How to Cope With The Winter Blues

It’s mid-February, just six weeks away from spring, but still in the thick of the winter. It can often feel like the days are only a few hours long, the nights are so cold you want to stay in bed, and there is just nothing to do with yourself.

Each year around this time, many of us tend to get down in the slumps. The holidays have passed, the excitement of the New Year has settled, and in many ways, it feels like back to the same day in, and day out things we did the year before, just colder, grayer, and nothing to do. Many people struggle with feelings of sadness, or even full-blown depression, during the winter months; this is also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

If you are one of the many that experience SAD, here are a few tips to help you through:

Self-care: Right now is the perfect time for self-care before the weather warms and the busyness of Spring & Summer begins.

  • Start working out in perpetration for those summer hikes you like to take each year. Your lungs and heart will be grateful!
  • Begin a new skincare routine, as it typically takes about three months before you notice any improvements (you now have the time).
  • Learn a new hobby that forces you to develop mentally or psychically, like yoga, meditation, and stillness.

Personal Development: Learning new things is always the best way to pass the time; it keeps you busy and learning something new, which can help you in so many areas of your life.

  • Practice cooking new meals you will look forward to sharing with your family and friends during warm weather get-togethers.
  • Learn a new skill you can apply to your current position at work or turn into a new form of work for yourself.
  • Learn how to become better with Money – making it, saving it, and investing it.

Start Planning: Gardener? Vacationer?

  • Now is the perfect time to start planning and prepping your garden beds, what you will grow or try growing for the first time.
  • Book your vacations, map out those many trips! Doing this gets you ahead of everyone else and gives you something to look forward to each day.

While other things contribute to SAD like lack of sunlight and vitamin D, if you can use this time of year as your opportunity to focus on personal development and self-care, it makes it a little easier.

You can do countless things to pass the winter blues, but if you still find yourself feeling down with all of this, do not hesitate to call us on 24/7/365 at (844) 949-8888.

Additional Intensive Outpatient Group Time

****ADDITIONAL INTENSIVE OUTPATIENT GROUP TIME**** has been added to our Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) schedule to meet the needs of our community. We welcome calls so you can learn more about this program and others offered at South Sound Behavioral Hospital before you even need us! Anyone experiencing a mental health crisis can walk in for a free, confidential mental health assessment or schedule an appointment by calling 844-949-8888.

Celebrating Mental Wellness Month

As we come into the New Year, let us begin this year with new hopes, beginnings, innovations, and achievements. Starting with the most potent muscle, let’s get a tune-up on our mental state. Let’s face it, 2020 has been a challenging year, and a reset is needed.

January is the month where we at South Sound Behavioral Hospital want to promote mental wellness. Mental wellness is an all-encompassing realm of healthiness. A balance of social, emotional, spiritual, and physical wellbeing.

Mental wellness touches all segments that makeup living. It appears when we have to establish how we act, feel, and think to process situations. Eventually, it then triggers our reaction based on stress levels, relationship connection, and decision making.

To refresh our state of mind and enhance our mental wellbeing, take a few moments every day to announce your appreciation for the things or people you feel elevate you. Stay positive and motivated.

Here’s to a happy and healthy 2021!

Happy Holidays!

In a year full of change, one constant has been our commitment to providing health and hope. As we reflect on this year, we are filled with gratitude.

We are thankful for the dedication of our team, the strength of our community partnerships, and for the families who have trusted us to care for those they love.

Best wishes for a happy and healthy holiday season!

In health and hope,
Your South Sound Behavioral Hospital Team

Holiday Nutritional Tips for Your Body & Mind

As we close in on the last couple of holidays for the year, and all our favorite traditions, temptations of holiday treats can be trying even for those who have a good deal of willpower. The Average American gain about 7-8 pounds during the holiday seasons…… BUT, there are ways to savor festive flavors and enjoy fine food without packing on the pounds.

  1. Don’t skip meals during the day or try to “save appetite” for big party or feast – as it usually will result in overeating. Instead, try to focus on healthy food options that rich in fiber. Increased dietary fiber can reduce total calorie intake, which help prevent weight gain over the holidays.
  2. Eat small portions. Holiday meals tend to be large and include second and third helpings. A common mistake is eating large portions of foods that are perceived as healthy. And yes, you can have your favorite dessert – but eat only the amount that it will take for you to be satisfied.
  3. Limit liquid calories. Alcohol, soda, and other calorie-rich beverages are prevalent during the holidays. These drinks can contribute a significant amount of sugar and empty calories to your diet, which can cause weight gain. Additionally, alcohol consumption is often linked to increased appetite and is a risk factor for weight gain.
  4. Mindful eating. Some studies suggest that focusing on how your body feels through a short body scan meditation can help you to tune in how hungry you really are and adjust your sweet eating. Also, chew slowly and thoroughly will allow you to better recognize your body’s fullness signals and consume fewer calories.
  5. Maintain physically active with family and friends. Sedentary actives such as sitting on the couch watching TV are common holiday traditions for many families. Inactivity can contribute to weight gain, especially if accompanied by overeating. Exercises, as simple as a family walk can get your mind off food and allow you to bond with your loved ones. It may not make you lose weight, but it can definitely help you keep your metabolic rate at a higher level.
  6. Get plenty of sleep. Sleep deprivation is common during the holidays may cause weight gain. Sleep restriction is linked to increased hunger hormone levels, ultimately leading to higher calorie intake. In addition, inadequate sleep also decreases your metabolism, which makes it hard for your body to burn fat.
  7. Control your stress levels. A stressful lifestyle can cause more cravings for junk food. Stress-related hormone may also cause weight gain by consuming higher level of calories.

The bottom, make sure you are getting plenty of exercise and limiting your intake of holiday treats. If you are diligent, you may find that you have not only prevented weight gain but even lost a few pounds during this celebratory season.

How to Have A Stress Free Holiday

All is festive during the holidays with friends and families – people picture the smiles, laughter, and good food, but the holiday season can also bring out the worst of times for many. Believe it or not, many people experience high levels of stress, anxiety, and depression as soon as November comes around.

Gift-giving is one of the most remembered aspects of the holidays, and the pressure of the increased financial burden due to the costs of traveling, gifts, and hosting can take a toll on some.

Visiting loved ones can be overwhelming for others who have to prioritize the number of parties and people to adjust to at each party. The worrying of the stressful situation can spread to affecting everyday activities or responsibilities.

Loneliness can significantly contribute to the stress, anxiety, and depression that can plague a person’s holiday season. Some people may have no family or friends to share the holidays with.

Here are some tips for tackling these challenges during this holiday season.

  • Attend Therapy
  • Practice Mindfulness – Meditation
  • Avoid Drugs and Alcohol
  • Take a Neighborhood walk
  • Be honest with yourself and set realistic expectations.

To possess the ability to maintain and manage mental illness is challenging in every way, but the holiday season can heighten the challenge.

Remember, when the feeling of isolation becomes a struggle, you are not alone. It is ok to need help but, more importantly, to actively get the help you need.

November is Native American Heritage Month

November is Native American Heritage Month. This month is a time to recognize and celebrate rich and diverse cultures, traditions, sacrifices, contributions, achievements, histories, and acknowledging our nation’s first peoples. It is an opportune time to educate the general public about tribes, to raise general awareness about the unique challenges Native people are continuing to face historically and presently.

Native Americans are very much alive and well in our country. Awareness and education to the general population are essential. Still, to this day, many misconceptions should be clarified. There are countless amenities utilized today that are derived from Native Americans. We consume many foods and medicines/remedies that we use, which were introduced by Native Americans. There is more than one highway that follows an Indian Trail. Native American contributions touch every bit of American Life, such as their literature and arts spew the wisdom and themes of Native American culture. And still, Native Americans have challenges to overcome and persevere when fighting for land rights, water rights, fishing rights, and shedding light on the concern of Missing Murdered Indigenous People is on-going today. There are approximately 326 reservations, and Native Americans make up about 1% of the Nation’s population. As the Nations’ first people, South Sound Behavioral Hospital acknowledges you.

Depression Awareness

October is Depression Awareness Month, and South Sound Behavioral Hospital is pleased to have the opportunity to partner with Bryan Hooper, Lacey WA, a local sought after mentor and coach. Bryan, who manages his Mental Health disorder, speaks on the importance of taking care of your mental health, from stabilization to long-term care, how we each have it in us to seek out the help we need when we need it; and that all we have to do to get started is do it!

In 2004, Bryan was at what he considers to be his lowest point. In 2015, using his natural talents and ability to inspire through words and visuals, he recorded a video that serves as a source of inspiration for many today suffering from depression. His motivation for awareness to make this video as a result of witnessing someone’s successful attempt at suicide jumping from a bridge. What he witnessed brought back all the feelings from 2004. He tells his story in hopes that no one would struggle again.

Suicide Prevention by Bryan Hooper

Thank you, Bryan, for sharing your story and talents with us and allowing us to share it with the community!

South Sound Behavioral Hospital is here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you or a loved one is struggling with depression, give us a call or just walk in so we can help get you on your path to recovery.

Music Therapy Facts, Daisie Sutton and How Its Used at South Sound

Did you know that music therapy has a clinical history of 70+ years? We began servicing World War I veterans within Psych Hospitals and have since then progressed to working in schools, prisons, clinics, group homes, hospitals, etc. and servicing a wide range of populations as well as their needs. We also have several studies published in medical and psychological journals and are using rhythm today to improve speech and movement in those that have had strokes as well as a wide variety of neurological disorders. One of our own fulltime music therapy employees here at South Sound is Daisie Sutton, whom is a master’s level music therapist that is board certified and has over 8 years working with older adults and currently holds 7 contracts with the state of Washington with her music therapy business, “Sutton Music Therapy, LLC”. As Covid-19 restrictions are lifted, she plans to hire music therapists to service these contracts as well as the 15 facilities she serviced prior to the pandemic from Renton to Tumwater, WA.

Daisie feels very blessed to be here at South Sound Hospital where she has the title of Music Therapist and has the privilege to participate in treatment team meetings. She plans to make South Sound a lifelong career and is excited for growing the music programs here with other recreational therapists. Here she is able to do more enhanced interventions than prior work as she incorporates songwriting, lyric analysis, movement and art with music and also gets to learn a wider variety of songs to incorporate patient preferred into her session groups. One of her song writings she created uses a blues form and incorporates patient responses to describe current stressors and future goals (shown below).. Many music therapy sessions, she creates incorporate themes with handouts that prompt group discussion to share thoughts towards different songs and lyrics. Example themes include change, growth, perseverance and hope. She is very excited to be working among a new colleague Ben Kendal who is a new PRN music therapist at South Sound. He also used to work at Smokey Point and graduated from Seattle Pacific University with his bachelors in music therapy. If you would like to learn more about music therapy, please don’t hesitate to contact Daisie Sutton or Ben Kendal. Here is an example of one of the blues songwriting’s:

“I ain’t got no hoodies or cell phone
I ain’t got no wallet or friends
I ain’t got no cappuccino or computer games
I’ve got to make some changes or I’ll have the South Sound Blues

I want to go fishing and hiking
I want to get my phone and take a road trip
I want to cook and BBQ
I want to find a home and make some money
I’ve got to make some changes or I’ll have the South Sound Blues”

Another songwriting: Theme on Dealing with Stressors (This song is piggy backed to the melody of, “I’m not Afraid” by Eminem) Daisie changed the lyrics and took them out to look like a madlib for patients to logically identify how they were going to deal with their stressors and input their thoughts in the underlined sections)

“I’m not afraid of myself
Everybody cares and loves
We can overcome and accomplish
Whatever comes we will conquer
Just letting you know that you are loved
And you can survive on this road of life”

Vitamin D and Mental Health

There are many things that can affect your mood; the foods that you eat and nutrients that you get (or miss) can be one such thing. Among all nutrients, Vitamin D has been linked to mood and mental health in different researches.

Studies have shown that risks of developing depression are higher in people with Vitamin D deficiency compared to people who have adequate levels of vitamin D. The same study also found that, statistically, people with low Vitamin D were at a much greater risk of depression. The researchers believe that Vitamin D is important to healthy brain function, insufficient nutrient levels may play a role in mental illnesses. Lack of Vitamin D is also thought to play a role in Seasonal Affective Disorder, which commonly starts in the fall, lasts through winter and subsides in the sunnier spring and summer months.

Vitamin D is known as the “sunshine” vitamin; your body absorbs Vitamin D primarily through sun exposure. The amount of sun exposure you need will depend on your climate, the time of day, and the time of year. People with lighter skin tend to absorb Vitamin D more quickly. You may need anywhere from 15 minutes to 3 hours of sun exposure per day to get enough Vitamin D from sun exposure alone. People who have darker skin have greater amounts of melanin, a natural pigment that gives skin its color. Melanin reduces Vitamin D production in the skin. Therefore, it is important to add more foods rich in Vitamin D to your diet.

Foods that are naturally rich in Vitamin D include: salmon, mackerel, fish liver oils, animal fats, and Vitamin D fortified food products (like orange juice and cereal).

If you are not getting enough Vitamin D and you are worried about your health or overall wellness, a supplement might help. Working with your doctor and a dietitian could help you determine what sort of supplement you might need.