Balancing Me When Stressed to Be a Better Mom

By Khalia Wilkinson, M.Ed.

Photo by Keira Burton on Pexels.com

Are you an over-extended mom who has not felt like herself lately? Maybe getting out of bed and getting moving in the morning has become difficult. Maybe you have begun stress-eating or you find yourself eating and drinking more and more of the unhealthy foods and beverages that do not refuel your body. If this is you, let’s work to understand what may be going on.

Multiple factors may be at the root of having low energy and/or feelings of stress and anxiety. In order to recognize these causes, let’s ask ourselves the following questions:

  • What is the real cause(s) of the stresses I am experiencing?
  • How do I hit the pause button in order to positively cope and regain self-control?
  • What can I implement today to take a step towards a healthier me?
  • Who are the trusted friends and/or resources that can support, encourage, and comfort me?
Photo by Monstera on Pexels.com

So what might this process look like?

Exploring the real causes of stress and then hitting the reset button may not be as easy as it sounds. Doing so requires focus and intentionality! If you are finding it difficult to process through your challenges and reset on your own, consider finding a positive and healthy accountability partner, mentor, or professional counselor. You may also consider journaling to get your thoughts and feelings out on paper where you can see them. Examine your journal over the next 30 days to find patterns in your thought processes, especially those that may trigger certain poor behaviors. Finally, know that you are not alone. Many of moms experience times of stress and frustration, but be encouraged but this season of stress will become a moment in the past.

Being Mom…

As you work through your processes…you are continuing to be a good mom. No one is perfect…No one! Continue to love your children; help your children to live life to the fullest; support your children; provide food; provide shelter; make time to have fun with your kids; and be a good model for your children. Of course, this is not exhaustive a list…but it sure is what we do as moms! You are great…you are a mom!


DOING SELF-CARE & BEING WELL: JOIN CONVERSATIONS WITH KHALIA EVERY FOUTH MONDAY

By: Flora Johnson, Intern

FLYER FROM EAST LAKE LIBRARY OF THE BIRMINGHAM PUBLIC LIBRARY SYSTEM

“What is missing is fun. We need to unplug and do something fun! It may sound cheesy, but having fun is self-care.” – Khalia Wilkinson

Are you ready to live well, be healthy, and walk into abundant life?  Conversations with Khalia is a platform designed for women to speak freely about matters of life. Conversations with Khalia is a virtual talk on women’s wellness hosted through the East Lake Branch of the Birmingham Library every fourth Monday of the month. Mrs. Khalia Wilkinson is a coach and minister working with women looking to ditch feeling stressed, overwhelmed, drained, and desiring to be accomplished, healthy, and thriving.  On April 26, 2021, she will host an online conversation at 12:15PM CST. You can register here (https://tinyurl.com/Online-Conversations) or call (205) 836-3341 to attend.

Khalia Wilkinson is a counselor and wellness coach with 15 years of experience mentoring and training women. She has written The Women’s COVID-19 Survival Guide to uplift women experiencing wellness withdrawals due to the sudden shifts in their schedules caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The guide discusses in-depth how to navigate the required activities of daily living in this new unforeseen space while managing isolation, mental wellness, schedules, and self-care. She also hosts the Woman31 Podcast, a podcast rooted in biblical principles found in Proverbs, Chapter 31 with an accompanying website: Woman31.

Khalia believes that a woman’s health and well-being is foundational to ensuring all other scheduled family activities are successfully completed. The Women’s COVID-19 Survival Guide embraces concepts of self-care in support of one’s overall health and wellness.  The guide offers easy-to-perform tasks that can help individuals better manage their well-being.

Self-care is typically visualized as a spa day. However, Khalia suggests that adequate sleep, eating a healthy and satisfying meal, praying, laughing at a good movie, and/or speaking with a trusted and supportive friend are all excellent modes of self-care. Understanding where you are and what health areas you need to focus on is pivotal to living well.

Khalia says that mental health is vital to overall wellness. She suggested that seeking professional counseling is absolutely a “good thing” to do, especially when one is experiencing serious mental illness. She also mentioned that feeling negative emotions is a signal to our body that something is not “okay.” Thus, it is important to listen to our body and seek help. When asked if there was any wellness advice she could offer, she said, “Do something fun and find ways to get back to the activities we love, because it can be healthy for our bodies.” You can always connect with Mrs. Khalia Wilkinson on Instagram, @khalia.woman31.


LOWER YOUR STRESS, WALK FOR WELLNESS

By Shayna Bryan, Intern & UAB Community Health & Human Services Student

Photo by Uriel Mont on Pexels.com

Managing your stress and anxiety is important for long-term health and wellness. Healthy stress management improves resiliency, especially when times are tough, but it can be tricky to put into practice. There are a lot of pressures in everyday life that demand attention so taking care of your own mental health can feel difficult to prioritize. The very pressure to manage your stress can be stressful itself, but finding healthy ways to cope with stress is good for your mind and body. Reducing your stress also reduces your risk for cardiovascular disease and supports healthy immune system functioning.  

If thinking about stress management is at all overwhelming and you just want somewhere to start, there’s a simple solution: Go for a walk. 

Walking is easy and you already know how to do it. Other common methods of stress-relief like yoga and meditation take skill and practice, but anyone can go for a walk. It gives you time to yourself away from the usual distractions and is a low-impact aerobic exercise. If you’re new to tackling your stress and feeling overwhelmed at all, walking is effective and can quickly become part of your daily routine. It’s low-stress stress relief for beginners! 

Here are a few things to keep in mind as you plan your wellness walk: 

  1. Walk outside. Being outside among nature is good for your, mental-wellbeing, particularly if you live in a city. 
  1. Walk for at least 20-30 minutes. If you’re not sure how to plan a walking route, just pick a direction and walk for 10-15 minutes, then turn around and walk back.  
  1. Take deep calming breaths while you walk. Breathe in for 5 seconds while expanding your whole chest, then exhale slowly. 
  1. It is safe to walk outside without a mask, provided you are more than 6 feet from the nearest person. Take a mask with you anyway, for safety. 
  1. Use this time to take a break from the news and social media. Focus only on enjoying the moment. 

Sources: 

CDC. Mental health and coping during covid-19. (n.d.). Retrieved March 18, 2021, from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/managing-stress-anxiety.html 

Hunter, M. R., Gillespie, B. W., & Chen, S. Y. (2019). Urban nature experiences reduce stress in the context of daily life based on salivary biomarkers. Frontiers in Psychology, 10. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00722 


CDC’s Commitment to Addressing Racism as an Obstacle to Health Equity

Photo by Kelly Lacy on Pexels.com

Commentary drawn from Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) Media Statement & Website released Thursday, April 8 2021

According to the CDC (2021),…”Racism—both interpersonal and structural —negatively affects the mental and physical health of millions of people, preventing them from attaining their highest level of health, and consequently, affecting the health of our nation. A growing body of research shows that centuries of racism in this country has had a profound and negative impact on communities of color. The impact is pervasive and deeply embedded in our society—affecting where one lives, learns, works, worships and plays and creating inequities in access to a range of social and economic benefits—such as housing, education, wealth, and employment. These conditions—often referred to as social determinants of health—are key drivers of health inequities within communities of color, placing those within these populations at greater risk for poor health outcomes.”

The CDC is committed to ensuring every person has the opportunity to live a healthy life. To that end, CDC—as the nation’s leading public health agency—has established this web portal, “Racism and Health” to serve as a hub for our activities, promote a public discourse on how racism negatively affects health and communicate potential solutions. Working with the broader public health community, the CDC will serve as a catalyst to further investigate the impact of racism on health and efforts to achieve health equity for all.

As the nation’s leading public health agency, other efforts from the CDC in addressing the impact of racism on public health include:

  • Continuing to study the impact of social determinants on health outcomes, expand the body of evidence on how racism affects health, and propose and implement solutions to address this.
  • Making new and expanded investments in racial and ethnic minority communities and other disproportionately affected communities around the country, establishing a durable infrastructure that will provide the foundation and resources to address disparities related to COVID-19 and other health conditions.
  • Expanding internal agency efforts to foster greater diversity and create an inclusive and affirming environment for all.

For more information about the CDC’s efforts in addressing Racism & Health, please visit https://www.cdc.gov/healthequity/racism-disparities/index.html. Also, feel free to share your thoughts and concerns regarding racism here in the comments section, or engage with us at the Wilkinson Wellness Lab on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.


#STOPAAPIHATE, Be a Good Neighbor

By Jun Wang & Shayna Bryan (Interns & UAB Community Health & Human Services Students), & Dr. Larrell L. Wilkinson

Photo by RODNAE Productions on Pexels.com

The United States of America is a country of great cultural diversity. People from all around the world come here and contribute to the broader American community. Asian Americans & Pacific Islander (AAPI) citizens also call the United States of American their home, about 22.6 million in number which accounts for about 5.4% of the population (US Census Bureau, 2021).

Anti-Asian sentiment is not a new problem in the United States.  Asian immigrants first came to the US in the 1850s and were instrumental in expansion and development of the western half of the country (US Census Bureau, 2020). But in response to cultural and economic objections fueled by ethnic discrimination, President Arthur signed into law the Chinese Exclusion Act, which remains the first and only immigration law that targeted a specific ethnic group. The law wasn’t repealed until 1943. This type of in-group/out-group mentality threatens our strength and abilities as a country. It is in this vein and in working to affirm the humanity of all individuals that the recent rise in violent acts against the AAPI community must be addressed and stopped.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, hate crimes targeting Asian-Americans has risen by 150% (Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism, 2020). During this time when our country should unite to face down the COVID-19 pandemic, some choose dissension, violence, and hate.  But we can choose to be kind to each other, seek to live peacefully with one another, and act to care for our neighbors.

Here are some tips for all of us to combat this challenge together:

  1. Call 911 for help or to make a report to authorities if you witness a hate crime or harmful incident suspected of being racially or ethnically motivated.
  2. Use your voice within social media to speak against hate speech, while affirming support for all humanity.
  3. Do a “care check-in” with your AAPI neighbors and friends

For this on other ways to help build a more “just” and healthy society, please visit the websites of the Society of Public Health Education and the American Public Health Association.  Please continue to follow us at the Wilkinson Wellness Lab.  Join the conversation at https://www.facebook.com/wilkinsonwellnesslab.  Let’s all be better, together!

Everyone please put on masks, practice social distancing, and stay safe.

Use this image to share our message on social media

References

Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month: May 2020. (30 April 2020). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved from https://www.census.gov/newsroom/facts-for-features/2020/aian.html

US Census Data. Retrieved from: https://data.census.gov/cedsci/table?q=united%20states&g=0100000US&tid=ACSDP5Y2018.DP05&hidePreview=true

Chinese Immigration and the Chinese Exclusion Acts. Office of the Historian, Foreign Service Institute United States Department of State. Retrieved from https://history.state.gov/milestones/1866-1898/chinese-immigration

FACT SHEET – Anti-Asian Hate 2020. Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism. CSUSB. Retrieved from https://www.csusb.edu/sites/default/files/FACT%20SHEET-%20Anti-Asian%20Hate%202020%203.2.21.pdf

Stop AAPI Hate 2020-2021 National Report. Retrieved from: https://stopaapihate.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Stop-AAPI-Hate-National-Report-210316.pdf

Stop AAPI Hate Resources. https://stopaapihate.org/resources/


Let’s Be #VACCINEREADY for National Minority Health Month 2021

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Bulletin from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office of Minority Health

April is National Minority Health Month, and this year, the HHS Office of Minority Health (OMH) is focusing on the impacts COVID-19 is having on racial and ethnic minority and American Indian and Alaska Native communities and underscoring the need for these vulnerable communities to get vaccinated as more vaccines become available. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), certain vulnerable populations, such as non-Hispanic African Americans, individuals living in nonmetropolitan areas, and adults with lower levels of education, income or who do not have health insurance, have a higher likelihood of forgoing getting vaccinated.

The theme for National Minority Health Month is #VaccineReady. The goal of this effort is to help communities at higher risk of COVID-19 to:

Studies show that COVID-19 vaccines are effective at keeping people from getting COVID-19 and the CDC recommends that everyone get vaccinated as soon as they are eligible and vaccines are available.

So let’s work together. Please leave a comment on how you are becoming #VaccineReady. Please continue to check in with the Wilkinson Wellness Laboratory through Facebook, Instagram, & Twitter for updates during National Minority Health Month as we place a focus on our health and our community.


MEATLESS OPTIONS FOR WHEN YOU ARE “ON THE GO!”

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Sometimes it can be difficult to find meatless options when on the go. We get it and totally understand. Although best practices include meal planning in advance, suggestions from patrons of the LAB for meatless options include (but are not limited to):

Burger King Impossible Whopper

Chick-Fil-A Spicy Southwest Salad with No Chicken

Dunkin’ Donuts Veggie Egg White Sandwich

Great Harvest Bread Company Vegetable Bread Options

Jimmy John’s Unwich

Starbucks Impossible Breakfast

Subway Veggie Delight

Taco Bell Veggie Power Bowl

Disclaimer: The Wilkinson Wellness Lab does not assume liability for adverse reactions to foods consumed, or items one may come into contact with while eating at any of the above establishments.

Help: This list is not exhaustive, so help us out. What meatless options have you consumed while “on the go”? Which menu items taste good? Which menu items should we consider for health and taste? Please feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts.


Newsletter – SOPHE Community of Practice on Healthy Aging | March 5, 2021

By Jun Wang, Intern & UAB Community Health & Human Services Student

Photo by Tristan Le on Pexels.com

Title: Working Longer Cannot Solve the Retirement Income Crisis 

Brief Description: One of the warning signs of the oncoming retirement crisis is how often people are told to work longer. You work longer if you have not been able to save enough or your savings are wiped out by any other expenses. Studies overestimated benefits of working that only 26 percent of people could maintain their pre-retirement standard of living if they retired at age 62. However, 72 percent could reach financial security if they waited until age 70 to retire. Due to COVID-19 pandemic, job loss exacerbates the retirement saving crisis that nearly 5 million workers age 55 to 70 lost their jobs in the recession resulting from the virus.  

Link to resource: https://generations.asaging.org/working-longer-cant-solve-retirement-crisis 

Title: Hispanic Older Adults at Greatest Risk of Poverty from COVID-19 

Brief Description: The National Council on Aging (NCOA), a trusted national leader working to ensure that every person can age well, is warning that while the financial hardships created by the COVID-19 pandemic will impact the economic security of all older adults, it will disproportionately hurt Hispanics over age 60. The NCOA Senior Director, Research and Evaluation Dr. Susan Silberman says, “All groups over age 60 will experience significant decreases in total net wealth, but without question, the Hispanic population will experience the most dramatic declines.” Hispanic older adults are more vulnerable due to lower and non-growing household incomes and having multiple chronic conditions. Dr. Silberman says it is very important to maintain a strong social safety net and undertake policies that focus on narrowing financial disparities across racial and ethnic lines. 

Link to resource: https://www.ncoa.org/news/press-releases/hispanic-older-adults-at-greatest-risk-of-poverty-from-covid-19/ 

Title: 15 Lessons that Coronavirus Pandemic Has Taught Us 

Brief Description: From the past year, our country has been going through a lot: a pandemic, an economic meltdown, and a political transition. AARP collected all the shared deeper lessons of the past year on older Americans. Here is what shared by the older Americans: Family matters more than we realized, Medical breakthroughs, Self-care matters, Be financially prepared, Age is just a number, Getting online for good, Working anywhere, Restoring trust, Gathering carefully, Isolation’s health toll, Getting outside, Wealth disparities’ toll, Preparing for the future, Tapping Telemedicine, and Cities are changing.  

Link to resource: https://www.aarp.org/health/conditions-treatments/info-2021/lessons-from-covid.html?intcmp=AE-HP-TTN-R2-POS2-REALPOSS-TODAY 

Title: Stages of Alzheimer’s  

Brief Description: Alzheimer’s disease typically progresses slowly in three general stages: early (mild), middle (moderate), and late (severe). It affects people in different way and may experiencing the symptoms differently. The symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease worsen over time, although the rate at which the disease progresses varies. On average, a person with Alzheimer’s lives four to eight years after diagnosis, but can live as long as 20 years, depending on other factors. Changes in the brain related to Alzheimer’s begin years before any signs of the disease. This time period, which can last for years, is referred to as preclinical Alzheimer’s disease. 

Link to resource: https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/stages


Newsletter – SOPHE Community of Practice on Healthy Aging | February 26, 2021

By Jun Wang, Intern & UAB Community Health & Human Services Student

Photo by Marcus Aurelius on Pexels.com

Title: The Intersections of Inequity in Aging
Brief Description: As the urgent issue of racial injustice took center stage, “Generations Today” highlighting for the aging advocacy community how aging, identity, and racial equity intersect. Women, in particular women of color, face significant barriers to economic security as they age. Older women represent nearly two-thirds of the more than 7 million people older than age 65 living in poverty today. What can be done to fix the systems that created the inequities. We could raise up and explicitly value women, and the work that women do, at all ages. If we make the right choices now, we are not only heling the older adult women today, but also bring the generations of women.
Link to resource: https://generations.asaging.org/intersections-inequity-aging

Title: 8 Things to Know Before Your Second COVID-19 Vaccines
Brief Description: Understand the do’s and don’ts of the two-dose coronavirus vaccination regimen. Your side effects will likely be stronger. You should avoid taking pain relievers before your shot. The timing between doses does not need to be exact. Your second dose should be from the same manufacturer as your first. A rash at the injection site is not a reason to skip your second dose. You should temporarily avoid all other vaccines. Full immunity is not immediate. You still need to wear a mask.
Link to resource: https://www.aarp.org/health/conditions-treatments/info-2021/what-to-know-before-second-vaccine-dose.html

Title: Chef’s persistent symptoms at last lead to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy diagnosis
Brief Description: Our story character Shawn Lewis was sick for four painful, frustrating years and received diagnose of heart failure and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in the ER. She has an advice for others with HCM that “take it seriously and try to control it to the best of your ability. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a heart muscle, or myocardial, a disorder that cannot be explained by another cardiac or systemic disease. In some cases, people with HCM at greater risk of developing abnormal heart rhythms or other cardiac problems. HCM can cause fatigue, fainting, shortness of breath, chest pain, or heart palpitations.
Link to resource: https://www.heart.org/en/around-the-aha/chefs-persistent-symptoms-at-last-lead-to-hypertrophic-cardiomyopathy-diagnosis

Title: 10 Early Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer’s
Brief Description: Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer’s or other dementia: Memory loss that disrupts daily life. Challenges in planning or solving problems. Difficulty completing familiar tasks. Confusion with time or place. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships. New problems with words in speaking or writing. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps. Decreased or poor judgment. Withdrawal from work or social activities. Changes in mood and personality. A recommendation is to get checked and early detection matters.
Link to resource: https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/10_signs


Newsletter – SOPHE Community of Practice on Healthy Aging | February 19, 2021

By Jun Wang, Intern & UAB Community Health & Human Services Student

Photo by Gary Barnes on Pexels.com

Title: Heart Health Superfoods
Brief Description: When it comes to heart health, you probably know what the American Heart Association (AHA) offers as its top diet advice: Eat a good balance of fresh, fiber-rich fruits and veggies; whole grains; and healthy proteins, such as nuts, skinless fish and poultry. But recent studies have also named specific cardiovascular all-stars that are worth adding to your rotation. Here are a few standouts to add to your grocery list: beets, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, tofu, olives/olives oils, Garbanzo beans, oatmeal, Salmon, blueberries, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and chili peppers.
Link to resource: https://www.aarp.org/health/conditions-treatments/info-2021/heart-health-foods.html

Title: Overthrowing Ageism
Brief Description: There are many major life milestones that represent change and growth. It is all about ageism! Growing older is not a milestone that comes with bragging rights or a celebratory rite of passage. Unlike in many other countries, aging is considered an inevitable and unfortunate decline from life’s supposedly higher points. Getting older, losing stamina, or needing some help is make some elderly feel ashamed. As social creatures, seeking out support from others that bring each other closer and can get through together. Let’s practice what can be preached and not be afraid to share in our own social cycles.
Link to resource: https://generations.asaging.org/overthrowing-ageism

Title: Middle-Age Obesity Linked to Higher Odds for Dementia
Brief Description: Being obese at mid-age appears to increase the risks of dementia. People who are obese at midlife have a 31% higher risk for dementia than middle-aged people whose weight is normal. The risk of dementia was even higher (39%) for women with abdominal obesity while both men and women are obese. There is no association between abdominal obesity and dementia was found among men. The good news is losing weight may significantly lower the odds. A healthy lifestyle can reduce the risk of dementia.
Link to resource: https://consumer.healthday.com/vitamins-and-nutrition-information-27/obesity-health-news-505/middle-age-obesity-linked-to-higher-odds-for-dementia-758936.html

Title: How to Stay Active with Winter Walking
Brief Description: According to a study of American Journal of Human Biology, among a group of 53 hikers burned more calories in cold weather than warm, leading to weight loss for both men and women. To keep the low-impact way to stay active during cold weather that we need to weatherproof the winter walking routine. Here are some expert tips for staying warm and motivated as temperature drop. The first is to perfect your winter wardrobe. Laying up is the key and do not neglect the extremities. Avoid cotton socks and clothing that trap moisture from sweat or snow and leave you feeling wet and chilly. Always start slow and stay safe. Consult the doctor if you have a preexisting condition or have recently recovered from an event like a heart attack or surgery.
Link to resource: https://www.aarp.org/health/healthy-living/info-2020/winter-walking.html