At Home with UAEX
Learn from the best Extension Educators on being at home with UAEX!
Original Content by Tonya Mckenzie | Adapted for Blog by Katie Frizzell
Join Ouachita County FCS Agent Tonya Mckenzie every Wednesday for a new wellness and mental health tip.
Maintaining your mental health at this time can be stressful. The World Health Organization (WHO) suggests minimizing your consumption of news that makes you anxious or stressed.
Take Breaks from watching, reading, and listening to news stories. It can be upsetting to hear about this crisis and see images repeatedly. Take a moment and relax. So let's "Take Five"!
- Five minutes to take care of yourself
- Five minutes to breathe
- Five minutes to relax
- Five minutes to disconnect from the news and social media
- Five minutes to be mindful of others
Financial stress can negatively affect mental health and contribute to depression and other mood disorders. According to the American Psychological Association's 2019 Stress in America survey, 60% of American adults cited money as a significant cause of stress. Here are some tips to help manage stress with you and your family:
- Space out your financial decisions instead of making too many at once and becoming overwhelmed.
- Keep track of how you spend your money. Research shoes that tracking can be an effective tool. Keep a daily list of how you spend your money.
- Identify your financial stressors and make a plan. Write down ways you and your family can reduce expenses or manage your money more efficiently.
- Recognize how you deal with stress related to money. In touch economic times, some people are more likely to relieve stress by turning to unhealthy activities.
- Pause but don't panic. Pay attention to what's happening around you and remain calm.
- Turn these challenging times into moments for real growth and change. The key is to use this time to think outside the box and try new ways of managing your life.
Gratitude is an emotion expressing thankfulness and appreciation. Studies show tat the practice of gratitude can help to increase your mental and physical health.
Keeping a gratitude journal causes less stress, improves the quality of sleep, and builds emotional awareness. Take a few minutes each day to journal or just talk about things that you appreciate.
- Health: What did your body do your you today?
- Eat: What did you feed your body to nourish yourself today?
- Activity: What did you do that you really enjoyed today?
- Relationships: Who do you look forward to seeing?
- Time: What are you doing right now?
Coloring, a pastime thought only for children has developed into an activity with multiple physical and mental benefits. In research, coloring has shown to be a stress reliever, opens creativity, is an alternative to meditation and can be an individual, family or social group activity.
Coloring utilizes both hemispheres of the brain and is another method of practicing mindfulness. It serves many purposes that can be helpful for the entire family.
- Set aside a quiet space in your home free from distractions.
- Shut off phone and computers so you won't be tempted to scroll through social media.
- Play soft music if that will help you concentrate better.
- Light some candles to help you relax.
- Make the environment as peaceful and inviting as possible.
- Use coloring to spend quality time together as a family.
What is Brain Training? Brain training is a system of exercising the brain to improve aspects of cognition like memory, attention, focus, and brain speed. Researchers believe that playing what they call "brain training games" can help keep the mind active. They may not prevent a brain from normal aging, but they can help keep a brain healthy, alert and engaged.
People of all ages can benefit from including brain exercises into their daily life. While there are numerous exercises that can be done, below are a few that offer benefits:
- Jigsaw Puzzles
- Playing Cards
- Building Vocabulary
- Using your senses
Have you ever felt as though you were overwhelmed and mentally or emotionally drained? If so, you may be experiencing mental fatigue.
Mental fatigue occurs when individuals go through long periods of cognitive activity without giving their brain a rest. This kind of mental tiredness holds us back when the volume of tasks and actives taken on exceeds our capacity to comfortably handle the stress (even the positive stress) of it all.
Here are some signs of mental fatigue:
- Too much going on
- No down time
- Total mental block
- Feeling emotional
- Physical symptoms
What is rumination? The process of carefully thinking something over, pondering it,
or mediating on it. In psychology, this term refers to obsessive repetition of your
thoughts or excessively thinking about problems.
Research shows that people who ruminate are more likely to develop depression or anxiety and reduce the ability to think and process emotions.
- A specific stressor
- A recent traumatic event
- Low self-esteem
- Having a history of emotional or physical trauma
- Triggers: Make a mental note of what causes you to over-think by including who, what, when and where and check for connections
- Mediation: Mindful meditations can help you to stay in the present moment and can decrease rumination
- Set aside time to think: Give your mind 20 minutes a day to think, worry or reflect.
- Listen to music: Music holds the power to put you back into a place of happiness.
- Set goals: Set goals you are capable of achieving to reduce risk of over-thinking.
Depression affects the ability to feel, think and handle daily activities. Mental Health America reports six million men are affected by depression in the US every single year.
Men with depression is a serious medical condition. Current research suggests that depression is caused by a combination of factors including genetics, environmental stress, and illness.
Depression that goes undiagnosed can have harmful consequences when it goes untreated.
Healthy Coping Skills
- Goals: Set realistic goals that prioritize tasks
- Support: Seek out emotional support from a partner or friend. Learn strategies for making social connections.
- Coping: Learn ways to manage stress through meditation and mindfulness.
- Decisions: Delay making important decisions until your depression symptoms improve.
- Activities: Engage in activities you typically enjoy, such as ball games, fishing, or a hobby.
- Health: Stick to a regular schedule and make healthy lifestyles choices including healthy eating and regular physical activities to help promote better mental health.