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Update from Palmetto Counseling 11.1.18

The Best Advice for Seniors and Their Caregivers on Getting Started in Yoga

Special to Palmetto Counseling’s Blog * November 1, 2018 5:55 PM EDT 

This issue features an article by Harry Cline

The Best Advice for Seniors

Image courtesy of Pexels

Beginning a new exercise program in your seniors years can be daunting. It’s important to stay fit, but you might be concerned about overexerting yourself. For seniors and their caregivers, yoga can be the perfect solution.

What is yoga? 

If you are new to yoga, understanding the basic concepts can help you feel more confident about participating. You might have notions of trying to wrap your legs behind your back and do a handstand, or repeating mantras for hours on end. As the Yoga Alliance explains, yoga is a system of techniques and guidance for enriching your life. There are many varieties of yoga, and the experience and practice are highly personal. Yoga and meditation are connected. The positions you engage in while practicing yoga are designed to help prepare the mind and body for meditation. In a sense, yoga helps you relax and stretch your body, while meditation helps you relax and stretch your mind.

Learning to meditate.

Meditation involves self-awareness, relaxation, and focusing on sensation. Psychology Today explains there are a number of important benefits of meditation. You can better manage pain, improve your immune function, and experience a greater sense self-control. Meditation can even boost your brain power, helping you to be more focused and improve your memory. You can learn to meditate by engaging just a couple minutes at a time, thinking about your breathing and what you are feeling. Ideally, you will set aside a quiet space for meditation. To reap the most benefits, consider establishing a meditation room or area in your home dedicated to quiet contemplation. Opt for a relaxing and uncluttered area, preferably with a tranquil view of nature. Choose soft colors and natural textures for the space, and consider altering the lighting in a way that allows you to regulate for your comfort. You may wish to add an aromatic scent to your meditation space with candles or incense.

Yoga has much to offer. 

In many ways, yoga is an ideal form of exercise for older adults. It’s easier on your body than more intense fitness programs, such as running or weightlifting. At the same time, there are several key health benefits of yoga. Participating in a regular yoga program can increase energy levels, improve strength and flexibility, and improve posture. Routinely practicing yoga can counteract many of the concerns seniors experience, such as slowing the loss of bone density, improving balance, enhancing mobility, and alleviating joint pain. Some studies indicate that, when older adults participate regularly in yoga, they enjoy significant weight loss, staying about 20 pounds lighter than their non-practicing peers. You can even slow the aging process and extend your lifespan.

Getting started. 

There are a couple of popular yoga styles for beginners. One is chair yoga, which is considered a hybrid yoga practice since it is a modified version of traditional yoga. It’s a stable option for those with limited mobility and can be performed almost anywhere. The only things you need to participate in chair yoga are a sturdy chair and comfortable clothing. You can follow along with step-by-step instruction on how to do basic chair yoga poses. Another good option for beginners is gentle yoga. You will need a mat, some floor space, and comfortable clothing to get started. It’s a low-impact form of yoga involving both seated and standing poses, along with some balancing and bending exercises. Before you begin practicing any new exercise program, you should discuss your personal circumstances with your physician.

Yoga is a viable exercise option for almost anyone, regardless of age or athletic ability. The practice has much to offer seniors and their caregivers, and getting started is not hard. Add yoga and meditation to your lifestyle so you can enjoy better physical and mental health. 

Harry Cline is creator of NewCaregiver.org and author of the upcoming book, The A-Z Home Care Handbook: Health Management How-Tos for Senior Caregivers. As a retired nursing home administrator, father of three, and caregiver to his ninety-year-old uncle, Harry knows how challenging and rewarding caregiving can be. He also understands that caregiving is often overwhelming for those just starting out. He created his website and is writing his new book to offer new caregivers everywhere help and support.

Harry Cline | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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The New Caregiver’s Comprehensive Resource: Advice, Tips, and Solutions from Around the Web

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Palmetto Counseling 10 Year Anniversary!

PCC 10 Year Anniversary

Wow – I can’t believe we are celebrating 10 years. When I first started this practice in 2008, I never imagined we would grow and develop into who we are today. There certainly have been some interesting twists and turns over the years – both good and bad, but I am sincerely thankful for the opportunity to help the incredible folks in our wonderful community. Your faith and trust in us over the years is truly remarkable and inspires us to raise the bar to deliver exceptional care and treatment that you deserve.

I am forever grateful to my amazing wife, son, family and friends – who without their unwavering support during the dark and lighter times… this milestone would not be possible. I am also extremely thankful to work with some of the most talented individuals who continually strive to provide our clients the best care and treatment around and I’m proud to be part of this dynamic and magnificent team! Finally, a HUGE THANK YOU to GOD who I trust will continue to guide us in our mission to help others Move Forward and make this world a better place, one person, one family at a time.

 

With sincere appreciation,

Rich Schlauch – President / CEO

Palmetto Counseling & Consulting Services, LLC

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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.

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PCC Blog: Special Guest Contributor Requirements

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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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