care of Yourself
Take time just for yourself. Even if it’s just 10 minutes each day that you set aside to relax by yourself, a little solitude can help you unwind.
June- Boundary-setting for Resilience and Healthier Relationships
Don't Be Afraid to Say "No"
Saying no is commonly and incorrectly associated with being selfish or callous. A “yes” will bring a smile from the person doing the asking, and a “no” will probably have the opposite effect. So, we might find ourselves saying yes when we shouldn’t just to make someone else happy or to avoid conflict in the moment.
Although setting proper boundaries can feel stressful at first, over time and with practice, it can boost our resilience and promote well-being. It’s not wrong to want to do things for others; but when we want to please too much, and at our own expense, good intentions can leave us feeling resentful and exhausted.
Boundaries are limits we set for ourselves to facilitate reasonable, safe, and healthy ways of interacting with others.
May- Mental Health Awareness/Depression
Depression is the most common mood disorder in the U.S. While it is a serious medical illness, the good news is that it’s highly treatable. A good first step is to get informed.
Do you know the symptoms?
Depression affects different people in different ways. Some signs and symptoms may include feeling several of the following for at least two weeks:
- Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty
- Feeling hopeless or pessimistic
- Feeling guilty, worthless, or helpless
- Not enjoying things you used to enjoy
- Trouble with concentration, memory, or making decisions
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Appetite changes
- Gaining or losing weight
- Feeling restless or irritable
- Thoughts of suicide or self-harm
People may also have aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause or that do not ease even with treatment.
April - Stress & Anxiety Awareness
Is it stress or anxiety?
Life can be stressful—you may feel stressed about a traffic, traumatic events (such as a pandemic, natural disaster, or act of violence), or a life change. Everyone feels stress from time to time.
Stress is the physical or mental response to an external cause, such as having a lot of chores or having an illness. A stressor may be a one-time or short-term occurrence, or it can happen repeatedly over a long time.
Anxiety is your body's reaction to stress and can occur even if there is no current threat.
If that anxiety doesn’t go away and begins to interfere with your life, it could affect your health.
Take a Break From Stress
We all face stressful situations in our lives, ranging from traffic jams to more serious worries about health, or concern for a loved one. No matter the cause, stress floods the body with hormones – your heart pounds, breathing speeds up and muscles tense. Some stress can be put to use, but if it persists, it can have undesirable side effects. While we can’t avoid all sources of stress, we can develop healthier ways of responding. Here are a few tips:
- Breath focus. Take long, slow, deep breaths. As you breathe, gently disengage your mind from distracting thoughts and sensations.
- Body scan. After a few minutes of deep breathing, focus on one part of the body or group of muscles at a time, mentally releasing any physical tension.
March - Sleep
The Importance of Sleep – Especially Now!
Sleep is always important, but sleep becomes even more essential because of its wide-ranging benefits for physical and emotional well being.
- Sleep empowers an effective immune system. Studies show that sleep deprivation suppresses immune system function and the body’s ability to protect us from colds, flu and other ailments.
- Sleep heightens brain function. Our minds work better when we get good sleep, contributing to complex thinking, learning, memory, and decision-making.
- Sleep enhances mood. Lack of sleep can make us irritable, drag down energy levels and cause or worsen feelings of anxiety and depression.
February - Happiness Happens
The Happiness Factor: Cultivate a Positive Outlook
Happiness and health go hand in hand. Research shows a correlation between happiness levels and overall wellness with those who cultivate a more positive outlook enjoying richer and more fulfilling lives.
While it's not realistic to expect every day to be the happiest day of your life, taking simple, thoughtful steps can add up to a greater sense of overall happiness and well-being. Happiness shouldn’t be forced or fabricated. Rather, look for ways to recognize and foster authentically happy moments in everyday life.
Making slight changes in the way you think can have a cumulative, positive effect on your outlook. Be mindful of your thoughts. Encourage those that are positive and optimistic. This will help create perpetual patterns of thought that are more deeply rooted in happiness.
January - Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness and Emotional Intelligence
Research is helping us appreciate the benefits of the ancient practice of mindfulness—a form of meditation that emphasizes presence of mind and focus. Simply put, mindfulness is awareness that arises through paying attention to what’s going on around you, on purpose, in the present moment, without judgment. Mindfulness has been shown to reduce stress, boost mood, and contribute to overall health and well-being. And it is a skill that anyone can develop.
By exercising our attention through regular mindfulness practice, we can also train the brain to become more emotionally in tune. When we can understand and manage emotions in ourselves—including feelings of sadness, anger, or fear—we are said to have emotional intelligence (EQ). EQ is applicable to every human interaction because it influences behavior. A high EQ helps us communicate better, improve relationships, and empathize with others.
Finding Mindfulness in Surprising Places
How often do we think we’re in control of our attention when it’s the other way around? We want to focus during lunch with a friend, but our attention wants to think about what to prepare for dinner. We want to listen intently to what our loved one is saying, but our attention wants to drag up an unrelated emotional hurt from a years-old conversation. A little mind-wandering is natural, but when it gets in the way of everyday functioning it can distract us and even drive down happiness levels. The practice of mindfulness can be an effective tool for helping us to focus our wandering minds by bringing a mindful focus to daily activities.