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4 Sure-Fire Ways to Support Your Teachers’ Mental Health

4 Sure-Fire Ways to Support Your Teachers’ Mental Health

4 sure fire ways to support your teachers' mental health

Teachers return from summer break with mixed feelings. Excitement over a new school year and eagerness to meet your students mix with apprehension and stress about testing and expectations placed on you. All those emotions plus the extra work affects teachers’ mental health. We hope all of you have spent some time resting and being refreshed this summer. 

The start of a new school year is both an exciting and stressful time. It’s more important than ever that you take care of yourself during the exhausting first weeks of school. We encourage parents, friends, and family of teachers to support your teachers’ mental health during back to school as well. We’ve put together a few ideas about how we can all support teachers’ mental health during back to school.

Ways Parents May Support Teachers‘ Mental Health

Parents, you are an integral part of your child’s education and often provide the most help to teachers, especially during these first few weeks of school. Here are a few ways you can support your child’s teacher both during back-to-school and the rest of the school year.

  1. Prepare Your Child to Learn. Helping your kid be prepared to learn aids their teacher more than you realize. Ensure your kid enjoys a good night’s sleep, a nutritious meal, and weather-appropriate attire. Well-rested, well-fed, and comfortable students are better learners, listeners, and participants.
  2. Help your child with homework. Homework is typically assigned to reinforce classroom skills or assess a child’s comprehension. Homework teaches responsibility. Help your student establish a working and learning environment by setting aside time for homework. Never do your child’s schoolwork for them; provide support and check for comprehension. If your child is struggling with a concept, leave a note for the teacher on the homework or send them a message to share you concern.
  3. Classroom Volunteer. Classroom involvement may take various forms. Parents may escort field trips, interact with small groups, run an activity station, or help with special projects. Some parents may share a skill, collection, or cultural activity. Whether you can volunteer once or twice during the school year or every week, all participation is valuable. Most teachers welcome additional classroom help. 
  4. Volunteer to organize book orders, cut letters or shapes for projects, prepare art materials, staple, or assemble books. Most teachers do many things on their own time and are more than happy to welcome volunteers—this is critical behind-the-scenes assistance. It’s a perfect activity for parents who prefer not to interact with other children or who aren’t available during school hours.

How Teachers Can Take Care Of Themselves

Self-care is vital in times of severe stress. Teachers should practice self-care, especially during the first weeks of school. Try these ideas.

  • Turning off work. We know it’s hard to step away when you have so much work to finish in the few hours you are away from your students. Setting boundaries, however, protects your mental health and gives you valuable time with your family. Set aside a specific time for grading papers and responding to communications from parents. Be clear with parents about your availability outside of school hours. Give them a window of time throughout the day during which they may expect an email response from you.
  • Taking a break from social media. If you’re excessively affected by the news and social media, take a break, especially if the topic concerns your school, district’s administration, or coworkers.
  • Set realistic goals for yourself. Teachers wish they could improve the world by eradicating all of their students’ problems. Rest assured, you are improving the world one student at a time. You are people too; don’t forget that. Kindness to yourself means setting realistic goals. Consider both your ideal and realistic outcomes.
  • Ask for help. Every teacher has that one child or parent that you just can’t figure out. Talk to your co-workers or other teacher friends and brainstorm solutions. On the flip side, not all the issues teachers face directly relate to their students. Don’t be afraid to reach out to a  mental health expert when depression, anxiety, or stress become chronic and impair daily functioning.
  • Plan some physical activity into your schedule. Teachers spend hours on their feet, but maintaining physical and mental health may be done via activities such as walking, biking, running, and yoga. Physical activity improves your brain health too. A fifteen-minute walk may help you clear your mind or find innovative solutions for classroom or personal problems. It’s impossible to complete everything and self-care is essential. Be honest with yourself about what you can accomplish in a day, especially during the first few weeks of a new school year. Make physical activity a priority.
  • Check-in with co-workers. You’re probably already doing this whether it’s conscious or not. Daily or weekly check-inswith your coworkers provide an excellent opportunity for mutual support and to discuss solutions to problems you’re all facing, such as adjusting lesson plans or dealing with worried parents. Sharing your frustrations as well as funny moments with a trustworthy coworker can also provide a sense of stress-relief. 
  • Schedule your meals. This one you can do before school ever starts. Plan meals for the week beforehand so you can focus on schoolwork. Making and freezing meals before school makes the first week back less hectic.
  • Don’t schedule any significant events for the first weekend back to school. Put in some much-needed relaxation time or get caught up on some educational tasks over the weekend. Don’t plan on dinner out that first Friday night. Instead, order in and allow yourself time to decompress.

We love supporting our teachers! Our school-based clinic provides medical care for both students and faculty at Mantachie schools. And our mental health counselors are available for appointments Monday-Friday

4 Ways to Support Your Child’s Mental Health This Summer

Support Your Child's Mental Health This Summer

Many kids breathe a sigh of relief when the last bell rings on the final day of school. But for those who struggle with mental health disorders, that bell could signal a wave of new anxiety and depression. Many of these children thrive on the routine of the school year. The more relaxed days of summer throw them for a loop. Even children who don’t typically struggle with mental health may experience the summer blues from being separated from their friends. Thankfully, parents can help. Here’s a look at how to support your child’s mental health during this summer break. 

Keep a Daily Routine

Sure, you can adjust their school sleep routine to fit summer activities, but set a bedtime and wake-up time and stick to it. All children thrive on routine, but it’s especially important for kids struggling with their mental health. Have them follow their usual morning routine of getting dressed for the day, showering or scrubbing faces, and brushing teeth. They might even perhaps knock out a morning chore or two after breakfast. One idea for a daily morning chore is to straighten up their room if they don’t do it before bedtime at night. They could also clean up the kitchen after breakfast or load the dishwasher. 

Another way to support your child’s mental health this summer is to add exercise or activity to their daily routine. It doesn’t have to be something difficult or boring. It can be a walk with the dogs around the neighborhood, a few laps around the pool, a fun online family yoga video, or a round of Just Dance together on the Nintendo Switch. Getting your kids moving each morning helps them establish an exercise routine and it will help their day go better. Exercise is proven to improve mental health in people of all ages.

Find Fun Activities/Camps

You don’t have to send your child off to sleepover camp if that’s not their thing. Most communities offer fun day camps focused on various interests. From nature camps to art camps to sports camps, you’ll discover something that fits your children’s interests. 

The entire calendar doesn’t need to be filled with camps in order for you to support your child’s mental health this summer. You can plan plenty of fun, and often free, activities at home or around your town. Pinterest is filled with fun and easy art and craft projects, as well as other great educational yet entertaining activities. Some of our favorites include kid-friendly cooking ideas and summer reading lists for all age groups, including you! Your kids will be encouraged to read more when they see you reading. Make weekly or biweekly trips to the library a must during the summer and continue this routine throughout the school year. Watch how it makes a positive difference in your children’s reading!

Other fun free or inexpensive activities include trips to the local parks with splash pads! Make an afternoon of it by packing a picnic and maybe your summer reading book along with sunscreen, sunglasses, and a towel so you feel free to stay awhile. Most parks provide shaded seating areas near the splash pads for parents to keep a close eye on their kiddos. You can also buy an inexpensive backyard sprinkler, fire up the grill, and enjoy a fun family cookout.  If you have older kids or teens, consider going kayaking for a day on the old Tombigbee River in Amory or at Bear Creek near Tishomingo State Park. Speaking of Tishomingo State Park, this state park is one of the most beautiful in Mississippi and offers gorgeous hiking and camping opportunities. 

Don’t forget to plan for the rainy days and nights when everyone just wants to stay in. Family game nights and movie nights are the perfect way to bond with your kids and get to know their interests. 

Let There Be Balance

Kids with anxiety and depression need plenty of routines and things to keep them busy. But many of them also find relief in the quiet. Downtime is just as important as regular activities. It’s okay if your preteen or teen needs to take a breather in their room alone after a day or week of activities. Don’t overwhelm their schedule and don’t get upset when they tell you they want to skip family movie night to hang out in their room and watch TikTok. Check on them to be sure they aren’t in a depressive or anxious state, but give them their space otherwise. That’s their way of letting you know they just need some time to themselves to rest and recharge. 

Pay Attention to Changes in Behavior, Routine, and Friend Groups

The summer is a great time for kids to make new friends. But kids who are at risk for mental health struggles sometimes seek out the wrong new crowd. This often comes simply in looking for acceptance among peers and finding it with a group of kids that may not have the same values as you have taught your children. Keep up with what your preteens and teens are doing when they are out with friends or at a summer activity. Be sure to meet their new acquaintances. Let them know you are involved in your child’s social life (in a friendly way.) If you’re unsure about your child’s new friends, invite them to out for pizza or another activity so you can get to know them. 

We mentioned giving your child breathing room for breaks and not to be alarmed if they occasionally want to retreat to their room over spending time with the family. This is normal. But if your child suddenly wants to spend all of their time in their room alone, it’s time to look further into what’s happening. This could be especially concerning if your child never appears to talk to or hang out with friends. It’s one sign that your child could be struggling with their mental health. 

Does your child struggle with anxiety or depression and you think they could benefit from behavioral health counseling? You can get them the help they need right here at Mantachie Rural Health Care. Click here to request an appointment now.

Six PTSD Myth Busters

Six PTSD Myth Busters

Let’s talk about post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, as it’s better known. Like other mental health illnesses, PTSD has gained some myths since it was first discovered. We’re here to bust those myths wide open so you can understand the truth about PTSD. Check out our six PTSD myth busters.

PTSD Myth #1: PTSD only affects veterans.

Formerly referred to as “shell shock”, doctors initially associated PTSD with soldiers returning from war. However, the term changed when “post-traumatic stress disorder” first appeared in the third edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders published by the American Psychiatric Association in 1980. This change reflected a new understanding of PTSD. As mental health studies progressed, experts recognized common symptoms of shell shock in civilian patients who had experienced other types of physical and psychological trauma in their lifetime. PTSD better represented the broader circle of patients suffering from the same disorder. 

PTSD Myth #2: PTSD develops immediately after trauma.

The truth is, PTSD can take weeks, months, or even years for symptoms to appear. Researchers have determined this is due to how the mind processes trauma and develops responses to fear. The typical time it takes for PTSD to manifest is three months but it’s not unusual for symptoms to appear years later. 

PTSD Myth #3: PTSD only affects certain types of trauma victims.

People often associate PTSD with war veterans and those who have experienced traumatic events like abuse, serious accidents, or have been witnesses or victims of crime. However, trauma of any kind, including trauma from an illness, can cause PTSD. People who have been traumatized by an illness or injury may have anxiety related to healthcare because they associate doctor’s visits and hospitals with their ailment. 

PTSD Myth #4: PTSD is not related to Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).

Although the two conditions are not the same–Traumatic Brain Injury is an actual physical injury to the brain, commonly known as a concussion–they are, in some cases, related. Post-traumatic stress disorder can develop from TBI and symptoms of these conditions often overlap. When a possible TBI is involved in a PTSD case, diagnosis can prove difficult because evidence of physical trauma isn’t always apparent in diagnostic tests. 

PTSD Myth #5: PTSD affects everyone who experiences trauma.

Actually, PTSD affects a relatively small group of trauma victims. PTSD rates are higher in women and other factors can make certain people more vulnerable to mental disorders. Risk factors include:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Low social support
  • Multiple traumatic events 
  • More negative life events than usual

PTSD Myth #5: PTSD is for the weak.

The responses and behaviors of PTSD are of no fault of the person experiencing it, nor is the development of PTSD. PTSD is the brain’s way of trying to protect the person from more trauma. Hence, why responses like flight or fight are common. However, nothing about PTSD indicates the person is somehow “weaker” than others.

PTSD Myth #6: Symptoms of PTSD are the same in everyone.

PTSD can manifest in a number of ways. Some people experience intrusive thoughts about their trauma. Others may actively avoid thoughts, people, and places that remind them of their experiences. Arousal symptoms, such as difficulty sleeping or concentrating and being easily startled, are also common. Negative thoughts and moods are also other symptoms. 

Are you concerned that you or someone you love is experiencing PTSD? Our behavioral health specialists can help. Contact Mantachie Rural Healthcare at 662-282-4226.

Connections Between Mental Illness and Substance Abuse in Women

When we talk about women’s health, we often think about PAP tests and mammograms. While these provide important preventive health measures for women, women’s health concerns go further. Mental health concerns make up an important but little-discussed aspect of women’s health.

Statistics show that 1 in 5 women has a mental health diagnosis, and women are twice as likely to experience depression as men. In addition, almost 3% of all women in the United States have both a substance use disorder and a mental illness.

Common Mental Illnesses Among Women

Women struggle with specific mental illnesses in greater numbers than men. Although women do experience other mental illnesses below are the ones most commonly diagnosed in women at greater rates than men.

Depression — twice as many women experience depression compared to men

Anxiety — women are twice as likely to experience anxiety compared to men

Trauma — 20% of women will experience a rape or attempted rape at some point in their lifetime

Eating Disorders — the majority of individuals who struggle with anorexia and bulimia are women

Suicide — women are likely to attempt suicide although men are likely to die by suicide

Mental illnesses don’t happen in a vacuum. They affect a woman’s family, work, and friend groups. 

Most Commonly Abused Substances Among Women

Substance abuse in women is often connected to mental illness and trauma. In addition, women, especially mothers or pregnant women, face the stigma of seeking help for both their addiction and mental health illnesses and barriers related to childcare while they seek treatment. Women tend to lean toward specific substances more than others.

Alcohol — the most commonly used substance among women. In fact, an entire culture has evolved around the “wine mom” who drinks to unwind every night. Research shows alcohol use disorder among women is on the rise.

Prescription drugswomen are more likely to misuse prescription opioids to treat pain and to self-treat other problems like anxiety or tension.

Sedatives and antidepressants — women are more likely than men to die from an overdose of sleep aids or anxiety medications. These drugs also send more women to the ER than men.

Seeking Help

Unaddressed substance abuse and mental health illnesses affect a woman’s physical health. At Mantachie Rural Health Care, we offer both primary care and mental health treatment. Our providers can help you find the right treatment options and work with you to break down barriers to getting that treatment. No judgment here. We’re working hard to remove the stigma of seeking help for both substance abuse disorders and mental health illnesses. That starts with treating the whole patient.

Call our clinic at (662) 282-4226 to request your appointment. Start with one of our nurse practitioners or with our mental health nurse practitioner. Your whole health matters.

Why Your Child’s Pediatrician is the First Step in Getting an Autism Diagnosis

Why Your Child's Pediatrician is the First Step in Getting an Autism Diagnosis

The idea of an autism diagnosis for your child frightens many parents. However, that diagnosis provides the first step in your child’s journey to grow and learn to function in a world full of neurotypical people. Receiving a diagnosis and information on the next steps can actually relieve a parent’s anxiety over autism. Your child’s pediatrician is the first step in getting an autism diagnosis.

Why Your Child’s Pediatrician is the First Step in Getting an Autism Diagnosis

Today, we have more information about autism than ever before. Children can receive a diagnosis at a very young age–between 18 and 24 months. But, where do you begin seeking answers if you suspect your child could have autism? The first step is visiting your child’s pediatrician. Pediatricians can perform an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) screening. A screening is not a diagnosis. It’s simply a way for medical providers to determine if a child shows certain signs of autism and should be examined further by an autism specialist. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all children be screened for autism between the ages of 18 months and 24 months, regardless if they show signs of ASD. The Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers Revised with Follow-up or M-CHAT-RF is a 23-point questionnaire filled out by the parents. It is the most common screening tool used by pediatricians. Most families find the questionnaire relatively easy. 

If your child’s pediatrician determines they need further testing, they will refer you to a specialist near your area. They may refer you to a developmental pediatrician, a pediatric specialist in ASD, or they may refer you to a mental health professional who also specializes in autism spectrum disorder. Both specialists are highly experienced in diagnosing and treating autism spectrum disorder. 

If your child is a patient of Mantachie Rural Health Care, we can help you take the first steps in getting a diagnosis. Call 662-282-4226 or click here to schedule their visit today. 

Covid-19 and the Opioid Crisis

For the last two years, it seems like all we hear about in medical news is covid, covid, covid. Rightfully so. The pandemic has changed everything, and it’s shown no signs of going away, although we are in a slowdown for now. Today, we’re taking a look at covid-19 and the opioid crisis.

With the covid-19 pandemic being a worldwide crisis, other medical epidemics have taken a backseat in the public interest. But covid-19 hasn’t made other health crises go away, it’s simply overshadowed it. The opioid crisis is one crisis that has not only continued but increased significantly since the pandemic started. 

How Covid-19 has Fueled the Opioid Epidemic

The year 2019 saw 70,630 opioid overdose deaths in the United States. As if that number isn’t frightening enough, the number of opioid overdose deaths after the pandemic hit US shores will send chills down your spine. An estimated 104,288 people died from opioid overdose by September 2021. That’s more than a 25 percent increase in just over a year and a half. Mississippi was predicted to suffer around 682 opioid deaths in 2021.

So what’s the reason behind the worsening opioid crisis? Unfortunately, we can’t point to just one cause for the crisis, which is considered an epidemic. Lost jobs and livelihood along with restricted access to mental healthcare during the pandemic are major factors for many people turning to opioids to cope. As depression and anxiety caused by the pandemic continue to increase, many patients are choosing to self-medicate instead of seeking professional help.

The battle between law enforcement agencies and drug cartels has also been impacted. The pandemic gave an unexpected edge to transnational criminal organizations, also known as cartels. These organizations have adapted to the pandemic faster than law enforcement agencies making access to illegal drugs easier.

What We Can Do to Fight the Opioid Crisis

The first step is to accept that addiction is a disease. The good news is, classifying addiction as a disease gives medical experts the ability to study the disease and develop a successful treatment. However, providers have experienced significant challenges in treating addiction patients in the midst of a pandemic.

Due to a high risk of covid-19 transmission between patients at in-patient facilities, providers have turned to outpatient treatment to help addicts. Telehealth and other resources are being used to keep in line with social distancing guidelines. But some patients are so severe that in-patient treatment is necessary. Unfortunately, labor shortages have also lowered the availability of in-patient services. 

Despite these challenges, addiction patients still have hope. Outpatient treatment can work if patients follow the treatment plan and advice given by their provider. Addiction treatment specialists are working harder than ever to help patients achieve sobriety. 

Mantachie Rural Health Care offers mental health and addiction services through our mental health specialists. If you or someone you know is battling addiction, reach out to us now to make an appointment. Request a visit at www.mantachieclinic.org/contact-us/ or call 662-282-4226. 

Healthy Boundaries in Recovery

Boundaries are important in any relationship, but they become especially important when you are in recovery from addiction or other mental health conditions. Today, we’re taking a look at the importance of healthy boundaries in recovery and how to set and enforce them. 

What are Healthy Boundaries?

Boundaries are physical, mental, and emotional limits set to protect yourself and others in a relationship. They help us define who we are while allowing others to be who they are. Boundaries also keep you from being taken advantage of or manipulated. 

Boundaries, like anything else, can be unhealthy. Unhealthy boundaries may include abandoning your personal beliefs or values for acceptance, establishing new relationships without considering how they will affect your recovery, and trusting no one or everyone. Knowing the difference between healthy boundaries and unhealthy boundaries is essential to maintaining your recovery. 

Healthy boundaries basically look like the opposite of unhealthy boundaries. Healthy boundaries include:

  • Carefully evaluating the benefits and drawbacks of each relationship
  • Maintaining your personal beliefs and values regardless of other’s opinions
  • Saying no to gifts, favors, and actions that do not support your recovery
  • Clearly and respectfully expressing what you need or want
  • Developing appropriate trust with others
  • Treating yourself with respect and kindness

Now that you know what healthy boundaries look like it’s time to set the boundaries you need and implement them. Key emphasis on the implementation of these boundaries. Boundaries do no good if you don’t enforce them. Setting and enforcing boundaries looks like this:

  • Establishing a self “bill of rights” such as a right to your own thoughts, emotions, values, and beliefs and right to express how you want to be treated
  • Identifying sobriety risk factors including obvious ones like avoiding a bar if you are an alcoholic and less obvious triggers like watching a football game with friends
  • Setting the boundaries based of your bill of rights and recovery risk factors
  • Enforcing the boundaries and remaining accountable
  • Respecting other people’s boundaries

Need more support in  your addiction recovery? We can help. Call 662-282-4226 to schedule a visit. 

7 Tips to Avoid a Blue Christmas

avoid a blue Christmas this year.

Family dinner tables filled with cheer and laughter abound in holiday advertisements. Even your favorite sit-com or drama will likely include some version of a happy holiday scene to end the season. For some of us, the holidays bring or increase stress, depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. And if you experienced mental health concerns prior to the holidays, these last two months of the year can make you feel even worse. We can’t offer a prescriptive answer to solve all your holiday woes, but we can make a few suggestions to ease the burden and help you avoid a blue Christmas this year.

Check-in With Your Therapist

If you’re in therapy, the holidays aren’t the time to skip appointments. It’s tempting with all the busyness of the season to push back that appointment until after the first of year. Don’t. If you haven’t met with a therapist lately, the holidays are a great time for a check-in. Even if you’ve never met with a therapist, the holidays are a perfect time to connect with a therapist to talk about how this season affects you, how to avoid a blue Christmas, and how you can manage your mental health during this time.

Real vs Perfect

Only television shows and stock photos have perfect families. No matter what you see on social media, your friends and family aren’t living a perfect life. It’s easy this time of year to reflect on the past twelve months or even where you are in life and experience negative emotions if you haven’t hit all the goals you set for yourself. Help yourself move out of that zone by setting a small goal related to your larger goal. For instance, if you want to find a better job, start by working on your resume.

Prioritize Activities

The holidays are stuffed full of activities from get-togethers to ice skating to cookie decorating. Want to know a secret? You don’t have to do them all. How many activities can you physically and mentally manage? Which of the scheduled activities are most important to you? If certain activities or expectations dredge up painful memories or trauma, it’s okay to skip those or at the very least plan some self-care activities before and after. 

Sit in the Sunshine

Not only can the holidays bring painful memories, but they happen during the time of the year with the least amount of sunshine. Lack of sun itself can cause depression. Schedule some outdoor activities during daylight hours. If possible, move your workstation near a window. More lights in your home, even those on your Christmas tree, may help avoid a blue Christmas too.

Budget for Gifts

The smile on a loved one’s face when they open your gift is priceless, until the credit card bill comes due in January. If you’re concerned about the cost of giving gifts this holiday season, talk to your family about drawing names instead of giving to everyone or doing a Christmas ornament swap. You may choose to give homemade gifts or donate to a charity in someone else’s name instead. Be creative, but most of all stick to a budget. If you won’t be able to give gifts this year, be honest with your family and friends. It’s been a hard 18 months for everyone.

Self-Care

The buzz-word conjures images of spa days or weekends spent watching Netflix and eating chocolate, but it can be as simple as staying in one night and going to bed early. Plan time for shopping and cooking so you’re less stressed as holiday gatherings arrive. Remember #3 above. By prioritizing your events, you’ll have time to spend doing the things you enjoy and preparing for the events you’re looking forward to attending.

Stay Healthy

Don’t forsake your exercise and healthy eating habits. You’ve worked hard all year to be both mentally and physically healthy, don’t stop now. Part of self-care means keeping your exercise routine and not eating every dessert and dip that comes your way this season. On days when you aren’t getting together with friends, plan healthy meals at home. Keeping your routine adds comfort to your days even when you’re not feeling your best.

How Vacations Help You Stay Healthy…Plus Ideas for Relaxing Staycations!

Ah,  vacations. Seems like we’re all constantly dreaming of our next getaway. Turns out there’s a good reason for wanting more time off or away. Science says vacations help you stay healthy, even staycations have their benefits! Here’s how:

Vacations relieve stress.

The pressures of everyday life can set off stress hormones including cortisol and epinephrine. Over time, these same hormones can lead to depression, weight gain, poor sleep habits, and other serious health problems. 

Getting away makes you feel happier.

You know how you instantly get in a better mood the minute you hit the road to begin a vacation? That feel-good mood often carries on for weeks after as a post-vacation buzz. The key to staying happy is about how often you get away rather than how long. 

Time off improves your heart health.

Taking time off from work can reduce your risk of coronary artery disease, better known as heart disease. According to WebMD, one study shows that time off for a staycation is linked to lowered blood sugar levels and higher levels of good cholesterol. 

Vacations bring better sleep.

Plan your trip in advance for better sleep before, during, and after your vacation. Take advantage of the break from everyday chores and responsibilities and get in as many naps and late sleep as possible. 

Getaways help you recharge your energy and focus.

Having trouble concentrating at work? It’s time for a vacation. Even a staycation can leave you re-energized and ready to tackle any task coming your way.

Time off strengthens your immune system.

Remember those stress hormones we mentioned earlier? Those hormones can also weaken your immune system, leaving you more susceptible to infections and other illnesses. Taking a break helps keep those hormones in check.

Vacations help you live longer.

From reducing your risk of infections and conditions like heart disease to lowering your stress level, time off or away from the everyday routine can lengthen your lifespan. 

Trips strengthen relationships.

Studies have shown that couples who travel together are happier than those who don’t and are both individually more physically and mentally fit than others. If your relationship with your spouse or another loved one could use room for improvement, try traveling together for the ultimate bonding experience. 

Relaxing Staycations

We get it. There isn’t always room in the budget to save up for a vacation. Good thing there are plenty of staycation ideas that are fun, relaxing, and still offer a break from everyday life. Here are a few of our ideas:

  • Visit your local and state parks. We promise there is a state park within a short driving distance of your hometown. And if it’s still too far, pack a picnic and head to your favorite local park to spend the day basking in the sunlight and feeding ducks. In North Mississippi, try your hand at disc golf at Tombigbee State Park just south of Tupelo or canoe Bear Creek or hike a trail at Tishomingo State Park in Tishomingo County. Camp out at Trace State Park in Belden or hit the highway to Holly Springs for a fun day at Wall Doxey State Park. Wall Doxey and JP Coleman, located at the northeasternmost tip of Mississippi are especially fun for boaters. 
  • Host a backyard campout. Invite a few friends or keep it just the family. Leave the household responsibilities inside, gather your camping gear, and head out back to set up camp. This is possibly the easiest camping trip you’ll ever take because everything you need is already there! You may think your backyard isn’t far away enough but just getting outside improves your mood and your health. 
  • Plan a no-connection day or weekend. Tell your friends and loved ones that you’re cutting ties with all things digital for a day or a weekend if you can swing it. Spend the day reading a book, practicing a hobby, or channeling your creative side. We know you may need to check your phone occasionally for missed calls or texts, but keep those phone checks to a minimum. Simply unplugging for a while can help you recharge and refocus.
  • “Tour” a nearby town. Mississippi and all of the great states that make America have a slew of amazing little towns that are full of surprises. Pick a nearby town on the map and start researching things to do, places to eat and shop, and other fun adventures. New Albany is a great place right here in North Mississippi that offers unique shopping and eating opportunities along with fun outdoor activities like the Tanglefoot Trail. Or you can travel a little closer to Tupelo, North Mississippi’s cultural hub and home of the King of Rock n Roll. Dine on some of the best food in the state, visit the Elvis Presley Museum and Birthplace, and spend some time at Veterans or Ballard Park. 

Signs and Symptoms of ADHD

signs and symptoms of adhd

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD, is a very common yet highly misunderstood mental health disorder in both children and adults. One reason why ADHD is often misunderstood is that the symptoms mimic those of other health conditions such as depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, and certain learning disabilities. Today, we’ll take a look at the signs and symptoms of ADHD.

How ADHD is Diagnosed

ADHD is diagnosed using the guidelines in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fifth Edition, more commonly known as the DSM-5. The main symptoms of ADHD are inattention and hyperactivity. Both symptoms are umbrellas for a series of various symptoms that fall under these categories. 

Symptoms of Inattention

Children are diagnosed with ADHD when they display six or more of the following symptoms, while adults and teens over 17 are diagnosed when five or more symptoms are present. Adults and children with ADHD:

  • Often fail to pay close attention to detail or make careless mistakes in schoolwork or on the job.
  • Often have trouble holding attention to tasks or activities.
  • Often fail to follow directions or finish schoolwork, chores, or other duties.
  • Often don’t listen when spoken to directly.
  • Have trouble organizing tasks or activities.
  • Often avoid, dislike, or are reluctant to perform tasks that require mental effort over a long period of time (schoolwork, homework, work tasks, etc.)
  • Often lose things necessary for tasks.
  • Are often easily distracted or forgetful.

Symptoms of Hyperactivity and Impulsivity

Much like with inattention symptoms, at least six signs of hyperactivity or impulsivity must be present in children and teens under age 16 while at least five symptoms must be displayed in adults. These symptoms should last six months or longer and cause disruption to the patient’s daily life. Children and adults with hyperactivity or impulsivity:

  • Often fidget with or tap their hands and feet and/or squirm in their seat.
  • Often leave their seat in situations where remaining seated is appropriate.
  • Often run about or climb excessively in situations where these behaviors are inappropriate.
  • Often are unable to play or take part in activities due to hyperactivity.
  • Often demonstrate “on the go” acting.
  • Often talk excessively or out of turn.
  • Often blurt out an answer before the question given is complete.
  • Often have trouble waiting their turn.
  • Often interrupt or intrude on others. 

In addition to these symptoms, children must also display several symptoms before reaching age twelve. The symptoms must display in at least two different settings such as school and home and the symptoms must interfere or reduce the quality of school, social, and work functions. Additionally, symptoms displayed should not be attributed to another mental health diagnosis such as schizophrenia. 

If you are concerned that you or your child are suffering from ADHD, Mantachie Rural Health Care can help. Our behavioral health specialists can diagnose and treat ADHD and work right alongside you or your child’s medical provider to provide the best treatment. Click here to request an appointment now


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