Is “Mental” Health Really Just In The Mind?

By Roz Jones

Imagine you are asked to describe what depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, or bipolar disorder are. Would you say “mental health problems” or similar? Most would, and there is a general perception that these problems are purely based in the mind. There is still something of an attitude that people with mental health and anxiety problems should be able to “snap out of it” or get over it, just like that. Yet many mental illnesses actually have physical reasons. 

For example, clinical depression. A much-misused term, depression is now used to describe someone feeling a bit low. However, if someone has full, clinical depression, they will experience long periods of horrifically low mood, low motivation, and a general feeling of emptiness. A cruel illness, but one that is described as being mental, and a regular target for the “pull yourself out of it!” brigade. 

Yet, depression does have a physical basis. Depression is caused by a lower-than-average amount of serotonin in the body. Also known as the “feel good” hormone, serotonin controls the mood, personality, and feelings of an individual. If serotonin levels are low, the individual will experience depressive, low thoughts. This is a physical problem with mental evidence, but it is physical nonetheless – antidepressants work on increasing serotonin levels, and tend to have a decent success rate. 

Furthermore, preliminary scans have shown those with obsessive compulsive disorder have enlarged lobes at the front of the brain. These lobes control our worry and anxiety mechanism, and when enlarged, the anxiety goes into overdrive – resulting in what we know as OCD.  

So these mental illnesses are, more often than not, physical in basis after all – and one can no more “shake off” or “get over” a hormone imbalance than one can “shake off” a broken leg!

Visit http://www.rozjonesent.com for more information on addressing mental health as a caregiver and check out my upcoming book!

Healthy Habits for Women Caregivers

By Roz Jones

Developing habits is a part of life and something everyone does, but we really should be focusing on the healthy habits. These are things you do on a daily basis that are good for both your physical and mental health. Take a look at these healthy habits that are great for women, especially those of us who are caregivers for our loved ones.

Get More Exercise

If you don’t have a regular fitness routine, now is the perfect time to start. Exercise is wonderful for anyone, male or female, but it has some unique advantages for women. Exercising can help you lose weight or manage your weight, fight diseases like heart disease and diabetes, and prevent conditions like arthritis and osteoporosis as you age. It is also great during any phase of your life, whether you are a teenager, in your childbearing years, or even as a senior adult. This is a great healthy habit to start developing now.

Focus on Your Nutrition

In addition to exercise, you should also develop a habit of eating better. Don’t try to find some fad diet just to lose weight, instead, choose a new way of eating that becomes a part of your lifestyle. Think of longevity and choose foods that are good for you, provide adequate nutrition, and are foods you can eat and cook easily. If your favorite food is bread, then low-carb is probably not for you. On the other hand, if you are a protein girl, you might do great on Keto or Paleo. Pick and choose based on what provides the most nutrition, but also what is manageable for your current lifestyle. Increased nutrition will give you more energy to help negate feelings of tiredness that can arise from juggling lots of responsibilities as a woman and as a caregiver.

Don’t Neglect Your Mental Health

Now is also the perfect time to start developing habits that are good for your mental health. Far too many people, women especially, neglect their mental health. Your mental health can also have an impact on your physical wellbeing, so it is very important. Some things that can help your mental health include getting regular exercise and eating right, writing in a journal, de-stressing when you can, and taking some time for yourself for a little self-care. We cannot adequately give care to our loved ones when we are running on empty ourselves.

Spend Time With Loved Ones

It is really easy to become a hermit and just work and sleep, but it is important for your health and wellbeing that you make a habit of visiting others. Make plans with friends, spend time with family, and reach out to people you don’t spend a lot of time with, such as co-workers or neighbors.

Visit http://www.rozjonesent.com for more information on staying healthy as a caregiver and check out my upcoming book!

What is Self-Hatred?

By Roz Jones

Could it be possible you hate yourself too much? Self-hatred is more than simply not liking yourself. When you suffer with self-hatred, you’ll constantly put yourself down and feel like you aren’t good at anything.

Self-hatred and feeling like we are not enough can be especially difficult for those of us fulfilling caregiver roles for our loved ones. When we are responsible for taking care of both ourselves and others, we can feel as if we are never doing enough or “doing it right.”

Here, we’ll look at what self-hatred is, the impact it can have on your life, and how you can stop it in its tracks.

Understanding self-hatred

Self-hatred is basically like having a little bully sat inside your head. You will experience constant criticizing thoughts, pointing out your flaws and mistakes. Some common self-hatred thoughts you might experience include:

You’re a loser”
“Why did you even try, you knew you would fail.”
“You aren’t good enough.”
“Why can’t you just be normal?

You’ll put yourself down and compare yourself to others frequently. Self-hatred tends to develop over time and is triggered by more than one event.

How can it impact your life?

Although self-doubt is healthy, self-hatred is not. If you struggle with self-hatred, it can have a devastating impact on your life. Often the feelings of self-hatred worsen over time and can lead to destructive behaviors as you try and numb the negative self-talk.

Many people who suffer with self-hatred go on to develop destructive behaviors such as cutting themselves, develop eating disorders, or turn to drugs and alcohol. It can impact every aspect of your life, including your relationships, your career, and the friends you include in your life. You may also stop caring about the things you used to enjoy and avoid things that make you feel better.

The impact it can have on your life makes it important to treat quickly, rather than ignore it. The question is, how can you eliminate self-hatred?

Ways to eliminate self-hatred from your life

There are many ways to eliminate self-hatred from your life. Learning how to tame your inner bully is a great first step. So, when you notice that inner voice telling you negative things about yourself, switch it around. Stop those negative thoughts in their tracks and turn them into a positive.

So, if your inner bully says, “You aren’t worth anything,” switch it to “I may feel like I am not worthy, but I know that I am.” The more you counteract the negative thoughts with positive ones, the more positive your mind will become.

You can also make a list of all your strengths. If you struggle to come up with some, ask those closest to you. When you focus on your strengths, you won’t be too caught up in your weaknesses.

Finally, work on building up self-compassion. That is, treat yourself the exact same way you would treat a good friend. As a caregiver, you are excellent at helping out and lifting others up, so turn these skills on yourself. Would you beat a loved one up for making a mistake? If not, why do it to yourself?

Overall, self-hatred can be a powerful thing to overcome since it builds up over time. However, the tips above can help you to start to quiet your inner bully and develop a little more self-compassion.

Visit http://www.rozjonesent.com for more information on building yourself up as a caregiver and check out my upcoming book!

Why It’s Hard to Say “No” as a Caregiver pt 2

By Roz Jones

Have you ever said ‘yes’ to something you wished that you’d said ‘no’ to instead? Chances are you’ve done that not just once, but several times in your life, and likely regretted it every time. This is particularly difficult as a caregiver, when we know that our loved ones are relying on us. Why is it so terribly hard to say ‘no’ when deep down, you know that it’s the right thing to do?

As it turns out, a lot of those answers come from the past and our upbringing. Thankfully, it’s never too late to rewrite the past. Let’s take a look at several more reasons people say ‘yes’ when they mean ‘no.’

“I want to prove my worth.”

Poor self-esteem drives this statement. Frequently we set out to prove ourselves by becoming indispensable. Unfortunately, all that it shows when you say ‘yes’ to everything, is that people can easily take advantage of you. No one thinks highly of someone who says ‘yes’ all the time. 

“If I say ‘no,’ I’m selfish.”

This one comes straight out of childhood where we are taught to be agreeable from the time we’re small. In reality, it’s very healthy to put your own needs first. After all, how can you take care of anyone else, if you’ve compromised not only our time but your energy and quite possibly your health to take care of everyone else first? You are at your best as a caregiver, and in general, when you put on your own oxygen mask first before helping someone else.

There are many more excuses for saying ‘yes.’ What you need to realize is that whenever you feel put out, angry, or resentful about doing something, a ‘yes’ in that situation is just that – an excuse. That’s when you need to examine your motives, and then ask yourself – is that truly the person you want to be? Chances are, it’s time for a change.

Check out the first part of this discussion here, and visit http://www.rozjonesent.com for more information on setting boundaries as a caregiver and to check out my upcoming book!