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(…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.

  • The vitamin K in spinach provides 200% of the daily value in fresh spinach and nearly 1000% of the daily value in boiled spinach.
  • Spinach is an excellent source of vitamin C and vitamin A, folate and magnesium.
  • Cooked spinach is a great source of iron and is totally fat free.

Recipe: Wilted Spinach Salad

  • 10 to 12 ounces spinach, washed and torn into pieces
  • ¼ cup minced red onion
  • 5 to 6 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 2 hard-cooked eggs, 1 chopped and 1 sliced
  • 2 to 4 slices bacon
  • 1 to 1 ½ tablespoons bacon drippings
  • 1 ½ tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper 

Place prepared spinach in a large bowl. Add onions and radishes. Refrigerate, tightly covered. Fry or microwave bacon until crisp; remove to paper towel and set aside. In a small jar or measuring cup combine drippings with sugar, vinegar, water, salt and pepper. Refrigerate all ingredients until just before serving. When ready to serve, microwave the dressing on high for 30 to 45 seconds, or until mixture boils. Toss the chopped egg with the greens then pour the hot dressing over greens mixture; toss again lightly. Top with sliced egg and crumbled bacon.

Recipe: Spinach Lasagna

  • 2 egg whites
  • 26 oz of prepared spaghetti sauce
  • 24 oz of ricotta cheese
  • 10 oz of Lasagna noodles, cooked
  • 10 oz of frozen spinach, thawed and chopped, then squeezed dry
  • 2 cups of mozzarella cheese, grated, reserve ½ cup
  • ¾ cup of Parmesan cheese, grated and divided, reserve 2 tablespoons
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • ½ teaspoon of black pepper
  • Olive oil 

Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare a 9x13 dish. Cook lasagna noodles as directed on the package, then rinse and drain. Combine parmesan cheese, ricotta cheeses with the egg whites, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl. Pour ¼ cup of spaghetti sauce in the bottom of the baking dish and spread it out using a spatula. Cover the sauce with a single layer of lasagna noodles. Spread about half the cheese mixture over the noodles, and then cover with about half of the spinach and shredded mozzarella cheese. Finish this layer with half of the remaining spaghetti sauce. Add a second layer of noodles, topping with the remaining cheese mixture, spinach, and mozzarella cheese. Top with the final layer of noodles and remaining spaghetti sauce. Sprinkle the reserved Parmesan cheese over the top and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and set for 10-12 minutes. 

Everyone wants to find the Fountain of Youth and keep their skin looking fresh, healthy, and clear of blemishes. 

Since there is no magical fountain, the best way to keep your skin looking clearer health experts suggest  is by   watching what you eat. What we eat effects our skin more than we realize, so here are a few foods to avoid and/or give up entirely for that youthful glow. 

  • French Fries
  • Fried Chicken
  • Processed pastries
  • White Bread
  • Packaged sweets
  • Pasta