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Posts in Mental Health

Dad waving to son during a video chat

Great Hope in the Midst of This Pandemic

April 8, 2020

We work hard to be in control of our lives. We have work plans, summer plans, retirement plans, house plans, yard plans, educational plans, worship plans, childcare plans and on and on. We are used to small interruptions in our plans that come from weather, or illness, or traffic jams. We are not used to dealing with the mighty disruption that a worldwide Pandemic has created. This is a whole new ballgame with new rules that are being created day by day. It is upsetting, mind-boggling, overwhelming, and at times downright frightening. We are all being challenged to let go of normalcy more...Continue Reading

Older woman looking at her cell phone and smiling

6 Practical Steps to Manage Stress

April 7, 2020

Manage your stress. It's great advice, but difficult at any time—and the COVID-19 outbreak makes the idea of managing stress an even taller order. Concern about your own health and the health of loved ones, coupled with an overwhelming amount of information about events around the world just add to the stress. Two major stress hormones, cortisol and adrenaline, can weaken the immune system. So learning to manage stress can support and boost the immune system to help keep you as healthy as possible is perhaps more important now than ever. Here are six practical steps you can take to manage the...Continue Reading

Woman sitting up in bed, stretching to wake up

Boost Your Immune System with a Good Night's Sleep

April 6, 2020

A good night's sleep is always important for a healthy immune system. The COVID-19 outbreak, though, has caused many a sleepless night for some. Sleep is a major time of repair, rebuilding, and processing for your body. Not getting enough sleep can negatively impact both your immune system and your emotional resilience. Here's some practical advice to help you get a good night's sleep: Try to establish a sleep routine : Going to bed at about the same time, getting up at the same time, and getting the same amount of sleep each night. For most, seven to eight hours of sleep is optimal. Exercise...Continue Reading

Man wearing earbuds and relaxing with his eyes closed in the woods

Mindfulness: Challenging Thoughts

April 3, 2020

We can have a lot of anxious thoughts on our good days. Add a Pandemic and our thoughts can really reach a peak. Like our reaction to the Coronavirus, we want to use all of our tools to get the peak back down. One of the ways we can do it is by challenging our very own thoughts. Have you ever had the thought in the past that, "This day will never ever end?" Well it did end. You got through it. You probably have gotten through lots of challenges in your life that you were not sure you would get through. The thought that this day will never end is just a thought. We can challenge our irrational...Continue Reading

Family reading in the park

Spring is Actually Here

April 2, 2020

In the midst of very real concerns about the many different ways the Coronavirus is interfering with "life as usual," Spring has arrived. All around us nature is going on as it does and the Winter has turned to Spring. It is lovely outside. The temperature is slowly getting warmer and the flowering plants are bursting into color. And many of us are missing it. We are more or less "in our heads" (more than usual) thinking about all of the things that we think about normally plus a host of additional concerns. We are worried about our children, our parents, our patients, our jobs, our...Continue Reading

Peaceful mountainside with a bench and path leading into the distance

Dealing with Uncertainty

April 2, 2020

by Rev. Dr. Chris Mason, Chaplaincy Program Coordinator at Augusta Health Uncertainty is a word that comes up often in regards to COVID-19. There is uncertainty about our health, the health of family and friends, economic and financial means, and probably some other areas of uncertainty as well. Uncertainty is one of those words that may conjure up feelings of apprehension, stress and anxiety for you, but here are a few important things to understand about our feelings in the midst of uncertainty. First, whatever you are feeling right now is completely understandable and normal. Second, we...Continue Reading

Nurse listening to a young girl's lungs, girl has a stethoscope too

Mindfulness: Remember Who We Are

April 1, 2020

As we continue down this new and unfamiliar path let us reflect on who we are and how we came to be here. We are all dedicated to the work of helping and healing and empowering others. We are all dedicated to serving the needs of the people who live in our communities. We are by our very nature supportive, generous and loving to others. We all have our different areas of strength and together we do amazing work. The work we are doing in every corner of this hospital is already helping people manage this difficult time with less suffering. These next days and weeks will pose all kinds of...Continue Reading

Storm clouds gathering over a mountain

Mindfulness: Dealing with the Enormity of it all

March 30, 2020

We can see it coming from the top of the hill. We know it's going to hit us. We don't know exactly when or from which direction. We don't know who it will impact and how bad it will be. The unknown paired with the realities that we have already heard about in parts of the US and in other parts of the world can feel overwhelming. But take heart in what we do know: We know that at every level our staff is doing absolutely everything we can do to prepare for different scenarios. We do know that we are meeting the needs of people who are in the hospital and we are screening people who need to be...Continue Reading

dad and daughter washing hands together

Mindful Hand Washing

March 27, 2020

We are all washing our hands like crazy these days for very good reasons. We may already have a mindfulness ritual around washing our hands like washing for 20 seconds. Perhaps we have a favorite song that we sing (out loud or silently) that lasts the proper number of seconds to assure that we have killed all of the germs that we may have picked up on the door knob or the stapler. But if you'd like something other than, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star x 2, you might want to consider some other options. There is a mindfulness practice that has been around for over 2500 years called Loving Kindness...Continue Reading

Woman hugging her dog

Mindfulness with our Beloved Pets and other Animals

March 26, 2020

The practice of mindfulness involves, "Paying attention to something, in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally." Jon Kabat-Zinn. Paying close attention to a beloved pet mindfully can give us a much needed break from the anxious thoughts that we may be experiencing. Many of us have a cat or a dog or another animal that we love tremendously. In times of stress they can provide great comfort. By tuning in to them in different ways we can maximize that experience. For example most dogs and some cats absolutely love to be brushed or combed and their sheer joy can...Continue Reading