What is S.A.D.?

A type of depression that corresponds to the changes in the seasons. For most people, this starts in fall and continues throughout the winter months. This usually starts and ends at the same time each year when the seasons change. As the season progresses, your symptoms may progress as well.

Seasonal affective disorder occurs more often in women than men; also, it occurs more often in younger adults than in older adults. But it can affect anybody at any stage in their life!

What may increase your risk of S.A.D.?

Causes of S.A.D.

Unfortunately, there is not a specific cause, but there are a few factors that can cause S.A.D.

Possible Signs and Symptoms of S.A.D.

If you feel like you want to harm yourself, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.

We all have days when we are feeling down, but if you notice this happening days at a time, go see you doctor. Treatment can help the symptoms from progressing.

Take control of your mood and fight the S.A.D.!

 

With so much uncertainty in the world right now, you might be more aware of your stress levels now more than ever. The world is simultaneously going through a global pandemic and significant social and political upheaval, plus many of us are still dealing with big changes in lifestyle, like working from home, facilitating virtual learning for kids, and continuing public health precautions like limiting our interaction with friends and family which can take its toll on us mentally and emotionally.

Stress is inevitable, even in the best of times, but how you look at stress determines how it will affect you. Take control of the situations in your life you have control over, find what works best for you, and find a stress management routine to create a healthy relationship with the stressors in your life.

Here are some healthy ways to cope with stress:

We will always have some sort of stress in our lives but learning effective strategies to adapt to those stress levels will help create a positive outcome for you.

If you feel like you need a little extra help managing stress in your life, consider Health Coaching as an option to get you on the path to more healthy stress management! Learn more about Western Health Coaching at westernracquet.com/health-coaching.

We tend to focus so much on our physical fitness but do you ever focus on your mental fitness? Your brain needs exercise just like your muscles do. You can become more mentally strong, healthy, and fit at any age! You just need time, practice, and consistency. Here are 10 ways to start focusing on your mental fitness today!

Remember that not every thought is true or helpful.
Our beliefs, past experiences, and feelings are an invisible filter that influences how we interpret and experience the world. We don’t have to accept every thought we have. Just because we think it doesn’t mean it’s true. A different way of seeing the world is possible if you open your mind.

Train your mind to concentrate.
Meditation is a great way to strengthen your ability to focus and tune out distractions. Some other ways to concentrate are cleaning, conscious breathing, coloring, yoga, listening to music, walking, journaling, and dancing.

Notice when you are continuously thinking the same thoughts.
When you catch yourself in the downward spiral of thoughts, bring yourself back to the present moment. These thoughts might happen when you’re stressed, worried, disappointed, angry, or nervous. It’s easy to get lost in your thoughts of overthinking and self-criticism. Use your senses to bring you back to the present moment with what you can see, hear, feel, smell, and touch.

Rest your mind.
Your mind needs to reset and recharge, just like your body does after your workout. Some may think rest equates to lazy, but getting enough rest can increase your focus, creativity, and energy to be more productive and efficient. Find something to rest your mind and give yourself a break from your everyday stressors, whether it is reading a book, crafting, or a board game.

Tune out the noise.
Digital devices are everywhere! We have notifications, messages, social media, and streaming platforms at our fingertips, which can pull us away from what’s important in life. Minimize your push notifications on your phone and practice being in the moment more.

Prioritize sleep.
Sleep is important for your body and brain to repair and recover during the night. If you want to show up the best you, get more sleep at night. It will help your memory, mood, creativity, and problem-solving skills.

Create a routine.
Creating new habits can take time, so finding a routine that works best for your lifestyle, will help you stay consistent. Start by scheduling your habits into your day until you don’t have to and they become a routine.

Let go.
Accept that you cannot control everything in life. Focus on what you can control and let go of the other stuff. Be kind to yourself if you struggle with letting go, too.

Listen to the voice within.
Listening your instincts and gut feeling is a great form of self-love and you can build a relationship of trust with yourself. Sometimes we ignore these feelings because our friends and family can influence your thoughts. Stick with what you think is right.

Take a deep breath.
Deep breathing is a powerful tool to use when you are stressed, nervous, and upset. Slowing down and deepening your breath can calm the mind, reduce blood pressure, improve memory, and settle your emotions.

  1. Take a long, slow, deep inhale through the nose while your belly, ribcage, and chest expand.
  2. Exhale through the nose feeling your belly, ribcage, and chest relax.
  3. Repeat this cycle for as long as you would like.

Since 1949, the month of May is dedicated to Mental Health Awareness. Mental Health is essential to everyone’s overall health and wellbeing. It is especially important during a time like this. According to the World Health Organization, mental health is “a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.”

We all face challenges in our lives that can impact our mental health, and everyone experiences something different. Mental health conditions are more common than you may think. Some people don’t like to talk about them or might be scared to. But you are not alone. Every year millions of Americans face a mental health condition. 1 in 5 US adults will experience a mental illness during their lifetime. You are not broken, and nothing is wrong with you. Recovery is possible.

Just like you need to put forth an effort to maintain your physical health, the same goes for your mental health. You must continue to practice establishing strong mental health because there are so many ways life takes a toll on our emotional well-being.

Reaching out is not a sign of weakness. Our social side craves companionship, so it is key to have someone you trust that you can open up to. Phone calls, video chat, and social media are great ways to connect during times when we aren't able to be face-t0-face. Confide in someone who is a good listener that won’t interrupt, judge, or criticize you.

Treat yourself like you would treat others. Treat yourself with kindness and respect and avoid self-criticism. Make time for your favorite activities and hobbies.

Sometimes, we are our own worst enemy. How you think about yourself can impact how you feel, so use words that promote feelings of positivity, self-worth, and personal power.

Being mindful of the present moment allows you to let go of negative or difficult emotions from something weighing you down. It also brings awareness by paying attention to physical sensations, sounds, smells, and tastes to what you are doing.

Taking care of your physical wellness will have a positive impact on your mental and emotional wellness. Get 7-9 hours of sleep, drink plenty of water, eat nutritious meals, and move daily!

Make your mental health a priority. Reach out to someone to talk. And remember to be kind to yourself and be kind to others. You don’t know what they are going through.

Earth Day is celebrated annually on the 22nd of April. And this year marks 50 years of Earth Day! In 1970 the idea for the first Earth Day was proposed to have one day to focus on the environment. Each action we do can either help or hurt our planet. Many unfortunate events happen to our Earth: using plastic, oil spills, pollution, and wiping out forests. And our Earth needs us now more than ever.

So, what can we do to create a greener living and reduce our carbon footprint?

Helping our Earth will allow us to be out in nature and enjoy the great benefits of it. Whether you are walking, biking, gardening, or cleaning up the yard, you are still getting the Vitamin D boost from the sun. Getting outside helps improve your mood and cheer you up. Do you ever notice yourself smiling when you step outside on a beautiful sunny day? Nature also decreases anxiety, depression, and stress, while reducing blood pressure, heart rate, and muscle tension. This is why we all need to take action to keep our Earth healthy, so we can stay healthy!

Earth Day should not just be celebrated one day a year. We should always focus on how we can better the Earth because one day is not enough. No matter where you are, you can make a difference. Our planet is fragile, so it’s important to protect it. Together, we can save the Earth.

“Let the clean air blow the cobwebs from your body. Air is medicine.”
Lillian Russell (1862-1922), quoted in Reader's Digest, March 1922

April is National Stress Awareness Month and National Humor Month. What a perfect pair!

National Stress Awareness month began in 1992 to bring attention to the health risks associated with stress and strategies for coping with it. Stress is not always a bad thing and we also cannot get rid of it completely. It is a normal reaction to everyday pressures we face, but it can become unhealthy when it upsets your day-to-day functioning.

There are several types of stress we face at different times in our lives. Everyone has their own unique stressors, and everyone handles stress in different ways. So, what works for one person might not work for the next.

Acute Stress vs. Chronic Stress

Acute Stress Chronic Stress
Occurs in response to a short-term stressor Occurs when stressors don’t let up
Car accident or argument with a spouse/friend/coworker Examples can vary widely: toxic relationship to financial issues
Responds well to coping techniques Everyone responds differently
Can pass quickly Can damage your mental and physical health

 

Eustress vs. Distress

Eustress – Positive Stress Distress – Negative Stress
Relationships/Marriage Separation/Divorce
Work promotion/raise Job change/Unemployment
Children/Grandchildren/Nieces/Nephews Death
Taking a vacation/Traveling Financial issues
Money Losing contact with loved ones
New friends Hospitalization/Injury/Illness
Retirement Legal problems
Learning a new hobby Fears
Personal achievement Worrying about future events

 

Short-Term vs. Long-Term Impacts of Stress

Short Term Impacts Long Term Impacts
Tense muscles Decreased immune system
Headaches Type 2 Diabetes
Loss of appetite High Blood Pressure
Short temper Heart Disease
Digestive issues Anxiety
Difficulty sleeping Depression

How to Manage Stress

 

National Humor Month

National Humor Month was founded in 1976 to utilize the value of humor to improve the quality of our lives and health. Humor is a therapeutic stress reliever, so it’s no coincidence that April begins with April Fool’s Day. This month is a time to remind ourselves to not take everything so seriously and to laugh more!

Laughter is the best medicine. Have you heard that saying before? There is evidence that laughter can improve one’s health and reduce stress. Strong laughter may even bring on tears or moderate muscle pain.

Benefits of Humor

Incorporate More Humor in Your Life

Think about how you deal with your stress now. Hopefully you learned some new techniques you can fit into your life to help you better manage. Enjoy April and try to make it funny and less stressful! ?

Even when you are not intentionally exercising, you are still burning calories. Whether you are folding laundry or sitting in a chair jiggling your legs. That is NEAT.
Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) is the energy you expend for everything you do that does not involve sleeping, eating, or exercise. NEAT is just one of the four components that makes up your metabolism. Exercise is essential for great health, but so is daily movement throughout the other 23 hours of the day. Our body is designed to move, yet physical inactivity is the 4th leading risk factor for mortality.

Even if you exercise daily, but the remainder of the day you are sedentary, you put yourself at risk for serious health conditions. Are you aware of how many hours a day you spend sitting? The average American spends 12+ hours sitting each day. Being sedentary can involve time spent working at a desk, driving, playing video games, and watching TV.
Most people spend majority of their day at work. So how can you increase your NEAT during the workday, especially if you have a sedentary job? If possible, change your mode of transportation by walking or biking to work. Take the stairs to the 3rd floor of your office building instead of the elevator. Walking meetings are another way to boost creativity and move throughout the day. Move the garbage can out of your office, so you must get up from your desk to throw out trash or recycling. Lastly, if you have a standing desk, try standing more throughout the day than sitting.

Other NEAT examples:
• Taking the stairs over the escalator/elevator
• Parking the farthest from the building
• Performing yard work
• Playing with your kids/pet
• Cleaning the house
• Get up during commercials to do something around the house
• Pace around when you are on the phone
• Fidgeting

When you chose to stand up, sit less, and move more there are great benefits for your health, mind, and body.

HEALTH
• Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease Enhances brain power Increases circulation and blood flow
• Reduced risk of type 2 diabetes Increases energy Improves posture
• Reduced risk of early mortality Increases ability to focus Decreases pain from sitting
• Reduced risk of cancer Increases productivity Strengthens muscles
• Reduced risk of osteoporosis Improves mood Supports bone health

MIND
• Enhances brain power
• Increase energy
• Increases ability to focus
• Increases productivity
• Improves mood

BODY
• Increases circulation and blood flow
• Improves posture
• Decreases pain from sitting
• Strengthens muscles
• Supports bone health

NEAT is a great addition to your exercise routine that doesn’t take time away from your home or family. You could even involve your family members and friends with you! Increasing NEAT throughout the day can assist with weight loss by burning more calories over time due to an increase in daily expenditure. It may be more sustainable to make small changes in your day than finding an extra hour to do more cardio. Try increasing your NEAT activity each day and assess how you feel physically and mentally.

National Sleep Awareness Month is observed in March annually. This is a great opportunity to stop and think about your sleep habits and how to improve them. Also, the second Sunday in March is Daylight Savings where we get to “spring ahead” and advance our clocks one hour. “Spring ahead” and “fall back” may affect you more than you know, so it is important to be aware of your sleep and your health.

How have you been sleeping lately? How much sleep are you getting? What is the quality of your sleep? How is your sleep, or lack of, impacting your well-being?

Getting enough quality sleep is not a luxury. It is something you must prioritize to care for your body.

Adults need 7-9 hours of sleep a night and getting less may pose serious consequences to your health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers insufficient sleep a public health epidemic because there is an increased risk for developing other health concerns if you are not getting the sleep your body needs.

Not getting enough sleep is linked to many chronic diseases and conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and depression. Poor sleep can lead to vehicle crashes and mistakes at work, such as injury. According to the CDC, people who reported sleeping six hours or less per night were significantly more likely to fall asleep while driving than those who reported sleeping seven to nine hours nightly.

 

Benefits of Healthy Sleep

 

What Happens During Sleep

Sleep is not just a time for you to rest, it is a productive process for your body. About every 90 minutes, your body alternates through a pattern of REM (rapid eye movement) and NREM (non-rapid eye movement) sleep. It repeats that cycle, while your body is working to restore energy, remove waste products from cells, grow and repair tissues, increase blood supply to muscles, and produce and release hormones. When you don’t get an adequate amount of sleep, your body cannot effectively repair itself, and that is when health conditions arise.

 

Sleep Tips

 

Sleep Diary

If you feel like sleep is impacting your health in a negative way, try tracking your sleep to see the trends that can be improved. Seeing your trends on paper can be a powerful way to make incremental changes for your health. Here are some items related to your sleep to track for 7-21 days:

Complete in Morning

Complete at the End of the Day

If you are still having trouble sleeping, speak with your doctor or find a sleep professional.

Random Acts of Kindness Day is Monday, February 17th and kicks off a week-long celebration for Random Acts of Kindness Week! This day and week are celebrated nationwide to encourage others to engage in a random act of kindness. It doesn’t take much to be kind, but it can make a huge difference in someone else’s life. Random acts of kindness do not have to be extravagant. Something as simple as smiling at someone, holding the door open, or letting someone cut in front of you in a traffic jam are all ways to be kind to others.

The benefits of a single act of kindness aren’t going to last if you aren't continuously being kind. This is a practice that you can work into your daily routine. Here are some benefits of engaging in acts of kindness regularly:

Kindness is teachable and contagious. One act of kindness can create a positive experience for everyone who witnessed it.  Others are more likely to “pay it forward” when they witness an act of kindness. The people you’ve helped will help other people. And those other people will help even more people. And those random acts of kindness can start a chain reaction and spread. Help turn the world kind.

It all starts with one person.

YOU.

What will you do to be kind today?

 

Western Employee Random Acts of Kindness

 

I asked employees at Western Racquet to share a random act of kindness experience of their own. What random act of kindness have you done for someone? What random act of kindness have you received from someone? What random act of kindness have you witnessed? Here are some responses from our staff:

 

“When I was pregnant a bunch of the evening tennis ladies league groups threw me a surprise baby shower!” – Sophie B.

 

“The week my mom passed away I went to the store and the women in front of me was having issues with her credit card not working, so she couldn’t pay for her items. She left the store and I anonymously paid for her items, so when she came back to pick them up and pay, it was covered.” – Paul B.

 

“When I was at Chipotle, I bought the food for the person in line behind me.” – Ryan O.

 

“Many years ago, I had surgery followed by a week of recovery time in the hospital.  On the 3rd day of my recovery, feeling better, but bedraggled, a friend unexpectedly came in carrying a small duffle bag.  As she took out the contents of the bag, it became obvious that she had come to wash my hair. Even after all these passing years, I still remember how much better I felt after her visit and her simple, kind, unsolicited act.” – Bonnie G.

 

“I saw someone put extra change in a parking meter when they were leaving, so the next person to park there didn’t have to pay at all or not put as much money in the meter.” – Alexis AF.

 

“My husband said we were going for a surprise drive, and we ended up going to Milwaukee. When we got there, he told me to look up at the sky at this blimp and said, “that’s for you!” It had a sign on the blimp, but I don’t remember what it said. He ended up driving me to the Milwaukee airport and surprised me with my parents there since I haven’t seen them in a long time!” – Amy X.

 

“Someone was crying, and I asked them what was wrong and offered them a hug.” – Alex A.

 

“Last St. Patrick’s Day, my sister and I completed a long hike in Southern Wisconsin, on the Ice Age Trail. I had the 5-hour hike plus the three-hour drive back home to think about what I wanted to eat for dinner as a reward. When I got back to Green Bay, I treated myself to the Union Hotel for a big, juicy steak dinner. I went by myself because no one was free to go with me. While eating, I noticed an elderly gentleman eating his steak alone as well. I stealthily asked the waitress to please add his bill to mine and I would pay for it. (I often pay for the car behind me at Starbucks or at a fast-food restaurant, but this was the first time I had ever paid for an expensive meal like this.) I was still feeling amazing from my hike and it made me feel even better to treat this gentleman, even though I had never met him.

I told Danielle about this random act of kindness while getting a facial treatment. Here’s the weird part, she had already heard about this, but didn't know it was me!  That gentleman happened to be a relative of someone Danielle knows, she had randomly been told by this friend that he was so touched that someone had bought his meal.

My story came back full circle and made me feel tremendously grateful and proud that I was able to touch someone’s life in this little way. Such a simple and quick little thing to do and the result was making a stranger feel so good.” – Erin P.

 

This was just a small sample of the many responses about random acts of kindness I received from our staff! Some employees wanted to keep their acts of kindness a secret! What random acts of kindness will you do this week? ?

Would you let your cellphone battery die? What about letting your vehicle run out of gas? Why is it that we usually care for our valuables more than we do ourselves?

When life gets busy, it may be hard to fit everything into your day, especially self-care. Trying to excel in your career, maintain a social life, eat nutritious meals, drink enough water, sleep, exercise, and care for your family. The list could go on and on. But how can you find that balance in your life by making time for yourself?

Self-care is just that. It is deliberately taking time for yourself, knowing when to take care of yourself to be able to take care of others, and protecting your wellbeing and happiness during periods of stress. Self-care may seem selfish, but it is not! It is crucial for your overall wellbeing. This is not something you should force yourself to do either or something you do not enjoy doing.

Why is it beneficial to engage in self-care?

Self-care is not a one-size-fits-all approach because each person has their own favorite activities. Here are a variety of self-care practices that may help you get an idea of what will work best for you:

How do you come up with your self-care practice? Find what makes you happy, what you enjoy doing, what you can fit into your day, and figure out how much time you have. Self-care practices can vary from person to person based on how busy their life is and their likes and dislikes. You should have enough options that vary in time because some days you may have more time than others.

Where do you start?

To begin this new decade, start doing something just for you to improve your overall wellbeing and quality of life!

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