24 Hours in a Day

There are 24 hours in a day. How do you spend them? You might be thinking, especially now with more people being home or more time on the frontlines, "I work", "I take care of my kids", "I help my child with e-learning", "I'm taking care of my parents"...where do you fall into this? You, yes YOU, are the common denominator to make all this happen. Who takes care of you, so you can do all of this? When do you take care of you, so you can do all of this? 

Here's the long of the short of it...you are in charge of your self-care. You choose how you spend the 24 hours that are in the day. Let's break this down. Generally speaking and in line with health standards, people get 6-8 hours of sleep a night. That leaves you with 16-18 hours left. If you work, you may work 8-10 hour days (give or take). Now, that leaves you with 6-8 hours. You then may need to assist your kids with homework or the aftermath of e-learning; let's say that's about 2-4 hours. You now have about 4-6 hours....

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Self-Care = Prevention

Let me put a thought in your mind...

"Self-care is a preventative approach."

Typically self-care is in reference to managing stress, dealing with depression and anxiety, lowering agitation, etc. Often it's used when someone is at their wits end, when they are burnt out and looking for a miracle relief, or they are in the throws of mental anguish and looking for relief.

Self-care should not be used when it's too late, when your 'cup is empty'. It should be used on a regular basis with the purpose to prevent such reactions from happening. Therefore, we recommend scheduling your self-care 'sessions' into your daily calendar. Is that 30 minutes when you get up, 15 minutes before you go to bed, or an hour at lunch - we recommend starting with 15 minutes at a time and working your way up to an hour a day. 

You may be saying to yourself, "Girl, you are crazy! I have so much going in my life - work, e-learning with my kids, a husband/wife, a dog, cooking, cleaning - I don't have time...

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Social Media and the Impact on Our Mood

I have a friend who came to me recently. She is a reputable professional, seemingly having it all together via social media. I sometimes will see posts of her always ready for a picture with her children, perfect meal and table settings, her hair and makeup are always on point, and she has an extremely successful business career. To say the least, it makes me feel less than a lot of the time. I am lucky, some days, if I remember to brush my teeth before I stand outside with my kids for the bus talking to another mom. Social media can make us envy other's situations, feel unworthy, or that we simply are not up to par on everyday routines. And then, she stopped by the house to chat.

 
Guess what? That picture perfect social media posting is not showing you anything outside of the pic. She told me that she doesn't know how I do it?!?! I was shocked to say the least. "Me? You think I have it all together? Not a CHANCE!" Throughout our conversation, I was humbled to...
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Self-Care Promotes Brain Health

Self-care activities are something talked about a lot but often times we preach about using them for others or we recommend others to use them. Well, what about us? We are just as important to that puzzle as the person we are preaching to about using them. 

Picture yourself on an airplane. Before every departure, a flight attendant walks you through the safety features and rules of the airplane. One of those instructions are about the oxygen masks that may drop down if the cabin loses air pressure. The instructions explicitly say, "Secure your mask before securing others." Let's apply that to life, folks!

"If you do not take care of yourself, you will not be able to show up for others," says Dr. Stelter. Self-care activities allow you to replenish, unwind, recharge...all of the above. Popular self-care activities include journaling, using essential oils, exercising, gardening, cooking, deep breathing techniques, and meditation. Which ones help relieve your stress, anxiety,...

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The Power of Coping Skills and Non-pharmacological Techniques

The obvious about using coping tools and non-pharmacological techniques for mood issues or behavioral concerns is that the person receiving these are not faced with experiencing many side effects with the potential to cause more problems when taking medications instead. For example, if I'm anxious and I take an anti-anxiety medication, sure I might feel less anxious, however, I may also become unproductive that day, sleep more than usual, and then feel irritable and even more anxious as it wears off. Reason being, I haven't actually dealt with what caused my anxiety in the first place! Now, in the event the person is taking medications, even reaching for coping tools or the caregiver using non-pharmacological approaches will reduce the amount of or chances for side effects if PRN, or as needed, medication was being used on top of their routine medication regimen.

However, there are two other bonuses to regularly using coping tools and non-pharmacological techniques:

1. It...

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The Prescribing Cascade

"I'm having difficulty sleeping, doc." Robert's physician prescribed a sleeping aide so Robert can sleep better at the long-term care facility he resides. Then, Robert starts to feel irritable in the morning when he awakes. Subsequently, he is prescribed an anti-anxiety medication to take in the morning and as needed. Roberts starts taking the anti-anxiety medication and then starts to feel more sleepy during the day, less productive and motivated, groggy, and having difficulty concentrating. He's isolating more in his room and not spending time doing the things he used to like to do. And because he is sleeping more during the day, he isn't sleeping much at night, even though he continues to take the sleep aide that his physician prescribed. He lets his physician know that he has been sleeping more than usual, not as sociable as he used to be, is having difficulty concentrating, and unmotivated. His physician then prescribes Robert an anti-depressant...When does it stop?!

A side...

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Practicing Gratitude

Through all the loss that people have experienced recently (loved ones, jobs, money, etc.), at some point, if not frequently, you stop to think about what you're grateful for. Your mind wants to shift gears from being trapped in  the negativity, reaching for something more. 

I've talked in the past about one coping skill in my toolbox is practicing gratitude. Gratitude is a reflection on what you are thankful for, what you can and should appreciate, a moment for you to stop and be in the moment with your thoughts.

Practicing gratitude might look different for you than me, and that's ok. This is how I do it. Every morning, right after I wake up, I write down in my journal 5 things I'm grateful for. I then envision me practicing that gratitude by either thanking someone if that is what I am grateful for or giving back to what I am thankful for. Lastly, I carry out that act sometime that day or week. 

Notice that it's not just about writing it down but actually...

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