Fight Depression During the Holidays with Random Acts of Kindness

December 04, 2017

Holidays are typically a time of joy and celebration with family and friends, but for some it’s anything but the most wonderful time of year. Depression can occur at any time, but stress and anxiety during the holiday months may cause some people to experience a lack of fulfillment or a sense of loneliness from the loss of loved ones.

Although depression can make you distance yourself from people, participating in random acts of kindness can bring a smile to your heart. Doing good deeds for others can prevent negative thoughts, promote feelings of accomplishment and happiness, and make a positive impact on both you and the recipient. Practicing kindness can be as simple as:

  • Holding a door open for a stranger
  • Giving someone a compliment
  • Texting or calling an old friend to say “hi”
  • Lending a hand to a co-worker who needs help with a project
  • Volunteering at a shelter
  • Donating books, clothes or food

Your act of kindness, regardless how small, will serve as a way to lessen stress and anxiety and boost self-esteem during the crazy holiday season. If you are experiencing depression this holiday season, please call (855) 425-1777 (toll-free) to schedule an appointment or speak with a representative.

 

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Help Remove the Stigma of Mental Illness

September 28, 2017

Organizations around the country are using the first week of October to honor Mental Illness Awareness Week and raise awareness of mental health, which affects approximately a quarter of adults in the U.S.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), a mental illness is a condition that affects a person’s thinking, feeling or mood. Such conditions may affect someone’s ability to relate to others and make it difficult for these individuals to perform everyday tasks. Each individual will have a different experience, even if they share the same diagnosis.

Remove the Stigma

Unfortunately, mental illness is often viewed in a negative light. Many individuals who suffer from mental illness are afraid to discuss it with family or friends, as they are afraid of being judged or looked down upon. By discussing mental health, you are raising awareness and helping boost the confidence of those suffering – you could also be saving a life.

Speaking openly about mental illness is not the only way to raise awareness. You can also educate yourself and learn the facts. One of the best ways to remove the stigma of mental illness is to understand what it is and what it is not. Understanding mental illness makes it easier to learn how to help those suffering, and also allows you an opportunity to speak up if someone expresses a stigmatizing attitude or opinion.

Speak with dignity and respect when discussing mental illness. Choose your words carefully, use respectful language, emphasize abilities rather than limitations, and refer to the person rather than the disability or illness.

Take a Stance

At AltaMed, we strive to fight the stigma, provide support, educate the public and advocate for equal care. If you or someone you know may need a mental health assessment, anonymous online tools are available on the NAMI website. You can also join NAMI’s StigmaFree campaign by taking a pledge in the effort to end stigmas on mental health and create hope for those directly affected by mental illness.

Healthy Eating Around the Holidays

October 25, 2017

With the holidays fast approaching, tempting foods start to make their appearance. Between potlucks at work and family get-togethers at home, it’s important to be mindful when it comes to eating yummy yet unhealthy foods.

According to the American Heart Association, about 18 percent of people say it’s hard for them to eat healthy because they don’t want to stop eating their favorite foods around the holidays. The great news is that you don’t have to! You can still enjoy your favorite holiday foods, in moderation.

Here are five friendly reminders to ensure you maintain your weight throughout the holidays:

  • Portion control: During the holidays, it’s easy to want to binge on all of your favorite foods and desserts, but try to eat smaller, less frequent portions. This way, you’re not depriving yourself and you can still enjoy the holiday festivities.
     
  • Avoid excessive alcohol: Calories from alcohol add up fast – the average beer has 140 calories and a 5-ounce glass of wine has 100 calories. Too many alcoholic beverages can also lower your instincts and make you likely to snack. Stick to one or two drinks or offer to be the designated driver, so you won’t feel inclined to drink all of your calories.
     
  • Slow down: Try to enjoy each bite. Put your fork down while chewing and drink some water between each bite. This will give your body enough time to alert your brain that you’re getting full.
     
  • Use Technology: With electronic devices being more popular than ever, there are plenty of free apps that count calories, help you track what you eat and even provide guidance on healthy food choices. Apps such as MyFitnessPal or MyPlate Calorie Tracker are great for helping you manage your diet through the holiday season.
     
  • Pay attention: Don’t eat while you’re watching your favorite show or sitting at the computer. It’s not even a good idea to eat while you’re in the kitchen or talking on the phone. When you eat while distracted, you’re more likely to lose track of how much you’ve consumed.