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Update from Palmetto Counseling 8.27.18

How Women Can Overcome The Daily Grind For A Healthier, Happier Life

Special to Palmetto Counseling’s Blog * August 27, 2018 1:15 PM EDT 

This issue features an article by Gloria Martinez

How women can overcome

With so many things to take care of, many women today feel like they’re stuck in a rut. It can be overwhelming to juggle work, family, home and all the projects we take on in any given week and still feel like we’re at the top of our game. Physically, emotionally and mentally, life can drain you if you aren’t careful, leaving you feeling tired, sluggish and uninspired.

Fortunately, there are some simple things you can do to overcome those feelings. Focusing on eating well and exercising are two relatively small ways to change your lifestyle that can make a big impact. There are several things you can do to make those changes work for you. If you hate working out, for instance, you can integrate your hobby or another activity you enjoy into your routine, such as gardening or dancing, to make it fun and engaging. This will help you stay motivated even when things get stressful.

Here are a few of the best tips on how to overcome the daily grind for a healthier life.

Beat stress

Because stress and anxiety play such big roles in our lives, it’s imperative to learn how to beat them in the moment. This requires mindfulness, which involves focusing on the present instead of worrying about the past or future, and it can be achieved through meditation, yoga, or a mixture of the two. Learning mindfulness will help you relieve feelings of stress no matter what the situation so you can get through it and go on about your day.

Create a soothing home atmosphere

Your home may sometimes cause you stress--especially if it’s dirty or too cluttered--but it should serve as your sanctuary. You can take a few easy and inexpensive steps to create a calming, spa-like feel throughout your home. Choose muted, soft colors, like light shades of blue and green, for your paint scheme. Swap out harsh, fluorescent lights for natural and soft lighting. On a budget? Simply grab a few pieces of nature-inspired decor items, like seashells or paintings of sunsets and seascapes.

Eat well

Eating well-balanced meals every day will keep your body fit, but did you know it can also affect your mental health? What you eat can help you sleep better, boost your energy levels and prevent diseases, including diabetes and even cancer, all of which can have a positive effect on your brain.

Learning how to shop can be a huge help when it comes to cooking healthy meals. Make a list before you go grocery shopping that focuses on fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins, and stick to it. Read labels every time you shop so you’ll get familiar with serving sizes and how to spot refined sugars.

Create a home gym

Creating a home gym will help you balance a workout routine with your everyday schedule, and it doesn’t take a bunch of expensive equipment. You can invest in dumbbells, kettlebells and a Bosu balance trainer and have a home gym that will keep you fit and active.

Focus on you

Take some time out during the day to focus on yourself for a few minutes. Even if it’s just to read a magazine or take a hot bath, spending time on your needs for a little while each day will help you relax and remind yourself that you’re worth it. While it can be difficult to carve time out of your busy schedule to tend to your needs, it will ultimately help you be the best version of yourself that you can be.

Overcoming the daily grind in order to feel healthier and happier probably won’t happen overnight. It’s important to try different methods to find out what makes you feel best. Focusing on your well-being by reducing stress and anxiety, eating right and working out every day can not only help your physical health, but your mental health as well.

Gloria Martinez started WomenLed.org to celebrate the advancements women have made and inspire women to become entrepreneurs and seek promotions in the workplace.

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Update from Palmetto Counseling 7.13.18

The Brain Benefits of a Full Night’s Sleep

Special to Palmetto Counseling’s Blog * July 13, 2018 10:14 AM EDT 

This issue features an article by Ellie Porter

Creative Happy Work

Getting plenty of sleep is healthy for your body. You probably know that without thinking about it very hard. Most people feel sluggish and slow when they don’t get enough rest, whereas only a few hours more sleep can make a huge difference in their energy levels.

Sleep isn’t just healthy for your body, though. It’s also good for your brain. In fact, when you sleep, you help your brain function the way it’s supposed to work. Some people even find that any symptoms of mental illness that they experience are reduced when they sleep well.

Handle Negative Emotions Better

The amygdala is the part of the brain that helps regulate emotions, especially negative ones. Researchers used functional MRI imaging to show that that amygdala doesn’t function normally when you don’t get enough sleep. When the amygdala isn’t doing its job well, emotional responses to negative things that happen may be greater than usual. In more extreme situations, people may even feel out of control or like they are upset or angry all the time.

Improve Your Mental Health

Getting enough sleep also seems to reduce the chances that a person will experience hallucinations and paranoia. For people who have mental health challenges, this study indicates that sleeping may make a difference in their overall mental well-being. For the rest of us, this study shows that the brain clearly needs plenty of sleep and, when it doesn’t receive that, it doesn’t function as well as it could. In fact, the researchers hypothesize that not getting enough rest could make it more likely that you will eventually experience these symptoms.

Maximize Your Sleep

If you’re not getting enough sleep, you’re likely experiencing the effects of that lack even if you don’t know it. Improve your brain function and your mental health by improving your rest. Here’s how.

Turn off the devices. Screens, like those on your tablet, laptop, and phone, as well as your TV screen, emit blue light. That light can keep your brain from producing enough melatonin at night, which is a hormone that tells your body to rest. Prep for bedtime by turning off all your devices an hour or so before you want to sleep.

Get a mattress suited to your needs. Tossing and turning is no fun, and you’re more likely to be uncomfortable at night if your mattress isn’t supporting you well. Take the time to determine what sort of bed is best for your sleeping position, temperature preferences and size. Then, invest in your sleep health.

Make it quiet. Noise can wake you, but it can also disturb your sleep even if you don’t wake up. Do what it takes to lower the number of sounds that enter your room at night. Get a fan or a white noise machine, cover your head with a pillow, wear earplugs, or close your windows for better rest.

Take care of yourself, body and brain, by getting the rest you need. You’ll likely feel better and happier, too.

Ellie Porter

Managing Editor | SleepHelp.org
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Update from Palmetto Counseling 6.29.18

How Sufficient Sleep Improves Your Mental Health

Special to Palmetto Counseling’s Blog * June 29, 2018 4:18 PM EDT 

This issue features an article by Alicia Sanchez 

woman waking up

Sleep, or lack thereof, affects most of your biological processes from your ability to think to your digestive system. To protect your mental health from the pressures of everyday life, it’s important to get at least seven to eight hours of sleep. Without adequate rest, you put yourself at risk of impaired reasoning skills as well as an increased risk for mental health disorders.

Sleep Deprivation and Mental Health

Sleep is a necessary biological function your body requires to survive. Healthy adults who’ve never struggled with mental health disorders may find themselves succumbing to depression or anxiety when dealing with chronic sleep deprivation because it changes the way the brain works.

Sleep problems often magnify any mental health disorders. Forty-five to ninety percent of those who have depression and fifty percent of those with anxiety have some form of insomnia or other sleep disorder. While some people may consider getting seven hours of sleep optional, when you look at the heavy toll sleep deprivation takes on the body, getting that full seven hours moves to the top of your priority list.

Effects of Sleep Deprivation

Chronic sleep deprivation wreaks havoc on the body. The immune system suffers, hormones get imbalanced, and short-term memory loss can occur. It also seriously affects your mental capabilities. Even those without mental disorders find functioning on little sleep to be a challenge.

Sleep deprivation changes the brain’s ability to send and receive signals. Individual neurons, the cells that send the signals, slow down. Controlling moods and behaviors become more difficult and aggression levels rise. Reasoning and decision-making skills also start to deteriorate.

While you sleep, your body goes through different stages during which the body heals and restores itself. It’s during this process that the body establishes health circadian rhythms which help you keep a regular sleep schedule.

Address Mental Health Issues with Better Sleep

Developing good sleep hygiene can help stabilize moods, prevent you from feeling tired during the day, and keep your body running at peak efficiency.

Create the Right Conditions

Start by checking your mattress. If you wake up with a sore back, neck, or shoulder, you may need to look into getting a more supportive mattress. Testing out options at mattress stores to see what works better for you. Also, keep your bedroom temperature between 60-68 degrees. Reduce light and noise as much as possible.

Be Consistent

Your circadian rhythms help determine when you fall asleep at night and wake in the morning. Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day helps your body establish and keep those rhythms. If at all possible, keep the same sleep schedule on weekends as well.

Eat for Your Health

When and what you eat impacts the quality of your sleep. Heavy meals eaten too close to bedtime can potentially keep you awake from discomfort. At the same time, hunger pains may be strong enough to keep you up at night. An early, light dinner creates the best chances for restful sleep. If hunger pains give you trouble, a light, healthy snack just before bed can tie you over until morning.

Reduce Screen Time

In today’s world, you’re almost always within arms reach of a screen. Televisions, laptops, iPads, e-readers, and smartphones give off light that’s bright enough to confuse your brain. To prevent screen time from altering your circadian rhythms, turn off all screens at least one hour before bedtime. That gives your brain enough time to start the shutdown process.

About the author:

Alicia Sanchez is a researcher for the sleep science hub Tuck.com with a specialty in health and wellness. A Nashville native, Alicia finds the sound of summer storms so soothing that she still sleeps with recorded rain on her white noise machine.

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Update from Palmetto Counseling 6.28.18

Self-Care For Better Mental Health

Special to Palmetto Counseling’s Blog * June 28, 2018 9:34 AM EDT 

This issue features an article by Brad Krause 

Self care pic 

Image Courtesy Pexels

Our daily lives are stressful, and sometimes that boils over into unhealthy habits or negative thinking patterns. For people who struggle with mental illness or addiction, self-care can be hard to implement. Here are some tips to show you how.

Give Yourself Every Opportunity To Excel

We can’t be our best, if our needs aren’t being met. Make sure you’re getting enough rest. Your sleep should be sacred. Create a nighttime ritual such as a warm bath and an hour with a good book before bed. Whatever happens, don’t let anything deprive you of this wind-down time and the good night’s sleep that follows it.

Focus on eating regular meals that provide you the energy resources you need each day. If you skimp on meals, you’ll make yourself irritable and unhealthy. You deserve to be well-cared for and that includes being well fed with tasty, healthful food.

Lastly, make sure you’re getting enough exercise. Find an activity you love and give yourself the time to pursue it, at least three times a week. Don’t punish yourself with exercise you don’t enjoy. Think of your workout as playtime -- a reward for all your hard work. Choose something that makes you feel happy and you look forward to. Exercise is about moving every part of your body and that can actually be extremely satisfying. It can produce a natural high that overwhelms any chemical one. Dance, swim, hike in the woods or take up spelunking -- just make sure you’re actively moving on a regular basis, doing something you enjoy.

Make Yourself Feel Safer

Anxiety, fear, and worry feed into depression, self-doubt and loss of self-esteem. Bolster your sense of safety. Can you separate yourself from negative influences or people? For survivors of substance abuse disorders, this may mean avoiding people and places where they might be tempted to use again. If avoidance is not feasible or desirable, look for ways to make you feel more in control of your environment. If you’re in recovery, one way to take care of your mental health is to pick up a new hobby or start practicing meditation and yoga.

If you worry about your health, take a proactive stance and improve your diet and exercise program. If you are afraid of the future, journal about worst-case scenarios. Putting a name to what frightens you helps to take the mystique away.

If you’re anxious about money, make a budget and list your debts from smallest to largest, and then work at paying them off in that order. Each debt you pay off creates a greater sense of control and order in your life.

If you worry about your physical safety, take a self-defense course or purchase a home security system.

Learn to Self-Soothe

Learning to regulate your emotional responses can help you to de-escalate emotional triggers in your life. We’ve all been there: the encounter you dreaded, with a person who hurt you, or a situation where you failed before. Meditation and relaxation techniques can give you tools to self-regulate when the inevitable occurs. The next time you’re in a triggering situation, try this: Mentally disengage from the situation and bring your attention to the area of your heart. Recall a moment when you felt happiness, and love, or just visualize such a feeling. What does it look like in your mind? Keeping your attention on your heartbeat and your breathing, re-experience those emotions in your memory.

Take The Pressure Off

It’s very common for people to overcommit themselves out of a sense of social duty or professional obligation, so learn to say, “no.” It’s OK to admit when there’s too much on your plate and you can’t handle anything else. Unless you’re Wonder Woman, you really can’t do it all.

Most of the time, people will understand. Odds are, they’re overcommitted, too. Practice graceful ways of declining. “I’m just so busy at the moment, maybe another time?” Or, the soft turn down: “That sounds lovely - can I get back to you?” That way, you can think on it and decide if you really want to do it, or just feel obligated.

Self-care is important to your physical and mental health, but it need not be challenging. At its heart, it’s really about prioritizing yourself in your own life. You can’t take care of other people if you’re not taking care of yourself.

Author

Brad Krause graduated from college in 2010 and went straight to the corporate world at the headquarters of a popular retail company. But what started as a dream job soured quickly. After four years of working 15-hour days and neglecting his health, he decided enough was enough. Through aiding a friend during a tough time, Brad discovered his real calling-helping people implement self-care practices that improve their overall wellbeing. He created SelfCaring.info to share his own knowledge and the many great resources he finds on his self-care journey.

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Update from Palmetto Counseling 5.3.18

How Women Can Juggle Success And Responsibilities

Special to Palmetto Counseling’s Blog * May 3, 2018 12:29 PM EDT 

This issue features an article by Gloria Martinez

Juggle Success                                                                                                               

Photo via Pixabay by Firmbee

Running a business is hard work for anyone, but for women, it can feel like a massive undertaking. Women are often paid less than men to do the same jobs, and they must overcome biased thinking, sexual harassment, and unfair expectations in order to achieve success, and all while raising families and taking care of dozens of other responsibilities everyday.

Still, more and more women are making their way up the corporate ladders to become leaders, business owners, and entrepreneurs, meaning it’s that much more important for them to learn how to juggle all the things their lives hold. Getting organized is the first step, along with creating a supportive circle of friends and family who can help out when things get overwhelming.

Here are a few of the best tips on how to juggle a busy work schedule with a busy life.

Set ground rules

As a working parent, you rely on your kids and partner to help make things go smoothly at home; after all, you can’t do everything alone! It’s imperative that you set some ground rules when it comes to what everyone can and can’t do and what is expected of them. Create a chore list of simple tasks your kids can perform to keep the household running while you’re at work; this way, they’ll learn about responsibility and you won’t have messes in every room when you get home.

Get organized

No one can expect to be successful--in business or in life--by being disorganized. Keeping track of your schedule and staying on top of your responsibilities will help prevent anxiety and stress, which will keep your mental and physical health in check. Invest in a good planner, and buy a magnetized calendar for the fridge where you can write down all the events and commitments that are coming up. This will also help your family stay on the same page and will prevent misunderstandings and missed events.

Separate work and family 

Making a point to keep your work and home life separate will help you leave stress at the door when you arrive home after a long day. Make a promise to yourself that you won’t answer emails or phone calls (other than for emergencies, of course) from work once you get home, and make an effort to banish all personal activities while you’re at the office. Not only will this help you spend more quality time with your family and reduce stress, it will allow you to stay focused at work.

Recognize your own strengths

As a woman in business, it’s imperative that you learn to recognize your own strengths and how to play them up. Plexus offers a list of personality traits of business owners, which may be worth a quick read to see if you’ll fit the bill. It takes a lot of tenacity and an ability to take risks and solve problems in order to be a success, but it can be all too easy to dismiss those qualities in ourselves and let self-doubt creep in. Ignore that doubt and recognize that you’ve made it this far of your own accord. Don’t let your own worries keep you from your goals.

Learning how to juggle success in business and success in your personal life is almost never easy, but starting with a good plan is essential. Talk to your family about all the ways they can help out around the house and create structure so that everything runs smoothly while you’re busiest. Get organized in all aspects of your life; declutter, make each room more accessible, and learn to rely on teamwork so that all the responsibility doesn’t fall on your shoulders all the time.

Gloria Martinez started WomenLed.org to celebrate the advancements women have made and inspire women to become entrepreneurs and seek promotions in the workplace.

Do you have an article on mental health, addiction, substance abuse, mental health advocacy or other important topic you would like to submit?

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PCC Blog: Special Guest Contributor Requirements

mental 1389919 340

Do you have an article on mental health, addiction, substance abuse, mental health advocacy or related topic on health and wellness you would like to submit?

Requirements

Blog Content Must:

  • Be about mental health, addiction, substance abuse, mental health advocacy or relate to topics of health and wellness;
  • Content should be positive, educational or inspire others;
  • Be your own original work and should not be found on other websites or blogs.
  • Plagiarism is strictly prohibited. When quoting others, be sure to accurately cite all sources used in your article.
  • Be factual. Please research your topic thoroughly to ensure accuracy.
  • Be between 200 – 1,000 words.
  • Include at least one feature image.
  • Include a short, concise author biography. You may also include a small image to accompany your biography.

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Update from Palmetto Counseling 3.2.18

Turn Your Hobbies into Dollars

Special to Palmetto Counseling’s Blog * March 2, 2018 11:50 AM EDT 

This issue features an article by Kim Thomas

Turn Hobbies

Reap the rewards of your passions and boost your self-esteem in the process.

Hobbies are a necessary part of life. They give us an outlet to release negative energy and help us tap into our creative side. Plus, our hobbies let us do something we’re truly good at without the pressures of doing it someone else’s way. Having a hobby is also a great way to boost your career or help launch you into a new one.

If you’re struggling with depression, addiction recovery, or other mental health concerns, turning your hobby into a paycheck may be a part of a healthy treatment plan. Here are a few ideas on how to transform something you do for fun into a positive means of support for yourself and your family.

Drawing

People stare in awe as others with even the slightest bit of artistic talent doodle and sketch. They also tend to spend money to decorate their homes with unique one-of-a-kind pieces of artwork. Drawing and painting is a great hobby and, in fact, art therapy has been used in mental health treatment for decades. Even outside of professional applications, doing art is relaxing. Depending on your style, you could create custom artwork for homes or businesses. Comic book art has regained popularity since the advent of the Marvel Cinematic Universe so that might be a good place to start, especially with new superhero movies being released at a rate of two or three each year. A quick search of Etsy reveals dozens of pages of original art selling for up to $4,000 (or more).

Dog walking

If you love dogs, you can turn that passion into profit by opening your own dog walking or dog boarding service. You probably won’t strike it rich frolicking with Fido, but you will benefit in numerous other ways. Science suggests that spending time with dogs actually increases your overall mood and will encourage you to exercise. And a little fresh air never hurt anyone. You can expect to earn between $25 and $50 per night cuddling and caring for other people’s canine companions.

Baking

Inc. rightly asserts that people will always need food. And no food is more iconic than cake. While anyone can throw together a boxed cake mix, it takes a special talent to design a custom confection for a special event, such as a birthday, retirement party, or wedding. The average wedding cake cost more than $450 and many parents have no problem dropping $150 or more on their child’s birthday cake. If you have kitchen skills, you can make a respectable living helping other people celebrate their milestones.

Photography

A wedding photographer can make thousands of dollars over the course of a single weekend. It’s hard work and requires the proper equipment, but photography is a popular pastime that can help you earn a serious income while practicing your art and celebrating life’s most cherished moments. If you understand lighting, composition, and the inner workings of a DSLR camera, you are miles ahead of the general population. Once you are done photographing the events, you get to take your images home and refine them according to your own vision through software such as Photoshop or Lightroom.

You don’t have to be an expert to share your talents with the world. Often, your skills are just what someone else needs to finalize a birthday party, wedding, or simply focus their attention on their own job or hobbies. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there, you might be amazed at how much you can earn – and how much better you feel -- by doing something you enjoy.

Kim Thomas’ mission is aligned with that of US Health Corps, and that is to triumph over chronic disease. Her mission is to advocate for those suffering from chronic disease and enjoys writing about maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

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Update From Palmetto Counseling 2.22.18

How to Achieve Work-Life Balance to Maintain Mental and Physical Health

Special to Palmetto Counseling’s Blog * February 22, 2018 9:39 AM EDT 

This issue features an article by Gloria Martinez

Work Life Balance 

Image via Pixabay by Unsplash 

As Americans work longer hours and blur the line between work and home, the idea of achieving a work-life balance may seem like nothing more than a pipedream. The trouble with this way of thinking is that busy Americans don’t have enough time or energy to devote to their families or themselves if they are failing to achieve a work-life balance. As a result, their relationships suffer, they become burned out, and in some cases, the struggle to manage the overwhelming stress leads to mental health or substance use disorders. If you’re looking for a better way to balance work life and home life to improve your health, our tips will help get you started.

Commit to Exercising

Yes, you know exercise is important for health, but there is a good chance that it is something that you often don’t make time for or is something that you cut first from your schedule on particularly busy days. However, skipping regular exercise is one of the fastest ways to sabotage your work-life balance. Exercise improves your memory and your capacity for learning something new. It relieves stress, lightens your mood, and relieves chronic pain (which often results from stress). Try walking during your lunch break, doing yoga while listening to a webinar, or asking your partners to have a walking meeting instead of a sit-down meeting.

Make Priorities

It’s nearly impossible to achieve a work-life balance when you feel like everything from making dinner to turning in a report on time takes equal priority. The only way to achieve balance is to evaluate your personal and professional lives and determine what is most important to you. Those priorities will be the things that mean the most to you personally and professionally and should be the only things that you divide your time between because other things are not as worthy of your time. Dividing your attention among too many things means that none of them is receiving the proper amount of attention anyway, and making priorities will help you devote more attention to those that deserve your time.

Pencil in lunch breaks away from your desk to get a break. Leave your phone in your car so you are not distracted during family dinners. Schedule a workout so you view it as part of your calendar just as you would a business meeting. By setting aside time for your family, friends, and yourself, you will get the break you need to boost your mental and physical health.

Of course, you need to make committing to exercise one of your priorities. There’s a reason that flight attendants tell parents to put on their oxygen masks first: if you can’t function, you can’t help your children. This fact applies to the role your health plays in work-life balance; if you are not in good mental and physical health, your personal and professional lives will suffer. Indeed, exercise is the best thing you can do to maintain good mental and physical health while attempting to achieve a work-life balance. When you take care of yourself, you are better able to handle the stress of a busy day and accomplish your priorities.

Make a Sanctuary in Your Home

Consider where you live. If you have a long, draining commute to and from work every day, the money you save living in the suburbs might not be worth it. Consider that it might be time to move to into the city to be closer to your job. City life also offers a lot of advantages that suburban life might not, including being closer to museums, sporting events, and health and wellness practices that could give you and your family a big boost to your overall wellness.

That said, if you’re content to stay put, there’s plenty that can be done to your current home to improve your work-life balance. For example, whether you work from home full time, part time, or just after hours to get through email and wrap up projects, you need to set some boundaries. If your home office also is where your children do their homework, you are not helping yourself achieve the balance you need. Make a designated space for work inside your home and make it a point to work only inside that space.

Next, optimize your living space to reduce your overall stress. Start by designating a personal sanctuary in your home. Be sure this room remains is a work-free zone where you can go to unplug, unwind, and reduce stress. Paint the walls your favorite color. Add plants because nature has been shown to improve mood and reduce stress. Add comfortable furniture or at least one comfortable chair. Add a music player if you love to listen to music. Give yourself space to do yoga if that will relax and recenter you. Most importantly: this work-free, stress-reducing place needs to be yours and needs to be a place that you visit at least once a day, even if it’s for only five minutes.

Achieving a work-life balance is necessary for your mental and physical health. If you commit to exercising, make priorities, and create a sanctuary in your home, you will have more energy, more time, and the ability to handle the demands of your professional and personal lives. 

Gloria Martinez started WomenLed.org to celebrate the advancements women have made and inspire women to become entrepreneurs and seek promotions in the workplace.

 

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Update from Palmetto Counseling 1.19.18

The Importance of Self-Care for Mental Health 

Special to Palmetto Counseling’s Blog * January 19, 2018 12:20 PM EDT 

This issue features an article by Kim Thomas

Self Care

There are many clichés that actually discourage us from looking closely at our own self-care, such as, “when the going gets tough, the tough get going,” “no pain, no gain,” or “if it doesn’t kill you it will make you stronger.”  However, without tending to our own mental health needs, we leave ourselves vulnerable to stress, anxiety, depression and other concerns.  Chances are if you’re trying to get through a situation by clinging to those old clichés, you would be better off embracing healthy self-care. 

Prioritize.  Harvard Health Publishing compares good self-care habits to putting on an oxygen mask when an airplane is in trouble; without first ensuring you will be okay, you can’t help anyone else.  When time is tight and energy levels are low, self-care is often the first thing that is pushed aside.  However those are signals to make self-care a priority. 

What self-care isn’t.  Many people are concerned that self-care is selfishness in disguise, but making good choices that keep you healthy and promote wellness will allow you to better tend to the needs of others, not just yourself.  Psych Central explains that good self-care is also saying “no” to overcommitting, and to participating in activities that create stress like attending gatherings you don’t enjoy and checking email before bed.

What self-care is.  Self-care won’t happen on its own.  Self-care is planned and scheduled, and should happen every day by making a conscious choice.  As you establish a good program, you may find it helpful to follow a checklist for guidance.  Reach Out Australia offers a template you can download, or you may want to create your own. 

Your routine.  Taking care of one’s physical well-being is an imperative first-step toward a good self-care program.  When your body has insufficient energy due to exhaustion or lack of good nutrition, you can’t perform well.  Experts explain that you leave yourself open to debilitating physical issues, both now and in the future.  Good care of your body keeps you strong and resilient, ready to face the challenges life brings your way.  It helps lower risk for heart disease, diabetes, cancer, even colds and the flu. 

Here are some important components in a self-care program:

  • Sleep. Getting sufficient sleep is vital to good physical and mental health.  Your body and mind regroup during sleep.  Average adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep every night. 
  • Exercise. You don’t need a trip to the gym to improve your fitness program.  Jogging, biking and hiking are excellent, but even taking the stairs instead of the elevator can improve your body’s fitness.  Being active increases your body’s release of feel-good, stress-fighting chemicals, so ensure you make physical activity part of your daily routine. 
  • Eat right. Good nutrition is a building block for staying healthy.  Eat balanced meals that provide for your body’s energy needs and don’t contain harmful products.  Aim for whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and foods that are not processed. 
  • Relax. It’s important to allow yourself some downtime.  Practice methods of relaxation, such as meditation, breathing exercises, prayer, and sensory focusing techniques to lower stress and anxiety and maintain a healthy outlook. 
  • Hobbies. Engaging in healthy hobbies is an important outlet and part of personal development.  Reading books, creating artwork, playing sports and tending a garden are all hobbies noted by experts as helpful to your well-being.  Participating even when you're short on time can improve your energy and perspective. 
  • Relationships. Don’t allow busyness and stress to isolate you.  When life is difficult it’s important to participate with your support network.  Make sure you nurture your social life and engage with family and friends. 

Choose good health.  It’s important to recognize that self-care is a conscious choice and important to your overall well-being.  Incorporate self-care into your routine to improve your energy levels.  Good choices promote your ability to handle situations as they arise, as well as promote your long-term health and wellness.  

Kim Thomas’ mission is aligned with that of US Health Corps, and that is to triumph over chronic disease. Her mission is to advocate for those suffering from chronic disease and enjoys writing about maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

 

Do you have an article on mental health, addiction, substance abuse, mental health advocacy or other important topic you would like to submit?

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Update from Palmetto Counseling: August 2017

Why I Decided to Get Treatment for my Anxiety Disorder

Special to Palmetto Counseling’s Blog * August 12, 2017 3:06 PM EDT

This issue features an article by Freelance Mental Health Writer, Lisa Fourman

Anxiety

The definition of generalized anxiety disorder is an excessive worry about many things. According to the ADAA, this anxiety disorder affects 6.8 million adults.

That's a lot of people and it includes me. I've been suffering with this disorder since 2006 when I was in high school. What are the symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder, you ask?

Symptoms of the disorder include: feeling wound tightly enough that you feel like you’re going to snap, having trouble falling or staying asleep, tension in your muscles, irritability, fatigue, and having trouble concentrating.

For those who go through these symptoms, it’s a struggle to get through the day. I have had each of these before in my journey for help and I’ve had some of them all at once.  There are a lot of people who suffer with the disorder in complete silence.

They are afraid to get the help they need for reasons I can understand. What if they're laughed at for wanting help? What if no one understands them? What if they try to get the help they know they need but the help doesn’t give them any relief?

These are questions I've asked myself in my own time as I thought about getting support for my anxiety. I couldn't help wondering if therapy was worth it until I decided I couldn't go on without treatment.

In the end, I decided to try medication management for three reasons: my sanity, doing what is best for me, and wondering what else I had to lose. These reasons were simple enough for me. I hope they can help you too.

Taking a Stand for My Sanity

Having an anxiety disorder is not a walk in the park. You worry about everything that crosses your mind. You feel trapped in a cage of sorts inside of your mind.

You can't move in this cage and it's locked tighter than anything you've ever seen. You fear that you're losing your sanity as you panic over the smallest of things.

For me, the choice of avoiding people was an easy one to make. I hated getting into arguments with people, especially customers at work.

Why would I want to put myself in that situation where my anxiety would go through the roof? I had enough trouble just sitting at my desk, going about my work. I refused to make things worse for me.

This is what I've dealt with for years before seeking treatment. I finally decided that enough was enough. I wanted to do what is best for my sanity.

I didn't want to spend my life with my anxiety in control of every action I take. I decided to take a stand for my sanity and for my life itself.

I couldn't continue down the path I was going where the anxiety ruled my life in every way. I refused to let myself stray down a path where my health was completely sub-par.

Taking a stand for your sanity doesn't have to be difficult. It can sometimes be a choice between life or death but know that it is as serious as you make it to be.

Doing What is Best for Me

I knew something in my life had to change if I wanted a life where I could be happy. I didn't want to live, looking over my shoulder at every turn.

Getting treatment was the best thing for me. My anxiety was at an all-time high and I knew I had to do something about it. I'd been dealing with it for over 10 years by this point, after all.

Having anxiety has led to me missing out on so many events with friends. That’s not to mention the job opportunities I’ve passed on because of my anxiety! I’ve left 3 jobs because of the panic attacks that kept me up at night.

I knew that if I could get proper treatment for what I was suffering with, I could feel better for the first time. I don't remember a time when I didn't feel any sort of anxiety. How can you call that living?

That's a question I asked myself as I wondered if I should even get treatment. That's when the answer to that question became obvious to me. Going through with it was the best thing for me.

I have tried medication management and mindfulness tactics, both of which seem to work the best for me. If you don’t know what works for you, try a breathing exercise.

Breathe in for seven seconds, hold it for four seconds, and then release it in eight seconds. Do this several times until your heart rate has slowed down to a normal rate. Focusing on the breathing helps calm the brain down when it’s going too fast.

What Did I Have to Lose?

This is not a question I thought I would ever ask myself. It is not something I thought much about. Having anxiety means I hesitate with every decision to the very end.

It means I am not sure about any decision I make, no matter how big or small that decision might be. It's a terrible way to go about life so I decided to make a change in this regard as well.

I considered my options and this one question came up: what did I have to lose? If I got treatment for my anxiety and it failed, would the anxiety be any worse?

No...no it wouldn't. My anxiety would always be there in the back of my mind, no matter what I did to stop it. So why couldn't I do something about it? Why couldn't I do something about it?

I didn't have anything else to lose at this point since I didn't have much to begin with. That is what anxiety does to you as well: it takes everything you love away from you.

If I get treatment for my anxiety and it doesn't work, then it's on to the next thing. I could get some valuable insight into my life with anxiety: what does and does not work.

What I Learned about My Life with Anxiety

Living with anxiety can be one heck of a challenge even with the advantage of treatment for it. It is almost like a roller coaster of sorts that you can't get off, no matter how hard you try.

Getting treatment for anxiety has been the best decision I ever made. I made the decision so I can have a life of happiness instead of a life of dread and anxiety.

Getting the medication that works for me has slowed my heart rate down tremendously, I’m no longer focusing on the anxiety, and I don’t live in a state of constant fear. I’m free of the cage that anxiety has kept me in for so long!

Getting free of the cage takes time but getting the right treatment for your anxiety can mean all the difference for you. For me, it took me two years to find the right medication but I know now that I’ll be alright. For me, that’s all I needed in a life of anxiety-ridden distress.

It gets tiring if you live a life full of emotional turmoil so I urge you to do something about it. If you need help and you know you need help, I urge you to get that help.

I urge you to get the help you need to live the life you want to live. There is no shame in admitting that you can't do things on your own. That is where support comes in. Won't you get help today?

Lisa Fourman Author Photo 002

Lisa is a freelance writer in the mental health niche, who has generalized anxiety disorder. She is addicted to Facebook and reading long fantasy novels. If you want to talk blog posts, you can find her website here.

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 We are pleased to announce that Palmetto Counseling is currently accepting referrals for Group Therapy:

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy [DBT] Group [Adults]: Frequently used to treat symptoms associated with Borderline Personality Disorder, clients in DBT can expect to be assigned therapeutic homework, role-play alternate ways of interacting with other people, and practice adaptive coping skills such as distress tolerance, emotion regulation, mindfulness, radical acceptance, interpersonal effectiveness and other positive means of managing intense feelings or emotions when angry, depressed, anxious, or upset. These skills are an important component of DBT and are reviewed in weekly groups as the Group Facilitator helps clients to learn, apply and master DBT skills.

Issues Addressed: Symptoms frequently associated with Borderline Personality Disorder such as severe depression, trauma, anxiety, patterns of engaging in self-harm behaviors, cutting, suicidal thoughts / suicidal urges, and suicidality.

When: For more information or to make a referral, please contact us at (803) 329-9639

Group Facilitator: Alissa Hager, LPC

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy [CBT] Coping Skills Group [Adults]: Backed by years of empirical support and widely accepted by mental health practitioners, CBT is a highly structured group intervention that teaches individuals to identify and learn effective problem-solving skills, how to express feelings and how to focus on the “here and now” to minimize thoughts and behavior that lead to problems. The interventions in group therapy feature modeling, role-play, help the client challenge irrational or negative thoughts and therapeutic homework exercises.

Issues Addressed: Anxiety or Fears, Depression, Self-Esteem, Stress / Anger Management, Coping Skills

When: For more information or to make a referral, please contact us at (803) 329-9639

Group Facilitator: Alissa Hager, LPC

Meet The New Faces!

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Mary Beirne Taylor, MEd, ED.S, LPC, NCC

Mary Beirne Taylor earned her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Wofford College and Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Clemson University. Additionally, she holds an Education Specialist Degree and a Bachelor of Arts in Modern Language and Culture (Spanish), and has experience counseling Spanish-speaking families.

Licensed in South Carolina, Ms. Taylor has provided therapy to children in elementary school settings. She specializes in counseling children with Depression, Anxiety, ADHD, Trauma, Autism, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, and Anger issues. Although treating children of all ages is her specialty, Mary Beirne also enjoys working with adults in individual counseling and family therapy.
Ms. Taylor has a genuine passion for working with children, is energetic, creative, non-judgmental, adaptable and flexible in her approach, and is deeply committed to working collaboratively with clients and their families.

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Alissa Hager, MED, LPC

Alissa received her Masters of Education in Community Counseling from Winthrop University and is a Licensed Professional Counselor in South Carolina. Areas of interest include working with adolescents and their families as well as adults. Ms. Westphal has 7 years experience working with both adults and adolescents in inpatient and outpatient settings.

As part of her work with clients, Alissa firmly believes that the counseling relationship is a very personal and intimate relationship, with set limits and defined professional boundaries. The most crucial aspect of this relationship is trust. Counseling is a joint effort which cannot be successful or effective without hard work, dedication, and courage to change.

"I come from a strengths based perspective, where we will help identify positive characteristics that can help you overcome your concerns and lead a happier, more fulfilled life. In order to change behavior, I believe it is important to change perspectives and thinking patterns, and explore alternatives to maladaptive or negative ways of coping in a safe, nurturing environment."

Alissa's specialties include Dialectical Behavioral Therapy [DBT], Trauma, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, and Play Therapy. In addition to working with teens and their families, Alissa enjoys working with adults. 

 

With several licensed counselors to choose from, our caring team of professionals is ready to assist you in meeting your behavioral healthcare needs. 

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Do you have an article on mental health, addiction, substance abuse, mental health advocacy or other important topic you would like to submit?

Let us know if you would like to be featured as a Special Guest Contributor to PCC's Blog by contacting us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Palmetto Counseling & Consulting Services, LLC

  • 1721 Ebenezer Road
  • Suite #225
  • Rock Hill, SC 29732
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