Aug 29 2022
How to Advocate for Your Health
By Dylan Foster
Advocating for one’s health can be a complex task even for those in the best of health. Data show that well over half of American adults have at least one chronic medical condition, which can make health management even more difficult. The following are several ways that you can become a stronger champion for your health.
Live a Healthy Lifestyle
A healthy lifestyle is the foundation for good physical and mental health. Make sure to practice healthy eating basics. Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables and make sure to get enough protein, either from plant or animal sources. Minimize processed sugar and drink plenty of water.
Fitness basics are just as important to your overall well-being. Incorporate cardio, strength and flexibility exercises into your weekly routine. If you have not been working out regularly, start out slowly to avoid injury. Even busy individuals can increase their physical activity by taking the stairs, going for short walks during breaks, or performing a quick exercise routine. Incorporate other forms of self-care into your daily routine, including sleep,
recreation and relaxation.
Choose the Right Professionals
Even the healthiest individuals need at least one medical professional to help them stay well. A primary care physician is an invaluable asset no matter your health status. A primary care doctor performs a variety of tasks, including:
• Routine physicals
• Treatment for minor illnesses
• Coordination of specialist care
It is important to receive regular dental and eye exams as well. If you have other health concerns, you will likely need to add other specialists to your care team. No matter what type of doctor you are looking for, it is important that you feel comfortable addressing your concerns. Ask friends and family for recommendations and read online reviews.
If you are an older individual in need of round-the-clock care, a senior living facility may be beneficial. Read reviews and reports online. Ask a loved one to join you when you visit the facility. Research costs and speak with your insurer to determine affordability.
Unfortunately, talking to doctors can be difficult. Sometimes, these professionals don’t speak in understandable language or rush to get to the next patient. However, asking questions and voicing concerns is the only way to get the care you deserve. Make a detailed list of questions and concerns before your visit so that you have something to reference while in the office. Consider asking a loved one to join you. They can ask questions you may not have thought of and provide moral support. If your provider has a patient portal, get the registration information from the front desk staff. You can use the portal to send messages to the doctor after the visit if necessary.
Maintain Your Own Medical Records
Your personal health record is an important tool when advocating for your health. Write out your medical history, including surgeries and allergies. Ask for medical records from past providers. Medical record requests can often be made electronically, but don’t get discouraged if you have to call or visit in person. If you have medical images in your health record, use an online tool to quickly combine videos and images. Select the images you’d like to share and then download them to your device.
The human body is complex, and so is the medical system. As a result, managing one’s health can be a daunting task. Advocating for your health, in medical settings and through your daily decisions, is key to overall well-being.
If you’re facing mental health challenges, the therapists at Winter Solstice Group can help you overcome obstacles. Schedule an appointment.
May 08 2018
Why I’m okay with being the “bad mom”
Oh, moms. We have such an immense amount of pressure resting so precariously on our shoulders, don’t we? Pressure from ourselves, our partner, our families, society. To be the perfect this, the perfect that, the mom carting her smiling kids off to class after class so that they’re well rounded, good members of society. We run ourselves ragged attending appointments, cleaning, ensuring all the bills are paid on time, stress over finances and budgets, stay up late making sure things are prepared for the following day, counting down the hours of sleep we might get if we fall asleep right NOW. I was on FaceTime with my mom complaining of my exhausting and lack of time to shower for the past 3 days when I realized how ridiculous I sounded. Mind you, I’m a mother of a newborn and a 2 year old, so most days I do feel pressed for time to pay attention to myself, but let me tell you, that is the LAST thing you want to forget about. I realized I hadn’t showered in 2 days, I was wearing the same clothes, that had spit up and various things wiped on it from my toddler, I could smell my BO every time I lifted up one of my babies, yet kept telling myself that I’d shower as soon as they were asleep, only to get caught up in clearing the sink of dirty dishes. Moms, and people everywhere really, STOP! Self care is so incredibly vital for you to continue doing what you do. As mothers, I’m very aware of the judgment that comes with pretty much every move we make. Go out one night, and you’re hearing the backlash saying all you do is party and you’re never with your kids. Go out, and enjoy yourself. Have that extra drink, eat that last mozzarella stick and laugh and joke about completely inappropriate topics, your kids will have a better ‘you’ tomorrow because of it. I let my 2 month old cry it out for 20 minutes while I showered and lathered on my nice lotion, something minor, but also something I usually skip to tend to one of them. And you know what? I’m more relaxed, I smell good, and that 20 min was enough to make me lovingly pick her up and soothe her quickly, whereas 30 min ago I was ready to tear my hair out and hurriedly rock her to stop the screaming. If you’re not taking time for yourself, you WILL burn out, you WILL yell at your kids out of frustration, and your relationships WILL start to deteriorate. For me, I had to humble myself immensely and understand that while I could ‘do it all’ it was leaving me exhausted and empty, and for my kids, myself, and my relationship, I had to accept help, and start pouring into myself again. For me, that first step was seeking professional help. At first, I was embarrassed. I was scared of the stigma that comes with “therapy”. I didn’t want to seem crazy, like I was incapable, or that I was having serious issues. I sought help at church, but felt like I was brushed off and dismissed, to “let god handle that” wasn’t a good enough answer for me. I researched a little more, and found a therapy group called Winter Solstice, that I was willing to try. After my first session with Dr. Renee Winters, I felt motivated, understood, and like I had a plan to move forward and get shit done in my life. I felt for the first time, that I wasn’t the only one going through the hectic ness of life and maybe not coping so well, but, through a few sessions, that began to turn around for me. While I personally, have been going to her for issues with my relationship, her guidance has leaked into all areas of my life. I know many of my mom friends, and family members can relate to things that I’m going through, nothing helped me more than hearing things from an objective, psychological point of view. Therapy isn’t just for crazies or anger management. I want to lift that stigma from seeking help, and talk openly about these things. No one should ever be looked down upon for wanting to better themselves, and hey, we can’t all do it alone. I truly believe that going to counseling, for whatever reason in your life, is the most beneficial thing that you can do for yourself. Finding the right therapist for you is half the battle, and I can’t recommend Dr. Winters enough. I was skeptical and frightened that I was going to be forking out money to sit on a couch and be asked “how I felt about that” over and over again, but was pleasantly surprised to realize that sessions with her were more likened to venting to an old friend, who instead of listened sympathetically and told you what you wanted to hear, offered constructive advice that produced tangible results. Mamas, daddy’s, family member, old coworkers. I implore you to take care of yourselves before all else. Yes, even before those sweet babies. You can’t pour from an empty cup.
Feb 13 2018
Making The Most Of A Bad Situation
Using Holistic Methods To Grow From A Major Life Change
Going through a major life change can have strong effects on your emotional, physical, and mental well-being, whether good or bad. It’s difficult to know how to move forward after such a change, especially if it involved the death of a loved one, a divorce, or a move to a new and unfamiliar town, because those events can alter us in unexpected ways. However, it’s important to learn how to cope and make those changes work for you, even if it seems like it’s in a limited way at first. Taking this opportunity to better yourself or your life can help you heal following such a major transition, and using holistic wellness techniques can have a major positive impact on your overall well-being.
Here are some wonderful holistic approaches to wellness after a significant life change.
Getting a divorce or making a big move can be extremely stressful; however, if you look at it as a chance to declutter and get organized, you’ll actually be helping to improve your mental state. Holding onto physical items from the past can keep you from moving forward, especially if there are strong memories attached to them. Go through your belongings and make a keep pile, a trash pile, and a donate pile, and think hard about what you want to keep. Letting go of some of those things — and perhaps finding a good home for them somewhere else — can help you move on after a major life change. Remember that you don’t have to get rid of everything; if there are several items that you don’t use much anymore but want to keep, consider boxing them up to go through at a later time when things have slowed down a bit and the task doesn’t feel as overwhelming.
Helping others can have a huge positive impact on your mental health and emotional well-being, and the time period following a big change in your life is one of the best times to get involved. You can use your own experiences to make a difference in the lives of others; for instance, if you lost a loved one to cancer, you might start a nonprofit that raises awareness about the disease, or sell your artwork and give the proceeds to a local hospice. Think about the best ways you can get involved in your community.
Treat your body and your spirit right
Many life changes bring stress and anxiety or even depression, so it’s important to focus on your health and use the time immediately following to get serious about the well-being of your body, mind, and soul. Daily exercise helps tremendously with stress and anxiety and can help you get into shape, if that’s what you’re after. Eating well-balanced meals with plenty of dark leafy greens is a good idea, too, as is getting enough rest. This can sometimes be easier said than done when you’re going through a rough time, so establish a bedtime routine that includes relaxation, such as taking a hot bath or lighting a lavender candle. Take a break from the screens — computer, phone, and television — before bed as well, as this can help you sleep better.
Eliminate toxic relationships
Going through a period of change in your life means you can really get to know who your real friends are. The people who are there for you and support you unconditionally are the ones you should maintain relationships with; anyone who only contributes toxicity to your life should be let go. Surround yourself with people who make you feel good and who you feel good being around.
Holistic health in addiction recovery
Perhaps one of the biggest life changes someone can experience is beginning a path to sobriety after struggling with an alcohol or drug addiction. Holistic therapies, especially when combined with the above tips, can be extremely beneficial to those in addiction recovery. Acupuncture and hypnosis are therapeutic and cathartic, and patients may see benefits as early as their first session. Activities like yoga and meditation can be performed alone or with a group, and can help establish a lifelong mindfulness practice that will be helpful on the journey to long-term sobriety.
Remember that you may need someone to talk to during this transition period, so consider seeking a counselor or therapist who can help you get through it. Reach out when you’re feeling low, especially if you think you might be suffering from depression.
Author: Dana Brown
Jan 11 2018
Creating a Happy 2018
…With Goals You Will Actually Keep
The new year is upon us, and everyone is making New Year’s resolutions and setting goals. But according to Statistic Brain, only about 9 percent of people who set resolutions are successful at keeping them. So, what does that mean? Technically speaking, it means that New Year’s resolutions just don’t work. That’s why you need to create effective change in your life by creating sustainable goals that become habits and will lead to a healthy and positive 2018.
Create Your Own Environment
One of the things you can do right away is to create a relaxing and comforting home environment. In other words, set aside a room in your home without electronic distraction for your creative pursuits. Buy a comfortable chair, some paintings of nature, and other relaxing decor to inspire less stress. Also, consider adding an aromatherapy device, soothing fabrics, relaxing music, and greenery. Stress can lead to serious illness, and part of a healthy lifestyle is learning how to manage it effectively.
Cut Down on TV Time
Binging on your favorite Netflix show may seem like a relaxing activity, but studies actually show that this leads to increased depression and feelings of loneliness. According to CBS News, “binge-watching involves obsessed, intense, and dedicated behavior, characteristics indicative of addictive behaviors.” It also leads to other negative activities such as overeating, which can cause obesity, and a whole slew of other mental and physical health issues.
Get Some Sleep
Sleep is the time in which your body regenerates cells, and tissue recovers. That’s why sleep deprivation has been shown to be directly linked to a vast amount of health problems, such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. Make it a goal to get at least eight hours of sleep most nights of the week. If not getting enough sleep is a problem for you, try creating an environment solely for this purpose. In other words, banish things from your bedroom like TVs and laptops and add things like soothing colors and soft fabrics.
Drink More Water
Drinking more water is a fairly sustainable goal since most of us are drinking something throughout the day anyway. Just make the simple change of keeping a full bottle of water on your desk, and drink half your body weight in ounces every day. For example, if you weigh 160 pounds, make sure to drink 80 ounces of water. Not only will this replenish cells and keep your organs healthy, it will also keep your stomach full and reduce cravings.
It may be hard to believe that the simple act of being thankful could have such a positive impact on your well-being, but according to Psychology Today, people who practice gratitude have more positive moods than those who don’t. They suggest doing things every day like writing in a gratitude journal, reflecting on people who have helped you, and taking walks in nature. Make this a daily habit, and you will be surprised at how much more optimistic you start to feel.
Yoga is a more sustainable form of exercise than running or cycling, simply because of the more relaxed nature of it. But it’s one of those activities that will affect every part of your being positively, including body, mind, and spirit. In addition to the numerous health benefits of yoga, it also increases serotonin levels, leading to a happier and healthier state of mind.
It’s important to think holistically when setting goals and creating healthy habits. If you can incorporate activities that benefit both your mind and body, you will be more likely to stick with them because of the incredible way they make you feel afterward. Most importantly, never try to change everything all at once. Avoiding burnout is one of the main keys in setting and sticking to goals.
Author: Dana Brown
Oct 17 2017
Me, Myself & I
Check out this awesome video recap of all the fun we had at our latest event, “Me, Myself & I.” There were raffles, live music, guest speakers and even a food truck! We learned all about how to obtain a better, more healthy version of ourselves while enjoying the great weather, food and drink!
Stay tuned for our next event, it’s going to be a good one!!
Also, check out how much fun we had at our last event.