Before I venture into opinionated territory, my thoughts here are only coming from my own personal experiences in the health and fitness industry for over 25 years.
There was a time when the word “self-improvement” was all the rage, like the word swag, just without all the douchey-ness. It even earned itself a section in bookstores. You could work on your health, your fitness, your relationships, organizational skills, education, and more. I always found myself hanging out in that section. I’m sure some of you will say you’ve never felt the need to self-improve because you love and accept yourself the way you are. That’s awesome. But that has nothing to do with self-improvement.
self-improvement 1. improvement of one’s status, mind, abilities, etc. by one’s own efforts
Note: The definition doesn’t end with the words “because you suck.”
Self-improvement and self-loathing are two very different things. Self-loathing says “I want to change because I hate myself.” Self-improvement says ” I love myself and want to reach my full potential.” I’ve experienced self-loathing, and when I wanted to change (and by change I mean not be myself) I never thought of it as self-improvement.
Self-loathing says “I want to look like the models in a Victoria’s Secret ad because I’ll be beautiful and valuable instead of ugly and worthless.”
That’s much different than self-improvement, which says “I want to lose weight to feel better, have more energy, and lower my risk of heart disease and other illness so I can be here for my family.”
Both people want to lose weight, but clearly their reasons are not the same.
Here’s my 5 reasons to embrace self-improvement.
1. By focusing on yourself, you won’t be so focused on trying to fix everyone else around you.
It can be pretty easy to point out the flaws of others and downplay our own. By focusing our efforts on improving ourselves, we look inward and not outward at others and their shortcomings. I’ve noticed in myself a tendency to be critical when I neglect certain areas of life.
2. Self-improvement is an act of self-love.
Self-improvement can include lots of areas in your life. It could be learning to be more organized, or more compassionate, or a better communicator. These changes have positive benefits, and create a happier you.
3. Self-improvement is an act of love for others.
Sometimes our habits or way of communicating can hurt others. When we choose to improve an area, the people around us benefit from the ripple of improvement.
4. Self-improvement moves us forward.
Have you ever been stuck? I know I have. It’s easy to get stuck spinning your wheels, wondering why things never get better. Often, when I set a new goal and want to improve in an area, it helps me get “unstuck.”
5. Self-improvement is an infinite journey of self-discovery.
That’s a positive thing! When we learn something new, or learn how to do something familiar in a different way, we learn a lot about ourselves. Positive change can take you to places you never thought you could be. It can open the door to new relationships and improve the ones you have.
Recently, I was thinking about the natural disasters we’ve seen in 2017. Hurricane Harvey, Irma, Maria; the California wildfires; and earthquakes worldwide. All of the things we take for granted–food in the fridge, a warm bed, boxes of family photos, heirlooms, pencil marks on the doorframes–gone in an instant. How would I cope with such an unexpected and total loss? The grief would be overwhelming. But if I had to sit in a cold and clinical office filled with strangers just to get advice, I might dismiss it as more trouble than it’s worth. And in so doing, I’ve just rejected potentially life saving help. Now I’m traveling down a road without a map, and I’m bound to get lost.
There is still a stigma about mental health, and sometimes we perpetuate it ourselves. We are afraid we’ll have to wear a diagnoses like a scarlet letter, and we might blame ourselves for it.
1. What is telemental health and how does it work?
Telemental health is the provision of mental health care from a distance. This is commonly delivered via live interactive videoconferencing . Telemental health (TMH) includes mental health assessment,treatment, education, monitoring, and collaboration. Patients can be located in hospitals, clinics, schools,nursing facilities, prisons and homes. TMH providers and staff include psychiatrists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, social workers, psychologists, counselors, primary care providers and nurses.
The goal of the telehealth provider is to eliminate disparities in patient access to quality, evidence-based, and emerging health care diagnostics and treatments
2. What percentage of Americans are dealing with mental health issues?
Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S.—43.8 million, or 18.5%—experiences mental illness in a given year.
Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide .
Approximately 1 in 25 adults in the U.S.—9.8 million, or 4.0%—experiences a serious mental illness in a given year that substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities.
Approximately 1 in 5 youth aged 13–18 (21.4%) experiences a severe mental disorder at some point during their life. For children aged 8–15, the estimate is 13%.
1.1% of adults in the U.S. live with schizophrenia.
2.6% of adults in the U.S. live with bipolar disorder.
6.9% of adults in the U.S.—16 million—had at least one major depressive episode in the past year.
18.1% of adults in the U.S. experienced an anxiety disorder such as posttraumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and specific phobias
Among the 20.2 million adults in the U.S. who experienced a substance use disorder, 50.5%—10.2 million adults—had a co-occurring mental illness.
3. Are telepsychiatry services available for both adults and children?
Yes. Telepsychiatry is an innovative approach to extend the reach of child and adolescent psychiatrists and fill the gaps in care, particularly in rural or other underserved areas.There has been a rapid growth in the use of school-based telepsychiatry. It offers the opportunity to bring mental health treatment to a child’s natural setting and facilitates collaboration with teachers and other school staff. School-based telepsychiatry programs have reported higher follow-up rates compared to traditional community mental health settings.
4. What are the HIPPA requirements?
Use a secure, trusted platform for videoconferencing.
Make sure your audio and video transmission is encrypted. The Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 140-2 is used by the United States government to accredit encryption standards. Encryption strengths and types can change.
Make sure your device uses security features such as passphrases and two-factor authentication. Your device preferably will not store any patient data locally, but if it must, it should be encrypted.
Compliance with HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) is essential. HIPAA sets a minimum federal standard for the security of health information. States may also set privacy laws that can be even more strict, so be sure to check any relevant statute for the state in which you practice.Just because software says its HIPAA-compliant isn’t enough.
Be sure your devices and software use the latest security patches and updates. Install the latest antivirus, anti-malware, and firewall software to your devices. If you’re part of an institution with IT staff, they should approve of and manage your device.
5. Is my privacy protected ?
Yes- see above note.
6. Is telepsychiatry as effective as regular visits?
Yes. Telepsychiatry’s evidence base is substantial and satisfaction is extremely high among patients, psychiatrists and other professionals.
Its effectiveness is comparable to in-person care in terms of therapeutic engagement, quality of care, validity/reliability of assessment, and clinical outcomes.
7. Is there help available at night , holidays or weekends?
8. How long is a typical visit?
Simmilar to in person visit. Most initial psychiatric visist tend to be an hour long and follow up visits vary depending on the needs.
9. In what circumstances would Telepsychiatry not be appropriate?
If the patient prefers not to avail this technology to receive care for any reason. Obtaining the patients consent and respecting their preference is very important.
We might have some other limitations when a physical exam is needed but under most circumstances, Psychiatry being a highly cognitive discipline lends itself naturally to Telemedicine.
10. Would over the phone visits also be considered or would only video be used?
We could always use over the phone visits, secure messages via their medical record as well as videoconferencing based on the clinical needs.
11. Is telepsychiatry ever appropriate for use in a crisis situation?
Yes, however if someone is actively suicidal or very psychiatrically unstable and needs to be in a hospital, then they should recieve care in a structured supervised setting. This could be delivered via Telemedicine as well in those care settings.
More importantly, Many psychiatric crisis could be averted by providing timely access to good mental health care . If someone is unwell and unable to visit their mental health provider, the care could be brought to them in a timely manner via Telemedicine that can be tremendously helpful to prevent things from getting worse.
12. If telepsychiatry isn’t available in my area, what steps can I make to help them become available?
Telepsychiatry services should be available in every part of the Country, especially in our most underserved regions. It might help to ask your insurance provider. In 32 states Telepsychiatry is manadated to be covered in parity to in person care.It is also covered by medicaid and medicare in health care service shortage areas.
After decades of walking this earth, I believe the key to healthy living has to center around your emotional and mental well-being. This is where a change, a tweak, a redirection has to begin. Especially if that change is to become a lifestyle. It would be easy to suggest not eating the first batch of sugar cookies fresh out the oven “to see if they came out right,” or maybe healthy-stuffing your turkey with kale, but that probably won’t carry beyond the season. I’m suggesting the tweak has to begin within.
This is nothing new. Each year, here we are. Halloween is over, and for many of us, “it” begins.
Some might say, “Well, just don’t do all the holiday stuff” – for me, that’s not the answer. I actually love the whole crazy season. I enjoy creating and sharing it all with my family and friends. It’s important to them, so it’s important to me. I just want to be able to embrace it without having a complete meltdown and drinking all the spiked eggnog.
Here’s the pattern that creates my internal chaos, which leads to outward chaos.
• Not keeping up with eveyday things
• Not scheduling
• Not planning
• Not setting boundaries <— Big one!
• Not finding time to do something I enjoy
Add 1 horse, 1 mini-horse, 1 donkey, 7 chickens, 1 dog, 1 bird, a cat and a lepeod gecko to all of this. Someone in this group is always pooping or eating. I’m not complaining. I love every stinkin’ minute of it. But it can be nonstop, and the season can easily become extremely stressful.
And, as we all know, stress can be unhealthy.
This might even lead to stress eating. The temptations of family gatherings and office parties filled with goodies are tough enough to navigate.
In an effort to keep the stress manageable, I’ve decided to do a few things differently this year.
Here’s my Five Tweaks
1. Take care of the little things day by day: This might start with having a time set aside to apply this. It might look like, “I will spend one hour each day completely dedicated to everyday things: Laundry, bill paying, dusting, vacuuming etc.” It also covers those drop-ins from well-meaning visitors. No rushing around shoving dirty laundry under the bed and dirty dishes in a laundry room sink. (I’ve just heard of people doing this. Crazy right?)
2. Schedule, schedule, schedule: Everything. Appointments, to-dos, phone calls, emails, grocery lists, EVERYTHING! You might end up with 15 alerts a day from your phone, but that’s much less stressful than the panic of forgetting something.
3. Plan ahead: For example, I want to brine my turkey again this year. The family loved it. But I need the brining kit and if I don’t plan ahead, I’ll wait and either panic and run around looking for one, or say forget it and be disappointed. I realize it’s not the biggest issue but it still creates unneeded stress. An easy fix. I also realize (because I’ve often been there) you have to wait to purchase something because it’s not in the budget. This is where I’m trying to plan even further ahead. Often, this actually saves money too!
4. Boundaries are my new best friend: I’m guessing setting boundaries with my time and relationships has probably cut my stress in half. Somewhere I bought into the message boundaries were rude, mean, and unloving. But now I realize the only person I was being rude, mean, and unloving to was myself. Plus, anyone who thinks your boundaries are rude, mean, and unloving will likely feel the same way no matter what you do. When I feel empowered, I find my choices are more healthy.
5. Making time for things I love: It could be riding my horse, working out, watching a movie, reading a book, or taking a photo walk with my daughter. Visiting my happy place recharges and renews me. It helps me be emotionally available for loved ones. We are, after all, not machines, but fallible humans. It’s freeing to embrace that fact.
Note: Trying to perfect all five could also be stressful — I’m a fan of the 80/20 rule. When it comes to all things in life.
So, let this be the season of giving, of family, and of a whole lot less stress! While the craziness of the holiday adds to the spirit, it doesn’t have to add gray hairs. Don’t let the insanity take away from that precious time with your family and friends!