Managing Mood with Diabetes

Managing diabetes is no easy task – it requires making concerted changes to your daily routine including diet (what to eat and avoid), exercising and moving more and eliminating bad habits (smoking, excess alcohol and disruptive sleep). These changes can be mentally draining and one of the reasons why people living with diabetes (Type 1 or 2) are at increased risk for anxiety, stress and depression. So in this blog, I’ll share some evidence-based self-care tips to keep your spirits up while managing diabetes. Aromatherapy Essential oils have been widely used for centuries for managing stress, anxiety and depression and are effective due to their ability to access the area of the brain that impacts mood. Research indicates that smells are first processed by the olfactory bulb in the nose which has direct connections to the areas of the brain that are associated with emotion and memory (the amygdala and hippocampus). Also, this study demonstrated the efficacy of lavender oil on sleep qua...

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Prescription Stimulant Education

If you’re a caregiver — perhaps a parent or family member — of someone who has been prescribed a stimulant medication to help manage their ADHD symptoms, these education modules will help you understand the medication, and how you can support your loved one’s proper use of it.

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Prescription Opioid Education

Opioids are a class of drugs related to opium, and are often prescribed to manage pain because they contain chemicals that help mask pain sensations and block pain signals. However, opioid medication addiction is becoming a national epidemic, with two out of three drug overdose deaths in the US involving an opioid. In this series of modules, you’ll learn essential information about opioids, including types of opioids (illegal and legal), prescription use, the dangers of misuse, and how to recognize Opioid Use Disorder.

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Managing Mental Health Challenges

Mental well-being is knowing and doing the things that make you happy, living a life that aligns with your personal values, and engaging in meaningful relationships with others. Maintaining healthy mental well-being also means knowing how to manage challenges effectively so we can live more fulfilled lives. Using self-management techniques may be an important part of a treatment plan developed with your provider, and for some types of mental health challenges, these techniques may have as positive an impact on mental health as professional treatment. In the upcoming activities, you’ll learn about mental health challenges and practical strategies to help support your mental well-being. Let’s take a closer look.

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Mental Well-Being Basics

Mental well-being is knowing and doing the things that may make you happy, living a life that aligns with your personal values, and engaging in meaningful relationships with others.It also means understanding yourself and your personal needs, and seeking out help if you may be experiencing challenges to your mental health.In the upcoming activities, you’ll explore and learn more about mental well-being, common mental health challenges, and how to seek help for yourself and others. Let’s take a closer look.

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Kicking off the New Year With Intent – 10 Steps to Improve Your Mind

Many of us have had to deal with anxiety, stress, and depression especially over the past year. The uncertainty of today’s environment is enough to make us crawl under a rock and hope that all this nonsense will go away. The thoughts that race in our head as we worry about health, relationships, and finances can often put us in a downward spiral that makes us feel even more worried and stressed out. The good news is that there are evidence-based ways to reduce these anxieties and manage our mental health to improve our well-being. Everyone benefits from different strategies so it’s not a “one size fits all” approach – what works for your friend may be a total dud for you. It’s important to try as many strategies as possible to see which ones are optimal. And remember, none of these approaches will work if it’s not something you’ll stick to and create a habit around. So read on and try adopting some of these approaches in the new year.

1. Breathing

The autonomic nervous system ...

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Top 10 Essential Oils for Stress and Anxiety

In this blog, I’d like to discuss the use of essential oils for managing stress, anxiety and mood. Aromatherapy stimulates the receptors in the nose and sends messages to our nervous system which impacts the body’s energy systems. This fragrant modality has been used for centuries to maintain and improve well-being.

Here’s my list of recommendations.

1. Chamomile Chamomile has a wonderful scent and is used widely in oil and tea form for general relaxation. This study showed the effectiveness of chamomile for treating generalized anxiety disorders (chronic anxiety and neurosis).

Here’s one that’s blended with jojoba and ready to use out of the bottle:

2. FennelThis delicious anise spice is more commonly known for its digestive properties but this study highlighted the use of fennel in reducing depression and anxiety in post-menopausal women.

Here’s one to try:

3. FrankincenseFrankincense oil is extracted from the resin of the Boswellia tree and it means ‘quality ince...

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The Benefits of a Healthy Gut – Dr. David Perlmutter Podcast Review

This is a podcast from 2015 of Dr. David Perlmutter – he is well-known for his New York Times bestseller, ‘Grain Brain’, published in 2013. He is a board-certified neurologist and a Fellow of the American College of Nutrition. His key philosophy is around preventative medicine and he believes that diseases like Alzheimer’s, ADHD, MS, depression and auto-immune issues can be prevented with lifestyle changes, good diet and exercise. He also believes that a healthy gut microbiome is our body’s ‘brain maker’ and talks about the results he’s had with patients using these practices. The peer-reviewed literature has been publishing information about carbs and gluten for several decades but no one has paid any attention – he wrote Grain Brain to make the public more aware.As a neurologist, he was very involved in understanding how lifestyle factors affect human physiology and exploring beyond the brain into the gut microbiome – the 100 trillion organisms that live within us.The argument agains...

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Dr. Daniel Amen Podcast Review: Memory Rescue – How to Stop Alzheimer’s & Dementia

Dr. Daniel Amen is one of the leading authorities on brain health – he is a physician, founder of Amen Clinics and BrainMD, a double board-certified psychiatrist and nine-time New York Times bestselling author.  I found this podcast easy to listen to with great tips from his Memory Rescue book (published in 2018) on how to take control of your brain. Here are the key highlights: Alzheimer’s disease is expected to quadruple in the next 35 years. What most people don’t realize is that this disease starts decades before symptoms appear. Based on imaging studies, a 59-year-old woman diagnosed with Alzheimer’s most likely had negative changes to her brain in her twenties. There is also no known cure on the horizon and it is estimated that 50% of people 85 or older will be diagnosed with it.  This may be a cause for people not wanting longevity in their life!   Depression has increased by 400% since 1987 and it now affects 50 million Americans. It is also a major risk factor for Alzheimer’s....

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The Impact of Gut Health on Mood

When the COVID-19 pandemic overtook our lives and forced the world into lockdown, mental health took a back seat to physical health. But with recent studies showing a staggering increase in stress, anxiety and other more acute mental health disorders, our approach to whole person health has never been more important. And research suggests that the link between physical health and mental health is much closer than we think. Believe it or not, what you put into your stomach has a significant impact on your mood. Research shows that what we eat actually affects our mental health. Think about it – at one point or another, we’ve all felt “butterflies” in our stomachs as a response to being nervous. Or maybe a wave of nausea during a time of stress. We talk about “gut instinct” as a key driver of intuitive decision making. It’s clear that our mood can impact our gut, so why wouldn’t our gut be able to impact our mood? And what has the biggest impact on gut health? Diet. Better quality diets ...

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