Let it Snow! Learn how cold weather can affect your health:

Skin: 

Jack frost nipping at your nose?  The windy weather and dropping temperature can dry out your skin. This can be strenuous for someone with eczema. What you can do is moisturize your skin. Try showering in warm water, not hot water. For hot water can further dry out your skin. The warm water will give your skin a chance to replenish and moisturize. Drinking water will also help you stay hydrated and prevent flakey skin. 

Balance: 

Although those snowy sidewalks and misty mornings look beautiful, they can be very icey. Watch your step as surfaces covered in ice can make you lose your balance. It makes falling easier, and puts you at risk for fractures. Be careful! Make sure you wear appropriate snow boots with grip and use handrails. 

Heart:

The cold weather can be a vasoconstrictor, meaning that the cold can narrow blood vessels which can raise your risk of chest pain or heart attack. What can you do? Bundle up and try avoiding strenuous activities in the cold weather. 

Immune System: 

Although cold weather itself doesn’t cause the flu and colds, it does bring people together. The cold weather outside drives a lot of people together inside in public spaces. This causes more people to come into close contact and increases the spreadability of a virus. The solution is simple:  wash your hands and get a flu shot. If you feel sick and contagious, take off work.  It will help prevent the spread of unwanted illnesses. 

Asthma: 

Dry cold weather can irritate asthma. It narrows airways and can increase your chances of an asthma attack. What you can do to prevent from this: Avoid exercise outside and keep an inhaler nearby. 

If you have any questions about health during the winter months, please call the clinic at (901) 306-5433 to schedule an appointment. As always, stay safe and healthy!

-Wellness and Stress Clinic Team

Resources: 

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/how-does-cold-weather-affect-your-health

https://signaturemd.com/concierge-physicians/concierge-physician-blog/how-cold-weather-affects-your-body/

Healthy New Year’s Resolutions You’ll Actually Keep

2021 is here, and for many, the start of a new year gives us the motivation we need to make healthy changes in our lives. Whether you enjoy the tradition of New Year’s resolutions or prefer setting new goals for yourself at any time of the year, improving your health can seem like a daunting task— but it doesn’t have to be.

To make sure you don’t abandon your resolutions after a month or two, make sure you’re setting SMART goals: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. This technique is a great way to keep yourself focused and accountable so that you can achieve your goals. Let’s look at some examples of SMART resolutions to make 2021 your healthiest year yet:

  1. Drink more water: If you’re simply trying to up your intake, you can set an hourly goal for yourself, like drinking 1 glass of water every hour between 9 am and 5 pm. Another great way to do this is to replace your usual daily soda or second or third coffee with a glass of water— this way, you can cut back on sugar and stay hydrated at the same time!
  2. Reduce screen time: Now, more than ever, we depend on our phones, computers, and TVs for both work and entertainment, which is why it’s increasingly important to take some intentional time off. Set a goal to spend no more than 30 minutes on social media daily and use your phone’s screen time feature to hold yourself accountable. Alternatively, you can build screen-free time into your daily routine, like putting your electronics in a separate room an hour before you go to bed.
  3. Eat more fruits and vegetables: Both are necessary for you to get the vitamins and minerals you need, and together, they should make up half your plate at each meal (check out our basics of a balanced diet post to learn more!). Set a goal to eat 2 cups of fruit and 2.5 cups of vegetables throughout the day— every meal or snack is an opportunity!
  4. Exercise regularly: If you prefer traditional workouts, you can aim for at least four 30-minute workouts weekly. That’s not the only way to get exercise, though. If you find yourself sitting most of the day, you can start taking a 5-minute walk every two hours (walking is a great cardio exercise!).
  5. Get more sleep: Sleep is essential for good health. Setting a bedtime for yourself and following that schedule every night helps regulate your body’s clock so that you can fall asleep faster and sleep better. How much sleep you need can vary from person to person, but most adults should get at least 7 hours per night.


Wanting to improve your health is a great decision that you should be proud of yourself for taking. If you choose to focus on any of the goals above, don’t forget to modify them as needed to make them attainable and relevant for you. Happy New Year, and as always, stay healthy and stay safe!

–The Wellness and Stress Clinic Team

Sources:

Health Literacy

October is Health Literacy Month, and even without knowing what that means, you likely already understand the importance of it. Not only that— if you’re reading this right now, you’re already actively taking steps to improve your health literacy.

Are you now curious about what this term means? The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services defines personal health literacy as “the degree to which individuals have the ability to find, understand, and use information and services to inform health-related decisions and actions for themselves and others.” In other words, health literacy describes your comfort level with the healthcare system and with your health. When you’re sick, having a limited health literacy can make an already-stressful situation even more overwhelming, and it can have very real consequences for your health.

Healthcare organizations and providers have a responsibility to make health-related information clear and easy to understand for all of their patients—that’s what they’re there for. However, by taking steps to improve your personal health literacy, you can facilitate communication with your healthcare provider and better equip yourself to make decisions about your health and that of your loved ones. Here are some ways you can do this:

  1. Plan ahead. In the days leading up to your appointment, it may be a good idea to make a list about things you’d like to talk about with your doctor or nurse. Otherwise, it can be easy to forget to bring something up that you were wanting to talk about.
  2. Ask your healthcare providers questions. Don’t be afraid to speak up. You know your body best, so this is your chance to share your concerns. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has developed a Question Builder tool that you can use before your next appointment if you’d like some ideas on questions you should be asking.
  3. Make sure you understand your provider’s instructions. A great strategy for this is to repeat back the instructions to your doctor or nurse, so that they can correct you if you say something that isn’t right. The medical field uses a ton of specialized words that the average person may not understand, so there’s absolutely nothing wrong with asking for clarification.
  4. If it makes you more comfortable, take a friend or family member to your appointments. In addition to putting you at ease, they may ask a question that hadn’t occurred to you, helping you to avoid confusion down the road.
  5. Be aware of your right to an interpreter. If you don’t speak or understand English well, tell your doctor’s office. You have the right to an interpreter at no cost to yourself.
  6. Continue educating yourself about your health. Like I mentioned earlier, if you read this blog, you’re already taking a significant step towards improving your health literacy— keep up the great work!

Have a great rest of the month, and as always, stay healthy and stay safe!

–The Wellness and Stress Clinic Team

Sources:

Respiratory Care Week

This week is Respiratory Care Week, a week dedicated to promoting awareness of lung diseases and recognizing the hard work of respiratory therapists, nurses, and doctors to support lung health. When President Reagan announced the first Respiratory Care Week in 1982, over 17 million Americans were affected by chronic obstructive lung diseases. This number hasn’t gone down much in the past 4 decades, but that can change. Here are some ways you can take care of your lungs and contribute to lowering that number:

  1. Stop (or don’t start) smoking. Cigarette smoke is a significant cause of lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema. COPD is the 4th leading cause of death in the United States, and in 8 out of 10 cases, it’s caused by exposure to cigarette smoke. The good news is that COPD is preventable, and by avoiding smoking, you’re significantly lowering your risk and protecting the people around you from secondhand smoke, which can cause many of the same diseases as first-hand smoke. Once you start smoking, the nicotine in cigarettes makes it hard to quit, but it’s far from impossible, especially with plenty of online resources and support from your healthcare provider, peers, and loved ones.
  2. Exercise. On top of the already-numerous benefits of exercise for building muscle, losing fat, improving your mood, helping you sleep better, and keeping your heart healthy, getting enough physical activity (30 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week) is important for your lung health, too. As you become more fit, your lungs become more efficient at oxygenating your blood and transporting it to the rest of your body. It’s equally important for people with lung disease to exercise, but you should consult with your healthcare provider to make a plan that works for you.
  3. Minimize your exposure to both indoor and outdoor air pollution. Both of these can cause or exacerbate symptoms of respiratory diseases, including asthma, which 25 million Americans currently suffer from. To keep your home safe, keep it smoke-free and test for radon and carbon monoxide regularly. For outdoor air pollution, try to minimize your time outside on days when the Air Quality Index (AQI) is high—this is something you can easily check from your phone’s weather app or from watching the local weather forecast.
  4. Wash your hands and wear a mask. As the weather gets colder and people spend more time indoors, respiratory diseases like the cold, flu, and COVID-19 can spread easily. Now, more than ever, it’s important to practice good hygiene and wash your hands to prevent infection. Keep your distance as much as you can, and when you can’t, be sure to mask up to protect not only yourself but those around you.


Taking steps to improve your own lung health is a wonderful way to celebrate Respiratory Care Week, and of course, if there are any respiratory care workers in your life, be sure to send a “thank you” their way! As always, stay safe and stay healthy!

–Wellness and Stress Clinic Team

Sources:

National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, which is a topic that must be acknowledged and talked about more, as it is a serious issue that occurs everyday. The statistics are unnerving; according to the CDC, intimate partner violence affects more than 12 million people per year. More than 1 in 3 women and more than 1 in 4 men in the United States have experienced physical/sexual violence or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime. Every minute in the US, 20 people are victims of domestic violence. According to the World Health Organization, 8,000,000 paid work days are lost every year by women because of the abuse perpetrated against them by current or former male partners. This loss is equivalent to over 32,000 full-time jobs. And 10,000,000 children are exposed to domestic violence annually. 

Domestic violence affects millions of people each year, and includes physical abuse, stalking, manipulation, coercion, treats, isolation, non-stop texting, and so much more. If you feel afraid of your partner, wonder why they criticize you and put you down, or believe that you deserve to be hurt or mistreated, then you may be a victim of domestic abuse. The chart below from helpguide.org describes the signs that can help you or someone that you may know is in an abusive relationship.

You’re not alone in this, and there is help for people who are in abusive relationships. If you see yourself or others in your life in the chart above, then reach out for help. Talk to the resources below, or call us here (901) 306-5433 at the Wellness and Stress Clinic of Memphis. Talk to a friend, pastor, physician, counselor, or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or visit their website at http://www.thehotline.org/. We believe you, and we’re here for you every step of the way.

Local resources include:

Rape Crisis Center (901) 222 4350

Exchange Club Family Center (901) 276-2200

Family Safety Center of Memphis and Shelby County (901) 222-4400

Memphis Area Legal Services (901) 523-8822

Memphis Area Women’s Council (901) 378-3866

Memphis Child Advocacy Center (901) 525-2377

Memphis Police Department Domestic Violence Investigative Unit (901) 636-3741

Shelby County Crime Victims Services (901) 222-3950

Shelby County District Attorney General’s Domestic Violence Unit (901) 222-1485

Shelby County Sheriff’s Office Domestic Violence Unit (901) 222-4400

Tennessee Department of Children’s Services (901) 578-4371

YWCA of Greater Memphis (901) 725-4277

References:

https://www.breakthecycle.org/blog/it’s-national-domestic-violence-awareness-month

https://www.methodisthealth.org/healthcare-services/employee-assistance-program/for-employees/eap-newsletters/2017/domestic-violence-awareness-month.dot

This Upcoming Monday…

Come by the clinic tomorrow for drive-thru COVID-19 tests (4-5:30) for anyone who wants to get tested and in-person primary care and social work services for the uninsured (6:00-8:00pm). To see a social worker or health care provider you must have an appointment.

Our phones are open from 3-5pm today and all day Monday. Call us at (901) 306-5433.

Managing Type 2 Diabetes

More than 34 million American have diabetes (about 1 in 10), and approximately 90-95% of them have type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that affects the way your body metabolizes sugar, aka glucose. Glucose is an important source of fuel for the body, and if the body cannot metabolize sugar correctly, then you may experience symptoms such as:

  • Increased thirst
  • Fatigue
  • Slow-healing sores
  • Increased hunger
  • Frequent hunger
  • Blurred vision
  • Frequent infections
  • Areas of darkened skin, usually in the armpits and neck

When you have type 2 diabetes, your body either resists the effects of insulin, which is a hormone that regulates the movement of sugar into the cells in your body, or it doesn’t produce enough insulin to maintain normal glucose levels. When your body becomes resistant to insulin or when the pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin, you may start to experience the symptoms above.

If you suspect that you may have developed type 2 diabetes or that you are at risk of developing it due to environmental factors, genetics, and/or lifestyle factors, then it may be time to see a doctor. Type 2 diabetes is usually diagnosed using the:

  • Glycated hemoglobin (A1C) test: This blood test indicates the average blood sugar level for the past 2-3 months. Normal levels are below 5.7%, and a result between 5.7 and 6.4% is considered pre-diabetes, while an A1C 6.5% or higher means that you have diabetes.

To treat and manage type 2 diabetes, you may need to:

  • Lose weight
  • Eat healthily
  • Exercise regularly
  • Possibly include diabetes medication or insulin therapy
  • Monitor your blood sugar

By losing just 5-10% of your body weight, you can make a difference in your A1C because losing weight can lower your blood sugar levels. To do this, you may need to eat fewer calories, fewer refined carbohydrates, fewer foods that contain saturated fats, and more vegetables and fruits, especially those that contain a lot of fiber. Changing your diet plus aiming for 30 to 60 minutes of moderate (or 15 to 30 minutes of vigorous) mixed aerobic exercise and resistance training offers more benefits than either type of exercise alone. Examples of these exercises are:

  • Aerobic: Walking, Dancing, Biking, and Swimming
  • Resistance: Yoga and Weightlifting

If you have any questions about type 2 diabetes, or think that you may have it or be at risk for it, please call the clinic at (901) 306-5433 to schedule an appointment. As always, stay safe and healthy!

-Wellness and Stress Clinic Team

Spreading Kindness

Being kind is not only beneficial for others, but also for yourself! Recent research has shown that both giving and receiving kindness helps promote good health and general well-being. By infusing the community with kindness, you can help create a “ripple effect” that can branch into an entire network of positivity. It may seem hard to spread kindness during the quarantine, but I hope I can give you some ideas about how to create this ripple effect from the comfort of your own home.

  1. Smile
    • Whether you’re quarantining by yourself, with your pets, friends, or family, it will help you to spread kindness!
  2. Express Gratitude
    • Journal your appreciation and admiration, or tell your friends and family members how much you love and care for them!
  3. Act Generously and Give Back
    • Donate to charities, food banks, and people in need during this time. By giving back to the community, you’re spreading kindness and creating the ripple effect of positivity that the world needs right now!
  4. Post Positively
    • If you’re an avid poster (or re-poster), then make sure the content you are sharing is adding to people’s lives and creates a more positive and kind view. By sharing positive content, you’re helping to shape a more positive world.
  5. Practice Self-Kindness
    • Kindness starts with yourself. It’s important to treat yourself with the same love and care that you would treat others with. Take some time for yourself, practice self-love and self-care, and remind yourself that you deserve all of the goodness that the world has to offer.

By using these 5 tips, you can effectively spread kindness to all who need it, including yourself. If you are in need of any health services, please call the clinic at (901) 306-5433. We are open tonight, April 13th, from 5-7:15pm CST and will be offering tele-health appointments. Stay healthy and safe, and remember to help #StopTheSpread by using these tips and through the use of social distancing.

–The Wellness and Stress Clinic Team

Self-Care & COVID-19

Now more than ever is it important to quiet yourself and ask, “What do I need right now?”. Sometimes the answer might be to watch some Netflix and eat some ice cream, and sometimes it might be to journal about your feelings and experiences and cry. It is important to realize that we are going through a collectively traumatic experience, and that not everyone will be able to be as productive as they might have been before the pandemic. Not everyone will be able to do everything that they promised before the pandemic, and that’s okay. What’s most important is to remember that there are people who care about you, and that there are many tools for how to cope throughout this experience, and to know that it won’t last forever.

Here, I will share some helpful self-care options to add to your mental, physical, and emotional toolkit. Not all of these options may work for you, but I hope that this can help you to know that there are ways to help yourself during this time.

Self-care options:

  1. Feel your feelings
    • This can be done by journaling, talking to a trusted professional, loved one, or friend, and even by allowing yourself to sit with the emotions that come up. It may be uncomfortable at first, but it will help you work through the stress and anxiety that may be coming up with the uncertainty that COVID-19 brings.
  2. Go Outside & Move
    • Getting your daily dose of Vitamin D has shown to help mood disorders, such as depression and anxiety disorders. Spending anywhere between 10-30 minutes everyday to every couple of days is sufficient enough, but it depends on your skin tone and whether you are already deficient in Vitamin D. As for movement, it is important to remember to move as much as possible, whether it is to walk your dog outside everyday or to have routine exercises imbedded in your new schedule, whether they’re done inside or outside.
  3. Prioritize Sleep
    • Make sure you’re getting enough sleep every night! Naps are encouraged, being on high-alert is exhausting!
  4. Talk to a Friend/Family Member/Trusted Professional
    • Text/FaceTime/Call anyone you’d like to talk to! Everyone could use a friend right now.
  5. Lean Into Your Happy
    • Do you enjoy having coffee with a friend? Watching movies? Making art? Reading endless amounts of books? Lean into those things! Whatever makes you happy is worth having a spot in your everyday life.

You would be surprised at how helpful it is to add these things into your daily schedule! You deserve happiness, care, and your health. Also, please remember to practice safe social distancing practices during this time to keep others happy and healthy. If you have any health-related questions or concerns, please call the clinic at (901) 306-5433. I hope this helps, stay healthy and safe!

–The Wellness & Stress Clinic Team

CLINIC TELE-HEALTH SERVICES (04/06/2020)


The Wellness and Stress Clinic of Memphis is open today for tele-health appointments and we will be taking calls tonight from 5-7:15pm. If you are a current patient who needs prescription refills, test results, or an appointment, please call the clinic at (901) 306-5433. If you are in need of immediate assistance, please contact EMS. Thank you for your patience during this time, stay safe and healthy!