According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, the amount of people in the United States who are practicing yoga has increased from 5.1 % in 2002 to 9.5 % in 2012. To see statistics on this and other Mind and Body Practices, go here http://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USNIHNCCIH/bulletins/ff47cc .
We have a great Chair Yoga printout on our Resources for Mindfulness web page that can help you stretch out during long days at your desk.
If you want to make an appointment to discuss how to incorporate mindfulness techniques into your life, contact us using our online form or call us:
BU Med Campus- 617-638-5381
Charles River Campus-617-353-5381
Karen Brouhard will be presenting a workshop on Resilience and Mindfulness at the BU Fitness and Recreation Center on Wednesday, March 18th at 12:00 pm. The workshop will help you learn ways to develop and maintain resilience, and try mindfulness techniques to help build your resilience. To register for this workshop and to see and other upcoming Fitrec events, go here.
Let’s face it- winter in Boston can be hard. The lack of sunlight, the cold, and the letdown from the holidays can really do a number on our sense of happiness and well-being. Add record-breaking amounts of snow to a typical dark and dreary season, and we are bound to find ourselves experiencing high levels of depression, stress and anger. How can we cope with the effects of a winter that does not seem to end?
U.S. News & World Report has an article about how to deal with snow rage. The author, Angela Haupt, breaks down the symptoms of snow rage and lists some things that you can do if you find yourself more short-tempered than usual. Many of her suggestions also work for the more general stress and unhappiness that occurs during this time of year.
Be aware of your emotional and physical state. If you find yourself becoming overwhelmed, anxious, or angry, take a break from what you are doing. If your body is tensing up, or you can feel negative emotions building to a boiling point, looks for ways to calm yourself. Try to take some slow, deep breaths. Think about something that you find calming, or that makes you happy.
Now is a time to find activities that you enjoy. Find a good podcast, or listen to some music that outs you in a good mood. Watch a movie, TV show, or video that you enjoy. Read a book or magazine that eluded you during the warmer months. Talk to a good friend or someone positive in your life- even if it is a short conversation, it can brighten your day, and may help the other person as well.
Take care of yourself. Lack of sleep can exacerbate irritability. It can be challenging, but try to get enough sleep. Food can affect your mood; try to eat healthy. When you are stuck indoors and might have trouble getting to a grocery store, that can be hard. Don’t give up completely and use the bad weather as an excuse to eat food that might make you feel good now, but will make you feel worse later on. Try to get outside, even if it is cold and the sun does not appear to be out. Open up your shades and blinds to bring as much natural light as possible into your house. If you can exercise safely, continue some version of your regimen. If your typical exercise routine is not viable, now might be a good time to try something different.
If you feel as though you have Seasonal Affective Disorder, here is some information from the Mayo Clinic on what it is, and how to manage the symptoms.
If you work at BU and would like to talk to someone in the Faculty & Staff Assistance Office about winter stress, or stress and anxiety in general, feel free to contact us for free, confidential counseling. You can or use our contact form, or call us:
Charles River Campus: 617-353-5381
BU Medical Campus: 617-638-5381
Stay safe and warm!
The BU Occupational Health Center is hosting a great Coping with Holiday Stress workshop presented by our own Karen Brouhard on Tuesday, December 9th from 12:00 to 1:00 pm in the Boston University Occupational Health Center room ( 930 Commonwealth Avenue, West Pleasant Street entrance) . As of December 4th, there are still some seats left. To see more info and to register for this and other events, see the info on the Human Resources Health Promotions Page.
If you would like to figure out some ways to deal with Holiday stress and can’t make it to the talk, feel free to call us and make an appointment to talk to one of our counselors. If you are on the Charles River Campus, you can call us at 617-353-5381. If you are on the Med Campus, you can call us at 617-638-5381.
We have just added information in our services section about interpersonal violence. If you would like to learn more about what interpersonal violence is, what some of the warning signs might be, and how the Faculty and Staff Assistance Office can help you, please go to our page here: http://www.bu.edu/fsao/resources/interpersonal-violence/ . There is also information for supervisors on how to interact with and assist people affected by interpersonal violence http://www.bu.edu/fsao/resources/interpersonal-violence/interpersonal-violence-in-the-workplace/ .
If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment to talk to a counselor, feel free to call us at 617-353-5381 or 617-638-5381.
We don’t ususally think of the stress in our lives as a good thing. But this HBR blog post by David Brendel suggests that we can use stress as a tool, rather than be driven by it. Brendel discusses ways that people have re-worked their relationship to stress, and used it to their benefit. Take a look and see if you agree with the post.
This post by Carmen Nobel on the Harvard Business School “Working Knowledge” website discusses recent research into the positive long term effects of reflection in the workplace.
Bonnie Teitleman of the BU Faculty & Staff Assistance Office wrote about caring for elderly parents. You can read her article here on the BU Be Well website.
The recent epidemic of overdoses and deaths from opiates and heroin has caused Deval Patrick, the Governor of Massachusetts, to declare a state of emergency. Boston and surrounding communities, particularly the South Shore, have experienced a surge in the use of opiates and heroin. Addicts may describe a history of having a physician prescribe a narcotic like Vicodin or Percocet for an acute injury. Their pain continues after the prescription is used and people then seek alternatives like heroin, which is often cheaper and more potent than other drugs. Fentanyl, a powerful analgesic, may be added and enhance the lethality of heroin. Stereotypes of addicts suggest that they are down-and-out characters, but heroin and opiates may be used by successful, educated and seemingly well-adjusted people. The epidemic is “equal opportunity,” affecting people of any age, gender, social class, and ethnicity.
Relevance to BU
Boston University Charles River Campus and its Medical Center employ more than 12,000 people. Along with their families, some people in our community may be affected by drug use. Adolescents are especially vulnerable to substance use disorders because of their brain development, lack of judgment and impulsivity. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (2010), 13% of high school seniors have used a prescription opioid recreationally, suggesting that drugs are reaching younger, more fragile people with reduced inhibitions.
The city’s only public methadone clinic is in the South End, close to the Boston Medical Center. It is scheduled to close and it is unclear where these people will be treated in the future. Meanwhile, addiction treatment is expensive and hard to find. Many addicts lack health insurance. Beds formerly filled by alcoholics are now used by heroin or opiate addicts.
What Can Be Done?
Police and drug enforcement policies are attempting to limit the supply of illegal drugs with detection and strong punishments but have had only limited success to date. For families with an addicted loved one, the search for treatment may yield public detox beds. In the private sector, beds and treatment programs are reimbursable by many insurances, but may provide only brief inpatient treatment and erratic outpatient follow up. More families are turning to a little used Massachusetts regulation, Section35. This allows families to facilitate an involuntary commitment for a family member who may be out of control with addiction. Self-help groups such as , New England Regional Narcotics Anonymous, provide information and support to addicts and their families.
Help is available to Boston University employees and family members who might be troubled by substance use disorders. The University offers health insurance coverage for addiction treatment for employees who have a University insurance plan. Confidential advice and referrals through the Faculty and Staff Assistance Office are available. Boston Medical Center also offers the FAST PATH, an addiction service for people who are dealing with HIV, as well as Project Respect, a special program that addresses the treatment of addiction in pregnancy.
BU Police Department has taken a lead in acquiring and training officers to use Narcan, a safe and effective opioid antagonist that can reverse an overdose and save a life, if given quickly. Thomas Robbins, the Chief of BU Police Department, states: “Narcan provides our officers with a tool that may help prevent a tragedy within our community. BUPD is proud to be one of the first departments in Massachusetts to receive this important, potentially live saving training.”
Below are some web-based resources that give information about substance addiction, treatment, and prevention.
Boston University has been researching and investigating the causes and effects of substance abuse for years. BU Today investigated the work that is being done at Boston University in a week-long series called “The Addiction Puzzle”, which can be found on the Boston University website.
For residents of Boston, The Boston Public Health Commission has an addiction services section on their website that contains links with resources for active users, options for outpatient and residential treatment, and information about community prevention initiatives, including a Narcan program. The Partnership at Drugfree.org has a website that includes a list of drugs that are commonly abused, as well as on how to discuss substance abuse with children and teens.