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National Volunteer Week: Ways to Participate

April 05,2024

Each year during the third week of April (this year it’s April 21-27), we celebrate National Volunteer Week. Volunteerism is a wonderful way of giving back to your community by doing for others with no expectations of any compensation in return. Volunteering is also a great way to build connections with others, whether you volunteer weekly, monthly or yearly — because the truth is, nonprofit organizations cannot fulfill their mission and achieve their goals without volunteers. It’s an important action we can take to care for others, the Earth and each other.

Volunteering can have far-reaching impacts on the world around you, as well as on your own health. Volunteerism has been proven to positively impact the volunteer in a number of ways, including:

  • Reduced stress:
    Having a cause to focus on can help counteract the effects of stress, depression and anxiety. The social aspect of volunteerism can help you feel connected and concentrate on the task at hand, rather than outside stressors.
  • Boost in confidence:
    Volunteering provides a unique opportunity to develop confidence and self-esteem, since your role as a volunteer can give you a sense of pride and identity. You can also gain new skills and see yourself in a new light.
  • Sense of purpose:
    Dedicating your time to an organization can give you a new sense of direction and a boost of energy, knowing that your contribution is necessary and valuable.
  • Increased happiness:
    Research shows that “feel good” hormones and brain activity spike when volunteering. It’s impossible to NOT make an impact when volunteering — and that knowledge leads to happiness, as most humans naturally enjoy serving others.

You may work closely with volunteers in the behavioral healthcare field, and you may already lend your time or talents to a nonprofit. Volunteering together is also a great way to build morale at work or stay connected with friends. If you’re wanting to participate but unsure how to find an organization with a mission you’d like to support, there are a number of websites that are geared toward helping people “match” with organizations with volunteer opportunities available. Check out www.volunteermatch.org or https://www.dosomething.org/us to get started on your volunteer journey.

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8 Ways Healthcare Providers Can Proactively Reduce Stress

April 05,2024

In our demanding yet rewarding field of healthcare, we’re well aware that stress is an unavoidable aspect of the job. We often face long hours, high-pressure situations, and emotional challenges that can take a toll on both our mental and physical well-being. We’re frequently treating and supporting others as they struggle to handle life’s stressors — and we often forget to take care of ourselves. For these reasons and more, learning effective strategies to be proactive in managing stress is essential for maintaining resilience and providing quality care to our patients.

It’s important to note that before you can effectively manage stress, you must recognize the signs and symptoms, which may include feeling overwhelmed, irritable, fatigued, or experiencing physical symptoms such as headaches or muscle tension.

By acknowledging when you’re feeling stressed or when you know you’re entering a potentially stressful time period, you can take these 8 proactive steps to address it:

  1. Practice Self-Care:
    Self-care is essential for healthcare providers to recharge and rejuvenate. This includes prioritizing activities that promote relaxation and well-being, such as exercise, meditation, hobbies, and spending time with loved ones. Remember that taking care of yourself allows you to better care for others.
  2. Set Boundaries:
    As healthcare providers, we often have demanding schedules and may feel pressure to constantly be available. However, setting boundaries around work hours and personal time is crucial for preventing burnout. Learn to say no to additional responsibilities when necessary and prioritize self-care.
  3. Seek Support:
    Don’t be afraid to seek support from colleagues, supervisors, or mental health professionals when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Talking about your feelings with someone you trust can provide validation and perspective, helping you to feel less isolated.
  4. Practice Mindfulness:
    Mindfulness techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation, and mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) exercises, can help healthcare providers manage stress in the moment. These practices promote relaxation, reduce anxiety, and improve overall well-being.
  5. Stay Organized:
    Feeling overwhelmed is often a result of disorganization and lack of time management. Implementing strategies to stay organized, such as creating to-do lists, prioritizing tasks, and breaking large projects into smaller, manageable steps, can help reduce stress and increase productivity.
  6. Take Breaks:
    It’s
    essential to take regular breaks throughout your workday to rest and recharge. Whether it’s a short walk outside, a brief meditation session, or simply stepping away from your desk for a few minutes, taking breaks can help prevent burnout and improve focus.
  7. Practice Gratitude:
    Despite the challenges of the healthcare profession, there are often moments of joy and fulfillment in helping others. Practicing gratitude by reflecting on the positive aspects of your work can help shift your perspective and reduce stress.
  8. Engage in Peer Support Groups:
    Peer support groups provide a valuable opportunity for healthcare providers to connect with others who understand their experiences.
    These groups offer a safe space to share challenges, receive support, and learn coping strategies from peers.

If you’re experiencing persistent or overwhelming stress that interferes with your ability to function, it’s essential to seek professional help.

Taking a proactive approach to dealing with stress means that as healthcare providers, we can prioritize our well-being and continue to provide compassionate care to our patients.

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Peer Support and Positive Connections

April 05,2024

The healthcare field is constantly changing, and no one truly understands those peaks and valleys like your peers. The pressure felt among healthcare workers can be intense for a number of reasons, and having the support from colleagues can help relieve some of that burden. Peer support offers you a shared perspective with a skilled response. For healthcare workers, connecting to peers who understand the daily challenges and frustrations of the profession can be invaluable.

Mutual feelings of vulnerability combined with shared experiences can help create strong bonds so that colleagues can better support one another. Extensive research has shown that it’s people, not the perfect job, that lead to fulfillment — and this means that flourishing in any career depends as much on your relationships, both in and out of work, as it does on your job itself. Building connections at work also:

  • facilitates learning and knowledge sharing
  • increases employee retention and engagement
  • reduces burnout
  • sparks innovation
  • and improves employee and organizational performance.

So how can we build and maintain those positive connections?

  1. Use the teamwork approach:
    Health care professionals depend on each other to work together to help and treat patients, and this teamwork approach is also a great way to support each other. Step in when you see a coworker needs a hand, and pair up to lighten someone’s load when possible.
  2. Offer support if you notice a coworker is struggling:
    While it can feel awkward or uncomfortable, you shouldn’t stay quiet if you see a coworker is having a tough time. Asking simple questions, or acknowledging that they seem to be struggling in some way can let them know you care – and that they don’t have to struggle alone. Never underestimate the power of listening.
  3. Accept support from your peers:
    Peers can understand the daily challenges and frustrations of the profession in a unique way, which is why they are able to lend support in tough times. If you’re struggling, allow yourself to lean on peers who truly get it and can help you cope.
  4. Recognize one another’s achievements:
    Peers can act as a positive motivational force at work, and organically and consistently recognizing and receiving recognition from peers can make a big impact on overall morale.

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News From Nami: Post-Pandemic, Workers Demand More Mental Health Support

March 26,2024

We all need more mental health support, and a new poll from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is proof. The report shows an overwhelming number of American workers employed at large organizations believe it’s appropriate to talk about mental health at work and broadly support mental health training in the workplace. The poll, conducted by Ipsos, also finds a knowledge gap in employer-provided mental healthcare coverage, indicating the need for more communication to improve workplace culture.

“This poll shows that, without a doubt, today’s workforce wants their employers to care about their mental health – by talking about it, giving training on it, and providing support for it,” said NAMI CEO Daniel H. Gillison Jr.

A few key takeaways from the report:

  • 74% of full-time employees in the U.S. say it is appropriate to discuss mental health concerns at work, but only 58% say they feel comfortable
    sharing about their mental health at work.
  • 15% of employees ages 18-29 rated their mental health as “somewhat poor.”
  • Employees who are less comfortable talking about their mental health at work are more likely to report feeling burnout and their mental
    health suffering because of work.
  • The same is true for managers who feel their workplace isn’t giving them the proper resources to discuss mental health.
  • Employees who are less comfortable talking about their mental health at work are more likely to report feeling burnout and their mental
    health suffering because of work. The same is true for managers who feel their workplace isn’t giving them the proper resources to discuss mental health.
  • Burnout is a problem, especially among women, young workers and mid-level employees. Proper mental health resources and increased comfort
    in discussing mental health at work may contribute to lower burnout on the job.
  • A higher share of female employees and employees under age 50 report experiencing feelings of burnout this past year. 54% of mid-level
    employees say the same, compared to just 40% of entry-level employees.

To learn more, view the full report here.

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Spring Cleaning: Why We Do It and How It Helps

March 26,2024

It’s officially spring, and we all know what that means — time for spring cleaning! Spring cleaning is a tradition ingrained in societies worldwide, with roots tracing back to ancient times. Viewed as a fresh start and a transition from the winter season to the vibrant growth of spring, spring cleaning and purging allows people to create a clutter-free, cleaner living environment. An added bonus to this tradition is the sense of mental clarity and freshness.

Just as clutter and messiness can trigger anxious feelings and even depression, clearing your space helps clear your mind, and gives you a mental boost in the process. Experts say that cleaning and organizing is likely to have benefits beyond tidier homes, with improved mental health topping the list. As you’re cleaning, you’re focused on the task at hand, giving your brain a chance to stay present, engaged and aware.

Here’s how to make the most of your spring cleaning checklist:

  1. Make a plan and stick to it.
    Where will you start? Go room by room and create a plan. When you’re organizing and cleaning your home, prioritizing and setting aside time to actually perform the tasks are imperative parts of the process. These things take time, and if you don’t actually dedicate the time it takes (even 30 minutes to clear out your car or tidy up your laundry room!), you aren’t allowing yourself to succeed in checking that task off your list.
  2. Give yourself a goal and start small.
    Tackling one area, say a junk closet or a drawer, and moving slowly through your space will help you to finish something and appreciate what you accomplished, rather than do an entire day of decluttering and getting burnt out.
  3. Let go.
    Letting go of excess is an essential step in actually decluttering your home. And it really does feel good to get rid of things that are no longer useful or just take up space. Organizing and making space for your things is one part; ridding yourself of others will bring you more mental clarity than you think. And the majority of people who get rid of stuff don’t regret it or wish for it back — they simply enjoy the freedom of letting go.
  4. Get out the labelmaker.
    Getting organized and staying organized are two different things. Storing seasonal items and things you don’t use daily can be helpful — but if you don’t remember where you put them, the satisfaction of being organized will be short-lived.
  5. Don’t forget the little things.
    Once a year, give your baseboards, door frames, and walls a good thorough cleaning. Dust light fixtures and tops of picture frames, and check the batteries in your detectors.

The time and effort required to clean up and organize may be difficult at first, but a chronically cluttered home environment can be emotionally exhausting, whereas a clean, tidy home can bring with it a sense of calm and peace. And with that peace can come a much-welcomed mental boost!

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Supporting Recovery During Alcohol Awareness Month

March 26,2024

This month is Alcohol Awareness Month, when we, as a nation, reflect on the causes and consequences of alcohol misuse, abuse and dependence. And as healthcare professionals, we determine how to best support individuals in the alcohol use disorder recovery process.

One of the most important roles of behavioral healthcare professionals during Alcohol Awareness Month is to provide education and raise awareness about the risks associated with alcohol misuse. By offering information about the signs and symptoms of AUD, the impact of alcohol on physical and mental health, and available treatment options, we can increase awareness and empower individuals to make informed decisions about their alcohol consumption and seek help when needed.

Addiction is truly a family disease. Why do we say that? When someone abuses drugs and/or alcohol, everyone close to them feels the effects. This includes family, friends, coworkers and loved ones. As behavioral health professionals, we can help support those in recovery and equip their loved ones in a number of ways:

  1. Help patients identify their support people. Who in their lives will stand in solidarity with them as they go through the recovery process? Different people will offer different types of support, and the variety of help will make an enormous impact on the process.
    For support people, encourage calm, well-thought-out conversations that come from a place of love and support, rather than judgment and accusations.
  2. Help patients identify realistic goals, emphasizing future-oriented values.
    Encouraging abstinence from alcohol is the recommended route, but there are negotiated treatment steps that make sense for some patients.
  3. Help patients and loved ones recognize that recovery is a process — a marathon, not a sprint.
    Continuing care during the recovery process is key, as there is no “quick fix.”
  4. Help patients understand that there will be challenges.
    Giving patients and families the tools to handle setbacks and offering optimistic and positive feedback will help keep the momentum of progress, not perfection. And don’t forget to celebrate small victories. Recovery is a journey, and acknowledging progress can be
    a powerful motivator.
  5. Encourage activities that do not involve alcohol.
    Help your patients identify hobbies and activities they once enjoyed or would like to try that do not take place in social settings involving drinking. Who will they lean on for support during those activities?
  6. Identify possible mutual support groups.
    Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, women only meetings, groups structured with or without religion involved — there are many types of support groups that can help with the recovery process. By better understanding the disease, loved ones can help better support the recovery
    process.

Remember, being in recovery and supporting someone in recovery can be challenging in their own ways, but recovery is possible! Together, we can all make a positive impact and create a future free from the harms of alcohol misuse.

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The Healing Power of Music Therapy

March 26,2024

Music has long been recognized for its ability to evoke emotions, soothe the soul, and bring people together. But beyond its entertainment value, music holds immense therapeutic potential, offering a unique avenue for healing and self-expression. In recent years, the field of music therapy has gained recognition as an effective treatment modality for a wide range of physical, emotional, and psychological conditions. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the world of music therapy, exploring what it is, its various types, the benefits it offers, its impact on mental health, and where to find music therapy services.

Understanding Music Therapy

Music therapy is a dynamic and multifaceted approach to healing that harnesses the transformative power of music to address a wide range of physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs. Rooted in the belief that music is inherently therapeutic, music therapy utilizes a variety of musical interventions within a therapeutic relationship to promote health, well-being, and personal growth. Let’s explore the fundamental principles of music therapy, its diverse applications, and its profound impact on individuals’ overall well-being.

A Holistic Approach to Healing

At its core, music therapy is grounded in the principle that music has the potential to affect us on multiple levels – physically, emotionally, cognitively, and socially. Unlike traditional talk therapy, which primarily relies on verbal communication, music therapy offers a holistic approach to healing that engages the whole person. By integrating music into the therapeutic process, music therapists can access and address various aspects of individuals’ experiences, facilitating deeper insights, emotional expression, and personal transformation.

Active and Passive Musical Interventions

Music therapy encompasses a wide range of interventions, both active and passive, designed to meet the unique needs and preferences of individuals. Active interventions involve active participation in musical activities, such as playing instruments, singing, or improvising music. These hands-on activities can promote self-expression, creativity, and interpersonal connection, providing individuals with opportunities for personal growth and exploration.

Passive interventions, on the other hand, involve passive listening to music selected by the therapist. This approach allows individuals to experience the therapeutic benefits of music without actively participating in musical activities. Passive music listening can evoke emotions, promote relaxation, and stimulate cognitive processes, making it an effective tool for reducing stress and enhancing emotional well-being.

The Therapeutic Relationship

Central to music therapy is the therapeutic relationship between the music therapist and the client. Unlike traditional forms of therapy, which may rely heavily on verbal communication, music therapy utilizes music as a medium for communication and expression. Through the shared experience of making music together, music therapists create a safe and supportive environment where clients can explore their thoughts, feelings, and experiences.

The therapeutic relationship serves as the foundation for the therapeutic process, providing individuals with a sense of trust, acceptance, and empathy. Music therapists work collaboratively with clients to identify their goals, strengths, and areas for growth, tailoring interventions to meet their unique needs and preferences. By fostering a therapeutic alliance built on mutual respect and understanding, music therapists empower individuals to embark on a journey of self-discovery and healing.

Types of Music Therapyt

There are several different approaches to music therapy, each tailored to meet the unique needs of individuals and populations. Some common types of music therapy include:

  1. Receptive Music Therapy: In receptive music therapy, individuals passively listen to music selected by the therapist. This approach can help promote relaxation, reduce stress, and evoke emotional responses.
  2. Active Music Therapy: Active music therapy involves active participation in musical activities, such as playing instruments, singing, or improvising music. This hands-on approach can enhance self-expression, communication skills, and motor coordination.
  3. Songwriting Therapy: Songwriting therapy involves the creation of original songs as a means of self-expression and emotional release. Songwriting can provide individuals with a creative outlet for processing their thoughts and feelings and can be particularly beneficial for those struggling with trauma or grief.
  4. Guided Imagery and Music (GIM): Guided imagery and music combine music listening with verbal guidance to facilitate deep relaxation and exploration of inner experiences. GIM sessions typically involve listening to specially curated music playlists while engaging in guided imagery exercises.

Benefits of Music Therapys

The benefits of music therapy are wide-ranging and extend to various aspects of physical, emotional, and mental health. Some of the key benefits include:

  • Enhanced Emotional Expression: Music therapy provides individuals with a non-verbal outlet for expressing their emotions and feelings. Through music, patients can convey complex emotions that may be difficult to articulate verbally, fostering greater self-awareness and emotional insight.
  • Stress Reduction and Relaxation: Listening to calming music or engaging in musical activities can promote relaxation, reduce stress levels, and induce a sense of calmness and tranquility. Music therapy techniques such as deep breathing exercises paired with music can help regulate the autonomic nervous system and promote relaxation responses.
  • Improved Cognitive Function: Music has the power to engage multiple regions of the brain involved in memory, attention, and executive function. Research has shown that music therapy can improve cognitive function in individuals with neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, slowing cognitive decline and enhancing quality of life.
  • Social Connection and Interaction: Music has the unique ability to foster social connection and facilitate meaningful interactions between individuals. Group music therapy sessions provide opportunities for socialization, collaboration, and mutual support, helping individuals develop interpersonal skills and build relationships.
  • Pain Management: Music therapy has been shown to be an effective adjunctive therapy for managing pain and discomfort associated with various medical conditions and procedures. Music can help distract individuals from pain sensations, promote relaxation, and reduce the need for analgesic medications.

Impact on Mental Health

Music therapy has emerged as a valuable therapeutic modality for individuals grappling with various mental health disorders, offering a unique and effective approach to promoting emotional well-being and psychological resilience. Through a diverse array of musical interventions and techniques, music therapy has demonstrated remarkable benefits for individuals experiencing conditions such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, PTSD, and schizophrenia. In this section, we’ll explore the profound impact of music therapy on mental health and delve into its transformative effects on individuals’ emotional well-being.

Addressing Anxiety and Depression

Anxiety and depression are among the most prevalent mental health disorders globally, affecting millions of individuals each year. Music therapy has shown promising results in alleviating symptoms of these conditions, offering individuals a holistic approach to managing their emotional distress and promoting inner calm and relaxation. Research studies have indicated that music therapy interventions, such as guided imagery, progressive muscle relaxation, and music-assisted relaxation techniques, can effectively reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression by promoting physiological and psychological relaxation responses.

Moreover, music therapy techniques such as lyric analysis, songwriting, and improvisation provide individuals with creative outlets for expressing their emotions and processing their experiences. By engaging with music in a therapeutic context, individuals can explore and articulate their thoughts and feelings in a safe and supportive environment, fostering a sense of emotional release and catharsis. This process of musical self-expression can be profoundly empowering, enabling individuals to gain insights into their emotional struggles and develop coping strategies to manage them effectively.

Enhancing Mood Regulation

One of the key benefits of music therapy is its ability to enhance mood regulation and emotional self-awareness. Music has a powerful effect on our emotions, evoking a wide range of feelings and responses that can influence our mood and outlook on life. Through music therapy interventions such as music listening, guided imagery, and improvisation, individuals can learn to identify and regulate their emotions more effectively, cultivating a greater sense of emotional balance and well-being.

Music therapy techniques that focus on rhythmic synchronization and entrainment, such as drumming and movement-based interventions, can also promote emotional regulation by aligning individuals’ physiological rhythms with the rhythmic patterns of music. This synchronization can have a calming and grounding effect on individuals’ nervous systems, reducing feelings of stress and anxiety and promoting a sense of relaxation and inner peace.

Building Resilience and Coping Skills

Perhaps one of the most significant benefits of music therapy for mental health is its capacity to build resilience and coping skills in individuals facing adversity. Mental health disorders can pose significant challenges to individuals’ ability to cope with stress and navigate life’s ups and downs. Music therapy offers individuals a repertoire of coping strategies and techniques to help them manage their emotional distress and build resilience in the face of adversity.

Music therapy interventions such as group drumming, improvisation, and songwriting provide individuals with opportunities for creative expression and social connection, fostering a sense of empowerment and belonging. By engaging in collaborative musical activities, individuals can develop a support network of peers who share similar experiences and challenges, providing mutual encouragement and validation. Additionally, music therapy techniques such as relaxation-focused music listening and guided imagery can equip individuals with practical tools for managing stress and promoting emotional well-being in their daily lives.

Where to Find Music Therapy Services

Music therapy services are offered in a variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, schools, community centers, and private practices. Board-certified music therapists are trained professionals who specialize in providing music therapy interventions tailored to meet the needs of individuals across the lifespan. To find a qualified music therapist in your area, you can visit the American Music Therapy Association website or consult with your healthcare provider for referrals.

Music therapy offers a holistic approach to healing and wellness, harnessing the transformative power of music to promote physical, emotional, and mental well-being. Whether used as a standalone treatment or as part of a comprehensive therapeutic plan, music therapy can provide individuals with valuable tools for self-expression, relaxation, and personal growth. By exploring the diverse range of music therapy interventions and seeking out qualified professionals, individuals can unlock the healing potential of music and embark on a journey of self-discovery and transformation.

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Alcohol Awareness Month: How Behavioral Healthcare Professionals Can Help Support Recovery

March 26,2024

April is recognized as Alcohol Awareness Month, a time dedicated to raising awareness about the impact of alcohol abuse and promoting strategies for prevention and recovery. For behavioral healthcare professionals, this month serves as an opportunity to reflect on their role in supporting individuals struggling with alcohol use disorder (AUD) and facilitating their journey towards recovery. In this blog post, we’ll explore the significance of Alcohol Awareness Month and discuss how behavioral healthcare professionals can contribute to the prevention and treatment of AUD.

Understanding Alcohol Use Disorder

Alcohol use disorder is a chronic, relapsing brain disorder characterized by compulsive alcohol use, loss of control over drinking, and negative emotional and physical consequences. It affects millions of individuals worldwide and can have devastating effects on their health, relationships, and overall quality of life. Despite its prevalence, AUD is often misunderstood and stigmatized, making it challenging for individuals to seek help and access appropriate treatment.

The Role of Behavioral Healthcare Professionals

Behavioral healthcare professionals, including social workers, counselors, therapists, and addiction specialists, play a critical role in addressing the complex needs of individuals with AUD and supporting their recovery journey. Here are some ways in which they can make a difference:

Providing Education and Awarenesss

One of the most important roles of behavioral healthcare professionals during Alcohol Awareness Month is to provide education and raise awareness about the risks associated with alcohol misuse. They can offer information about the signs and symptoms of AUD, the impact of alcohol on physical and mental health, and available treatment options. By increasing awareness, they empower individuals to make informed decisions about their alcohol consumption and seek help when needed.

Offering Screening and Assessment

Behavioral healthcare professionals are trained to conduct comprehensive assessments to evaluate an individual’s alcohol use patterns, assess their risk level, and determine the presence of co-occurring mental health disorders. Through screenings and assessments, they can identify individuals who may be struggling with AUD or at risk of developing alcohol-related problems. Early identification allows for timely intervention and support, ultimately improving treatment outcomes and preventing further harm.

Providing Counseling and Support

Counseling and therapy are integral components of AUD treatment, and behavioral healthcare professionals play a central role in providing these services. They offer individualized counseling sessions to address the underlying factors contributing to alcohol misuse, help individuals develop coping skills and strategies to manage cravings and triggers, and support them in setting and achieving their recovery goals. Additionally, they may facilitate group therapy sessions, providing a supportive environment where individuals can share their experiences, learn from one another, and build a sense of community.

Collaborating with Interdisciplinary Teamss

Behavioral healthcare professionals work collaboratively with other members of the healthcare team, including physicians, nurses, psychiatrists, and addiction specialists, to deliver comprehensive care to individuals with AUD. They participate in multidisciplinary treatment planning, contribute their expertise to case discussions, and coordinate care transitions to ensure continuity and effectiveness of treatment. By working together, they can address the complex needs of individuals with AUD from a holistic perspective, integrating medical, psychological, and social interventions to promote recovery and wellness.

Alcohol Awareness Month serves as a reminder of the importance of addressing alcohol misuse and supporting individuals affected by AUD. Behavioral healthcare professionals play a vital role in this effort, offering education, screening, counseling, and support services to help individuals overcome alcohol-related challenges and achieve lasting recovery. By working collaboratively and compassionately, they can make a meaningful difference in the lives of those struggling with AUD and contribute to building healthier, more resilient communities.

In observance of Alcohol Awareness Month, let us reaffirm our commitment to promoting awareness, fostering compassion, and supporting recovery for individuals affected by alcohol use disorder. Together, we can make a positive impact and create a future free from the harms of alcohol misuse.

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Healthcare Providers: Real Tips for Dealing with Stress

March 26,2024

In the demanding field of healthcare, stress is an unavoidable aspect of the job. Healthcare providers often face long hours, high-pressure situations, and emotional challenges that can take a toll on their mental and physical well-being. However, learning effective strategies to manage stress is essential for maintaining resilience and providing quality care to patients. In this article, we’ll explore real tips for dealing with stress specifically tailored to healthcare providers.

Recognize the Signs of Stress

Before you can effectively manage stress, it’s crucial to recognize the signs and symptoms. These may include feeling overwhelmed, irritable, fatigued, or experiencing physical symptoms such as headaches or muscle tension.

By acknowledging when you’re feeling stressed, you can take these 8 proactive steps to address it:

  1. Practice Self-Care: Self-care isessential for healthcare providers to recharge and rejuvenate. This includes prioritizing activities that promote relaxation and well-being, such as exercise, meditation, hobbies, and spending time with loved ones. Remember that taking care of yourself allows
    you to better care for others.
  2. Set Boundaries: Healthcare providers often have demanding schedules and may feel pressure to constantly be available. However, setting boundaries
    around work hours and personal time is crucial for preventing burnout. Learn to say no to additional responsibilities when necessary and prioritize self-care.
  3. Seek Support: Don’t be afraid to seek support from colleagues, supervisors, or mental health professionals when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Talking about your feelings with someone you trust can provide validation and perspective, helping you to feel less isolated.
  4. Practice Mindfulness: Mindfulness techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation, and mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) exercises, can help healthcare providers manage stress in the moment. These practices promote relaxation, reduce anxiety, and improve overall well-being.
  5. Stay Organized: Feeling overwhelmed is often a result of disorganization and lack of time management. Implementing strategies to stay organized, such as creating to-do lists, prioritizing tasks, and breaking large projects into smaller, manageable steps, can help reduce stress and increase productivity.
  6. Take Breaks: It’s essential to take regular breaks throughout your workday to rest and recharge. Whether it’s a short walk outside, a brief meditation session, or simply stepping away from your desk for a few minutes, taking breaks can help prevent burnout and improve focus.
  7. Practice Gratitude: Despite the challenges of the healthcare profession, there are often moments of joy and fulfillment in helping others. Practicing gratitude by reflecting on the positive aspects of your work can help shift your perspective and reduce stress.
  8. Engage in Peer Support Groups: Peer support groups provide a valuable opportunity for healthcare providers to connect with others who understand their experiences. These groups offer a safe space to share challenges, receive support, and learn coping strategies from peers.

Know When to Seek Help

If you’re experiencing persistent or overwhelming stress that interferes with your ability to function, it’s essential to seek professional help. A mental health professional can provide support, guidance, and therapeutic interventions to help you manage stress effectively.

By implementing these real tips for dealing with stress, healthcare providers can prioritize their well-being and continue to provide compassionate care to their patients. Remember that managing stress is an ongoing process, and it’s essential to prioritize self-care and seek support when needed.

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11 ways to convince yourself to start something (when you really don't want to)

March 26,2024

As a business owner, there are so many things I really don’t want to do, but of course, I have to. And, like many people, I can get into a habit of putting those things off—particularly when I’m feeling bored, uncreative, or distracted.

Over the years, I’ve learned some ways to give myself a kick in the pants (tips I’ll share below). But I wanted to gather some other helpful strategies to mix up my regimen and help others gain some motivation, too, so I reached out to all sorts of folks to get their ideas.

11 motivational tactics that actually work

1. Ask yourself Why –There are so many reasons we may be avoiding something—resources, time, distractions. The problem is that we get in this loop of worry and procrastination instead of focusing on how to relieve the problem at hand (and I can almost guarantee you it’s not laziness).

So ask yourself what’s stopping you, and then figure out how to fix it. For example, if I find I’m lacking confidence, I open what I call my *Nice Things* folder, where I house compliments I get from my clients. Rereading their positive feedback brightens my day and makes me feel more capable of tackling whatever I’m avoiding.

If I feel myself getting distracted, I go to a coffee shop. If I feel generally upset, I know it’s time to put on my favorite playlist and go for a run.

2. Put it off – If I don’t feel like doing something, I put it off. That might sound counterintuitive, but I know that nothing good will happen if I try to force it.

I also know that I tend to work well in the morning, right after I wake up. (If you don’t already know your optimal time for working, find your chronotype.) So if I’m really stuck on something and don’t want to do it, I push that thing to the next morning or another morning slot and do something else that I know I can accomplish—going for a run, replying to unread emails, invoicing, or listening to a few chapters of an audiobook.

Inevitably, I’ll come up with a great idea when I’m doing that other activity and can note it in my calendar for when I restart what I’d been putting off.

3. Visualize yourself doing it – When the fog sets in, and I can’t find the motivation to

complete something—or even think of beginning it—I close my eyes and picture myself already having finished it. The job is done. I stay in that moment for a minute or two. I feel it, taste it, get inspired by it. Then I open my eyes and write down what I saw.

Writing down what you feel, what roadblocks you need to overcome, and how to celebrate rewires the brain into not just thinking but knowing that you can do it but, in fact, do the thing.

4. Impose restraints – This may sound like a common technique: just work on something for five minutes, and you’ll find you want to keep going. But this one is a little bit different.

Rodolphe Dutel, founder of Remotive, takes time-bounds to the next level:

  • “When there’s something computer-facing that I don’t want to do, I take my laptop to another location without my charger. With my old computer, that means I have roughly an hour and 45 minutes to get something done.”

He also pairs it with a reward: “I tend to choose a working space that’s close to one of my favorite restaurants, so if I finish in the allotted time, I get to eat something tasty.”

5. Hold yourself accountable to other people – Accountability is another common strategy, so I wanted to find someone who felt that it had actually worked for them.

When Deb Kelson, VP of Marketing at Switchboard, took a career break to write a children’s book a decade ago, she knew she couldn’t rely on just one person to hold her accountable, so she let anyone and everyone know what she was up to:

  • “I let all my friends and former co-workers know I quit to work on a passion project, which meant I had a lot of people asking for updates. This kept me motivated through slumps.”

6. Keep it a secret – If accountability doesn’t work for you, this one might—it’s basically the exact opposite exercise. Alexis Wisniewski, Advisor to the CEO at Profound Strategy, suggests:

  • “I got some counterintuitive advice once—tell NO ONE about what you’re doing. For big things, like running a marathon or starting a company, it has, oddly, worked well. I keep my big things secret and wait to see if/when someone will notice.”

The motivator of outward satisfaction is enough to get you going, and you get an even bigger sense of accomplishment knowing your efforts were impossible for others to ignore.

7. Do nothing or do this – Emily Chisholm, marketing manager at Seso, uses a trick she got from author Neil Gaiman:

  • “You sit down to do the task and tell yourself you don’t have to do it, but you can’t do anything else. It’s either stare at the wall or do the task. After enough staring, the overwhelm melts away, and the task somehow feels straightforward.”

As far as getting to her desk in the first place: “Bringing a drink I love with me helps.”

8. Hire someone (or act like you’re going to) – If you tell people you don’t have time to do something, they might tell you to outsource it. Hiring someone to do that thing for you may be a good answer. But even if it’s not, doing the prep work to hire that person can be just as beneficial. Axel Lavergne, founder of reviewflowz, has shared this idea:

  • “When I don’t want to do something, it’s very often because I haven’t properly scoped it out. As soon as I think about outsourcing it I start asking myself, ‘How can I explain to someone who has no idea about the context what I need?’ I start writing the brief, and before I know it, I’m halfway done with whatever I didn’t want to do.”

If you’re having trouble drafting the scope of work, Axel recommends explaining your issue to ChatGPT and asking it for some ideas to jumpstart the process.

9. Pretend you’re someone else – Know someone who would absolutely finish what you just can’t seem to finish? Someone who’s an expert in the thing? Or who’s just particularly on it?

Put on your acting hat and pretend like you’re them for the day. What would they do? How would they approach your problem differently?

Mollie Newton, Founder of PetMeTwice, explains:

  • “I’ve sometimes approached tasks by role-playing as someone I admired for their courage. When I had to make difficult decisions or was afraid to take risks, I’d ask what they would do in my situation. This helped me venture outside of my comfort zone and see issues from a different viewpoint.”

10. Reframe dread as excitement – Uncertainty and anxiety go hand in hand. But you can also trick your mind into associating uncertainty and excitement—the perfect recipe for getting things done.

Carla Ellerby, a freelance communications manager and content writer, shares:

  • “I’d rather stick a cactus in my eyes than promote my business. Yet I know it brings in more work. What helps me is to reframe threats like public speaking or events into an opportunity. I tell myself, I’m not nervous; I’m excited! I tell other people I’m excited. I affirm out loud to myself that I’m excited. And you know what? In this echo, the belief takes root.”

You could even pair something you hate doing with something you like doing. Liza Cichowski, founder of Last Word MKTG, has a similar problem to Carla. She’s shared, “I don’t love promoting myself. But I’m a B2B marketing consultant, and I have to do it.” To motivate herself, she thought about what she likes promoting outside of her business and how she could meld the two:

  • “I like posting pics of my dog on Instagram. So I thought, I’m spending time on Instagram anyway, so I may as well start a business account and see how that feels. It feels pretty good! It’s fun to make slides and be a little more creative. Plus, I can repurpose my LinkedIn content and make it more visual on Instagram.”

11. Use a motivational app – In many ways, technology can be a distraction. But it’s a part of daily life, so why not use it to your advantage?

You might try a distraction blocker, for example. And then there are apps like Momentum, which can turn browser tabs into inspirational photos and uplifting quotes with widgets that allow you to set a daily focus and track your to-do list.

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