Do April showers really bring May flowers? There are sayings for practically every month, but each has their own deep wisdom. As we tackled the subjects of sleep, stress, and mental health this month we hope that our readers will realize that it can’t rain all the time. Focusing on the growth and healing in the spring can provide hope. Let’s review the posts we’ve written this month.
We started April with a heavy but necessary topic. We explored the systemic problem of racial bias and discrimination within the healthcare field. The countless examples of less-than-standard treatments for minority people can weigh heavily on the minds of healthcare workers, but the true lesson lies in our ability to make things better. We want to continue to be part of the discussion of bringing race to the table to solve this problem nationwide.
The beginning of April saw two religious holidays: Easter and Passover. We wanted to provide some uplifting inspiration for individuals dealing with chronic pain and the challenges that they might face. Spring is a time for hopeful renewal and that was the message we wanted to pass on.
The very next week we were right back to work with practical information to help our readers and patients. Sleep is one of our favorite subjects here at Holistic Pain, so we will continue sharing resources to improve sleep quality. In this article, we reviewed some research on the correlation between sleep and pain.
Next, we dove deeper into the sleep question with even more academic research on the subject. We looked at the way screen time from televisions, computers, and mobile devices is affecting our children’s sleep. We shared how negative thoughts could be linked to late nights and lack of restful sleep. We evaluated the way pain influenced sleep quality. And, finally, we tackled the topic of sleep debt and how it can affect us in small ways.
With all of this research in April, we didn’t want to leave our readers hanging without any practical advice. We created a list of the top ten ways you could improve your sleep starting immediately. Some of these included establishing bedtime routines, getting a better mattress, avoiding food right before sleep, and creating total darkness.
Next, we explored April’s National Stress Awareness Month. There are very few people who are not affected by stress so it is critical that we learn to deal with this epidemic as a nation. In this post we talked about the central questions about stress; who, what, where, why, and how. Stress, of course, is also a primary concern for individuals dealing with chronic pain so we wanted to address these issues.
Next, we took a closer look at a popular measuring tool for professionals when it comes to major stress and illness. According to the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale, future illness can be predicted based on the number of stressful life events an individual has experienced. For example, the death of a spouse can cause immense stress and, over time, increase the risk of illness.
As with sleep, we didn’t want to stress our readers out by posting about it without offering everyday solutions. While major life events are harder to predict and prevent, there are small things we can do every day to reduce our overall stress responses. Mindfulness, aromatherapy, tea, and getting involved in a spiritual community are just a few of the things you can add to your life to better deal with stress.
You’ve probably heard your parents tell you “you are what you eat,” but what does this really mean? As it turns out, there are a variety of foods that can both exacerbate stress and depression and several that can help fight the blues. In this post we showcased six of our favorite tasty foods as well as recipes you can try at home.
While stress can be a difficult and dark subject, the solution is often fun and cheerful. In this April post we talked about the way both pets and plants can help fight daily stress. People who live with animals are less likely to have high blood pressure. Green growing things have a similar effect and gardening can be a very effective stress-fighter.
Of course, we wouldn’t be who we are here at Holistic Health if we didn’t suggest meditation to help with stress this April. We firmly believe that the practice of mindful meditation can help everyone access inner peace that can then be used to help cope with life’s little irritants each and every day. Not only do we believe it, but in this post we shared scientific research to back us up.
One of the biggest issues with mental health in our country is the stigma around individuals who deal with it on a daily basis. In order to help facilitate the conversation, we shared our favorite TED talks on the issue of mental health including stories from a person who survived a brutal suicide attempt to a surprisingly uplifting story about a woman living with voices.
Lastly, we wanted to explore the ways in which mobile technology could help individuals who are living with mental illness. We shared information about apps that can help people get the proper diagnosis much quicker than current methods and how the behavior of college students could be tracked to evaluate their mental well-being.
What did you learn from our blog in April?
Image by John Trainor via Flickr