Did you know that nearly 65% of all Americans (hey, that’s nearly 2/3) who were polled just last July 2020 said that social media has a negative effect on how things are in the U.S. today? That’s scary! They name misinformation, hate, and harassment as primary reasons for this. (Cyber bullying probably falls under hate.) They are concerned about people believing everything they read on social media, not being prepared to discern between those who are just giving uninformed opinions and those who are actually giving positive, constructive information. While younger people in early adulthood were more likely to call social media a positive force, older Americans believe the opposite. Where is the truth? Somewhere in the middle? In any case, we should probably pay attention to how to create positive social media habits and stay safe. Then we can teach our children how to do it!
So many of you, especially after the long holiday season, feel like you either want to continue being healthy, or if you’ve slipped up enough, get healthy … again.
For many of us, we recognize we are not healthy so we may resolve to just work on getting healthy after the new year. How many people in their minds go immediately to the bathroom scale to check the post-holiday number when thinking of staying or getting healthy? If you’re normal, you’re doing this.
However, being healthy is so much more than just a number on that scale (which is only one of many health factors). Being healthy is about energy, stamina, how well all our bodily organ systems are functioning, and more. Has there been much damage done throughout the holiday season, or perhaps even the past years or more, and what are you going to do about it? Also, just as important, what will you do about getting your kids healthier?!
Okay – if you’re practically perfect in practically every way, raise your hand. Wait – I don’t see any hands – LOL! That’s because nobody is practically perfect in any way (unless your name is Mary Poppins). However, that may be by design. So, it’s not a bad thing. What’s important is that you are open and strive to become a better person. If you’re a mom (or if you’re a dad or if you’re just raising kids), well – kids are always there to give us challenges, problems, etc. … all of which are opportunities for growth. Here we go!
The holidays have come and gone … again. While they can be quite wonderful, they are usually also quite stressful. Many if not most of us make New Year’s resolutions, and then what happens? They somehow quietly go by the wayside. Take, for example, resolutions to lose weight. While understandable, and many of us gain weight during the holidays or just want to get thinner and healthier for the coming bathing suit season, the emotional reasons we overeat are still present within us. So are the old habits. So are the old dieting patterns, which often end up in a blaze of smoke!
Have you ever been one of the people who get the holiday blues toward the end of the year? If so, you’re not alone. Whether you are battling a mental health issue or not, it is easy to succumb to the holiday blues. (Did you know that 64% of people who do have mental health issues report feeling depressed at the holidays?) Although the suicide rates do not spike at the holidays, the holiday blues are very real. It’s been clearly documented that people do feel more stress, anxiety, and especially depression at this time of year. Of course, the majority of people report feeling happy, loving, and generally have high spirits, but at the same time they are also overly tired, still feeling higher levels of stress, irritability, and they report feeling bloated and sad. Some of the reasons for increased stress are time, money, all the commercialism that surrounds the holiday season, feeling pressured to give gifts, and being at family gatherings. Ironically, more people report feeling the added stress at work rather than at home. Please remember that holiday blues end at the close of the holiday season, so if you’re still feeling any of these negative symptoms, it is probably time to look at your diet, and hook up with a professional to help you readjust. The holidays may just be exacerbating a situation that is already there and that needs attention.
For many of us, helping, giving to others makes us feel good, as well as the people we are helping. You can call it the “warm fuzzies!” Maybe you help out at a soup kitchen, or you buy a homeless person a meal. How about holding open a door for somebody with full arms or giving up your seat for an elderly person who is obviously struggling? Whatever the act of kindness, giving delivers both to the one giving and the one receiving.
There are other benefits, according to research. Giving makes you feel happy; it activates the pleasure center in your brain, generating the warm fuzzies! It is possible that endorphins are also released in the brain at the same time. Giving may also be linked to the release of a hormone that produces feelings of warmth and connectivity to others.
Dr. Donna Poppendieck (Dr. P) has over 30 years of experience in the mental health care field. She is a seasoned college professor and instructor for providers. She uses credible, proven holistic health strategies in instruction for parents of children with mental health challenges looking for another approach as well as healthcare providers seeking to implement or understand holistic strategies.