Weekly Mental Health Tip #4

Take a break from the screen and avoid screen time before bed. “The blue light that is emitted from these screens can delay the release of sleep-inducing melatonin, increase alertness, and reset the body’s internal clock to a later schedule.” –SleepFoundation.org

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Have a lot on your mind? Watch these videos to learn strategies to de-stress.

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Helpful Resources

Stress Checkup Questionnaire
Take action to find out how stress and depression may be affecting you, and learn how you can get support from taking this quick, anonymous questionnaire.

Virtual / Telehealth Community Resources
Resources that consist of therapeutic agencies, support groups, apps. that assist with depression and anxiety, hotlines, websites, and webinars that are available through an online platform. There are also resources specifically dedicated to providing support related to COVID-19.

COVID-19 Information Center at www.ccm.edu/covid-19-information-center

211 is available to answer questions related to COVID-19*

Dial 1-800-222-1222 to speak to trained healthcare professionals.
https://www.nj211.org/coronavirus-covid-19

If you are looking for resources within the community, 211 is here to assist you.
Dial 2-1-1 or 1-877-652-1148
If you are using a rotary dial phone, please dial 1-877-746-5211.
TTY users, dial 7-1-1 first.
https://www.nj211.org/

Mental Health Tips

Spend Time in Nature imageSpend time in nature. Research has found that “it decreases heart rate, decreases blood pressure, decreases stress cortisol, [and] improves psychological well-being.” – Matthew White, Environmental Psychologist at University of Exeter.

How Much Time in Nature is Needed to See Benefits? – Psychology Today

Practice Deep BreathingTry deep breathing today. Breathing connects the mind and the body. Many people do not realize that there is science that explains why deep breathing helps us feel better. When we use deep breathing more oxygen is delivered to your brain, forcing out carbon dioxide. When our brains are more oxygenated our heart rate, blood pressure, and stress lessens while our energy increases. When you realize you are getting stressed and tense, just pause a moment, and realize….. what you are feeling?  You can reduce anxiety by how you breathe, which helps reduce body tension while thoughts calm down.

Try this simple exercise:   

Look at this square……. 󠄁
You will breathe up one side, across the top, down the other side and along the bottom of the square, clockwise. Each side you count to 4. Like this:  Breathe in to the count of 4, (up left side), hold for the count of 4 (across top), and now breathe out to the count of 4, (down right side) then hold for 4 again ( across bottom side). Try to focus on your breath and your counting. If your brain starts to wander, redirect it back to your breathing. Repeat as long as needed to calm down your mind and body. This is the square breathing method. Enjoy this serene break often.

Set Fulfilling GoalsWhat are all of the things you’re trying to get done today? Write them down. Is there a task or accomplishment that will leave you feeling most fulfilled at the end of this day? Resolve to do it purposefully rather than quickly. Give this action its own moment in time.
Remember to Take BreaksIt is important to take breaks! Don’t feel that you need to fill up all your time with doing. Take some time to simply be. Breaks promote physical and emotional health, can restore motivation, increase productivity and creativity, and help consolidate memories and improve learning.

How Do Work Breaks Help Your Brain? 5 Surprising Answers – Psychology Today

Reduce your screen time

Take a break from the screen and avoid screen time before bed. “The blue light that is emitted from these screens can delay the release of sleep-inducing melatonin, increase alertness, and reset the body’s internal clock to a later schedule.” –SleepFoundation.org

Let yourself be silly

Revisit your childhood and let yourself be silly, free, and carefree. Dance to your favorite song or let yourself laugh really loud at something funny. Sometimes, we as adults, take ourselves too seriously.

The importance of being silly. -TEDx Talks

Make a playlist and sing it

Think of your favorite song and sing it out loud. Make a list of other songs that make you happy and play them for yourself today.

Drink enough water

Keep your body hydrated with water. “Drinking enough water each day is crucial for many reasons: to regulate body temperature, keep joints lubricated, prevent infections, deliver nutrients to cells, and keep organs functioning properly. Being well-hydratedalso improves sleep quality, cognition, and mood.” – Walter Willett, professor of epidemiology and nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Practice Mindfulness

Take a minute to focus on something right in front of you. Notice the texture, smell, or sound. Our minds tend to wander to the future and the past, both places where we do not have control. Focusing on an object can help your mind stay in the present. Mindfulness teaches us to live in the present and to pay attention to what we have control over and accept our limitations without judgement.

Unplanned self-care

Surprise yourself today! Instead of feeling swept along by a frenzied schedule, stop to do one thing you didn’t expect to have time to do. Remember that taking breaks are necessary for productivity and creativity to flourish. Self-care is just as essential as other life responsibilities.

Joyful Journaling

In colorful pens, write down 3 things that bring you joy. In pencil, write down 3 things that have been bothering you. Erase the items on the second list over which you do not have total control. As you blow away the residue, imagine that you are releasing your worries. Say to yourself: Come what may.

Stay connected

Stay connected while social distancing. Try watching the same movie as a friend or family member and synch up to have a movie review. Many people are now referring to social distancing as physically distancing, because the last thing we want to do right now is disconnect from support. Think about what people, places, and activities help you stay connected. Reach out to these people, scroll through old pictures, and revisit these moments.

Five Tips to Stay Positive and Healthy During Social Isolation.

Throw a Netflix Party!