Three Reasons to Try Tele-Therapy

Finding a tele-therapist is easier than ever.

With the raging Covid-19 pandemic, mental health issues are on the rise. They say you never realize what you have until it’s gone, and many of us are now realizing how much a lack of social contact can impact our lives. Depression, anxiety, and suicide are all on the rise.

There has never been a better time to prioritize your mental health and seek out therapy.

Luckily, tele-therapy is a super easy way to get into the idea of taking action for your mental health. Tele-therapy involves speaking to a licensed therapist over Zoom, Skype, or Messenger etc.

While traditional therapy is always better because of the face-to-face connection, tele-therapy has its own perks, the biggest one being that you don’t have to leave the comfort of your couch.

Here are three reasons you should try tele-therapy today:

Your Mental Health- Your mental health is equally as important as your physical health (if not more so). You have to remember that we aren’t living in normal times, and if this pandemic hasn’t taken a mental toll on you, you probably need therapy more than most, because you are in denial. There is no shame in prioritizing your mental health and seeking help. In fact, admitting vulnerability makes you much stronger than pretending it doesn’t exist.

Your Relationships with Others- Chances are, your relationships with your loved ones have changed during this pandemic. If you are lucky they have changed for the better. But regardless, a tele-therapist can provide insights to your relationships with other people by offering a third, unbiased opinion. You can’t expect to get every ounce of human contact you need from a partner, and having a tele-therapist creates a safe space where you can say things that you might not be able to say to your loved ones.

Your Relationship With Yourself- Self-reflection is one of the most powerful tools in the tool box of mental health. Unfortunately, most people prefer to ‘be right’, rather than ‘be happy’. Most people don’t want to think there is anything about them that needs to be ‘fixed’.

The beauty of it is, that once you realize there are things about you that do need to be addressed, or ‘fixed’, you become your own project. Putting the work into your relationship with yourself will end up creating actual happiness in your life.

If you aren’t currently happy, chances are you have all the tools you need to address the problem, you just need a tele-therapist to explain how.

READ MORE: 7 Mental Health Hacks to Prepare for a Long Winter

Therapy resources vary from state to state, but you can start by asking your primary health care physician for a referral, or going online.

Five Important Considerations for Winter Workouts

Winter fitness comes with its own set of rules.

Working out during the Covid-19 pandemic has been a challenge for everyone. During the summer however, it was easy to go outside and get exercise. During the winter, the most difficult exercise we want to do is raising a mug of cocoa to our lips, while we watch the snow fall outside.

It doesn’t matter whether you are an athlete or not, workouts generally slow down during the winter. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this, but especially this winter it is important to pay attention to mental health.

Physical fitness is one of the best ways we can safeguard our mental health during the cold months, but winter workouts are a little different because weather is a major factor. Here are five ways you can work out safely and effectively during the coming winter season.

Stretch- Stretching is always good, but it is especially important during the winter when your muscles and fascia are more likely to be taut. Spend more time stretching before and after winter workouts to prevent injury. Aim for 10-12 minutes of stretching before and after a winter workout.

Wear layers- You never know how warm you are going to get during a workout, so wear layers that are easy to remove. Make sure any thermals you wear are made out of a synthetic fiber that wicks away sweat.

READ MORE: The Pros and Cons of Cold Workouts Via PopSugar

Protect your head, hands, feet, and ears- Your extremities are more susceptible to frostbite, so wear protective gear on your hands, head, and ears, as well as warm winter socks on your feet.

Wear sunscreen- You may not realize it, but you can get sunburnt even in cold weather. A good SPF goes a long way no matter what the season.

Check the weather- Especially if you are going for a run or bike ride, the last thing you want is to be caught in bad weather. You should also be aware if the ground is going to be icy to prevent injury. Checking the weather before a winter workout is the very first thing you should do.

7 Mental Health Hacks to Prepare for a Long Winter

Don’t let your mental health suffer this winter.

This winter will be unlike any other. Not only are we going to have to contend with unpredictable weather conditions (seriously, I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a winter-cyclone-tornado-fire), but a pandemic is raging the globe.

So on top of our scheduled seasonal depression, we will likely be sequestered indoors, away from our families for the holidays, and spending lots of time alone, indoors.

Our mental health should be our number one priority, but we often let it fall to the wayside. During a winter like this, it’s important to pay special attention to our mental state, and take steps to stay healthy, in both body and mind. Here are seven mental health hacks that should help you with the upcoming cold season.

Journal. Of all the things you can do to support mental health, journalling is both the hardest, and most rewarding. Being able to work your emotions out on paper will allow you to be more self-reflective, especially in terms of knowing when you are right or wrong.

Self-Check ins. Taking the time to assess your mental state throughout the day can help you be objective about how you are handling stress. If you are depressed and taking it out on everyone around you, being aware of it is the first step to changing it.

New Routines. It is very easy to get caught up in the routine of your life, even after it has stopped serving you. If your life starts feeling stale, consider changing your daily routine by adding new activities in.

READ MORE: Five Ways to Fight Seasonal Affective Disorder Before it Starts

Breathing Exercises. One of the best ways we can navigate stressful situations is by breathing more slowly. Take a deep, slow breath right now and tell me that you don’t feel a little less stressed!

Healthy Hobbies. Especially in quarantine times, hobbies are invaluable. Find healthy things that you like doing, and make them a regular occurrence.

Meditation Apps. Meditation is hard, which I totally get. Meditation apps make it easy! So now you have no excuse to get zen.

Scheduled Social Time. Social time, even via Facetime, Zoom, or Skype can do wonders for your quality of life and mental state. Schedule weekly social calls with your family, especially if you can’t see them in person.

How to Keep Your Kids Physically Active During Covid-19

Regardless of the pandemic, our children need exercise.

All over the country, schools are closing down. This really isn’t surprising given the fact that kids are basically germ-spreading machines. And even though we were blessed with months of indoor bonding time with our kids, chances are, we were all a little relieved when school started back up.

Of course, Covid-19 infections are now on the rise again, which means we are likely heading into another lockdown situation. That being said, we need to make sure our kids remain active and physically fit because right now, nothing would be easier than letting them sit in front of a screen all winter long.

Here are three ways to prioritize your children’s fitness during a long winter lockdown.

Athletic social media groups. Encourage your kids to join and follow athletic social media groups. If they are going to spend all their time online, you might as well use the Internet as a tool to encourage wellness. This will probably only work if your children are already interested in sports and athletics, but it’s never a bad time to encourage a new hobby.

Weekly exercise incentives. Incentivize your kids to create weekly fitness goals and reward them for success. A cheat meal, a new tech gadget, or an allowance are all easy ways to bribe your children into caring about their fitness, and after 33 days, exercising will become a habit for them.

READ MORE: Five Reasons to Enroll Your Children in Winter Sports

Balance Outdoor Activities and Screen Time. Make it clear to your kids that for every hour they spend on the Internet, they need to spend 30 minutes outside. Not only will this encourage your children to lead a more balanced life, but it will also teach them about time management.

To survive this pandemic, we all have to change things about the way we live. Luckily that makes it the perfect time to instill healthy habits in the lives of our children.

Three Socially Distanced Sports to Try Out

As the world changes, so too must our sports.

2020 has been a year of change. I could probably say that about any year, but 2020 specifically has created a lot of different challenges and obstacles.

In terms of sports, we have not only missed out on our favorite teams and events because of cancellations, but we have also had to forgo personal sports within our own lives.

Social distancing doesn’t stop us from getting exercise. In fact, walking, running, and cycling are still great options for staying fit. Sometimes however, we crave a little competition and company.

To that end, here are three sports you can try, while remaining socially distant with safety in mind.

Golf. Golf is played in large outdoor areas, with plenty of space which makes it easy to socially distance. The only things to remember are to stay 6 feet apart, and not to share equipment with anyone else.

Soccer. You may not be able to interact with other players in the same way, but soccer can still be played through drills and practice runs. Even the act of kicking the ball back and forth while staying 6+ feet apart can create the illusion of camaraderie.

READ MORE: For Athletes Unable to Compete in Sports, the Mental Struggle is Real

Tennis. Staying far apart is actually one of the prerequisites of playing tennis, making it the perfect sport for social distancing. Just mark your balls with a sharpie, and don’t shake hands, no matter who wins or loses.

The Covid-19 pandemic has effected all of our lives in many ways, but with a little creativity we can still do the things we love to do, while remaining safe, at a respectful distance.

How to Reduce Anxiety with Your Diet

Anxiety doesn’t have to rule your life.

If you suffer from anxiety, you know that it isn’t an easy problem to navigate. Excessive anxiety can lead to fear, tension, irritability, interpersonal issues, relationship issues, muscle tension, and elevated heart rate.

Chronic anxiety can be a factor in more serious health issues like hypertension and cardiovascular disease.

There are many treatments for anxiety, from behavioral therapy to medication. However, you diet can be a major factor in your overall health, so you can reduce your anxiety issues by changing your diet, and placing an emphasis on fruit, legumes, whole grains, vegetables, and lean proteins. Here are five anxiety-reducing foods to try today.

Vitamin D- Especially during the winter months, a vitamin D deficiency can increase both depression and anxiety. Getting enough sunlight, and taking a vitamin D supplement can do wonders for stress relief. In fact, you should take a vitamin D supplement while sitting in the sun. Double whammy!

READ MORE: Fight Stress by Eating? Try These Five Stress-reducing Foods

Fatty Fish- Omega-3 fatty acids play a huge role in mental health and cognition, and can help reduce anxiety, especially in people who suffer from substance abuse issues. Two servings of fatty fish should be enough to help regulate your mood.

Pumpkin Seeds- The potassium in pumpkin seeds can help regulated your blood pressure and electrolytes. Pumpkin seeds also contain zinc, which helps with emotions and mood.

Dark Chocolate- Dark chocolate contains polyphenols and flavonoids, which can help reduce inflammation and improve blood flow to the brain. It also contains tryptophan which an affect serotonin levels in the brain.

Chamomile Tea- Chamomile tea is anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and contains antioxidants. The act of drinking tea can also have a relaxing effect on the brain.

Five Tips for a Socially Distanced Holiday Season

The 2020 holiday season will be like no other.

This year, the word ‘unprecedented’ has become a regular part of our everyday vernacular. It’s been an unprecedented year, so it’s no surprise that it would end with an unprecedented holiday season.

Covid-19 infections are on the rise, and states are once again implementing lock down strategies to try and curtail the pandemic. Going into the holiday season that can be especially tricky, because we all want to be around our families for Thanksgiving and Christmas, but it has never been more dangerous to travel.

Factor into that, the fact that many of our relatives are elderly, and you really have a recipe for disaster (and I’m not talking about your great-aunt’s fruitcake).

So, how do we navigate an unprecedented holiday season physically away from our loved ones? Here are five helpful tips.

Connect with like-minded people. Not everyone is going to have the same standards when it comes to social distancing, and Covid-19 awareness. Normally we try and avoid our more questionable family members, but this year you actually have an excuse! Identify the family members that share your values in terms of staying safe and separate this season, and focus on connecting with them.

Communicate Openly. This year, not visiting family can actually help save lives. Communicate with your family openly about your fears and concerns. Being upfront about the risks you are willing to take or avoid will only benefit you in the long run. This year, the holidays are a guilt-free zone.

Find Creative Ways to Connect. A socially distanced holiday might actually be better for your family in the long run. Instead of spending a week crammed into the same house, you can plan separate events, and space them out over the coming months. If you normally make cookies with your mom, do it via zoom and have a tasting party. If you normally take long walks with your siblings, do it via Facetime, and make it a race. There are plenty of ways to connect with family via the Internet. Get creative.

READ MORE: Three Ways to Participate in the TCS New York VIRTUAL Marathon

Be Flexible. Especially this year, it is important to be understanding and flexible. Be aware that plans can change at the last minute, and be prepared to reschedule. You should also budget time for technical difficulties. It might not be easy to navigate this, but it’s easier than traveling to a funeral.

Avoid Comparisons. This year you will probably see plenty of photos of other people who went home to visit family. Try and avoid the trap of comparing your holiday with that of anyone else. We are all just doing our best during this pandemic, and have to make decisions based on our own comfort levels.

Five Healthy Foods for Fall

Autumn is upon us, and we should eat accordingly.

The leaves have fallen, and pumpkin spice everything is already on the shelves. Our Thanksgiving plans are a little up in the air due to the pandemic, but we still have to eat every day. One of the silver linings of the pandemic is that it has given people more time to do the things they love, like cooking.

I don’t cook all that often, but when I do I like to try new things, and the seasons can provide some great inspiration. So if your inclination is to bundle up for the winter and eat all sorts of healthy, savory fall foods, here are five suggestions for maximum deliciousness with health benefits to boot.

Winter squash- First, a fun fact. Winter squash are actually fruit, and come in many different varieties like pumpkin, acorn, spaghetti, butternut, kabocha and hubbard to name a few. They are full of A and C vitamins, as well as omega-3 fatty acids which help reduce inflammation.

Pumpkin is chock full of potassium, fiber, and B vitamins, and can actually help you lose weight.

An easy way to incorporate winter squash into your diet is to substitute it for pasta.

Cauliflower- Cauliflower is high in antioxidants, fiber, and can even help reduce the risk of some types of cancers. Much like squash, it can be a great substitute for pasta or rice.

Mushrooms- Mushrooms are very rich in D and B vitamins, as well as the antioxidant selenium, which helps repair cell damage and the thyroid. Mushrooms are especially great as a meat replacement.

READ MORE: Ten Ways to Boost Your Energy Through Food

Apples- Apples are high in fiber and vitamin C, which helps increase collagen production. They are also great for weight loss, and are a natural source of energy.

Kale- Kale is known as a superfood because it is high in A and C vitamins, and contains high amounts of calcium and potassium. If you have never had a kale chip, you are missing out! They are super easy to make.

No matter what season it is, it’s important to pay attention to your diet. Hopefully incorporating these foods into your regimen will keep you healthy and happy during the cold weather months!

New Podcast: In the Arena with Bobby Carroll

In this new podcast, we discuss time management and productivity.

As a working professional, athlete, and mother, my time is always spread pretty thin. People are constantly asking me how I find the time to do it all, but it’s a strange question because I believe that you have the ability to make time for the things that are really important to you.

READ MORE: Summer is Over. How to Maintain Your Fitness This Winter

In this podcast I speak with Bobby Carroll, about how to manage your time and stay productive even in the face of obstacles.

Please check it out and subscribe. More to come!

Five Ways to Fight Seasonal Affective Disorder Before it Starts

The weather is changing and SAD is around the corner.

I don’t know about you, but every time the weather changes, I catch myself feeling a little down. It’s mostly because I love the outdoors so much, and I know the coming months involve being inside. Compound that with a rising pandemic that is likely going to force us to stay indoors all winter, and you have a perfect storm for the onset of Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Most people have experienced SAD, even if they don’t recognize it. Seasonal Affective Disorder can manifest in a number of ways, but it is almost always accompanied by depressive thoughts and overall sluggishness.

Even though SAD is fairly inevitable, there are a few ways you can start fighting it before it starts.

Change your diet: Vitamin D, Folic acid, Magnesium, and B vitamins are four ways you can help keep SAD at bay, either through supplements, or by changing your diet. Vitamin D is specifically helpful in fighting SAD.

Light therapy: If you are especially susceptible to SAD, making sure you get enough sunlight, or using light therapy lamps are two great ways to keep your mood in check. This is especially helpful during daylight savings time, when it feels like midnight at 4 pm.

Exercise: Exercise is one of the best ways to create endorphins and combat Seasonal Affective Disorder. Create a regular exercise routine now by exercising early in the morning. Do that for 33 days and it will become a habit that can help you get through the coming months.

READ MORE: Is Indoor Tanning Linked to Depression?

Create a support system: Reaching out to people when you are feeling depressed is one of the hardest, and helpful things you can do. Especially during these times, creating a relationship with someone that you can video chat with when you are feeling down will do wonders for your SAD.

Create a routine: Open your curtains before you go to bed so the sunlight comes in first thing in the morning. Drink water when you first wake up, and put on your workout clothes to get yourself motivated. Creating a routine that supports a healthy sleep schedule, diet and exercise regimen is one of the best ways to regulate your mood through the winter.

No matter how hard you try, Seasonal Affective Disorder may be inevitable. If you know that you tend to suffer from it, try these techniques to head it off at the pass.

Especially during these trying times, it’s important to prioritize your mental health in a meaningful, habitual way.