As news about the COVID-19 outbreak continues to dominate almost every aspect of our lives, it is essential that we pay attention to our mental health just as we do our physical health.

There are many reasons that people may be feeling stressed and anxious whether it be due to loss of a loved one, fear of getting sick, loss of income/fear of loss of job, social distance and self-isolation, or a combination of all of these. The COVID-19 pandemic is a stressful situation, especially for those who are already living with a behavioral health issues. Below are some tips to help cope with stress and anxiety during these challenging times.

Limit news consumption and social media intake

24-hour news and constant social media updates can induce stress, anxiety, and feelings of worry. Try to limit yourself to 10 minutes a day to stay informed, and try to check only reliable resources, like the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and your local/state government websites.

Create and follow a daily routine

Sticking to a routine can help bring a sense of normalcy back into your life. Try waking up and going to bed at the same time every day, having regularly scheduled meals, getting dressed for the day, and stick to your regular working hours if possible. Also try adding something new into your routine, like a daily workout or calling a friend.

Stay virtually connected with others

Video calls with friends and family can help beat isolation. Set up a scheduled time to have a virtual coffee or lunch date with a friend, start a book club and discuss weekly over video calls, call a friend or family member you haven’t talked to in a while and reconnect. There are many ways to stay connected to your loved ones even when you can’t see them physically.

Maintain a healthy lifestyle

Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, drink plenty of water, exercise at least 30 minutes a day, and take a walk outside. It is mood-boosting to be in nature and get some sunshine, but please remember to try and keep at least 6 feet apart when enjoying the spring weather.

Communicate feelings of stress, anxiety, and worry

This is a difficult time for everyone and sharing how you are feeling with family and friends may help you and them cope by talking about fears, worries, etc. and the ways you are trying to deal with your emotions. If you have children, be sure to communicate with them as well. Be as open and honest as possible in an age-appropriate way and give them the space to process feelings, especially if they have fears or anxiety.


Meditation and Yoga can help keep your stress levels down. Here are some resources if you are new and looking for a place to start:

Tips on Improving your Employee Wellness Program

Most people have heard of the term wellness program, normally thrown around the office, but for those that haven’t, wellness programs are put in place to improve and promote health and fitness.

Oftentimes, companies that offer employee wellness programs don’t know how to make them as effective as they could be. My philosophy is that these programs need to be practical as well as engaging. That’s why during National Health Education Week, I wanted to share 3 simple tips to enhance your wellness program.

1. Go smoke-free at your workplace.

Going smoke-free helps create a safer, healthier workplace by not exposing people to the harmful effects of second-hand smoke. This change might also give tobacco users who want to quit more of a reason to do so.

2. Show you competitive side, create a fitness challenge.

This could be something as easy as creating teams and the team with the most steps or miles at the end of the month wins a prize. If your office is small, try doing this individually. You’ll be surprised how many people will turn this challenge into a habit.

3. Have a set kitchen area.

Having an area designated for eating is huge. By supplying a fridge and counter space for a blender or microwave allows people to store and prepare their lunch or snack versus eating out.

Have ideas on other workplace wellness programs that have worked for you? Let us know.


What You Need To Know About Hepatitis

One of the biggest health threats in the world is hepatitis. Hepatitis is a very dangerous virus that comes in many forms, but they all have major impact on the liver. Over 300 million people are affected by this disease, many of whom are undiagnosed and untreated. Every 28th of July, organizations celebrate World Hepatitis Day, aimed at raising awareness and finding the missing cases by encouraging people to act on getting tested.

Hepatitis accounts for two out of every three liver cancer related deaths, and overall accounts for over one million deaths per year in the United States. While there are many types (Hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E), Hepatitis C is the most common form. It is most commonly transmitted through sharing needles, contact with infected blood, and less commonly, sex. However, it can also be transmitted through tattooing, piercing, and acupuncture.

Though in some instances symptoms may not appear, according to WebMD there are a few common symptoms for all types of hepatitis.

  • Dark urine
  • Stomach pain
  • Yellowing of skin/eyes
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Pale or clay-colored stool

WebMD also supplied a few additional facts on Hepatitis C. Unlike hepatitis A and B, there is no current vaccine for hepatitis C. Although there is no cure, there are a few techniques that aid in prevention.

  • Never share needles – Though this plays a bigger factor for drug users who are at greater risk, even simple things like sharing a straw can pass on the virus.
  • Avoid direct exposure to blood – Particularly for healthcare professionals, it’s important to take steps to avoid direct contact with blood and be sure all tools used to extract blood are discarded or safely sterilized.
  • Don’t share personal items – Items like razors, toothbrushes, nail clippers, etc., can easily be infected with hepatitis C due to their constant exposure to blood.
  • Choose parlors wisely – Make sure tattoo or piercing shops are sanitary and their items used get cleaned or disposed for new customers.
  • Practice safe sex

Although World Hepatitis Day has passed, make sure to go out and get screened. With over 300 million cases left undiagnosed, you could be one of many living with the virus with no symptoms. If you have any questions be sure to reach out to your doctor, and they’ll be able to provide more information on hepatitis virus and ways to protect your liver.

The Battle of Arthritis

There’s an old myth that’s gone for decades about joint pain and weather predictability. Does pain in your knee or ankle really mean a storm is soon approaching? While there’s no scientific evidence of this, there have been links between seasonal change and arthritic pain.

Arthritis is a way of referring to joint pain or joint disease, and there are over 100 different types and related conditions; the main two being osteoarthritis and rheumatoid. According to the Arthritis Foundation, arthritis is the leading cause of disability in America, affecting more than 50 million adults and 300,000 children, of all ages, sexes, and races. Some of the common symptoms associated with arthritis include the following:

  • Swelling
  • Pain
  • Redness
  • Stiffness and decreased range of motion

Per the Mayo Clinic, there are multiple risk factors associated with arthritis that may make one more susceptible to the symptoms. For example:

  • Family History
  • Age
  • Sex
  • Previous joint injury
  • Obesity

Since we’re amid a seasonal turnover, it’s important we focus on how change may affect the experience of those with arthritis. Although symptoms come and go, varying in intensity from person to person, Joint Essential identified seasonal factors that may impact arthritic pain.

  • Exposure or intensity of sun-rays – A study conducted showed intensity and frequency of pain attacks decreases during warm weather months.
  • High vapor pressure – High pressure of water vapors have a positive effect on arthritis symptoms. A person may be more likely to experience disturbing symptoms on rainy days than dry ones.
  • Temperature change – Extreme temperatures (freezing winter days, or excessive heat warning summers) can aggravate the intensity of symptoms.
  • Changes in air-pressure – This can lead to flaring of symptoms of arthritis. High barometric pressure pushes against the body and doesn’t allow tissue to expand, causing severe pain and swelling.

Humidity, precipitation, and even wind speed may also play a factor in arthritis pain, however, Joint Essential also highlighted ways to manage pain during weather change. The following are suggestions:

  1. Learning root cause – It’s imperative to know which type of arthritis you have. However, what’s even more important is understanding the root cause of your symptoms and how to deal with them, or distract yourself from them.
  1. Home exercising/gym training – Spring and summer months are known for increased hours of physical activity, and thus helps with steady circulation of the joints.
  1. Hydrotherapy – Excellent for alleviating joint swelling and edema in patients with flaring episodes of arthritis.
  1. Keeping warm – Although there is a lot more sun to absorb during the spring and summer months, there are times you’re indoors with an air conditioner blasting. It’s important to adjust the room temperature to your comfort level to ease symptoms.
  1. Massage therapy – Similarly to exercising, massages help with circulation across joint surfaces. You can enjoy massages in any season, but if that’s not a preferred method, there’s also physical therapy, acupuncture, or yoga.

While everyone is affected differently throughout seasonal change, it’s important to take preventative measures so your joints and tissues aren’t damaged, and your ability to function and perform day-to-day operations isn’t endangered. Reach out to your R-Health doctor to discuss your symptoms, and follow us for more helpful health and wellness tips.