Stress Awareness Month

Written by Meghan Herek, Think Mental Health Therapist

Stress Awareness Month is a helpful tool for us to bring attention to the stress people may live with year-round, and helps remind us of tools we can use to better manage stress. This Stress Awareness Month, we’re focusing on the benefits of talk therapy.


Who is talk therapy “for”?

Talk therapy is for everyone. There are many assumptions about who talk therapy is for, and it is for everyone. Many of us struggle with stress, anger, and in some cases, anxiety and depression. No life is void of triggers. Talk therapy teaches you techniques you can use to manage the things – internal and external – that ignite your stressors. Plus, you absolutely deserve to have someone who is there for only you. So, yes – talk therapy is for everyone!


Why use talk therapy?

If you never talk about your issues, you won’t gain another perspective, create more understanding about the whys and whats of your triggers, nor will you learn tools to overcome them. Closing your thoughts and emotions may even cause you to see the world in a more negative way. Your mind and body are strongly connected. Have you ever noticed your muscles tighten when you’re worried about something, or get a headache? Your mind controls everything. It’s important to keep your mind healthy, and you can with the help of talk therapy.


How often should you go to talk therapy?

Even one to two appointments a month can do wonders for your mental state. You can use real, stressful situations to practice the tools we talk about in our sessions. During our sessions, we discuss those situations, what you did, your successes, and areas to improve. It’s so healthy for your mind to talk about what’s going on inside it! Mind your mental health and come see me. Because Life is for Living!


Feeling SAD?

Seasonal Affective Disorder is depression that affects many people in the dark, cold months. It seems this Nebraska winter has been especially brutal, which doesn’t particularity help. When the blossoms of Spring come about, your mood may become lighter and happier – just like the trees and grass, newly healthy and green!


Why does SAD happen?

Scientists don’t exactly know the causes of SAD, but one thought is that the lack of sunlight during fall and winter months causes your brain to make less serotonin, which helps makes you feel happy. This fluctuation of your normal serotonin level can make you sad, sluggish, moody and irritable.

Lack of sunlight also causes an increase of melatonin, a hormone that makes you feel sleepy. This increase may cause you to feel consistently sleepy, versus just at night, and possibly unmotivated and agitated.


What can you do about SAD?

There are several things you can do to help yourself, like exercising, taking antidepressants or trying a SAD lamp to replicate the sun’s light. Your best option, though, is to speak with your Primary Care Provider to come up with a plan to combat SAD that’s personalized to your specific needs and symptoms.



Am I A Caregiver?

Written by Jenn Black, Care Coordination Manager, Think Whole Person Healthcare


What is considered “caregiving”?

There are many kinds of caregivers. Physicians, nurses and care coordinators are all caregivers. There is a special kind of caregiver, too. Some caregivers care for their loved ones, and are typically children and spouses. If that’s you, you’ll want to keep reading.


At what point does a caregiver become a caregiver?

It’s a complicated thing to define. As your loved one ages, they have a harder time getting to the store or running an errand, and might reach out to you for help. Or, your loved one might have a chronic condition, and that typically means they’ll need help managing their healthcare.

As your loved one continues to age, your responsibilities likely increase. Somewhere along the line, you’ll likely become a caregiver.


How do caregivers support their loved ones while also maintaining boundaries?

Being a caregiver is a complicated role to fill. Often, you have your own responsibilities and even families to care for. You want to be there for everyone, but you don’t want to burn yourself out.

First, it is important to educate yourself on your loved one’s condition. This will help you be there for them, because you’ll know what they need. More importantly, however, you’ll learn if something they need is something you can’t do on your own (for example, lifting someone to help them use the restroom). Knowing your boundaries and asking for help will help eliminate stress when certain tasks become daunting.

It’s important that you respect the emotions of your loved one, but it’s just as important to recognize and verbalize your own emotions – and to expect understanding and compassion. Please don’t pretend that you can do everything and be everything for everyone! It’s not personal, just impossible!!


Where should caregivers go for help?

Think has an excellent Care Coordination program that eliminates most of your work coordinating, managing medications, and the back-and-forth with multiple doctors. It’s actually quite incredible. When you sign up for the program, you’re paired with a personal pharmacist, care coordinator, and if you’re not yet a patient at Think, your best-fitting physician and their nursing staff. These roles create a team who monitor, communicate, and plan around your loved one’s healthcare. Can you imagine that without Think, you’d be doing all that by yourself? It’s a great solution to manage your loved one’s health, and YOUR sanity. Think About It…and if you decide it could be the right fit for you and your family, then fill out this form to get more information and to get started.

There are other great resources available for caregivers. Family Caregiver Alliance, for example, has a wealth of knowledge that will answer your preliminary questions.