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We’re getting to the sweet spot of spring where the days are as long as the weather is pleasant. It might even catch you off guard to step outside late one evening expecting the sun to have set and being greeted by the bright outdoors. I’m not complaining. But as pleasant as these sunny days are, there’s reason to be extra thankful for this season and a few key reasons to get out there and enjoy the sun, but with the facts to know that you’re doing it safely.

Regulating Sleep


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What’s the opposite of work? Your first answer may resemble a candlelit dinner with soft jazz playing in the background, maybe a pleasant walk around a meadow, or for many, a nap. And those activities are for sure relaxing, but do you remember what the opposite of work was when you were a kid?

Play.

In a world where deadlines and social pressure promote constant, consistent “productivity”, we’re almost never off the clock, and when we are, we’re so exhausted that anything too demanding is fatiguing. But think back to childhood, where energy was expended not only doing math problems and…


Although we can feel the stress of some events sharply and shortly after they happen, like the pangs of anxiety that may follow a startling thought or worrisome piece of news we hear, an insidious form of chronic stress can build up into a condition experts call burnout. Definitions aren’t entirely clear on burnout, but we know that when people talk about burnout, they talk about a looming, ever-present sense of fatigue and exhaustion, an inability to cope, and maybe a numbness to responsibilities and activities that were once enjoyable. This kind of feeling can come from the compounding of…


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Whether you’re a student, business owner, or working professional, now is about the time when work starts piling up (if it hasn’t already). Stick to a task, like organizing tax information or studying for finals long enough, and you start to feel exhausted, maybe irritable, an overwhelming urge to stop doing the work comes over you. What is this feeling?

For years scientists have understood that when you stick to a task for an extended period of time, you start to feel like not doing it as time goes on. Society never quite caught up to this understanding, as you’ll…


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In a year where concerts and music festivals have been cancelled, buskers in busy train stations have been misplaced, and honk-filled commutes have been cut down, the amount of noise we still deal with on a daily basis is staggering, and exhausting. Noise isn’t just referring to the sound of jackhammers or barking dogs — it goes for more subtle distractions as well — like the mumble of a background YouTube video during breakfast or vibrating phones while studying for a test. …


You can’t walk down a bookstore self-help aisle without seeing the words self-esteem plastered across flashy covers. It’s become a catch-all phrase that lands somewhere between “confidence” and “self-respect”, and we all hear adages and quips about what we should base it on and where it should come from. The way many use the term — “Increase your self-esteem!” or “He has low self-esteem” — makes us wonder, how do I increase this, or why is it so low? And based on who’s metric? Where’s the esteem-o-meter we can use to look at ours?

But what if there was something…


When we’re juggling the responsibilities that life throws at us with no end in sight setting appointments, making meetings, and remembering to cook dinner on top of it allwe can get lost in our routines and forget to check on ourselves. One of the overarching themes of self-care is giving ourselves space and permission to check on our well-being from time to time. Not only does this feel refreshing in the moment, but it also gives us well-needed checks and balances so that we can evaluate if what we’re putting effort into aligns with our goals.

Thriving, not just Surviving


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The stress response is the end-product of a complicated system that we’ve all no doubt felt, and likely in droves this year. Although some of our perceptions and reaction to stress is automatic, like immediate physiological responses after seeing something scary or threatening, we can use the ties between these bodily systems to help us feel more relaxed. One method of inducing relaxation is through deep breathing, which activates the system in our body that’s built to calm us down from stress responses.

An Analogy to Get the Science Down


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With gyms closed for much of this year, and moments of physical activity like stair climbing or commuting removed from our daily schedules, many of us find ourselves living increasingly sedentary lifestyles. While some of us yearn to get back to spin class or lifting on the gym floor, physical activity doesn’t have to be strenuous to pay off. Significant improvements to life expectancy, sleep quality, disease reduction, bone strength, weight management and mental well-being can be achieved with modest efforts of cardiovascular activity, the simplest of which is walking.

The AHA and CDC recommend 150 minutes of moderate-intensity walking…


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When life’s problems start adding up and it seems like you haven’t been cut a break for a while, it’s easy to start seeing the symptoms of chronic stress. When stressful events happen too often or for too long, cortisol, a stress hormone, can persist in the body. If you find yourself turning to a bag of Sun Chips or leftover ice cream after a long day, when it’s not a habit you usually catch yourself doing, it may be due to effects of stress.

If you notice this happening, the first line of defense you can take is to…

Marissa Abram, PhD

Educator, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, Addiction Researcher and Founder of Strategic Wellness Management.

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