Winter is the time of year we love to keep cozy, spend time with family and friends, and eat lots of good food. For some though, it can be a time of increased sadness. Comfort food is more often consumed along with decreased physical activity, which can lead to low mood and energy, increasing the risk of depression. Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D) affects more than half a million Americans each year and is a recognized form of clinical depression, commonly referred to as the “winter blues” or “winter depression.” Stressful life events, family history, or other emotional issues may contribute to S.A.D. Women are more commonly reported to have S.A.D. However, it may occur with anyone, regardless of age or gender. winter blues
Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder
Recognizing the symptoms is the first step in seeking the proper treatment. Symptoms can vary from person to person and range from mild to severe, usually occurring between the months of September and April. People generally experience more severe symptoms between the months of December and February.
Symptoms typically include:
Scientists believe vitamin D deficiency due to lack of sunlight may be one of the causes of S.A.D. This is because of vitamin D deficiency preventing a part of the brain, known as the hypothalamus, from working properly. In turn, the disruption in the function of the hypothalamus leads to an imbalance in circadian rhythms. When circadian rhythms are out of balance, melatonin and serotonin levels can be affected.
People with S.A.D have been noted as having higher levels of melatonin, causing sleep disturbances and fatigue. Serotonin (the happy hormone) levels may decrease due to this lack of sleep, causing mood disturbances. So, what are some ways we can combat this? Consider the following natural remedies.
Natural Remedies to Beat the “Winter Blues” (or S.A.D) winter blues
If you’re interested in further support with mood, diet, and lifestyle changes, Makin Wellness offers a holistic, integrative approach to therapy and nutritional counseling. Encompassing mind, body, and spirit, we give consideration to the whole person. Contact us today for a free 15-minute consultation ! winter blues
About Makin Wellness
Founded in 2017, Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy & coaching centers located in Downtown Pittsburgh and Downtown New Kensington. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again. Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction, trauma, medical marijuana assited treatment and relationship counseling. M
“The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention. When mindfulness embraces someone, they will bloom like a flower.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
What is mindfulness? To be mindful is to be focused, having an awareness of yourself, others, and your surroundings. It is enjoying the moment. Our thoughts may shift momentarily to the past or future, but with mindfulness we are able to bring our focus back to the present. In being mindful, we give consideration to the present needs of ourselves and others, helping promote a peaceful environment. Thus, we can have more meaningful connections with others. It’s also helpful in making the most of our time.
Time off of work. Time spent with loved ones. Time to rest. Time to EAT! It’s that time of year when we’re especially thinking of how we’re going to be spending our time, what leisure activities we’ll be engaging in, and of course, what we’re going to be eating. With it being the holiday season, grocery stores offer an array of sweets and meal ideas. How can you know which ones to choose? Mindful eating
Whether you’ll be cooking or enjoying the fruits of someone else’s labor, being mindful of your food choices will make for a healthier, happier time off of work and a more enjoyable time spent with loved ones. After all, who wants to be stuck with an upset stomach from overindulging, instead of enjoying time off? So what does mindful eating entail?
Like mindfulness, mindful eating involves an awareness and being in tune with yourself, your body, and how you’re feeling. Taking account of how you’re feeling enables better decision making when it comes to food choices. Having an awareness and being in tune with your body helps to avoid eating on autopilot. Instead of eating out of habit, it’s eating out of choice. Moving our minds to the present helps us make better choices, since we surely can’t make choices in the past or future.
In being present and mindful, we can stay in tune with our feelings. Take note of when you’re feeling hungry and when you’re feeling full. Honor your hunger by eating when you feeling hungry, and stopping when you feel full. Consider the following simple tips and tools you can use in eating more mindfully. Mindful eating
Mindful Eating Tips:
Following these simple tips promotes healthy digestion and overall wellness, helping you have a more enjoyable time over your holiday. We hope you have lots of time to rest, relax, and rejuvenate while making meaningful connections with others during your time off! Mindful eating
If you’re interested in further support with diet and lifestyle changes, Makin Wellness offers a holistic approach to nutritional counseling, encompassing mind, body, and spirit, giving consideration to the whole person. Contact us for a free 15-minute consultation and start your wellness journey today!
About Makin Wellness
Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy & coaching centers located in Downtown Pittsburgh and Downtown New Kensington. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again. Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction, trauma, medical marijuana assited treatment and relationship counseling. Mindful eating
Mental illness is becoming more and more common among all ages. According to the World Health Organization, over 450 million suffer from mental illness worldwide. Suicide rates have increased by 60% in the last 45 years, with 90% having a diagnosable mental disorder. Anxiety disorders, depression and mood disorders like bipolar disorder have similarities, yet require different treatments. A person with depression often has some type of anxiety, while a person with anxiety often shows some symptoms of depression.
Brain health plays an integral part in all types of mental disorders. Bipolar disorder in particular, is unique in comparison to anxiety and depression. Manic episodes of bipolar may include high energy, reduced need for sleep, and loss of touch with reality. Depressive episodes of bipolar may include low energy, decreased motivation, and loss of interest in daily activities. Treatment typically is lifelong, involving a combination of medication and psychotherapy. Lets look further at the causes and complexities of this disorder. bipolar disorder
Most researchers agree there are physical and environmental factors that contribute to bipolar disorder. While a person may have been born with a predisposition, for many a stressful life event or upbringing triggers the illness. Studies show a low or high level of a particular neurotransmitter such as serotonin, norepinephrine or dopamine is involved in mood disorders – affecting the overall balance of how these chemicals work together. Stress levels also play a role with increasing stress causing cortisol levels to rise. In turn, these high cortisol levels alter brain function and communication.
The Prechter Bipolar Research Program at the University of Michigan performed a study which found more people with bipolar disorder have a history of childhood trauma than those without the disorder. These traumas were associated with changes in self-control and attention. Childhood traumas such as emotional abuse or neglect has shown to affect mood, impulse control, cognitive function, and feelings of self-worth – all of which are associated with bipolar disorder. bipolar disorder
The study showed higher levels of saturated fats had an association between certain levels of fat molecules in the blood and mood. Patients taking an antipsychotic also showed less diversity of microbes in the gastrointestinal tract. Bad microbes in the gut can create gut inflammation, which may cause depression and other brain ailments and imbalances. It has been noted that those who have daily mood swings have food allergies or hypoglycemia. With brain health being so dependent on gut health, it is essential to provide the body with proper nutrients to provide greater harmony between mind and body. Lets look further at some alternative treatments to support mental health and overall brain health. bipolar disorder
Dr. Drew Ramsey, author of “50 Shades of Kale,” says omega 3’s, vitamin D, B vitamins, zinc, iron, and magnesium all play a vital role in brain health. Ramsey notes that kale provides 134% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C, 684% of vitamin K, 206% of vitamin A, and more. It is of utmost importance to eat nutrient rich foods to help support a healthy gut such as, cruciferous vegetables, bananas, beans, artichokes, blueberries, polenta, kimchee, saurkraut and tempeh. Slow digesting foods that are high in fiber such as beans, oats, brown rice, and other fruits and vegetables are all supportive to brain health. Folic acid, B12, and glutathione has shown to be deficient in manic depressive patients. Diet changes, supplementation, and alternative treatments can be used in conjunction with other therapies. Bipolar disorder can be successfully managed through a strong support system, psychotherapy, and lifestyle changes. It is always best to discuss any treatments with your health care provider. Consider some practical ways to support mental health.
Tips to Support Mental Health
If you or someone you know is struggling with anxiety, depression, or other mood disturbances, contact Makin Wellness today for a free 15 minute consultation! Our services include a holistic approach of cognitive behavioral therapy, nutritional counseling, and life coaching.
About Makin Wellness
Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy & coaching centers located in Downtown Pittsburgh and Downtown New Kensington. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again. Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction, trauma, medical marijuana assited treatment and relationship counseling. bipolar disorder
Women tend to be thought of as less likely than men to develop addiction. The gender gap is closing though, with statistics showing 4.5 million women having issues with substance abuse, 3.5 million misusing prescription drugs, and 3.1 million regularly using illicit drugs. According to the CDC, women are more likely to have chronic pain and be prescribed painkillers at higher doses, becoming more dependent than men. Why is there an increase in addiction in women? Consider some of the triggers.addiction
Triggers of addiction in women include chronic inflammatory pain like fibromyalgia, stress, exposure to trauma, interpersonal violence, low self-esteem, and social pressures. Women are at high risk for developing PTSD due to traumatic life events, such as sexual abuse and physical attacks, and unfortunately may turn to drugs in seeking relief from this emotional trauma.
Previous blog posts on depression and mental health noted the way women process emotions differently, partly due to brain chemistry. Women are more likely than men to revisit negative emotions and replay events in their mind. In efforts to manage intolerable emotions, women may try to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol. Consider another factor related to addiction in women and the important role of hormones. addiction
Hormone imbalance affects motivation, energy, and stress levels. According to drugabuse.com, a study done at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai showed higher estrogen intensifies the brains dopamine reward pathway, creating increased pleasurable feelings. When a woman has higher estrogen and takes a drug, more enjoyment is experienced. Thus, the high is associated with greater enjoyment.
Progesterone – the hormone that prepares the body for pregnancy and regulates the monthly menstrual cycle – has shown to lower drug seeking behaviors. When progesterone levels fall estrogen becomes the dominant hormone, making a woman more susceptible to drug abuse. Researchers noted when people struggling with addiction are given progesterone, the hormone plays a therapeutic role in reducing smoking and cocaine use. addiction
Oxytocin, otherwise known as the “love hormone” is a powerful hormone known to promote maternal and stress reducing behaviors. Oxytocin is released as a nursing mother bonds with her baby and during intercourse. It has also been shown to be released during hugging, helping to decrease stress hormones. In healthy relationships, oxytocin promotes bonding and trust. Therefore, in efforts to recover from addiction, healthy loving relationships are essential. Studies suggest oxytocin therapy may be helpful in reducing drug-seeking behavior and preventing relapse.
Women are encouraged to be maternal, professional, in control, feminine, and conform to idealized beauty standards. Influences of social media, with terms like “mommy needs wine” or “mommy juice” is celebrated as a way to cope with the stress of motherhood.
Instead of turning to alcohol for relief, choosing nutritious meals, making time for exercise, and spending quality time with loved ones will boost mental health, help to balance hormones, and improve overall wellness. The comparison trap social media presents is dangerous for anyone battling addiction. In seeking to find ways to cope, it is vital for women to feel loved through a positive support system.
Steps to Recovery
Acknowledgement – Recognizing and acknowledging there is a problem is the first important step to recovery.
Consideration – Considering the impact addiction has on your life, friends, and family is necessary in taking action.
Exploring Recovery Options – Consulting with friends and family can help provide needed support to move in the direction best suited to your individual needs.
Early Recovery – Learning coping skills and making changes are essential in this stage. Having a support group and other resources will help prevent relapse.
Long-term Recovery – In this stage of recovery, addicts have overcome a great deal. It is important to keep in mind that it takes a continuous life long effort to guard against relapse. Keeping a strong support system and being alert to triggers is paramount. It is a journey that requires a total transformation of mind, body, and spirit.
If you or someone you know is suffering from addiction, please contact us to schedule a free initial consultation and get connected with Pittsburgh’s best therapists. We can help you find the resources and support you need in your journey to recovery!
About Makin Wellness :
Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy and coaching centers located in Downtown , Pittsburgh and New Kensington, PA. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again. Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction and relationship counseling .
Professional women hold more roles than meets the eye. Mother. Wife. Caretaker. Laundress. Cook. Housekeeper. Nurse. Car detailer. Teacher. Counselor. And the list goes on. Women wear many hats indeed. Whether a parent or not, women take on many tasks unrelated to work. Adding a part time or full time job to parenting will leave you feeling like a juggler in no time. It’s been said that, “A woman’s work is never done.” Work life balance can become a particular challenge for women. This is especially true if caring for children along with elderly parents. women
Women not only struggle to balance work and family life, they also have additional pressure to prove they’re as good as men in the workplace. According to theguardian.com, due to cultural and societal traditions and expectations, women may face discrimination and harassment. Women’s mental health and well-being may also be affected by lower income, lower status, insufficient benefits, or childcare concerns. While mental health is important for overall health in men and women, mental health conditions like anxiety and depression are shown to be higher in women than men.
A long day of work is physically and mentally draining for anyone. With the extra pressures women encounter, it’s no wonder they’re left feeling drained by the end of the day. There are other issues that are specific to women and their mental health. Things like physical changes and the way women process events compared to men are important when considering how their mental health is affected. women
Women experience many physical changes throughout life, which has a large impact on their mental health. Hormonal changes, pregnancy, and menopause are all contributing factors that affect a woman’s mental health. The changes a woman’s body goes through may cause many discomforts. Pregnancy or other hormonal changes may cause things such as headaches, tiredness, mood swings, irritability, forgetfulness, or difficulty focusing. Fatigue and stress may increase these symptoms. Finding ways to balance hormones is key to minimizing these health concerns, as hormonal issues can affect physical and mental health.
Eating disorders are also shown to be common in young women due to societal pressures such as body image. This not only may cause a number of serious physical problems, but can also contribute to anxiety and depression.
The Way Women Process Emotions
Women have been shown to dwell on stressful events and remember details more vividly than men. This may be due to the fact that women’s limbic systems are larger than men’s. It makes sense that women are known to be more in touch with and expressive of emotions, since the limbic system is the center for emotional responsiveness, motivation, memory, formation and integration, and olfaction (sense of smell). It’s the limbic system that is responsible for emotional memory, causing us to connect a certain smell with a past memory.
The limbic system is closely connected to the prefrontal cortex. The prefrontal cortex is responsible for planning complex cognitive behavior, personality expression, decision making, and moderating social behavior. This prefrontal-limbic connection is said to be strengthened by practicing mindfulness. These particular systems are of clinical relevance to a psychotherapist; therefore a professional counselor can be helpful in providing support through cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness practices.
Due to having a larger limbic system, women may spend more time discussing a stressful event in more detail, thinking about it longer, and quite possibly making it more difficult to let go of negative emotions due to revisiting emotional memories more than males. According to psychologytoday.com, females are said to “absorb more sensorial and emotive information than males.” Meaning, women sense information from all five senses of what is going on around them, while also retaining that information more than males.
What Can Be Done to Support Women’s Mental Health in the Workplace?
Managers and other leaders can take some of the pressure off by being open about the issue of mental health. Hence, creating a culture where it is acceptable to communicate openly about it and provide resources to find the needed help. Employees who feel comfortable talking about it are less likely to wait until they are in a mental health crisis.
Mental health should be as much of a priority as physical health, having it checked regularly. Corporate health programs help employees by assessing and finding resources to support mental health; thus benefitting both the organization and the well-being of employees. women
Tips to Minimize Anxiety and Stress to Restore Mind-Body Balance:
If you are having difficulty managing work-life balance and want to process the underlying reasons with a trustworthy professional, schedule a free initial consultation with us to get connected with Pittsburgh’s best therapists!
About Makin Wellness :
Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy and coaching centers located in Downtown , Pittsburgh and New Kensington, PA. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again. Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction and relationship counseling.
As many of you already know, exercise so important for the body and your health. But did you know that exercise has fantastic benefits psychologically as well? Many of you are familiar with that that incredible feeling you get immediately when you’re done exercising.
That experience is your brain oozing dopamine. Dopamine is the feel good chemical that your brain produces and releases during sex, exercise, eating and other enjoyable activities. This differs from person to person. For instance, one who enjoys hiking will release lots of dopamine , where is someone who doesn’t enjoy it will not be releasing that chemical.
One who is really stressed out or depressed is probably not releasing enough dopamine. Exercise is one of the easiest and fastest ways of releasing dopamine and feeling better. Other things you can do to help to improve your mood are laughing, playing with a love the pet, or even thinking about anything that’s pleasurable for you. Dopamine is the chemical that makes you feel happy , so be sure to exercise consistently in order to experience that release of dopamine often.
Exercising is also an amazing way to reduce your stress as well. Many people who are stressed out or angry find a great relief and working out and channel that energy into their work out. This is a great way to release a lot of negative emotion. If you experience a lot of stress or anxiety, consider making exercise a part of your self-care routine.
So now you know that working out can help you feel happier and reduces stress. Another great benefit from exercising is increased confidence. You can hit up Gold’s gym before or after a session at Makin Wellness if you are looking for a gym Downtown! If you are interested in personal training, AMP fitness has extremely talented trainers. You don’t need a research study to show that those who exercise more often tend to be more confident . Stay consistent with working out will increase your confidence is well!