Raising Successful Adolescents

In 2002, Dr. Gary Tyson, an adolescent psychologist working at SMA Healthcare’s Residential Adolescent Program (RAP), died of bone marrow cancer.  Before his death, Dr. Tyson transformed this program at SMA by modifying the phase system and overseeing the clinical operation of it.  He was awarded the Adolescent Services Leadership Award posthumously in December 2002 for outstanding leadership, performance, and commitment to SMA’s mission at the time.  His training on “Successful Adolescents” back then still holds true today, and here are a few key components of his teaching:

Successful adolescents will individuate, but not separate from their family of origin — they have a sense of “roots” as it relates to their family.  They will develop their own sense of a unique identity, not just being what others are or want them to be.  Successful adolescents will get opportunities to be genuinely useful to others, and will learn to develop a sense of limits, knowing what they can and can’t do without pushing those limits in extreme ways.   Adolescents who get in trouble are often pushing these limits.  Successful adolescents will find and nurture positive role models and will also often identify with something larger than themselves. 

“Healthy families” raise healthy adolescents.  Healthy families will have many, but not necessarily all, of the following:  a balance between 1) protection and challenge and 2) structure and affection. They must be able to demonstrate both of these competing values in a measured, balanced way.  Too much of one and not enough of the other can cause families to become unhealthy.  Low-key parents tend to hear more than loud, boisterous ones.  Being able to listen and understand an adolescent perspective is important, and that leads to the next important factor:  Respect.  Healthy families understand respect is bi-directional.  You get respect by giving respect.  Finally, when in trouble, healthy families seek professional help.

To help develop successful adolescents, it is important for healthy families to teach important coping skills.  These include, but are not limited to:  “centering” or self-calming strategies which can include meditation, relaxation exercises, or appreciating/engaging with nature; separating thoughts from feelings, because the thoughts are what we can control and help regulate our emotions; managing pain/moderating emotionality, so adolescents don’t overreact to situations; defining their own criteria for relationships for true understanding instead of what peers or parents tell them; and, developing an ability to “time travel” — remember the past but be able to project to the future.  Finally, it is important to develop a sense of altruism, which is defined as “an act to promote someone else’s welfare, even at a risk or cost to one’s self.” By doing so, it helps prevent one from being self-centered and able to positively interact with others.

Adolescents and families learned a lot from Dr. Gary Tyson in the course of his career as an adolescent psychologist.  Sometimes a reminder of what he taught can help us be healthier today and also serve as a way of honoring how Dr. Tyson helped so many while he was here. 

 

*If you or someone you know, ages 25 or under, is experiencing a crisis, we are here to help. Our 24/7 Crisis Response Team is available to talk to you or respond in person to crisis calls in Volusia and Flagler counties. Call anytime at 800-539-4228.

Doing the Work That MAT-ters

Florida State’s Medical Examiners Commission released interim 2018 data which illustrated drug-related deaths reduced by five percent, with opioid-caused deaths reduced by 13 percent (in comparison with 2017 data).1 This recent information released by state officials demonstrates some relief from the opioid crisis that Florida has been battling for nearly a decade, and is welcomed news for those serving on the frontlines of opioid misuse — including SMA Healthcare.

In efforts to combat the ongoing opioid epidemic, SMA Healthcare has kept with current practices by providing clients with new programs and treatment protocols. The Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) program was implemented in response to the Opioid Crisis and is designed to assist clients in their substance use recovery by providing a combination of medication assistance and integrated therapy. Vivitrol was introduced to this program in May 2017 followed by Subutex later that year. Currently, the MAT program provides Vivitrol, Subutex, and Suboxone in order to provide the optimal treatment plan individualized for each client entering the program.

American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), “has long recognized addiction as a chronic disease of the brain that can be treated effectively with evidence-based therapy, including psychosocial treatments and FDA-approved medications as part of medication-assisted treatment (MAT)”.2 In fact, pharmacotherapies for opioid addiction used in conjunction with behavioral therapies and additional recovery support services (MAT) have proven to be highly effective in the treatment of opioid addiction, according to Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and ASAM.

Dr. James Fenley, Director of Addiction Services, has indicated that since implementation of the MAT program, clients have stated that the clinic has become a safe place where they feel a source of compassion and care. At least 41% of clients have co-occurring disorders, making the close relationship with outpatient services a critical component to treatment. Furthermore, clients with longstanding MAT compliance usually participate not only in therapy, but also support groups — primarily 12 step recovery.

During fiscal year 2018-19, 64% of clients completed at least 3 months of treatment and nearly half of the patients have been in the program for nine months to a year. At time of discharge, 54% of clients were employed and 92% lived in stable housing. Of the 329 clients served in the MAT program during the last fiscal year, 96% of all drug tests administered were negative for opiates. With these successful performance measures, it’s apparent that the MAT program is vital for clients served and for the community in fighting the opioid epidemic plaguing this state. 

 

 

1Drugs Identified in Deceased Persons Florida Medical Examiners, 2018 Interim Report, Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

2Advancing Access to Addiction Medications: Implications for Opioid Addiction Treatment, ASAM. https://www.asam.org/docs/default-source/advocacy/aaam_implications-for-opioid-addiction-treatment_final.pdf?sfvrsn=cee262c2_25.

Grateful Hearts, Healthy Minds

Walking into the kitchen on Thanksgiving morning can be like walking into aromatic heaven — turkey, pumpkin pie, stuffing, green beans, potatoes all mingled together into the most comforting smell.  Not long after that, family fills the house, shoulder to shoulder, with stomachs full of food and hearts full of gratitude. 

This is the season that we have set aside for being thankful.  We spend time reflecting on the things that we are most grateful for — perhaps our families, our friends, our health, or our jobs.  The food was (and still is) a great reason to be thankful. However, why do we reserve all this gratitude for one day of the year?  Why don’t we practice thankfulness all the time?  Conventional wisdom says that it is good to be grateful, and every major world religion, spiritual tradition, and philosophy touts its benefit.  The Roman Philosopher Marcus Tullius Cicero said of gratitude as a virtue: “For this one virtue is not only the greatest, it is also the parent of all the other virtues.”  So, why do we confine this virtue into one feast every year?

Not only does the collective wisdom of human culture recognize the power of gratitude, but research has also supported the benefits of practicing this virtue.  One study showed that people who practiced gratitude for over 10 weeks reported feeling more optimistic about their lives, spent more time exercising, and experienced a decrease in physical complaints.  Subsequent studies showed that participants also experienced more and better sleep, and reported engaging in helping others more often (Emmons and McCullough 2003).  Other studies have suggested that an increase in gratitude is especially helpful in the short-term treatment of depression and is a “potential avenue for spontaneous remission from depression” (Disabato et. al 2017). 

Thankfulness can also be cultivated through community.  Practicing gratitude in faith settings can lead to more social and emotional support and less symptoms of depression (Krause et. al 2014).  All of this evidence compels us to take nothing for granted, and to continually remember the things we are thankful for, especially when we are going through a rough time in our lives. 

This Thanksgiving, give thanks for all of the blessing you have received, but don’t stop there.  Take time every day to recognize all the things, great and small, that you are thankful for and share it with others.

 

 

Disabato, D., Kashdan, T., Short, J., & Jarden, A. (2017). What Predicts Positive Life Events that Influence the Course of Depression? A Longitudinal Examination of Gratitude and Meaning in Life. Cognitive Therapy & Research, 41(3), 444–458.

Emmons, R. A., & McCullough, M. E. (2003). Counting Blessings Versus Burdens: An Experimental Investigation of Gratitude and Subjective Well-Being in Daily Life. Journal of Personality & Social Psychology, 84(2), 377–389.

Krause, N., Bruce, D., Hayward, R. D., & Woolever, C. A. (2014). Gratitude to God, self-rated health, and depressive symptoms. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 53(2), 341–355.

Who is Jay: Finding Hope in the Midst of a Loss

This Saturday, November 23, is International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day.  Also known as Survivor Day, the day was designated by the United States Congress as a day on which those affected by suicide can join together for healing and support. It was determined that Survivor Day would always fall on the Saturday before American Thanksgiving, as the holidays are often a difficult time for suicide loss survivors.1

The story below is an excerpt from Joshua Rivedal’s book, i’Mpossible Project: Lemonade Stand. This story is about Hank and Susan Ashby, who lost their son Jay to suicide. Through their loss, Hank and Susan created the Jay’s Hope Fund to provide awareness, education, and advocacy for patients and families impacted by severe mental illness. Here’s their story:

“Valentine’s Day 2010, we received a frantic call from a halfway house in Daytona Beach. Our twenty-five-year-old son, Jay Ashby was missing. Later that afternoon, we received a visit from law enforcement authorities notifying us that Jay was dead. He had ended his life by jumping off a high-rise building.

Weeks earlier, Jay had been released from a state hospital, where he had stayed for a couple of months to regain his competency, so he could stand trial for missing a court-ordered mental health treatment.  After the hearing, Jay was released into the community, where there was no proper receiving facility for someone with his condition. A halfway house was the only place that would accept him.

We were in shock. This was a parent’s worst nightmare, and our family was devastated. The tremendous outpouring of support from family, friends, our church, and the community was overwhelming, and it provided some comfort. However, it was our faith (Philippians 4:13: I can do all things through Him who strengthens me) that helped us get through the most challenging time of our lives and later found new purpose.  

Florida’s mental health system was broken. They lacked proper and adequate facilities and services for mental health treatment. They enforced HIPPA laws that made no sense in the case of patients who cannot reason for themselves. Florida also lacked crisis intervention training for law enforcement and suffered from severe funding limitations, long waiting times for receiving desperately needed services, non-existent long-term housing, and no continuum of services. The list goes on-and-on.

At that time, Florida was ranked forty-ninth out of fifty states by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) as far as services available for those suffering from mental health problems. Jay had been on a long waiting list for help when he ended his struggle.  

So what does a family do after suffering such a horrible loss? Initially, we were very angry. We wanted to sue the state for its negligence in not providing needed services. However, after a few months and prayerful consideration, we decided to focus on a more positive path to help others families like ours. We decided to start Jay’s Hope Fund (administered by the SMA Healthcare Foundation) to provide awareness, education, and advocacy for patients and families impacted by severe mental illness. This would honor the memory of our son and channel energies in a positive way.

Prior to his illness, Jay had been a delightful son, a great brother, a friend to many, and a model child who was very much loved to the end. Like most young men, Jay had a dream of making his mark on this world. He had many gifts and talents and led a “normal life” until the onset of his illness in his mid-teens. Jay was a good student and a talented musician and artist. He was a fine athlete, excelling in soccer, basketball and golf. His favorite hobbies were surfing and fishing. He spent countless hours in the waterways and ocean in Florida. Our garage frequently smelled like a bait bucket from Jay’s fishing adventures. Jay’s favorite musical instrument was the upright bass, which was a tall, “macho” instrument. Maybe it helped him compensate for his feelings of being on the short side. You could often use us driving around town with an upright bass protruding out of the sunroof of our car when hauling Jay to orchestra practices.

It was Jay’s plan to complete college. But then his illness, diagnosed as schizoaffective disorder (a combination of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder) robbed him of his functionality. Before finally receiving a diagnosis, we wondered why the same parenting principles and guidelines that had worked with our other children did not work with Jay. As parents, we were in uncharted territory. We went through some very dark times with Jay, thinking his rebelliousness, poor judgment, and run-ins with the law were likely caused by drug use.

After his diagnosis, we realized it was mental illness causing these behaviors. We later saw unusual symptoms that were unlike anything we had witnessed before —hallucinations and delusions, episodes of mania and depression, withdrawing from society and friends, obsessive/compulsive actions, and problems with personal care. At the height of his illness, he disassembled all the electronics and ceiling fans in his house thinking someone was “spying on him.” Other symptoms included speaking in different voices, shuffling his feet when walking, and grimacing with his mouth. During one of his episodes, Jay once said, “Don’t be surprised if you read a headline about me jumping off a building.”

Left untreated, in his condition, we knew he could potentially harm himself or others. Jay could no longer distinguish between what was real and what he imagined.

The family used to call Hank “Daddy Fix-It”, but Daddy found that he was totally unable to “fix” Jay’s problems, despite his best efforts. Life became unpredictable as we bounced from one crisis to another. Seeing our child’s health rapidly deteriorate and not being able to help him surely contributed to Hank’s heart attack, exactly one year before Jay’s death.

We thank God for the gift of Jay. We try to stay focused on all the good times and memories we shared with him. It is our desire to bring hope to the “Jays” of this world through Jay’s Hope.”

 

For more information on Survivor Day, visit https://afsp.org/find-support/ive-lost-someone/survivor-day/

For more information on Jay’s Hope Fund or to donate, visit https://www.whoisjay.org

For more information on the i’Mpossible Project, visit http://www.iampossibleproject.com

 

 

  1. International Survivor of Suicide Loss Day: https://afsp.org/find-support/ive-lost-someone/survivor-day/

 

Crisis Intervention Team – Building Relationships and Finding Solutions

Each year, two million people with mental illnesses are arrested and placed in jail.[i]  People with mental illnesses often don’t need punishment — they need treatment. Law enforcement officers receive extensive training on how to handle criminals and dangerous situations.  People with mental illnesses are not criminals, however, and special skills and techniques are needed to respond to a mental health crisis. 

That is where Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training comes in to play.

First developed in 1988, CIT training focuses on finding new solutions to mental health needs by building relationships between law enforcement, mental health professionals, substance use specialists, advocates, families, and, most importantly, the mental health consumers themselves.  The goals of CIT include reducing stigma and further contact with the criminal justice system, improving the safety of both officers and citizens, and helping the latter connect with much needed services and treatment.[ii]

This Friday, SMA is sponsoring an awards luncheon to honor five law enforcement officers, finalists from a pool of officers nominated by their supervisors, who have demonstrated excellence in utilizing their use of skills learned in CIT training.  And, one of these officers will be named CIT Law Enforcement Officer of the Year. 

These officers have shown a commitment to recognizing mental health crises and responding with empathy, helping citizens get the help that they need rather than arresting them.  We are proud of our law enforcement officers, and this award is such a small step toward repaying them for their bravery and dedication to our communities. 

To learn more about CIT training, visit http://www.citinternational.org/. SMA Healthcare has partnered with law enforcement to provide the 40-hour CIT training to officers and, in 2018, was awarded a Mental Health Awareness Training grant from SAMHSA to continue funding this important program. 

 

[i] https://www.nami.org/learn-more/public-policy/jailing-people-with-mental-illness

[ii] http://www.citinternational.org/What-is-CIT

Support and Services for the Homeless Population

When the Volusia-Flagler County Coalition for the Homeless (VFCCH) completed its most recent Point In Time count in April, there were 745 Volusia County residents experiencing homelessness.  According to the National Coalition for the Homeless, these are just a few of the causes of homelessness: employment/financial reasons, family issues/domestic violence, medical/disability, substance use, and mental health.

With the First Step Shelter set to open its doors in Daytona Beach by the end of 2019, and The Bridge set to open in DeLand next spring, Volusia County is preparing to begin providing shelter for adult members of this homeless population. However, sheltering individuals experiencing homelessness is only one piece of the larger picture of care. Providing a full scope of services to shelter residents, not just a roof and a bed, is key to the successful pursuit of the life changes that shelter residents may seek.  SMA Healthcare is poised to provide a diverse menu of services for residents at both First Step and The Bridge to meet the broad array of needs of the Volusia County homeless population.

Services that will be provided include emergency screenings, detoxification, crisis stabilization, inpatient and outpatient substance use and mental mealth treatment, Medication Assisted Treatment, and Rape Crisis Services.  These services are funded by a combination of County, State, and Federal Funding, and a sliding scale fee.  Furthermore, SMA Healthcare offers its grant-funded outreach programs, PATH and PATHWAYS, which specifically address the mental health and/or substance use needs of homeless individuals diagnosed with a severe mental illness, and provide case management, treatment, and recovery support services. SMA will continue to offer these programs free of charge for as long as grant funding allows — or until other funding sources are identified.  That being said, SMA services provided for both shelters are of no cost to the shelters.  

Additionally, the agency contracted to operate the First Step Shelter, Catholic Services, has contracted with SMA to fund one on-site therapist who will provide screenings, crisis intervention, therapy, and a linkage to and navigation of SMA services.  With this wide safety net of services offered to Volusia County’s shelter population, progress can be made toward reducing the overall rate of homelessness in Volusia County. And, more importantly, progress can be made toward making life better for all of Volusia County’s residents.

Reality of Recovery

During the 2018 legislative session, reentry-focused therapeutic programs for inmates were closed by the Florida Department of Corrections to reallocate $6 million for use within the prisons. Locally, that program was known as “Reality House,” a successful therapeutic community established in 1980.

The Reality House included a culinary arts program, a GED program, individual and group counseling, family education, recreation, spiritual services, anger management, social reintegration training, and transition to a work release program with a 95% successful employment rate. All of these therapeutic communities were designed to allow inmates near the end of their sentence to learn and put into practical application employment opportunities, educational, vocational, and life skills while being treated for their substance use and co-occurring mental health disorders.

While up to 30,000 Florida inmates are released from custody each year, it is projected that at least one in four (26%) will commit an offense that returns them to prison within the next three years (according to a 2018 state report tracking recidivism). Inmates that completed these programs, like those offered at Reality House, demonstrated a recidivism rate of 13% – one-half that of those that are released directly from Florida’s prisons. 

The current rate to house an inmate in a Florida prison is $59.57 per day at an annual cost of $21,743.05. Prior to the 2018 closures, the rate paid for inmates placed in therapeutic programs was $52.00 per day – and inmates released from these programs left with having had the benefit of substance use and mental health disorder treatment, practical life and work skills, and a job with a chance for a career. At 600 therapeutic beds, the direct annual savings to the taxpayer would be $2,593,260 annually; with a reduction in the recidivism rate of 50%, the return on investment is invaluable. 

Now is the time for our criminal justice system to be held accountable – for the unprecedented number of people that continue to be incarcerated, and for the unchecked rates of recidivism. We need to better align our approach to punishment with the goal of rehabilitation. We need to reinvest in programs that work and demand that the Florida Department of Corrections reinstitute the concept of a true therapeutic community for those inmates that are being released from the prison system. We need to quit being mad at offenders who have done their time and instead focus on ensuring that those that are returning to our community – whether we like it or not – are given the best chance to succeed. Their success creates a safer community, improves our economy, and validates the premise that recovery, rehabilitation and redemption are possible.

Compassion Fatigue

Working in the behavioral healthcare industry has its benefits — there is opportunity to be part of an individual’s journey to recovery and to help celebrate milestones, among other reasons. Working in this field also has its challenges. Listening to heartbreaking stories of individuals and the trauma they have experienced, six to eight hours a day, over a period of years, can add up and take a toll on any professional.

In order to do this work effectively, a professional has to learn to distance themselves from the stories they hear.  It is important to empathize, not sympathize, with a client — understand their feelings, not feel their feelings. Those who work closely with clients can be prone to secondary trauma from hearing horrific stories of what has happened, and can reach the point where it becomes so overwhelming that their minds and body go into self-preservation mode – they shut down and stop demonstrating compassion to the clients that are being served.   

We call this Compassion Fatigue and it can be a normal response to the day-to-day exposure of traumatic events in people’s lives. And, it can happen to the most experienced and competent of professionals.  Some of the symptoms of compassion fatigue are as follows: physical and mental fatigue, insomnia, bottling up emotions, and denial. According to the Compassion Fatigue Awareness Project, “denial is one of the most detrimental symptoms, because it prevents those who are experiencing compassion fatigue from accurately assessing how fatigued and stressed they actually are, which prevents them from seeking help.”

To combat this, it is important to become aware that compassion fatigue exists. Once aware of the reality, the next thing to do is to find a trusted confidant to talk it out – express your thoughts and feelings to a therapist, coworker, friend or family. It is important to have individuals you can rely on for support, especially when you begin to express some of the symptoms of compassion fatigue.

Next, it is important to develop a healthy work/life balance.  Oftentimes, people who put all their energy into their work, helping those most in need, become unbalanced and work becomes their identity.  They tend to neglect their own self-care as they give to everyone else.  They may also have their own unresolved traumas that need to be addressed in counseling. Regular exercise, healthy eating habits, getting enough sleep, taking time off, and enjoyable social activities are a few ways to help combat compassion fatigue.

Understanding and becoming aware of the symptoms, learning how to address the secondary trauma, seeking connections to express emotions, and learning healthy coping strategies for work/life balance can help professionals avoid compassion fatigue. The clients that are seen each day in this industry are in need of compassion, empathy and change. As professionals become more aware and tend to compassion fatigue, they will be able to provide the appropriate care to their clients and, in the process, continue to make a difference in their lives.

Fighting for the FACTs

Today, October 16, SMA Healthcare is attending Behavioral Health Day at Capitol Hill in Tallahassee. A group of behavioral health care staff and community members will spend a day in the Capitol building spreading awareness for mental illness and substance use disorders while advocating for mental health funding. The group from SMA Healthcare advocates on behalf of the many programs and services that affect our communities and the people in the four-county area.

One of the programs on the docket for funding is the Putnam/St. John’s (PSJ) FACT Team. In its fourth year of operation, the PSJ FACT Team has demonstrated significant benefit to both counties. SMA Healthcare is currently fighting for recurring funding for this program that services those with the most serious and persistent mental illness—a population that is often homeless, incarcerated, or circulating in and out of mental health crisis units and state hospitals. By securing this funding, this group will continue to receive the appropriate services and care that they need.

The PSJ FACT Team has had noteworthy success in fiscal year 2018-2019 by decreasing the number of days homeless by 98 percent. The “Council on Homelessness 2018 Report” presents a recent study in which the financial support of chronically homeless individuals residing in Central Florida costs the community an estimated $31,065 per person per year. By reducing the number of days homeless, the FACT Team has saved the community millions of dollars while providing quality care to those in need.

With a substantial decrease in days spent in the crisis stabilization and detox units by nearly 74%, at an average daily cost of $544, the FACT Team has saved an estimated $632,655 annually in this treatment service alone. Providing care to this client population has translated into less utilization of costly treatment in crisis stabilization units, and more time addressing health care needs in a more appropriate clinical setting.

A total of 4,690 days in the State Hospital were accounted for in clients before FACT enrollment, resulting in $2,013,573 of pre FACT treatment cost. After one year of enrollment, the total days spent in the State Hospital decreased to 1,211, saving an estimated annual amount of $1,493,651. Providing comprehensive care and wrap-around services to clients has reduced the frequency and duration of psychiatric hospital admissions, providing quality, cost-effective treatment.

Between the estimated annual saving of residential substance abuse treatment ($205,674), crisis stabilization unit/detox ($632,655), and state hospital ($1,493,651), the total annual savings that the PSJ Fact Team demonstrated in one year results in approximately $2,319,424 annually. With an annual stipend of $1,500,000, the team demonstrates drastic cost-effective results. In addition to the extreme cost savings that the program has established, the well-being of clients enrolled in the program cannot be overstated.

The PSJ FACT Team is just one of the many SMA Healthcare programs designed to enhance the quality of life for clients while providing outstanding care. The clinical care, therapy component, and community involvement are all factors contributing to the well-being of a client. Programs like FACT are necessary because they are targeting an under-served population and providing appropriate treatment, ensuring that all individuals are receiving the quality care that they deserve.

Prioritizing Self Care

When thinking about maintaining your health, annual physical exams, preventative screenings, and vaccinations often come to mind. While it is important to utilize measures to look after your physical well-being, it’s just as important to prioritize the care of mental and emotional health needs. Making mental and emotional health a priority can not only boost resiliency, but can also contribute to a healthier and happier you.

Mental health is defined by The World Health Organization as, “a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully and can make contributions to his or her community.” Incorporating a few of these suggestions daily can increase your overall well-being.

 

Sleep

Sleep has a huge impact on physical and emotional health. Beside the physiological health issues caused by not getting enough sleep, the psychological effects can wreak havoc on the mind. Getting at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep can improve mood and cognition.

Get Outdoors

Whether it is going for a walk around the block or eating lunch outside, spending a few minutes of the day outside can boost the mood and refresh the mind. Studies have proven that spending time outside can even reduce fatigue, providing a great option to overcome symptoms of depression or burnout.

Spend Quality Time with Friends and Loved Ones

Spending time with friends or loved ones is almost always a guarantee to make you feel connected and at ease. Regardless of the ups-and-downs that life may hold, relationships with others can provide support and comfort through the good and bad.

Get Moving

While it may be impossible to go to the gym every day, try to incorporate other exercises, such as yoga, walking, or an at-home routine, which may be easier to fit into your schedule. Some form of daily exercise can reduce stress and anxiety, while also helping you stay in shape.

Cultivate a Hobby

While you may not be able to control your work schedule, you can incorporate some of your favorite activities into your busy life. Spending a few minutes of your day riding your bike, reading, or practicing yoga can boost your mood while also decreasing stress.

Unplug and Recharge

Sometimes something as easy as putting down your phone or spending the day off of social media can add to your happiness and productivity. Also, eliminating gadgets one hour before bedtime and one hour upon waking up is beneficial in being mindful and present.

Making time for self-care does not have to be time consuming, strenuous, or expensive. A few minor adjustments in your daily routine can have multiple benefits on your physical and mental health, thereby increasing your overall wellness.