Making Personal Changes that Lead to Long-Term Whole-Mind-and-Body Health
“Health is a state of complete mental, social, and physical well-being, not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
(World Health Organization, 1948)
From the time we are children, we become accustomed to visiting our pediatrician or family doctor for an annual physical and to treat our injuries or illnesses. Those visits remain critical elements to lifelong health, but there’s a lot more to overall health than just physical well-being. Holistic medicine and related body-and-mind care practices date back thousands of years and are readily applied worldwide today to augment health by treating the whole person—mind and body—to maintain optimal physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health.
The upheaval in everyone’s lives since the arrival of COVID has precipitated unprecedented surges in physical and mental health issues for people of all ages. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. adults, in general, reported considerably elevated adverse mental-health conditions associated with the pandemic and quarantine times. Younger adults, racial/ethnic minorities, “essential” workers, and unpaid adult caregivers reported having experienced disproportionately worse mental-health outcomes, increased substance abuse, and elevated suicidal ideation. The situation is serious and calls for increased intervention and prevention efforts.
With holistic health being the goal, we talked to some professionals in the Lincoln area about the dangers, needs, and solutions to help achieve whole-mind-and-body health before the repercussions on lives in our community become any more dire. There is no single solution, but plenteous services that make up individual pieces of the puzzle. That includes everything from community counseling to treatment centers, family medicine, exercise programs, massage, CBD products, reframing coaching, holistic cleaning products, and more. Every member of the community can play a role in the healing process by being aware of each of these and sharing them with those who show signs of needing help.
Leaves and Flowers
Everything that Leadership Harbor (www.leadershipharbor.com) does is about mind health, and a healthier mind equals a healthier body, according to Kris Peterson, a certified leadership, parenting, family, and youth coach with Leadership Harbor and an executive director with The John Maxwell Team. Achieving positivity makes people’s brains healthier, makes them more creative, and makes their bodies healthier. It all centers on the brain, though.
“Auto-responders in our brain’s neurons literally grow these branches and can develop what we call leaves or flowers that plant new seeds and expand our thought process,” Kris said. “That’s how we end up expanding our potential. Negative thoughts stop production of leaves or flowers, and all you get are bare branches. Our brain is naturally wired for positivity, and we have to choose to live into that. When we think in a positive form, things come toward us, possibilities open up, and we see things differently. In other words, we see positives if we look for positives, but if we look for a negative, that’s what we’ll find.”
Leadership Harbor’s mantra is: “We want to add value to people, with people that we value, at a time that makes a difference, and in a place that makes a difference.” Accordingly, when their coaches work with individuals who are ready to make positive changes in their lives, their goal is to unlock positive, forward, future thoughts and develop mindsets to get around, over, and through the obstacles that people have given themselves from experiences or how their subconscious has them thinking about themselves.
“We can really truly go beyond where we are and unlock potential,” Kris said. “When we focus only on our mistakes, we literally will continue to make them. Coaching is about taking what is current, unlearning it, relearning something different, applying it, and living into it.”
COVID has had tremendous negative impacts on people’s mind health and, in turn, their physical health. Everything from being alone to watching or listening to the news has sent many people into tailspins because their mindset can’t hold.
“Believe it or not, we are wired to be with people,” Kris said. “The pandemic has created barriers to being with other people. We can see them and talk virtually, but we can’t get that actual human interaction, which we gain energy from all the time. When that slows, we’re slowing, too. During this pandemic, lots of people also have shut down their positive thought processes and think only about the negatives, especially from listening to the news. All of this has gotten worse because of the quarantine and the stress people are living through is naturally shutting down production of all leaves and seeds.”
One of Leadership Harbor’s services—a FREE one—focuses on suicide and bully prevention but its results reach much farther. It’s called CALM, which is an acronym for stay Calm, Ask questions and actively listen, Lead, and Move. Kris said Leadership Harbor brings it to anyone free of charge because they consider it so essential.
If you know someone who is looking to improve their health but is struggling with motivation or other barriers, they need to find a trusted resource. Kris warns against following any program that promises immediate change. Before choosing a life coach, check out the background and values of the company. If you’re dealing with people of integrity, you’re going to have a lot more trust. You have to have a trusted connection point with accountability, and you have to be willing to engage and take the time to make the changes you want. Leadership Harbor can help you get there!
Quoting Dr. Caroline Leaf from her book Think Learn Succeed, Kris said: “It takes 21 days to build a long-term memory and it takes 63 days to build a new habit. Moral of the story? Change takes time, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t see results immediately. Also, be wary of anyone who promises a quick fix to a problem—the results will only be temporary.”
Affinity Community Counseling (www.affinitycommunitycounseling.com) also believes that a person’s mental health is crucial to their whole-body health. Affinity is a well-rounded agency, with therapists who specialize in various aspects of mental health, and thanks to their ability to provide Telehealth, they have continued to help patients throughout the pandemic. As such, they have been able to help many people overcome the challenges that COVID brought with it. With the relaxing of some pandemic restrictions, they now also are able to provide in-person sessions for those who strongly feel it is what is needed—with ongoing safety precautions, of course. The repercussions of the pandemic on mental health are far more significant than some might even imagine, though.
“This pandemic has affected people in ways that they may not even realize,” said Affinity Director of Behavioral Health Services Jennifer Clark, LIMHP. “While we are isolating to try and stop the spread of this virus, we are also potentially causing more mental-health issues to arise. There may be a person who lives alone and all their family members are in another state, so they could see some depression setting in. There may be a mother who has a severe immune-compromised child. They may see an increase in their anxiety as they determine what is right for their child when it comes to schooling. There are people who are grieving the death of a loved one to this virus who might need some help working through their grief, as it may be more complex than other grief.”
When it comes down to it, Jennifer said, humans are social, and not being able to do the same things we have always done can really affect our mental health and well-being. The important thing to remember is that there is nothing wrong with reaching out for help and admitting that this pandemic has taken a toll on your well-being. You are not alone!
“The No. 1 thing that is vital to moving toward heart-mind-body health would be to remove the stigma around getting help for your mental health,” Jennifer said. “We go to our doctors and our dentists for checkups, so we should also be willing to have checkups for our mental health. To truly have heart-mind-body health, you need to pay attention to your mental health. Never feel ashamed of it.”
Of course, when you are overwhelmed with possible anxiety or depression, she said, it can be difficult to get motivated to seek help. The answer? Baby steps.
“If you find that you are struggling with things in life, take one baby step and reach out to a mental-health therapist, just like you would reach out to your physician if you were sick,” Jennifer said. “Taking that one step can drastically help you make the second and third steps to seeing someone. Therapy is not an easy fix, and your therapist is not going to give you all the answers, but they will help with tools to manage the stress of life and help with getting that motivation back.”
Listening to Your Inner Voice
According to Maureen A. DeRyke, PLMHP, PMSW, of Daring Minds Therapy (daringmindstherapy.info), the chaos and expectations of us in everyday life can apply significant pressure to our mental and physical health. We are expected to perform multiple roles while managing the demands of emails, voicemails, texts, business, and family, which translate directly to challenges including time constraints, lack of sleep, motivation challenges, temptations, stress, money, and pressure to be the perfect healthy person. With the added disruptions that the pandemic brought, the challenges can become overwhelming.
“The disruptive nature of the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted mental well-being, employment, income loss, disruptions to education, familial relations, and friendships, as well as a limitation to individual freedoms,” Maureen said. “It’s disrupting every aspect of people’s lives in an unprecedented manner, and these disruptions in daily life and extended periods of isolation can contribute to both individual and collective trauma. This type of trauma can be damaging and increases the potential for several negative psychological effects, including confusion, anger, panic, depression, hopelessness, anxiety, stress, grief, and PTSD.”
Daring Minds Therapy is a women-owned small business that Maureen founded in 2018 with co-founders Sarah Worley and Erica Schroeder. They have therapists who are trained/licensed in child-parent-psychotherapy, eye-movement desensitization, reprocessing, dialectical behavioral therapy, drug and alcohol abuse, social work, and trauma-related disorders. If you’re looking to improve your overall health and feel like you might need some help to get there, start by setting some small goals in your daily life. Give yourself time to figure out what works for you, going at your own pace.
“Our mind, body, and spirit communicate with us daily as to what is healthy and what is not,” Maureen said. “However, taking that time to listen to our inner voice can be challenging. Pick one or two things that feel achievable at first, before moving on to trying other ideas,” Maureen said. “If there is something that helps you relax, try to find time to fit it into your day. Doing something creative can help distract you from difficult thoughts or feelings or help you to process them. It can also be rewarding. Try to eat regular meals and have a balanced diet, as this can help your mood and energy levels—and try to establish a routine around bedtime to help set a regular sleeping pattern.”
Daring Minds operates on the belief that taking care of our mental physical, emotional, and spiritual health gives us the fuel we need to live happy, healthy, productive lives.
“Self-care is one of the most important things you can do for your long-term health,” Maureen said. “If we are not taking care of ourselves, we are unable to care for other important things in our lives, including our family, friends, careers, hobbies, passions, and interests. If we do not devote anything to ourselves, we will not have anything to give to anyone or anything else.”
It’s All About Balance
We can see that achieving whole-body health is about fitting all the puzzle pieces together. CBD American Shaman (cbdamericanshaman.com) is a crucial piece of the puzzle for many followers of holistic health practices today, as it provides plant-based CBD products that help your body’s endocannabinoid system get back into balance. CBD American Shaman has been working for years to spread the benefits of CBD oil in Lincoln and give people another health solution that doesn’t involve taking harmful prescription medications. CBD oil is made from a cannabis compound called cannabidiol that is found in all cannabis plants. This compound interacts with the body through the endocannabinoid system, which is the system in your body that regulates normal homeostasis.
“As the environment around you automatically affects the normal state of balance, the endocannabinoid system keeps your body leveled,” said Brandon Ford, store manager of the CBD American Shaman at 233 N 48th St., STE 1. “Taking or using a CBD-enriched product can enhance your body’s ability to maintain balance and manage occasional stress. It is also known to have many beneficial properties and is particularly effective for supporting focus and maintaining health and well-being.”
CBD American Shaman takes it one step further with nanotechnology that radically increases the potency of its plant-based supplements.
“We use a proprietary nanotechnology, which represents the ultimate refinement of hemp oil concentrate. When viewed under a microscope, the cannabinoids in regular hemp oil are locked up in fatty globules, and when this hemp oil is ingested, the body has to break up these globules to “unlock” the cannabinoids. CBD Shaman’s nanotechnology shatters the oil apart, reducing the size of each particle down to the nanometer scale and making the oils work faster and stronger than any competitors’ products. Our unique process delivers unmatched particle size, putting cannabinoids in their most active state. It gives the cannabinoids a much greater surface area—they are nine times more bioavailable!”
Choices Treatment Center (www.choicestreatmentcenter.com) is a treatment center that provides a holistic approach to mental health and addiction recovery. Director Deb Hammond said COVID-19 has significantly impacted why people are seeking treatment and how Choices carries out that treatment, including putting strict measures in place to ensure the health and safety of both clients and employees.
“COVID has had and will continue to have a significant impact upon individuals who may or may not have suffered prior to the outbreak,” Deb said. “Unfortunately, our current increase in requests for services has come from a variety of mental-health issues due to COVID-19, and substance abuse and problem gambling often are seen as ways to cope. I would encourage anyone who might be suffering with depression, anxiety, stress, or anger-management issues or anyone experiencing increased substance use or gambling to reach out to the community services available and keep calling until their needs are met.”
The only way to move forward toward heart-mind-body health, Deb said, is to identify and assess the problem with a holistic assessment of the individual—including physical, mental, and emotional health—to start the process of identifying a treatment plan. The Choices staff treats clients by teaching them methods to care for their bodies as well as their minds and they carry out treatment via a team approach, not only with professional at Choices but by including the client’s own support group, including friends and family.
“Oftentimes, we are a product of our own environment, which is not always healthy,” Deb said. “Everyone has choices to make in their own lives but there often are barriers for some individuals, and it’s our job to help them understand that they are not alone.”
Research indicates that one in five Americans experience mental illness, with some 60 million affected in a given year—only 43% of whom actually receive treatment. Sadly, much of that is because mental illness is shrouded in a stigma that physical health is not, a stereotype that has persisted over time. Deb said the No. 1 reason people don’t reach out for help is embarrassment, followed by time, fear, and money or lack of insurance benefits that would allow for counseling.
Clouding the entire picture is people’s poor understanding of mental illness, to the extent that they dismiss depression as feeling down and lazy or anxiety as being over-worried, when the fact is that these symptoms actually could represent cases of clinical mental illnesses. The risk of downplaying the warning signs can be dangerous.
“There is absolutely no shame in having an addiction or mental-health issue,” Deb said. “If people continue to ignore signs, their condition can become far more dire and they begin to believe the misinformation and false stereotypes that they hear repeated so often. It’s important to seek help as early as possible, and we’re here to help without any judgment!”
Choices Treatment Center answers the phone 24/7 and is willing to meet with patients individually to assess and help address their needs on an individual basis. Deb has fostered a team approach to helping each client, involving her staff regularly to discuss individual treatment plans and the best ways to proceed, and if Choices can’t provide the particular treatment a client needs, they’ll refer them to an outside professional who can. Each individual’s whole-body-and-mind health is their ultimate goal.
“We will do whatever it takes to help a client find the right path,” Deb said, “but taking that first step is up to them.”
Work it Out
Everyone knows that exercise is good for you, but not everybody knows how important it is not just to your physical health, but to your mental and whole-body health. Exercise strengthens your heart and improves your circulation. The increased blood flow increases the oxygen levels in your body, which research indicates helps lower your risk of heart diseases, including high cholesterol, coronary artery disease, and heart attack. What’s more, the Mayo Clinic reports that exercise improves your mood, reduces anxiety, boosts your energy, and promotes better sleep—all elements of whole-body health.
Right Foot Forward Fitness (www.rightfootforwardfitness.com) in Lincoln has the tools to help you get the exercise pieces of your whole-health puzzle in place. Owner and ACE Certified Personal Trainer Jeff Madsen said an exercise routine is more than just what you do at the gym.
“We want to help you gain more self-discipline so you can establish a healthy baseline for your life, both in terms of activity and nutrition,” Jeff said. “To me, holistic health means focusing on your everyday life, not just when you’re in the gym. What do you daily activities look like? How many steps a day do you take? What types of foods are you eating and in what amounts? How can we add in more positive things that are enjoyable to you and will benefit you from a health-and-wellness perspective? We want to help you address the issues that are standing between where you are now and where you want to be.”
With 67% of Americans spending more at the grocery store and experimenting more with cooking during the pandemic, 32% consuming more junk food, and 19% eating more, in general, there’s no double that COVID-19 has delivered some health blows. If boredom and overeating have you growing in ways you’d rather not, it’s better to get started on your return sooner than later. Consider working with the trainers at Right Foot Forward Fitness to get your healthy back on!
Another fabulous option for “working it out” is 5 Elements Massage & Spa, owned by Erin McLenon. They recently invested in a large space to sustain the addition of spa services to their list of offerings. Now located in the Trade Center, 5 Elements has massage therapists and an esthetician on board to service a large, diverse clientele. Their larger layout and two-story floor plan allow them to schedule more treatments and offer more extensive massage and spa packages. If you need to work out some tension, aches and pains, or just achieve nirvana now and again, 5 Elements offers deep tissue, post-natal, Swedish massage, Shiatsu massage, cupping, myofascial release, reflexology, and more.
Clean it Up
If we’ve learned anything through COVID, we’ve learned about the importance of cleaning, so don’t underestimate the effect that disinfecting and cleaning your home and office can have on your overall health. If you want a true clean clean, Top Spot Cleaning & Solutions Too (topspotcleaning.com) has you covered. They have long been known for their quality carpet and floor-care products and services, but they’ve really diversified in 2020 to fit the needs of the time. In the wake of COVID, they rolled out a highly affordable chlorine dioxide (CLO2) and SIMIX disinfecting package to help businesses achieve full-scale, environmentally safe sanitizing and decontaminating.
“SIMIX is a high-pH sanitizing product used to remove the top layers of biofilm,” said Top Spot Owner Doug Neill. “A surface with a high pH continues to fight microbes and viruses. Chlorine dioxide is the final decontaminating step.”
Chlorine dioxide is a very versatile, effective decontaminating product. Not only is it completely safe to use, but it also is odorless. It’s great for a variety of antimicrobial uses, including the disinfection of drinking water.
“CLO2 helps destroy bacteria, viruses, and some types of parasites that can make people sick,” Doug said. “Many companies use an ozone machine, however, 800 molecules of CLO2 fit into one ozone molecule. This is why CLO2 goes deeper into crevices and areas where ozone cannot. Plus, once a gassing treatment is complete, the space can be occupied instantly, whereas when using ozone, one or two days are required to build up oxygen levels.”
Start at the Beginning
While we’ve talked about the full spectrum of holistic health elements, don’t forget the very foundation of your overall health: Your family doctor. A fabulous option for primary care in Lincoln is Access Family Medicine (accessfamilymedicine.com), which operates under a unique model and personal approach to family care. Diagnostic and in-house procedures, labs, imaging, and medications are provided at wholesale cost. For a low monthly rate, you have unlimited access to a physician, including office visits with no additional charges or copays and virtual visits via phone, email, text, and video conferencing.
Access Family Medicine patients receive personalized care tailored to each patient’s preference and comfort, without breaking the bank. Their No. 1 priority is helping prevent, diagnose, and treat your health issues with affordable solutions that work best for your life. Based on the philosophy of paying for what you can afford and insuring what you cannot, Access Family Medicine offers an alternative approach that has a host of benefits for individuals, families, and employers.
Whole-mind-and-body health begins with you, but Lincoln residents are blessed to have access to professionals that can help you find and fit every piece of the puzzle together. Don’t wait to achieve holistic health. Get started today!