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28/Sep/2021

There are plenty of reasons to practice gratitude, including benefits to your overall mental health and well-being.

Practicing gratitude can mean different things to different people. From daily journaling to evening prayers, gratitude practice can take many forms.

Read on to find out the benefits of practicing gratitude every day and how to get started.

What does it mean to practice gratitude?

Gratitude is simply defined as the state of being grateful. It involves expressing thanks or appreciation for something, from a gift to life itself.

Gratitude involves recognition of the positive things in your life and how they affect you. This can range from acknowledging a beautiful flower you pass on the sidewalk to the feeling of thanks that comes from recovering from a serious illness.

You can practice gratitude in lots of different ways, like:

  • gratitude exercises, such as journaling
  • paying attention to the little things in life, like the birds in the trees
  • telling someone you’re grateful for them or for something they did, even if it was a long time ago
  • doing something kind for someone in your life to express your gratitude
  • meditating on the positive aspects of your life
  • giving thanks through prayer

Getting started practicing gratitude

If you’re looking to start practicing gratitude regularly, there are plenty of useful exercises to help you integrate it into your daily life.

Gratitude journaling

Gratitude journaling is a technique that involves keeping a diary of things you’re grateful for every day. This is one of the most popular ways to practice gratitude.

Some good starting points are to recount a favorite moment from the day, describe a special person in your life, or list five things you’re grateful for that day.

It doesn’t even have to be a physical journal. It can be as simple as a note in your phone. This makes it easier to quickly record something you feel grateful for in the moment.

Gratitude mapping

Gratitude mapping is perfect for visual learners. It involves creating a visual mood board of everything you’re grateful for. You then place this board somewhere in your home to remind yourself to be grateful every day.

Gratitude jars

Gratitude jars are a simple idea that’s easy to put into practice.

Whenever something good happens or you feel thankful for something, write it down on a piece of paper and put it in a jar. Next time you’re feeling down, give the jar a shake and pick out one slip of paper.

This technique will remind you of something good in your life that you can appreciate. It can help you recall simple pleasures that you might have otherwise forgotten.

Morning meditation

A morning meditation practice can also involve gratitude.

You can choose to meditate on things you’re grateful for, or you may find it easier to meditate on how you’ve gotten to where you are now.

To do this, remember the past, both good and bad. Reflect on how far you’ve come since then. This puts the present into context and allows you to clearly see it, helping you feel grateful for what brought you to this point.

The morning is often the best time to practice gratitude meditation, as it sets you up for the day with an optimistic outlook. It can also be beneficial to use your practice as a way to wind down before bed.

Prayer

Prayer is another way to practice gratitude. Whatever you believe in, prayer can be a helpful tool for generating feelings of gratitude. It’s also been linked to positive health outcomes.

Expressing gratitude to a higher power or simply to the universe can be a profound way to evoke a sense of awe and appreciation. As you pray, you can express gratitude for the world you live in, the air you breathe, and the body that carries you from point A to point B.

Prayer is a chance to marvel at life and the miracle of existence. It doesn’t have to involve a particular belief or tradition, but can simply be a way of giving thanks for being alive.

Volunteering

Volunteering is a practical way to practice gratitude. Helping those in need can inspire you tp reflect on your own circumstances and bring on a sense of compassion for humanity as a whole.

It’s also been shown to improve health and offer several other benefits.

Benefits of practicing gratitude

There are many benefits of practicing gratitude, both mental and physical. Regular practice has been shown to have measurable positive effects on health.

Boosts the immune system

Gratitude has been shown to help contribute to an overall sense of well-being.

Stress lowers the immune response to potential bodily threats, whereas increased mental well-being can help your body fight off illness, according to a 2004 research review Trusted Source.

Practicing gratitude also has the ability to improve other aspects of physical health, with one early-stage 2017 study Trusted Source suggesting it can reduce the risks associated with heart failure.

Improves mental health

Gratitude is one of many factors that contributes to positive mental health outcomes.

One 2020 study showed that regularly practicing gratitude can help ease symptoms of anxiety and depression. An older study from 2003 noted that gratitude was linked to improved mood.

Practicing gratitude fosters positive feelings and can contribute to a sense of well-being when done regularly.

Improved relationships

Gratitude not only improves your physical and mental well-being; it may also improve your relationships.

Gratitude plays a key role in forming relationships, as well as in strengthening existing ones.

When it comes to romantic relationships, gratitude can help partners feel more satisfied with each other. One 2010 study showed that partners who demonstrated gratitude toward one another reported increased relationship satisfaction and improved happiness the following day.

Increased optimism

Being an optimistic person can have plenty of health benefits, including healthy aging, according to a 2019 study Trusted Source. If you’re not naturally optimistic, gratitude practice can help you cultivate an optimistic outlook, as suggested by a 2018 study.

In an older 2003 study, it took just 10 weeks of regular gratitude practice for participants to feel more optimistic and positive about their present lives and the future.

Takeaway

Practicing gratitude can be a beneficial daily habit both for physical and mental health. It also offers potential benefits for relationships.

To get started with a gratitude practice, you can try meditation, journaling, or simply paying attention to the little things in life that bring you joy. If practiced regularly, gratitude will likely provide positive long-term effects to your mental health and well-being.



We are expecting flu vaccines to be available for patients in the office in early September.
As a reminder, the flu vaccine is recommended for everyone 6 months of age and older with rare exceptions. Flu vaccines will be offered to all patients when you come in for routine appointments in the office or you may schedule an appointment. This year we are offering online scheduling during our flu vaccine days which are scheduled for the dates listed below.
You may schedule via the Healow app or portal, by going to our website, or by calling 215-735-7992. Please complete the influenza vaccination questionnaire prior to your appointment.
About the flu vaccine:
  • It takes about 2 weeks for protection to develop after vaccination.
  • There are many flu viruses, and they are always changing. Each year a new flu vaccine is made to protect against the influenza viruses believed to be likely to cause disease in the upcoming flu season.
  • Even when the vaccine doesn’t exactly match these viruses, it may still provide some protection.
  • Influenza vaccine does not cause flu.
  • Influenza vaccine may be given at the same time as other vaccines.
  • Influenza vaccine can be administered at any time during pregnancy.
  • People with minor illnesses, such as a cold, may be vaccinated.
COVID Vaccine and Other Vaccine Administration
You can get a COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines at the same visit. You no longer need to wait 14 days between vaccinations. Experience with other vaccines has shown that the way our bodies develop protection, known as an immune response, after getting vaccinated and possible side effects of vaccines are generally the same when given alone or with other vaccines.
Walk-In Clinic Dates at RWWC
September 7th, 8AM-12PM
September 10th, 8AM-12PM
September 11th, 9AM-1PM
October 4th, 8AM-12PM


BMI, or body mass index, has long been used as a way to assess body weight in the United States. The federal government uses the calculation to track obesity rates nationwide, and according to this scale, 42.4 percent of American adults age 20 and older are obese, notes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Adults can measure their BMI by taking their body weight in pounds, dividing that value by the square of their height in inches, and multiplying the result by 703, or using an online calculator. The numbers are then used to determine weight categories:

  • Below 18.5 is underweight
  • 18.5 to 24.9 is normal
  • 25 to 29.9 is overweight
  • 30 and over is obese

If this formula seems complicated and somewhat arbitrary, that’s because it is.  Body fat percentage, not BMI, is largely responsible for a person’s health. Too high a number can result in obesity related complications, including diabetes, heart disease and increase your risk for many cancers. By relying on a person’s overall weight, BMI may overestimate body fat in athletic, muscular individuals or those with large or tall frames, labeling them as overweight or having obesity when they are not at increased risk. 

However, the reverse is also true, you can have a “normal” BMI but still have a high percentage of body fat—and the associated medical complications. More than half of U.S. adults currently considered to have a normal BMI actually have a high body fat percentage (more than 30 percent fat for women.) 

The way in which fat is distributed in your body has major health implications, yet it’s not taken into account by the BMI calculation. Belly fat, or fat that accumulates around the waistline and abdominal organs, greatly heightens a person’s risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and other obesity-related complications, as well as death. But a person could easily fall into the “normal” BMI category (18.5 to 24.9) and have a waist circumference that puts them in a risk health category.

Individuals with “normal,” or non-obese/non-overweight BMIs, but with a large waist circumference (known as central obesity) are much more likely to die prematurely compared with people who are deemed obese via BMI but don’t have a large circumference. For women, central obesity is defined as a waist circumference greater than 35 inches for women. Waist circumference should be measured at the smallest area of one’s waist, just above the belly button. 

Waist-to-hip ratio can also be used to estimate risk.  This number divides waist circumference by hip circumference (measured around the widest part of your buttocks). Anything below 0.9 is considered healthy. A ratio of 1.0 or above is correlated with a two to three times increased risk of dying. Someone with a larger waist than hips will have a waist-to-hip ratio of 1.0 or above.

Understanding Your Risk: Talk with your healthcare provider to come up with a plan to assess your risk- this may include your BMI, waist circumference, hip measurements, blood pressure and lab results.



Long-Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC) is a group of highly effective, well tolerated prescription contraceptives. There are 3 distinct groups of LARC. There is an injectable, a subdermal implant, and intrauterine devices. With the exception of the Paragard IUD, which is a copper containing IUD without any hormone, all other LARCs are progesterone only forms of contraception (meaning they do not contain the hormone estrogen).

Depo Provera (150mg medroxyprogesterone acetate) is an IM injection given in the deltoid or gluteal muscle every 3 months (4 times per year). It is the option with the highest dose of progestin and is the most likely to lead to amenorrhea (no menstrual bleeding). There can be a delay in the return of fertility after stopping Depo Provera. It is associated with a possible decrease in bone density especially in the first 2 years of use, although this is typically temporary and reversible. I recommend daily calcium and vitamin D supplements as well as regular weight bearing exercise in women using this LARC as their contraceptive choice.

The Nexplanon (68 mg etonogestrel) is an implant that is a 4 cm rod, about the size of a matchstick that is placed under the skin in the upper arm. It is designed to be easier to place and remove then an IUD and does not have the associated cramping and pain of IUD placement or removal. The Nexplanon can cause an irregular bleeding pattern. Amenorrhea is possible but about 15% of users will experience prolonged bleeding or more frequent bleeding. Nexplanon is to be removed in 3 years.

Intrauterine devices or IUDs makes up the largest category of LARC. The Paragard IUD is the only copper containing IUD. Because of this and its lack of any progesterone (hormone), it is associated with menses that may be longer and heavier. It is to be removed in 10 years. The Skyla IUD (13.5 mg levonorgestrel) has the lowest dose of hormone of any LARC and is a smaller size to better accommodate (be more comfortable) a uterus that has not experienced a full term pregnancy. It is to be removed within 3 years. The Kyleena IUD (19.5mg levonorgestrel) is also a smaller size IUD but is a contraceptive for up to 5 years. Both a Mirena IUD and a Liletta IUD contain 52 mg of levonorgestrel and are full size IUDs. The Mirena IUD has the approval to treat heavy menstrual bleeding for up to 5 years and both of these IUDs are contraceptives for up to 6 years. All IUDs are associated with cramping, bleeding, and discomfort with their placement and removal. All of the progestin IUDs can cause irregular bleeding patterns especially during the first 6 months of use.

LARC contraceptives offer the advantage of protection against pregnancy for a longer period of time without having to remember to take something that is daily, weekly, or monthly. Additional pros and cons of each LARC should be discussed prior to making a decision as to whether any LARC is the right choice for you.

Type:

Name and Link to Website:         

FDA Approved for:

Copper IUD

Paragard

10 years

Progestin IUD

Liletta

6 years

Kyleena

5 years

Skyla

3 years

Mirena

6 years (5 years for bleeding)

Arm Implant

Nexplanon

3 years



The month of February brings us National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. For most of us, this is the first February that we will be spending in a pandemic.

If an eating disorder could choose its favorite environment, it could do no better than the stay-at-home orders issued in many states to combat the coronavirus. Fear over health? Check. Fear around food? Double-check. Social isolation? Triple-check. Combine all this with economic volatility and an international sense of dread, and eating disorder behaviors seem to have a big advantage over recovery. In short, coronavirus quarantine and eating disorders: it’s a perfect storm.

When life as we know it is suddenly upended, it is going to be difficult for most people. For those with eating disorders, who often tend toward greater rigidity rather than flexibility, it is especially challenging.

Food Availability: Both Too Little and Too Much

Empty Shelves and a Very Full Pantry

The current unpredictability of grocery store inventory can bring up the urge to both restrict and binge. When entire store shelves of pasta, eggs, and toilet paper are empty, it can trigger a deep sense of unease and a desire to hoard. Panic buying has been rampant, with many stores now limiting purchases of staple items. Scarce inventory leads to a scarcity mindset, which is not unlike the eating disorder voice or diet culture in general: “This food is hard to get, so get it all while you can!”

On the other hand, having a well-stocked kitchen can also ignite disordered eating thoughts. When food is the apparent enemy, being surrounded by it can feel threatening. It can set up a resolve to restrict eating in order to demonstrate control. It can create fears of bingeing and/or purging, due to easy access.

Foods Good for Sheltering in Place Are Often “Fear” Foods for Those with an Eating Disorder

When hunkering down at home for weeks at a time, shelf-stable foods like pasta, rice, peanut butter, and frozen entrees are standard. They are nutrient-dense and last in storage. However, these are often the types of foods that people with eating disorders may consider off-limits, or a “fear food.” While working with a therapist and dietitian helps broaden the list of tolerable foods, the process is usually done in an organized manner. Being suddenly faced with a pantry full of spaghetti and canned soups may be an unusual situation that can spike anxiety. However, it is important to remember that all foods fit into a nutritious diet. No food is “good” or “bad.”

Structure and Boundaries Help Break the Connection between Coronavirus Quarantine and Eating Disorders

Going from a busy schedule to long swaths of free time can open the door to eating disorder thoughts and behaviors. Working or completing school from home can provide structure for days that would otherwise blend into each other. Even if you have no current work or school responsibilities, there are some other ways to add structure to life under quarantine.

  1. Eat regularly. Every single body deserves nourishment, even when less physically active than usual. You do not have to earn the right to eat. Also, for people with an eating disorder, hunger and fullness cues must be relearned. In times of stress, such as the current pandemic, those fledgling hunger and fullness cues may subside. Eating at regular intervals (like every 3 hours) helps ensure nutritional intake – as well as helps to regain awareness of body cues.
  2. Sleep regularly. Regular rest helps us feel more energized, of course. Sleep also helps with emotion regulation, which is an important part of eating disorder recovery. Try to practice going to bed and waking up around the same time each day, and put away devices and bright screens about an hour before bedtime to help the mind prepare for sleep.
  3. Carve out time for hobbies, reading, games, etc. But there’s no pressure to achieve here; it’s about relaxation and engagement. It is not necessary to learn a new language or find a new way to organize your closet during this time. Yes, there are many examples of people on social media baking 32 kinds of bread. You do not have to be one of them. If a nap sounds better one day than reading a chapter of Anna Karenina, go for it.
  4. Set boundaries around media use. There is now 24/7 news coverage of the coronavirus. While keeping up on news is fine, it is easy to get pulled into hours of consumption. This is not good for our mental health! Skim the news or set a time limit. The same is true for social media. Even amidst this crisis, diet culture lurks, masquerading as health information. Be wary of supplements to “boost” the immune system, or people obsessing about potential weight gain while they are sheltering at home.

01/Dec/2020

Ever thought about what might happen if you were in a bad fall, car accident or other emergency situation that left you unable to communicate with responders?

Fortunately, most of today’s smartphones come with a feature that allows you to enter ICE (in case of emergency) data that’s accessible from your phone’s lock screen, including emergency contacts and important medical information.

How to set up an iPhone emergency contact

All iPhones come with the Health app, which, along with tracking your steps and other health data, allows you to set up a medical ID. This will display basic personal information, important medical information and emergency contact numbers when accessed from your lock screen. Additionally, your emergency contacts will be automatically contacted and updated on your current location if you make a call using the Emergency SOS feature.

Follow these steps to set it up:

  1. Open the Health app on your phone.
  2. Select the “Medical ID” tab.
  3. Select “Edit” at the top of the screen.
  4. Make sure that the “Show When Locked” slider is green.
  5. Below, fill in the various fields. If there’s a section that isn’t relevant, such as “Medical Conditions” or “Allergies & Reactions,” it’s a good idea to write “N/A” or “None” instead of leaving it blank to avoid any confusion.
  6. At the bottom is the “Emergency Contacts” section; tap “add emergency contact” to create a new contact. Note that you need to have this person’s name and number saved in your phone’s contacts list in order for the app to pull it in.
  7. Once you’ve selected a contact, indicate their relationship to you.
  8. You can add more than one emergency contact; continue repeating steps six and seve until all your emergency contacts are added.

To test that your Medical ID contains all the information you added, lock your phone and then wake it back up to reveal the Touch ID/passcode lock screen. Tap “Emergency” in the corner to bring up the SOS keypad ― you’ll see the “Medical ID” link in the bottom left. Press this to bring up your ICE info as well as emergency numbers that can be tapped and dialed directly from that screen.

How to set up an Android emergency contact

There are a couple of ways to set up ICE contact information on an Android phone. First, you can add your info to the emergency information feature:

  1. Open the “Settings” app.
  2. Tap “User & accounts,” then “Emergency information.”
  3. To enter medical information, tap “Edit information” (you might have to tap “Info” first, depending on the version).
  4. There’s a separate section where you can enter emergency contacts; tap “Add contact” to add a person from your contacts list (you might have to tap “Contacts” first)

Once you have set this up, anyone can find your ICE information by swiping up on the lock screen and tapping “Emergency,” then “Emergency information.”

Another option is to add your ICE info directly to the lock screen. Android lets you put any message you want on your lock screen:

  1. Start by opening the “Settings” app
  2. Tap “Security & location.”
  3. Next to “Screen lock,” tap “Settings.”
  4. Tap “Lock screen message.”
  5. Enter the information you want displayed, such as your primary emergency contact and any medical conditions, and tap “Save.”

Some versions of Android may let you add emergency contacts and your medical information directly through the Contacts app. There, you can add contacts to your “ICE – emergency contacts” group and edit your own profile to include vital medical information.

The easy way to add ICE info to any smartphone

Other phones might have similar features for displaying ICE information on the lock screen. But even if yours doesn’t, there’s an easy workaround as long as you can set a custom lock screen image.

  1. Open any note-taking or image app that allows text.
  2. Type the ICE information you want displayed. Keep in mind you’ll need to account for other text that displays on the lock screen (like time and date) and ensure the text fits on one screen.
  3. Take a screenshot of the message you created.
  4. Set that image as your lock screen wallpaper.

Unlike with other emergency information apps built directly into the phone, your lock screen won’t allow emergency responders to dial directly. Even so, it’s better than having no information available at all, which could mean the difference between life and death.



The COVID-19 pandemic has affected millions of people in a variety of ways, some of which we are still discovering. Virtually everyone has suffered some form of a hardship over the past nine months. These include physical hardships, as many have fallen ill themselves and/or have lost loved ones to COVID-19. These include work-related hardships, like losing one’s job, or adapting to working from home while balancing a frenzied home life with children being educated online.   

But there are also the mental hardships, which can be more difficult to identify.  As the pandemic continues, many are missing the normalcy of social interactions and other activities outside the home.

Mental health professionals warn about the psychological effect the pandemic is having on people’s mental health and well-being.  Economic stress, anxiety and depression brought on by being home alone, and/or dealing with the loss of loved ones are all likely to have a significant impact on people. Mental health professionals also note that, as the pandemic rages on, the increase in mental health problems as a result of stress from social isolation and other COVID-19 related life changes is contributing to an increase in substance use and misuse. 

Although turning to alcohol and/or drugs may temporarily help you feel better, use of these substances, especially in higher frequency / amount, will ultimately make you feel worse and could lead to addiction and other mental health issues. Using drugs or alcohol to cope with life circumstances can become a habit that leads to substance abuse or addiction. Additionally, many people who were already experiencing mental health issues prior to the pandemic may be using drugs or alcohol more in an attempt to self-medicate and cope with symptoms of a mental health disorder.

Therefore, it is imperative that people focus on developing and maintaining healthy habits and activities to help alleviate stress/anxiety/depression instead.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Set limits with work and school so they do not blend into other areas of your life.
  • Limit exposure to social media and watching news. If you must watch the news, then set a specific time and only a specific channel. Don’t inundate yourself information from a variety of sources as it will only add to the stress.
  • Get moving. Take a walk, go for a run or a bike ride, do an exercise video or yoga.
  • Maintain healthy eating habits. Plan and cook healthy recipes and maintain normal meal times.
  • Keep connected. Talk to friends and family via videoconferencing.
  • Start a hobby. This is a great time for creativity. This will help with stress relief and positive thinking. 

Remember that everyone is going through some form of hardship right now as a result of the pandemic, so reaching out to loved ones and providing that much needed reminder that they aren’t alone and have support is also very helpful. 

If you or someone you care about is starting or increasing use of alcohol or other substances during the pandemic, please contact your healthcare provider to discuss various options for treatment and support.

 



We’d like to support our patients in making telehealth visits as easy and as valuable as possible. Please review the tips below in order to best prepare for your visit. 

  1. Choose your tech.

It is helpful to decide ahead of time what device you may use for your telemedicine visit. The easiest method that we suggest is using the texted link that you will receive 30 minutes before your scheduled appointment time. The link will open the appointment directly in the browser of your smartphone without requiring you to download any additional apps or login to any accounts. If this method does not work for you, then you can use a computer, laptop, or tablet to sign into your patient portal either through our website, www.rwwc.com, or the app ‘healow’ to attend your appointment. Having a reliable internet connection is also important.

  1. Set-up prior to your appointment.

Make sure you ask your provider’s office about any technology set up that may need to occur ahead of your telemedicine visit. This may include downloading an app or creating a new account. Neither of these are required for Rittenhouse Women’s Wellness Center, however if you are referred to a specialist, their setup may differ from ours. You should ask for a contact number in case there is a problem during your telemedicine visit. Doing this will reduce the stress of managing new technology during the actual telemedicine visit.

  1. Choose a quiet, private place.

Find a place for your appointment that is quiet so you can hear your provider, and they in turn can hear you. This will reduce distractions and interruptions, making your appointment more productive.

  1. Prepare your medical history. 

Just as in an in-person visit, having accurate medical history available is helpful. If you have seen other providers, been to the ER or had a hospitalization- make sure to share the details with your providers. 

  1. Obtain vital signs.

If you are able to, it is helpful to obtain vital signs prior to your appointment. If you have an electronic blood pressure cuff, you can obtain blood pressure and heart rate. You can take your weight and temperature as well at home and report during your telemedicine visit. You can also take pictures of any rashes or skin lesions you have questions about. 

  1. Write down questions ahead of time.

The stress of a new type of visit can be a distraction when trying to remember all the things you may want to ask your physician. Writing down important questions you have for your physician ahead of time will help you remember them during your visit.

  1. At the end of your telemedicine visit, set up a follow-up visit as necessary.


In the midst of a worldwide pandemic, with cities and even entire countries shutting down, it may feel hard to escape the sense of panic around Covid-19. Stress and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions. It can also have a profound effect on your immune system, so it’s important for both your physical and mental health that you prioritize your self-care. Coping with your own stress will make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger.

The CDC states that stress during an infectious disease outbreak can include:

  • Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones
  • Changes in sleep or eating patterns
  • Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
  • Worsening of chronic health problems
  • Worsening of mental health conditions
  • Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs

Why am I feeling so stressed?

From a basic biological perspective, stress is a sign that our body is trying to keep us safe. Our sympathetic nervous system kicks into “fight or flight” mode when we feel like we may be in harm’s way or are experiencing a real or imagined threat. Physically, this can cause an increase in adrenaline, heart racing, sweating, etc, and mentally keep us hyper-aware, which can make it hard to sleep because of spiraling thoughts. While these symptoms can often be alarming, it is our body’s natural response to a perceived threat. Fortunately, we can reduce our stress and anxiety through some actions we talk about below.

How can I ease my anxiety?

  1. Get enough rest.

While you may be tempted to stay up following the news, it’s more important to let your body rest. Getting adequate sleep will allow your body to perform at its very best and fend off potential viruses.

  1. Keep exercising. High levels of cortisol, your body’s stress hormone, can cause your immune system to be less effective. Exercise can help reduce elevated cortisol levels, as well as trigger the release of endorphins, boosting your overall mood and happiness. Head outside for a run, bike ride, or another form of exercise that doesn’t require close contact with others.
  2. Eat well. It’s easy when stressed to let your diet slide and turn to less nutritious comfort foods. When it comes to managing your anxiety, however, a balanced diet is vital for your health. Focus on eating fresh, unprocessed, whole foods in order to maintain a strong immune system.
  3. Limiting alcohol and other substances. While having a glass or two of wine might feel like a good way to take the edge off of a stressful day, alcohol in any amount can make it difficult to get restful sleep. This can also be true with other substances, like CBD and marijuana. Alcohol is also a depressant, which might lead to increased anxiety and a poor mood. Additionally, nicotine not only has a negative effect on your lungs, but can also disrupt your sleep.
  4. Spend time with friends and family. Research shows that quality time with people you care about can boost your happiness level. If you are self-quarantined or even just working remotely, try to still connect with your friends and family through video chat or phone calls. Try not to talk about Covid-19, talk about pleasant things! Find opportunities to laugh. Talk about books, podcasts, or even the last show you watched on Netflix.
  5. Practice Mindfulness. When we get worried, stressed or anxious, we tend to breathe shallowly. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, take a few minutes to notice your breathing. Slow it down with a series of long deep breaths in through your nose, and out through your mouth. Stress can also cause us to tense up. When you recognize that you are worried, stressed or anxious, try a “body scan”. Start from the top of your head and take note of any stress or tension in your muscles. Is your face pinched? Are you clenching your jaw? Are your shoulders up at your ears? Are you hunched forward? Do you feel any tension in your belly, back, legs, or feet? Go through the body, notice where you are holding your stress, and try to let it go.
  6. Implement a digital detox. While you will understandably want to keep up-to-date on the latest guidance from health authorities, it’s important to strike a balance between staying informed and consuming everything in your newsfeed. If endless scrolling leaves you feeling anxious and overwhelmed, it may be time to take a break and unplug. Set aside a certain part of the day specifically for news consumption and give yourself a time limit. Some social media platforms even allow you to create those boundaries within their apps.

Can medication help me cope?

Try the above techniques before considering medication, as most medications for anxiety disorders (usually SSRIs) often take 4-6 weeks to take effect, and may not be the best option for temporary stresses, like those caused by Covid-19. Additionally, more short-acting anti-anxiety medications like Xanax are not meant to be taken on a daily basis and can be addictive. Our hope is that by practicing self-care, engaging in activities that bring you joy, and taking a break from the news and social media, you will be able to manage your anxiety without medication. If you’re not finding these approaches to be effective, consider booking a telemedicine appointment with one of our providers for guidance on the best options to further address your mental health.

References:

https://www.onemedical.com/blog/live-well/coronavirus-anxiety

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/managing-stress-anxiety.html


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1632 Pine Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Phone: 215-735-7992
Fax: 215-735-7991
Email: info@rwwc.com

Hours

Monday:  8am – 8pm

Tuesday – Friday: 8am – 4pm

Saturday and Sunday: Closed

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