"Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower."
Summer has turned to fall, and there’s already a little chill in the air during the evening hours. Three-quarters of the year is behind us now, and I can't help but wonder where this year went. How did it go by so fast! I often think about the past nine months, and even the last 18 months we were dealing with a pandemic.
I know at times it was tough for me, and I can't even begin to imagine how hard it was for many others. So many had to suffer in silence due to mental health challenges, and throughout this pandemic, isolation, anxiety and fear have been heightened. We have a shared responsibility to eliminate the stigma associated with speaking up, so that anyone who needs help feels comfortable asking for it. As Suicide Prevention Month begins, we must continue our work to battle the stigma surround mental health. It starts with each of us.
I encourage us all to be kinder to one another, and reach out to a friend who may be struggling in silence to remind them they are not alone through any challenge they may face. If you or a loved one need help, please call the 24/7 National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1 (800) 273-8255. Together, we can eliminate the stigma surrounding mental health and spread the message that it’s okay to ask.
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Older adults can be aware of how they are changing as they age and keep a healthy attitude. Remember that getting older is a natural part of life. If you take good care of your body and learn positive ways to deal with stress, you can slow down or even prevent problems that often come with getting older.
One of the best things you can do for your health and to prevent depression is to be active. Several studies suggest that walking with others and doing other forms of exercise reduce symptoms in older adults. It may help prevent depression and help prevent it from coming back (relapse).
Your mental and emotional health also are important. Stay in touch with friends, family, and the community. If you remain close to others, you are more likely to feel better. Protect or improve your memory and mental sharpness by keeping your brain active through learning, doing crossword puzzles, or playing cards or strategy games.
Many people look back at their lives as they get older. You may feel you have lived a meaningful and good life. On the other hand, you may struggle with this and wonder if you made the most out of your life.
If you are not happy about how you've lived your life, think about talking to a friend, doctor, or counselor about it.
For more information on aging and its changes, see the topic Healthy Aging.
As in younger adults, depression in older adults is treated with medicine, counseling, therapy, or a combination. Treatment usually works, and treatment for depression also may help other medical problems that older adults have. Older adults may benefit from early, continuing, and long-term treatment.
Older adults may have special concerns when using medicine.
Many older adults don't take all the medicines they need for depression. A caregiver or family member may need to help the person remember to take the medicines. Depression often occurs with dementia, which is a loss of mental skills that affects daily life. Medicines for depression may help older adults with dementia.
As the days get shorter and nights longer, the delta variant of the coronavirus is still very much with us, sad to say. It's already clear the next couple of seasons won't be the "life as usual" we all hoped for.
"People have a lot of frustration. People have been doing this a long time, and they thought by now things would be in a different position," says Vickie Mays, a psychology professor at the University of California, Los Angeles.
We're likely to see pockets of outbreaks and increased restrictions again with every surge in local cases and hospitalizations, says Dr. Preeti Malani, an infectious disease professor at the University of Michigan. And that's leaving some of us feeling a little anxious, to say the least.
Feeling Anxious? Here's a Quick Tool To Center Your Soul
So what are some ways we can manage our anxiety as the days get a little darker and we pull the masks back on?
The good news is that this winter we know what masking up and other restrictions look like and we know how they can make us feel. Here are a few tools our experts recommend to help us deal with it all:
Reframe how you think of anxiety
Reframing can be a valuable tool. It takes feelings or emotions you have and turns them into something useful. For anxiety, learn exactly why you feel anxious and accept that it's totally normal. New York University neuroscientist Wendy Suzuki explains that uncertainty provokes anxiety — that sweaty, stomach-dropping feeling you get when you are on high alert — which is a natural stress response system of the body.
Suzuki, who is the author of a book coming out this month called Good Anxiety: Harnessing the Power of the Most Misunderstood Emotion, says instead of approaching anxiety as a negative emotion that must be suppressed, we should think of it as a superpower that motivates us to act. It helped our ancestors escape lions, she says. It's that "quick hit of cortisol," along with adrenaline, that helps a mother lift a car off her toddler.
Suzuki also suggests changing your "what if" list into a "to do" list. Your "what if" list is the list you make in your head about all the things that could go wrong — like what if I can't get on a plane to see my mom this winter? Instead of sitting there stewing, do something when you feel worried, says Suzuki. Start by making a list of actions you can take, for example, to ensure you stay connected with your far-flung family this winter: Host a video chat, write a letter, plan to take an online cooking class together.
Learn to breathe yourself calmIf you find yourself feeling anxious or angry, activate your parasympathetic nervous system. "The secret is deep breathing," Suzuki says, and you can do it wherever you are. Inhale deeply while you count to 4, and then exhale while you count to 4. Repeat until calm.
There are many apps that can help you learn to breathe more slowly, including Calm and Insight Timer. Stop, Breathe & Think Kids includes one exercise in which you trace your fingers up as you breathe in, hold for a second at the top and then trace your fingers down as you breathe out. It's called five finger breathing, and it works for grown-ups too!
Move your body
You can fight anxiety with physical movement. Feeling anxious all the time, as many people have since the coronavirus pandemic began, has a lot of long-term health implications, Suzuki says. It "can cause everything from heart disease, digestive problems like ulcers, long-term reproductive problems" and even damage to brain cells.
Exercise, even just 10 minutes a day, makes a difference. "Every time you move your body, it's like you're giving your brain a wonderful bubble bath of neurochemicals, including dopamine, serotonin and noradrenaline," Suzuki says. "These are the neurochemicals that naturally decrease anxiety, stress levels and depression levels."
Research shows exercise can ease panic attacks and mood and sleep disorders too, and a study in the journal The Lancet Psychiatry found that joining a team sport might be even better than hitting the gym alone.
Planning to exercise is half the battle, Seattle personal trainer Salina Duggan told NPR recently, and if you can't go outside because of the weather, it might feel even more challenging. But it doesn't have to be. Get a yoga mat and put it near your workspace.
Connect with others
Being with other people is a critical part of maintaining our mental health and something many of us either stopped doing or moved online during the initial period of tight COVID-19 restrictions last year.
But this winter will not be like the last one, Malani says, "because we have safe, highly effective vaccines." She says the advice she gives everyone is the same that she gives to her own parents: "Make sure the people that you're spending time with are fully vaccinated."
Yes, breakthrough infections among people who have been vaccinated can happen, she says, and we still don't know enough yet about how often, "but it's really unlikely" that you'll get seriously ill if you hang out with other vaccinated people.
So go on vacation, visit your parents, see the friend you haven't seen in a while, she advises, but take precautions and keep an eye on what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends and how high the transmission rate is where you're going.
Consider keeping a mask on indoors when you make those visits, especially if you're going to be around small children who can't be vaccinated or around people who have compromised immune systems. "The risk isn't zero, but it's offset by the benefits," Malani says.
Find a ritual that's meaningful to you, and maybe even share it
Long before the pandemic, Suzuki searched for ways to incorporate ritual in meditation to soothe her own anxiety. She found it when she participated in a tea ceremony in Bali, Indonesia, in 2015. In the ceremony, a monk silently brewed and poured several rounds of tea into handmade ceramic tea bowls for guests.
"It felt like I finally had a great excuse to just be present and enjoy the breeze and warmth of the bowl of tea and the reflections that I could see on the surface," she says. Since then, she repeats the silent tea meditation herself nearly every morning and, during the pandemic, has shared it on Zoom as a way to connect with friends.
Accept that our new normal may be abnormal
As much as we wish it away, the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic is here to stay for a while, and we have to find ways to manage our risks and take care of our mental health for the long haul.
"For some of us, we are still searching for this magical moment when everything is going to come back to normal," Malani says. "And, you know, unfortunately, that isn't going to happen."
Autumn, or fall, whichever you prefer, is a wonderful season. Temperatures cool off from hot summers, the leaves begin to change colors, the holiday season is around the corner, kids go back to school, and Halloween is right in the middle of it all! One thing that would surely ruin your autumn season is a slip and fall accident. There are many hazards for slip and falls in Autumn that are not present as much the rest of the year. We’ve compiled a list of common slip and fall hazards so you can be mindful of them while you’re out enjoying the beautiful crisp weather.
Slippery and Wet Floors
With the onset of autumn, the seasonal change, and cooler weather comes more rain. If your area was very dry in the summer it can take some adjusting to suddenly wet weather. Rain leads to wet sidewalks which leads to wet floors in the entry ways of buildings and stairwells. The people responsible for these properties have a duty to keep the area dry and safe for people walking through, but sometimes these responsibilities can fall through the cracks. It is important to stay mindful of wet floors all through out autumn and winter.
Leaves look beautiful when they are on trees changing colors, but when they fall to the ground and are not property cleaned up, they can become very hazardous. Autumn rain can make leaves on the ground wet, heavy, and slippery. Wet leaves can be almost as hazardous as ice, especially if they are on the tile floor of a building entry way. If the owner of a property fails to keep their sidewalk or building entry way clear of wet leaves, they could be responsible for your injury.
Halloween Decoration Wires
It is common for both businesses and private residences to decorate for the fun holiday of Halloween. Lots of these spooky decorations come with wires to plug them in. When these wires are not maintained or are left lying around, they can pose a serious tripping hazard, especially if the wire is dark and blends in with the floor. For more facts about slip, trip, and falls in general,
For more information on aging and its changes, see the topic click here.
With Labor Day now behind us and Autumn officially around the corner, safety professionals have collected some fall safety and health tips.
Fall is the best season for a bucket list. With cider to drink, pumpkin pie to make, and corn mazes to run through, you need an epic bucket list to be sure to make all the wonderful fall family memories you can! This fall bucket list for kids will ensure a fall to remember!