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Our bodies have a unique way of telling us when we are not getting enough protein in our diet. Here are seven great ways that show us we are lacking protein:

  • You are constantly weak and hungry.
  • Your muscles no longer have definition.
  • You are struggling to lose weight.
  • You are losing your hair.
  • You are always getting sick.
  • Your lower legs and feet swell unexpectedly.
  • Your skin gets patchy in places.

(…Continued from Part II)

 

Unfortunately, some disorders related to mental health, thrive in isolation situations. Lockdowns created more opportunities for domestic violence and child abuse fueled by drugs, alcohol, and financial struggle. 

Relapses of addiction, eating disorders, obesity due to inactivity, and overall suicidal thoughts/actions were also exacerbated by the pandemic; all disorders that are related to mental health. 

So, many will ask, where do we go from here? The most obvious answer is to talk about it. Seek out friends, family or even a professional to get your thoughts out. Oftentimes, counseling is enough for people to realize that they are not alone in their thoughts of anxiety or depression. 

Others may need to seek medical advice and can benefit from a prescription medication to help get some relief. Another great way to help combat mental health conditions, is to find something that helps you take away those feelings of grief, anxiety, or depression – take up a hobby, exercise, or do something positive for someone else.

And most importantly, don’t be afraid to reach out! If you are afraid that you or someone you know might hurt themselves or someone else, call 911 immediately.

Some other numbers to keep handy include:

1-800-273-TALK (8255)

(…Continued from Part I)

Reading those types of statistics can make anyone even more depressed, but there are some good things and positive statistics that have come out of the pandemic, too.

  • 76% of Americans believe that their mental health is just as important as their physical health.
  • 45% of Americans received some sort of mental health service in the past year.

According to a CNN report, “The mental burden of the pandemic has facilitated more honesty and empathy around mental health, which is key to dismantling the stigma that deters some individuals from seeking help.”

Another positive aspect is that people have been reaching out for help or even serving others – as being kind has its own mental health benefits. Telehealth also has seen an uptick when it comes to mental health counseling. Telehealth can be more accessible and easier for some people, thereby having a positive effect and utilized by more people who are suffering.

Talking about mental health is also key to breaking down the barriers to getting help.  Many of us saw this play out with the recent Summer Olympic Games with gold-medalist Simone Biles speaking out about her mental health issues and her decision to pull out of some of the events she was to compete in. Other athletes, celebrities, and figure heads, all joined in to support Biles and speak out about their own experiences with mental health conditions.  Experts suggest that “normalizing” mental health has many more positive effects on the public.

The CNN report goes on to say that “Every time we talk about public health, we should talk about mental health. And every time we talk about COVID-19, we should talk about mental health." 

(…Continued in Part III)

Editor’s Note: This is a three-part article on The Pandemic and Your Mental Health. Should you experience any feelings of self-harm, please seek medical help.

 

It’s no wonder that we have been hearing more and more about mental health over the past two years.  The pandemic not only threatened our physical health with concerns of contracting COVID-19, but it also threatened our mental health with thoughts of anxiety, worry, stress, and so much more.

Many of the strategies used to ensure that our physical health was/is preserved during the pandemic – separation, isolation, distancing – are huge risk factors in creating mental health issues. On top of that add in grief from losing loved ones because of COVID-19, fear, uncertainty, job loss or work-from-home/no contact with your peers, this has all created the perfect storm for an already anxious world to become even more anxious

Studies conducted over the course of the pandemic about mental health has unfortunately shown an increase in various areas including:

  • 73% of healthcare providers feel their family’s life is at risk because of their job during the pandemic.
  • 64% of people indicated feeling anxious in general because of the pandemic.
  • 58% believe social distancing is a reason to be concerned about their mental health.
  • 63% of students (in California) said they’d had a mental breakdown in the past year.
  • Domestic violence incidents rose by 8.1% from 2020 to 2021 – though experts suggest this amount is more of a “floor than a ceiling” as many domestic violence incidents go unreported in the United States.

(Continued in Part II…)

 

This month, we offer you this “March Madness-inspired” workout challenge. These exercises are inspired by all the full body moves that basketball players use while on the court. Can you keep up? You will need a cones, a kettle bell and a medicine ball.

 

Down and Back - Place two cones about 12-15 feet apart. Start by standing behind one cone as you face the other. As quickly as possible, sprint to the second cone. Once you’ve reached the second cone, quickly backpedal, returning to starting position. Continue moving as quickly as possible between cones. 2-3 sets, 6-8 reps.

Rotating Power Slams - Stand with feet hip-width apart and rise onto toes, holding medicine ball with both hands overhead, arms fully extended.  Shift hips down and back, bending knees as you explosively slam medicine ball into the ground outside of the left foot, rotating the torso. Allow ball to bounce back into hands and repeat sequence to opposite side. 2-3 sets, 6-8 per side. 

Cross-Body Lunge - Stand holding medicine ball overhead with arms extended. Step out to the left 

foot to perform a lateral lunge, sitting hips back and bending left knee, keeping ball in front of chest. Press off left foot and step it across the body in front of right foot, performing a forward lunge at a 45-degree angle, extending arms and medicine ball out in front of the body at shoulder height. Return to starting position and repeat sequence. 2-3 sets, 8-10 per side.

Alternating Single Arm Swings - Stand with feet hip-width apart and grasp handle of kettlebell in right hand using an overhand grip. Hinge at the hips as you draw the kettlebell back between the legs. Thrust hips forward, generating power from lower body to raise the kettlebell to shoulder height. Once at shoulder height, release the kettlebell momentarily mid-air to switch hands, so the kettlebell is now in the left hand. Continue alternating hands. 2-3 sets, 8-10 per arm.

Unstable Mountain Climbers - Position a medicine ball directly below chest and place hands on top of the ball. Extend legs with toes on floor, assuming a plank position. Keeping core engaged, draw right knee into chest. With control, quickly switch sides, stepping back with right foot while drawing left knee into chest. Continue alternating sides. 2-3 sets, 6-8 per leg.