Thank You UWS Students! 

Thank you to UWS Counseling Students for a great evening of exploration regarding the mental health field. In this post I also outline and more in-depth explanation of treating and healing from early trauma. A list of somatic psychology resources is also included.

Thank you for letting me come speak about our profession! I enjoyed the exploration and interest areas. There are some many possibilities and avenues for careers in behavioral health. I am grateful to be able to share my experience and hope for the next generation of LPCs. I wish you well, and please feel free to contact me if more questions/thoughts arise.

As I reflected on the questions I believe I didn’t answer the question about early trauma fully – to heal from psychological trauma we do not need the story/details of the event. Trauma happens in the body, even when it is verbal in nature, the physiology of the fear disrupts the endocrine system and dysregulates the brain processes. As a result we see dysfunctional behaviors and coping skills. To treat this we can use a number of therapies that target body sensations, as early trauma is stored in brain centers as sensations – not as words/symbols. We can then use the body sensations to track and allow neuropathways to develop while using the present moment therapist to client regulation. This allows the person to process through the trauma in the brain via the body with safety, then make meaning of the event(s) using words, art, music, etc. I tend to use somatic therapies most of the time along with cognitive work to help make meaning and keep the process moving – help clients understand what’s happening when that’s what’s needed for safety. And Dialectical Behavior Therapy to teach regulations skills prior to trauma protocols. Many somatic modalities teach them along the way, however some struggle with the mindfulness and/or aren’t used to being in the body, tracking sensation for long periods of time. Cognitive work can help balance the fears and safety while building endurance. 
Some resources for the somatic work:

  • USABP – United States Association for Body Psychotherapies
  • SE – Somatic Experiencing, Peter Levin has a good book on trauma in the body
  • Hakomi – Hakomi Institute 
  • Sensorimotor Psychotherapy – check out Pat Ogden’s book on trauma and the body 
  • EMDRIA – Eye movement densitization and reprocessing therapy main association website.

Workouts in the Heat:

This time of year it can be easy to overheat. When the temperature and humidity rise it is important to be smart about your workouts. First, make sure to dress appropriately. Technology has been helpful making moisture wicking clothing, quick drying items, and clothing with strategically vented panels.

You need to drink plenty of fluids. Typically water is just fine, however if you are planning to be out longer than an hour you may want a sports/electrolyte drink. Allow yourself to sweat. Sweating is the body’s way of implementing a cooling system. The more you sweat the more fluids you’ll need to replace. In addition, if you are a salty sweater (does your sweat leave a salt ring on your clothing/hats) you may need to intake more electrolytes to stay balanced.

It’s also a good idea to check the weather and plan your workouts around the hottest parts of the day. In some areas you’ll want to plan for early morning and evening workout times – before or after things cool down. You can also pick locations that have a temperature variance – like higher elevations or exercising closer to the river.

All in all, make sure you are listening to your body and paying attention to your personal preferences and fluid needs while working out in the heat.

12 Min of Yoga For Depression

More and more research is being done on yoga for depression and anxiety. These studies continue to show that yoga can be part of an effective depression management program. The video “The Science Behind Yoga” discusses a variety of benefits yoga practitioners experience.

In a study done by Uebelacker et al. (2017), the authors found that yoga class participants not only reduced depression symposiums but also kept them off at a 3 and 6 month follow up while increasing mastery in social roles.

In my depression management skills group we’ve had a number of discussions about finding healthy ways to cope with depression while working with low levels of motivation. Our group determined that having a few videos to do in the privacy of their home would be a helpful start. Here are a some videos to get you started.

12 Min of Yoga for Depression

5 min Yoga to Ease Depression

Mindful Chair Yoga: Beginner Practice

Feel like it’s time to invest in some gear? Ready for a mat? Blocks? A strap or 2? Check out these products and see what might make your practice more comfortable and more enjoyable. Because we both know when it comes down to it these are the 2 things that will actually get you to DO your yoga practice!

 

Interested in more topics like this? Try these articles from past posts:

Looking to better understand the body and mind connection? Try: Body Mindfulness

Or how our bodies need to stretch to stay healthy? Try:  Flexibility Training

Just looking for more ways to move today and beat depression symptoms? Try: 10 Ways to Move Your Body Today.

 

Reference: Uebelacker LA, et al. (2017). Adjunctive yoga v. health education for persistent major depression: a randomized controlled trial. Psychol Med.m, Apr 6:1-13. doi: 10.1017/S0033291717000575. [Epub ahead of print]

Featured Image Photo: Getty Images / 7 Ways to Ease Into Yoga – aarp.org

Vacation Workouts

For many taking a vacation completely disrupts their routines. When planning your workouts around your vacation there are a couple of options. First you can cycle your workouts to lead up to and return from your vacation. This plan allows you to go on vacation and have an off week. Some enjoy just lounging on the beach or poolside, while others include active days touring and sightseeing without a focus on getting enough exercise.

The second option is to plan to workout on your vacation. Although it won’t be the same as your normal routine (may be shorter, different equipment, about exploring the area, etc. Try packing workout bands.) you are still focused on getting active during your vacation. Either way the focus shifts from your regular routine yet stays focused on you as a healthy person.

Good planning makes all the difference in staying committed to yourself and your goals while allowing flexibility and structure to your vacation plans. Good planning also allows you return to your regular routine quickly upon arriving back home. This is a big part of your vacation workout planning.

Many go on vacation and then take weeks to get back into their routine. This derailment is the larger problem, by the time they get back to regular workouts they’ve packed on pounds and lost strength/endurance, both pretty frustrating depleting motivation to get back on track at all.

When you plan for vacation within your workout routine, you can head out with no guilt and enjoy your time knowing you have a plan to return to your exercise practice when you get back. Here’s to happy planning and vacation relaxing.

Here’s a 20min hotel room workout for simple vacation workout planning! Enjoy.

Don’t have time – Fitting your workout around your day.

The number one obstacle people report when struggling to workout is time. As you begin to plan your fitness program pay attention to your time preferences – are you a morning person? Night owl? When do you have commitments you do not want to re-arrange? Then begin to fit your workouts in around those items.

For me, I like mornings better than evening workouts and I’m more likely to get them done. However, to make these happen consistently I need to have a solid bedtime routine to make sure I’m getting enough sleep. Plus, I have children who need to get on a school bus at a set time. Plus, I don’t want to dump the full morning routine on my partner which means my workouts need to fit before or after the morning school routine. I can also decide to workout on my lunch hour or after work if needed. Look at your schedule and see where you can adjust your time to fit in a workout.

Remember you can do your workout in smaller time increments. Sometimes it’s about fitting in more movement and activity throughout the day. Every hour I get up for 10 of the 60mins and do a quick set of something – push-ups, squats, arm curls (I have rubber tubing in my office), shoulder presses, etc. By the end of my work day I’ve performed 8-10 exercises in my strength routine. Since I am doing them in short bursts of activity I don’t worry about changing my clothes. Dressing out and travel are sometimes the things that kill the workout routine. They can take as long as the workout itself. In this case look for options near your location.

Can you find a hiking trail? Bring a bike to ride over your lunch hour or commute to work on? Is there space near your work space to use rubber tubing? If you are serious about making a healthy lifestyle change you need to get serious about your commitment to yourself. Where can you let go of items in your daily routine that aren’t as important to you? That don’t have as high of a priority for you right now? And replace that time with a commitment to your health and wellbeing.

Allow yourself time and space to practice making these changes to your routine. Give yourself at least 3-4 weeks while making a change – that’s how long it takes to create a new habit. When making changes remember it takes time and awareness. Allow yourself the time to study your own process of change and make small shifts toward your goal.