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  • Amber Beckenhauer, DO

Mental Health in the year of "COVID" ...I mean 2020

COVID "Collapse" is real, right?? So many of us feel like we just... might.... not.... make... IT, just one more day in 2020! Well, you can, but self care is so important. It is Suicide Awareness month, and I do not take Mental Health lightly. Here are a few ideas for managing your anxiety, naturally, amidst a very stressful year.


1) RELAX MORE...Yes, I know...with what TIME do we do this in! But, you have to make time. And I would recommend making time for not only relaxing with others and your family, but also with YOURSELF. Take care of you. You must function at your best, to take care of others. Whatever it is, meditation, mindful breathing, yoga, and so on. I have an old saying that used to be a post it note above my desk at MCH, it said...Give your BEST, not what's LEFT. I had to put this note up to remind myself that when I went home for the day, I needed to give my BEST to my family and not the drained/tired Physician that I would see in the mirror. Take the time to RELAX, take care of you, and when you do this...you will be able to give your BEST to others and that will mean relaxing with them as well :) If you feel like you are too anxious and cannot calm down, reach out to the Healthy Human. We can help you with a functional personalized plan, which will help integrate supplements and probiotics into your daily routine to help cope during these times.


2) SLEEP when you can, and do your best to set a sleep "regimen"...Your body loves sleep, it HEALS during sleep. If you are not sleeping, and you need help, this is a good time to start making a journal of what you do at night and what might be getting in the way of your most important healing time. Here are just a few ideas to look at when journaling and helping "reset" your sleep: adjust the temperature in your bedroom and making sure it is dark, limit light and screen exposure 1 hour before bedtime, reduce caffeine and alcohol, do not eat a heavy meal before bed, get good exercise during the day.


3) Eat REAL food...Yes, this means getting out of the cupboards, stop the gas station bingeing and so on, feed your body well. I have a patient the other day that said her and her husband have used this time to start eating "Hello Fresh" meals during the COVID crazy times. What a great idea, I love that they took this opportunity to institute a good change in their loves. It is really about reducing refined sugars, carbs, calorie drinks, etc...Eating real food consistently will help improve GUT health (and you know how much I LOVE gut heath) and will also reduce systemic inflammation. I preach and preach about systemic inflammation, this is the key to a healthy weight. Yep, get up, go to the store... and fill those cupboards and refrigerator with a different food "direction."


4) EXERCISE, whatever you like to do to move, do it!


5) Be SOCIAL...getting together with friends, family, neighbors....it will fill your "bucket" and lower cortisol, the stress hormone. Get out there in the world, put your phone down, make eye contact :) and ENJOY!


6) Lastly, Get OUT of your own head....remember that we are in control of our own thinking, decisions, schedules, and so much more. Even if you feel like you do NOT, you really do! You have the choice to think POSITIVE, to make changes, to hang out with people that make you feel good vs those that don't....and so on. Be your own best advocate, put yourself first, and BE AWESOME. Love yourself and amazing things will happen.


Now, go out and Be Healthy, Humans.


Dr. B

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