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Category: Stress Relief

Healthy Mind-Healthy Life

Healthy Mind-Healthy Life

We all have daily routines: personal hygiene, bed time, morning, eating plans and/or exercise that we follow…how many of you have an emotional hygiene routine?  It might be an odd thing to ask, but take a minute to think about it.  These routines are set in place to help keep us alive and healthy, right?  Creating an emotional hygiene routine is equally important (if not more) because our state of mind determines how we respond to conflict, obstacles, losses, how we treat loved ones and friends and how we are going to react to life in general.

Below are some resources and guidelines you can use to help create your own emotional hygiene routine.


  1. Decide what the best way is for you to process your thoughts and emotions (good or bad):
    • Talk to someone.
    • Write thoughts down in a journal
    • Go for a walk to process things on your own
    • Crafting
    • Doing mechanical work
    • Meditation
  1. Decide how often:
    • When you’re deciding this, remember, you’re creating this routine to help you build an emotionally healthy mind so you are prepared to deal with the challenges life brings.
    • I would recommend taking a break 5min daily for this routine
  2. Decide what time of the day:
    • In the morning before you start your day and your electronics take over your life 12
    • Mid-day
    • At the end of the day right before bed
    • ***When you’re deciding this, figure out what time of day is easiest for you to slow your thoughts down***


Dealing with Depression

Dealing with Depression

In the next part of this email series we will discuss different forms of depression (aka Major Depressive Disorder). Like anxiety/panic, depression is something many of us have encountered (directly or indirectly) whether it’s due to our cold winter months (Seasonal), a major life event affecting us (Situational) or perhaps as a constant (Persistent Depressive Disorder), in our lives. However, it’s not always something we directly address because we have many other priorities taking precedence.

Which begs the question: do you know if you are experiencing depression?

Depression can take on many forms and have a wide range of signs & symptoms ( Some of the more talked about forms are Seasonal, Situational & Persistent Depressive Disorder.

Seasonal Depression (aka Seasonal Affective Disorder): a form of depression that comes and goes with the seasons, typically starting in the late fall and early winter and going away during the spring and summer.

Signs/Symptoms include:

  • low energy
  • hypersomnia (excessive sleep)
  • overeating, weight gain
  • craving for carbohydrates
  • social withdrawal (feel like “hibernating”)

Situational Depression (Adjustment Disorder): a form of depression that occurs when you haven’t yet adapted to the changes brought about by experiencing situations that overwhelm your normal coping mechanisms. Life events such as major illness, marriage, divorce, loss of job, birth of a child, surviving a major accident or disaster, etc.

Signs/Symptoms include:

  • listlessness
  • feelings of hopelessness
  • sleeping difficulties
  • Sadness
  • recurring bouts of crying
  • unfocused anxiety
  • unfocused worry
  • loss of concentration
  • withdrawal from normal work or leisure activities
  • withdrawal from friends and family
  • In addition, some people develop suicidal thoughts.

Persistent Depressive Disorder: a depressed mood that lasts for at least two years. A person diagnosed with persistent depressive disorder may have episodes of major depression along with periods of less severe symptoms, but symptoms must last for two years to be considered persistent depressive disorder.

Signs/Symptoms include:

  • Persistent sad
  • anxious or “empty” mood
  • feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
  • irritability
  • feelings of guilty
  • worthlessness or helplessness
  • loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities
  • decreased energy or fatigue
  • moving or talking more slowly
  • feeling restless or having trouble sitting still
  • difficulty concentrating
  • remembering or making decisions
  • difficulty sleeping
  • early-morning awakening or oversleeping
  • appetite and/or weight changes
  • thoughts of death or suicide or suicide attempts
  • aches or pains
  • headaches
  • cramps
  • digestive problems without a clear physical cause and/or that do not ease even with treatment.

How to Manage/Treat

Seasonal Depression (Seasonal Affective Disorder)

Situational Depression (Adjustment Disorder)

  • Activities to Manage Signs/Symptoms:
  • Treatment:
    • Continue to educate yourself about depression
    • engaging in enjoyable activities or getting out into nature.
    • reaching out to close loved ones and talking with them about the situation
    • regular exercise
    • eating a balanced daily diet
  • Call the EAP for assistance with finding a therapist or counselor– 1-877-595-5284 (once they give you a referral and you speak with a therapist, be sure to confirm the therapist is a Cigna In Network provider)
  • Alternative Medicine:
    • aromatherapy
    • massages
    • meditation
    • acupuncture.

Persistent Depressive Disorder

  • Treatment:
  • Activities to Manage Signs/Symptoms:
    • Try to be active and regularly exercise
    • Set realistic goals for yourself
    • Try to spend time with others and confide in trusted friends/family
    • Try not to isolate yourself
    • Let others help you
    • Expect your mood to improve gradually, not immediately
    • Postpone important decisions, such as getting married or divorced, or changing jobs until you feel better.
    • Discuss decisions with others who know you well and have a more objective view of your situation.
    • Continue to educate yourself about depression
  • Call the EAP for assistance with finding a therapist or counselor– 1-877-595-5284 (once they give you a referral and you speak with a therapist, be sure to confirm the therapist is a Cigna In Network provider)
  • Alternative Medicine: **Note: Alternative Medicines can help manage signs/symptoms. It is recommended to use them in conjunction with Physician provided treatments in regards to Persistent Depressive Disorder.**
    • Aromatherapy
    • Massages
    • Meditation
    • Acupuncture

***If you are experiencing depression (no matter what type it may be), you are not alone!!!***

You’re friends, family and work people are here for you!

If you need immediate assistance:

Crisis hotline:

1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Crisis text line:

Text NAMI to 741-741

Panic vs. Anxiety

Panic vs. Anxiety

Many, if not all of us have experienced some form of anxiety or panic in our lives.  This email is going to provide you with information about the signs and symptoms of anxiety/panic attacks, how you can deal with them and successfully find relief .

Panic vs. anxiety

  • Panic
    • Symptoms are sudden and extremely intense
    • “out of the blue” peak within 10 minutes
    • Keyed up the rest of the day
  • Anxiety
    • Intensifies over a period of time
    • Correlated with excessive worry about potential “danger”
    • Persistent and very long lasting
  • Panic attacks = the actual attack and symptoms
  • Panic disorder = fear of the panic attack


Ways to deal with the symptoms:

  • Learn about anxiety
  • Anxiety is normal and adaptive
  • It becomes a problem when your body reacts to no real danger – be aware
  • Relaxation
  • ***Talk to a professional***
    • Call the EAP for assistance with finding a therapist or counselor– 1-877-595-5284 (once they give you a referral and you speak with a therapist, be sure to confirm the therapist is a Cigna In Network provider)
      • There are different types of therapy to choose from.  Below are two examples:
        • CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy)
        • DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy)
          • Helps those suffering from mood disorders and those who need to change patterns of behavior
          • Helps people increase their emotional and cognitive regulation by learning about the triggers that lead to reactive states
    • Crisis hotline:
      • 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
    • Crisis text line:
      • Text NAMI to 741-741
Mental Health Awareness Month

Mental Health Awareness Month

Dear Mckinley Family,

May is Mental Health Month and we want to take some time to recognize this with an email series. This can be a tough topic to talk about but it’s very real and more people deal with some type of mental illness than you might be aware of. According to National Alliance on Mental Illness, 1 in 5 adults in America experience a mental illness.

Click the following link for more stats:

  • Mental Health Facts – NAMI: National Alliance on Mental …

We have all experienced stressful situations in our lives and sometimes it can be so overwhelming that we need help. It can be hard to ask for help so we want to encourage you and remind you that it is a sign of strength when you can recognize you need help and are proactive about getting the help you need. Whether you or someone you love is dealing with anxiety, panic, or depression, these emails are for you. Please take the time to read them and feel to reach out if you have questions or would like more resources.

In this series, we will cover the following:

1. Signs and symptoms of anxiety, panic attacks and the difference between everyday stress and chronic anxiety:
• How to deal with or manage them
• Who to call and how to find help

2. Signs and symptoms of depression (seasonal, situational or chronic)
• How to deal with or manage depression
• Who to call and how to find help

3. How to offer support to someone who suffers from a mental illness:
• Co-workers
• Friends
• Spouse
• Kids