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Checking your emotional fitness

Our days are filled with feelings, even if you don’t notice them. We get excited to eat as we pour syrup on our pancakes, we feel loved when we get a hug from a member of our family, and we feel nervous when we’re running late for work. 

Emotions are a normal and important part of life, even emotions that we consider negative like nervousness, fear or guilt. They help us make decisions, tell us when something is wrong and protect us. Without our feelings, our lives would feel a lot less whole. But when our feelings get in the way of our everyday lives and our relationships, it’s a good indicator that a doctor should help you assess your emotional fitness. The team at the Wellness and Stress Clinic of Memphis wants you to learn about emotional fitness, help you notice when you should seek help, and create a plan to stay emotionally fit moving forward.

What is emotional fitness?

Just like your lungs and heart need exercise and a well-rounded diet to stay healthy, your brain also requires care and attention. Understanding your feelings and how they impact your life is emotional fitness. Everyone experiences life differently, so there isn’t one set of feelings that make someone emotionally fit. Instead, emotional fitness is your ability to notice when your feelings move from normal and productive to unhelpful or dangerous. 

What are signs I should seek help?

It is really important to seek help if your feelings start to concern you. But sometimes, it’s hard to realize when your feelings have become harmful or dangerous. If you feel any of the following ways, we strongly encourage you seek help as soon as possible, either through the Wellness and Stress Clinic or through another health care provider:

  • When you feel emptiness or sadness that does not go away. 
  • When your feelings change your eating or sleeping habits. 
  • When you have less energy to do things you used to do easily.
  • When you stop caring about things you used to love. 
  • If you ever have thoughts of suicide or self-harm – seek immediate medical counsel. 

What can I do to stay more emotionally fit in the future?

Want to take a more active role in your emotional fitness? It’s time to create a fitness routine. Just like you make plans to walk for 30 minutes a day or eat one meal filled with vegetables, you can create habits that keep you more emotionally fit. Here are a few things you can do to get started:

  • Name your feelings. Do you know what feelings you typically experience in a day? Start writing them down as you feel them. Naming your feelings will help you track patterns and notice when your emotions are abnormal. 
  • Focus on your physical fitness. Did you know that emotional and physical fitness are connected? When you exercise regularly, make healthy eating choices and get enough rest, you will likely feel better! To become more emotionally fit, make physical fitness a priority.
  • Talk about your feelings. Sometimes when we feel anxious or nervous, it is helpful to say our worries out loud. Sharing with a loved one can help you process what you’re feeling and put your thoughts into a new perspective. But you don’t have to have someone to listen for this to be effective! Saying our feelings out loud is helpful to process them, especially when our worries or fears are starting to spiral. If you have a pet you can share with them, or you can spend some time talking about how you’ve felt throughout the day as you eat dinner or take a shower. You may find that saying what you feel out loud helps you feel better!
  • Start a meditation practice. Taking time in the day to sit quietly and breathe can do wonders for your emotional fitness. Even spending five minutes with your eyes closed and focusing on your breath can change your perspective on the day. People meditate differently, so you can try a couple different styles to find one that works for you!

Diabetes Alert Day – March 23rd, 2021

What is Diabetes Alert Day?

It is a one day “wake up call” that focuses on both the importance and seriousness of Diabetes and understanding your risks. This day is dedicated to remind you to look into your likelihood of developing type two diabetes. 

You can assess your risk for type two diabetes  by taking this test administered by The American Diabetes Association: Diabetes Risk Test 

Fast Facts:

  • Diabetes affects approximately 10.5% of Americans. 
  • 1 in 5 adults living with diabetes don’t know that they have this
  • There are three types of diabetes: type 1, type 2, and gestational
  • Type 1 diabetes: diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which your body doesn’t produce insulin for itself at all. People with this, must take insulin shots every day
  • Types 2: diabetes is caused when the body can’t make enough insulin for the body, and is most common in individuals over the age of 45.
  • Gestational: which occurs only in women during pregnancy, and goes away after the baby is born. However, women who have had gestational diabetes are more at risk for Type 2 diabetes after they give birth.

Sources: 

If you have any questions about Diabetes or Type 2 Diabetes, or need help caring for a loved one, please call the clinic at (901) 306-5433 to schedule an appointment. As always, stay safe and healthy!

-Wellness and Stress Clinic Team

National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week

Every year, the National Institutes of Health celebrates National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week, an opportunity to address common misinformation about drugs and alcohol, particularly among teens. Below are some of the most common myths— read on to test your knowledge or to brush up on the facts before sharing them with the teenager in your life!


MYTH: Vaping doesn’t pose any risks to your health.
FACT:
Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, just like regular cigarettes. Nicotine is not only addictive, but also has been shown to harm the developing brain, including the parts that control attention, mood, learning, and impulse control. In addition, in 2020, there was an outbreak of e-cigarette or vaping-use associated lung injury (EVALI) caused by THC-containing vaping products, which led to dozens of deaths. Other possible long-term effects of vaping are yet to be known.

MYTH: There are ways to “sober up” quickly if necessary.
FACT: Coffee, cold showers, greasy food, you name it— none of them will help get the alcohol out of your system. Alcohol gets absorbed fairly quickly into the bloodstream, and the only thing that will lower the amount of alcohol in your bloodstream is time. It takes about one to two hours for your liver to break down the amount of alcohol in a standard drink (1 beer, 1 glass of wine, or 1 shot). The specific time depends on your weight and other biological factors, but there isn’t anything that can speed up this process.

MYTH: Marijuana isn’t addictive.
FACT: While less addictive than alcohol or drugs like cocaine, marijuana can in fact be addictive. Around 1 in 10 adults who use marijuana get addicted to it, and these odds go up to 1 in 6 if you use it before the age of 18.

MYTH: Prescription drugs must be safe— a doctor wouldn’t prescribe them if they weren’t.
FACT: Actually, since 2003, more people have overdosed on prescription pain medications like OxyContin and Vicodin than on heroin and cocaine combined. With prescription drugs, the context you take them in matters. Otherwise, it can still be considered drug abuse.

MYTH: Once you’re addicted, you’re addicted for life.
FACT: There are plenty of effective treatments available for addiction. A good place to start is by calling the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357). This is a free, confidential information service available 24 hours a day to refer you to local treatment facilities, support groups, community-based organizations, and other resources.

If you have more questions about this topic, please feel free to call the clinic at (901) 306-5433 to schedule an appointment. As always, stay healthy and stay safe!

—The Wellness & Stress Clinic Team

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Sleep Awareness Week

This was the week of your dreams! From March 14-20th, Sleep Awareness week was celebrated in 2021! We hope you got out your pillows and took this opportunity to learn about the importance of maintaining your sleep routine and prioritizing your sleep health. 

History of this event: 

In 1998, the National Sleep Foundation launched a public education campaign to help people learn more about the essential practice of sleep. This campaign transformed into Sleep Awareness Week which always takes place around the daylight saving transition. The goal of this campaign is to encourage the public to prioritize and pay attention to their sleep health and wellbeing. We all need sleep, and it can have major health effects. 

Elements to consider with SLEEP: 

S- Structure. Establish a regular sleep routine and stick to it.

L- Light. Spend more time with natural light. Natural light will help you feel rejuvenated throughout the day and will help you stay awake.

E- Electronics. Limit the amount of time you spend on electronics before bedtime. Try turning off all electronics one hour before bed to help improve sleep quality.

E- Exercise.  Regular physical activity is super important and will help you sleep. It will increase your fatigue and also release stress that might keep you up at night. 

P- Priority. Your sleep is sacred. Prioritize its importance and try not to push it aside. It will help your mood and energy each day. 

How can I participate in Sleep Awareness Week? 

  1. Social Media: 
  • Use the hashtags: #CelebrateSleep #SleepAwarenessWeek #CelebrateYourSleepHealt
  • Tag: 

Facebook: @nationalsleepfoundation

Twitter: @sleepfoundation

Instagram: @sleepfoundation

LinkedIn: @nationalsleepfoundation

  1. Download and post: 

Banners: Download Digital Banners

Logos: Download Sleep Awareness Week 2021 Logos 

Media Resources:  Download Social Media Resources

If you have any questions about good sleep practices, or need help caring for a loved one, please call the clinic at (901) 306-5433 to schedule an appointment. As always, stay safe and healthy!

-Wellness and Stress Clinic Team

¿Hablas español? We’re adding Spanish-language support services.

The Wellness and Stress Clinic of Memphis was created to help uninsured people in Memphis get the medical support they need for free. Our weekly clinic has grown to include a number of support services that would be very expensive to access for the average person, including social work, legal counseling, emotional fitness assessments and educational programming.

We built our model with access in mind. So when we expand our programs, we do so with the goal of increasing access to members of our community. This is why the Wellness and Stress Clinic of Memphis is excited to soon offer Spanish translation service. With the help of community translators, our Spanish-speaking neighbors will now have access to our free medical, legal, emotional fitness health and social support services.

We will soon offer translation support during specific Monday clinics. Check back with us soon for more information! Once we announce the dates, Spanish speakers should schedule an appointment by calling 901-306-LIFE (5433) to reserve their place. 

Any client who has an appointment with our clinic will start by going through a simple screening with a social worker. The social worker will take down important information that will help our medical, legal and educational volunteers know what services to provide. Then, the client will meet with the professional volunteers who can help address their specific needs. While the service providers will be speaking English in most cases, the translators will be there to help Spanish-speaking clients go through our process.

Why is having translation services important in Memphis? 

According to Latino Memphis, immigrants make up just over 5% of the Memphis population. Their contributions to our community are large. Economically, people born outside of the United States contributed more than $4.2 billion to the Memphis Metro Area’s GDP in 2015. Immigrants are our neighbors, peers, coworkers and friends.

While not all immigrants are Spanish speakers, many in Memphis are. Mexico is the most common birth country for immigrants in Memphis – nearly one third of our immigrant population is from Mexico. So there is an apparent need for Spanish social services in Memphis. There are also many American-born people whose first language is Spanish. Providing service to people whose native language is Spanish is important for increasing access to social services. 

There are many great clinics in Memphis that provide low-cost primary medical care and Spanish-language services. But there are very few that provide free medical care, and other support services, to uninsured people. Our Spanish-speaking neighbors who are uninsured or simply under-insured, deserve access to these programs

If you or someone you love needs primary medical care, legal counseling, emotional fitness assessments or social support, encourage them to connect with us. We look forward to seeing them soon!

Save Your Vision Month

It’s been said that the eyes are the windows to the soul— whether that’s true or not, they’re definitely our windows to the world around us. The American Optometric Association has designated March National Save Your Vision Month to promote eye health awareness. This March, we’re looking at 5 things you can do now to protect your vision in the long term.

  1. Get a comprehensive eye exam yearly.
    If possible, get an exam that includes eye dilation, which can detect many common eye diseases not long after their onset, including glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and age-related macular degeneration. These conditions don’t typically have any warning signs, so you may not otherwise know you have them until they have significantly progressed.
  1. Follow the 20-20-20 rule.
    With all the time we’ve spent using digital devices in the past year, many of us may feel our eyes getting weaker. One way to combat eye fatigue and digital eyestrain is the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, look 20 feet away from you for 20 seconds.
  2. Wear protective eyewear.
    This includes sunglasses, which can help delay the formation of cataracts and prevent retinal damage. Not all sunglasses are created equal, so make sure you’re wearing sunglasses that block 100% of UV-A and UV-B rays. It’s also important to wear goggles, safety shields, and eye guards whenever you’re doing an activity that requires it, such as sports or home repairs. For many jobs, too, proper eyewear is a daily requirement.
  1. Maintain a healthy diet.
    You probably already know about carrots, which are rich in beta-carotene that your body uses to make Vitamin A. Dark leafy greens like spinach and collard greens also contribute to good eye health, since they are rich in vitamins C and E as well as several minerals and antioxidants. The omega-3 fatty acids found in seafood can also help protect your vision, specifically against age-related macular degeneration.
  1. Know your family history of eye health.
    Many eye conditions (such as cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, and even near- and farsightedness) appear to have at least some genetic basis, so if someone in your family has an eye disease, you may be at an increased risk. Sharing this information with your healthcare provider can lead to an early diagnosis and treatment. For more tips and information on how to obtain a family history, check out the blog post we made for National Family Health History Day.

If you’d like to talk about your eye health or schedule a vision screening, please call the clinic at (901) 306-5433 to make an appointment. As always, stay healthy and stay safe!

—The Wellness & Stress Clinic Team

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“Be in the Know!” Series–March 16th via Zoom from 5:30-6:30pm

The Wellness and Stress Clinic of Memphis is offering a free Zoom lecture series called “Be in the Know!” Each week, health professionals and community leaders will offer important information to help you become a healthier, stronger YOU in 2021. You could also become the lucky recipient of a $100 Wal-Mart gift card, because TWO will be given away at each lecture. Registration is open now! Join us next week from 5:30-6:30pm via the zoom link below!If you have additional questions or want to know more about the free health care we provide to uninsured people in Memphis, please call the Wellness and Stress Clinic of Memphis at (901) 306-5433 or visit us on Facebook, Instagram, and our website at wellness901.org.https://tinyurl.com/beintheknowzoomhttps://wellness901.org/2021/02/04/be-in-the-know-series/

March is Brain Injury Awareness Month


March is here, and so is brain injury awareness month!  Nationally, brain injury awareness month has been led by the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA).  This is a public awareness campaign dedicated to de-stigmatizing brain injury, empowering those who have survived their injury, and commending their caregivers. 

Quick facts on brain injury: 

  • Every nine seconds someone in the US substance a brain injury
  • There are two types of brain injury classifications: 
  1. Acquired Brain Injury (ABI)- a more general category for any injury to the brain that is not hereditary, congenital, degenerative, or induced by birth trauma
  2. Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)– caused by trauma to the brain by external force.
  • 5.3 million Americans live with TBI related disabilities. That is 1 in every 60 people

Brain injury can be caused by different things: 

For ABI related disabilities, the most common causes are: 

  • Electrical shock 
  • Infectious disease 
  • Lightining strick 
  • Hypoxia (oxygen deprivation) 
  • Toxic Exposure 
  • Vehicle accidents 
  • Seizure Disorder 
  • Trauma 
  • Substance abuse/ overdose
  • Stroke

For TBI  related disabilities, the most common causes include: 

  • Fall
  • Physical strike/ force by something
  • Motor Vehicles 

What do I do if I experience a brain injury? 

  1. Go to a doctor. There are both server and mild brain injuries. Major brain injury can look like bruising, torn tissue, or bleeding. While, some more mild brain injury may be more subtle. Symptoms can include headache, nausea, and vomiting. It is always safest to check with a doctor. (https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/traumatic-brain-injury/symptoms-causes/syc-20378557 )
  2. The doctor will likely ask questions regarding your specific brain injury in order to assess the severity of damage. Such questions will be: How did the injury occur? Did the person lose consciousness? What part of the head was struck? 
  3. From there, imaging tests may take place. Two most common imaging types to get a stagnant image of the brain are CAT scans and MRI. This will help the doctor with diagnosis

This year’s theme for brain injury awareness month  is More Than My Brain Injury

This theme emphasizes that brain injury is a chronic condition. We want to reduce stigmas. By showcasing and understanding the diversity of brain injury, we can help increase the awareness of these conditions and honor the families and caregivers supporting people dealing with brain injury. 

How can I help? 

Join the awareness efforts! 

References: 

If you have any questions about brain injury, or need help caring for a loved one, please call the clinic at (901) 306-5433 to schedule an appointment. As always, stay safe and healthy!

-Wellness and Stress Clinic Team