Today’s blog is brought to you by Susan Woods, Ara Health Centre Manager
The theme for the 2017 World Health Day campaign is depression, and as today is World Health Day, it is timely to reflect on how important good health means to each of us, and Susan addresses issues of depression as well as tips on keeping ourselves healthy.
Depression is very common. It is estimated 1 in 5 of us will suffer some depressive episode at some point in our lives. It essential we talk openly about depression, the symptoms experienced and importance of reaching out for help.
Common symptoms include :
- General low mood that persists beyond 2 weeks and isn’t just a response to a normal life event, such as a bereavement or disappointment.
- Fatigue, lack of energy and motivation
- Sleeping more than usual or having difficulty sleeping
- Sadness and general feeling of hopelessness
- Unable to function normally in daily life – i.e work, home, study activities
- Loss of enjoyment in activities and relationships that were previously a source of pleasure and comfort.
There are many supports for people suffering from depression. Depression.org website is a great place to start and provides some very useful and reassuring information Also, seeing your GP and talking over how you have been feeling is essential as is talking with family and friends. Referral to a counsellor can be arranged by your GP or you can self-refer. A course of medication may sometimes be suggested by your GP.
Ara Health Centre offers free counselling to students and the nurses and GP are also available to help and support you.
Remember, you are not alone. You will get better with the right support and treatment so please, reach out for it.
It is natural and normal for all of us to suffer some illness throughout our life, as we all are vulnerable to contracting viruses, infections and accidents, for example, but there is much we can do to minimise our risk of serious illness through adopting healthy lifestyles. Each of us is able to achieve good health, physically and mentally by following some basic principles to help us achieve optimum health and happiness.
- Eating a wholesome diet, whole foods based around plants – i.e veg, fruit, pulses, nuts, seeds. Eat healthy fats contained in foods such as avocado, nuts/seeds, oily fish and use olive oil for salad dressings. Eat low fat protein, wholegrain carbohydrates and limit foods containing added sugar. Wholefoods contain vital nutrients to enable our bodies to function at its best.
- Be active. You don’t need an expensive gym membership to get fit and healthy. Walking is fantastic for health and is free and easy to do.
- Limit alcohol intake to the recommended maximum intake : women – no more than 10 standard drinks a week and men – no more than 15 standard drinks. A standard drink contains 10 grams of alcohol. All bottles and cans of alcoholic drink are labelled with how many SD they contain. Two days of the week should be alcohol free.
- Quit smoking tobacco. The detrimental effects of tobacco on health are well known. There is a lot of help and support for smokers to quit – through your GP/Practice Nurse or by calling Quitline.
- Evidence shows that connection with others is vitally important for both physical and mental health. Make time to develop relationships and cherish the close bonds you have with the important people in your life.
- Minimise stress as much as you can. Learn how to be mindful; take a look at the vast amount of information on the web about mindfulness practice. Mindfulness practice has been proven to reduce stress and mental illness.
- If you are feeling inspired to make some changes to your life style, for example, increasing activity levels, start by making simple, small changes as these are much more sustainable and can be built on gradually to amount to bigger, more permanent changes – such as deciding one week to reduce sugar intake by cutting out biscuits, for instance or deciding to stop eating anything with added sugar
- Set small, explicit, achievable weekly goals in relation to diet and fitness – i.e walk for 2 x 30 minutes session in the park/along beach etc – so satisfying when you reach them. Then set another slightly bigger goal the week after and so on.
Finally, ensure screening tests are up to date, cervical screening, breast screening, and vaccinations – seasonal flu vaccines for example.
Remember, your precious body and mind are the only ones you will ever have, treat them well – Susan Woods
The Library has many resources on physical and mental health, diet, exercise and well being. Use our catalogue – Primo Library Search to find many resources on these topics – including Nutrition for health, fitness, & sport.
Happy World Health Day