Feature by Simran Bharadwaj
Image by vectorjuice on Freepik
I hope to god they don’t mention anything about my weight. I think I’ve lost a couple pounds since the last time I went home. Will they notice? Maybe I’ll just suck it in and not eat that much at dinner. They won’t notice anything then…Right?
As the holiday season approaches, we feel ourselves mentally preparing to see our families. Often the biggest concern for many is someone commenting on their weight. Women especially have felt the need to look thinner each time they go back to visit their families. In an effort to look thinner and not be commented on in a negative way, many have taken to sucking in their stomach. It feels like an easy way to avoid all the comments. However, sucking in your stomach too often or for too long can lead to health implications.
Stomach gripping is when individuals repeatedly and for prolonged periods of time suck in their abdomen in an effort to appear as if they have a flatter stomach. It leads to training upper abdominal muscles to contract for long periods of time and in an unnatural manner. This can lead to back pain, breathing problems, and other health concerns which then leads to imbalances known as “hourglass syndrome.”
Although an hourglass can be considered a preferred body shape, hourglass syndrome is nothing to envy. As a result of stomach gripping, the lower abdominal muscles are underused and become weak. The four muscles that become overused are the upper fibers of the rectus abdominis, internal obliques, transversus abdominis and the diaphragm.
In an effort to look thinner, the rest of our body is put at risk of weakened muscles and health problems. If you notice back and neck problems, a horizontal line on your stomach, a weak pelvic floor, or other signs of stomach gripping, try to break the habit by practicing proper breathing techniques. This holiday season, let us try to practice body positivity or body neutrality and be comfortable in our skin potentially starting with therapy to help challenge thoughts and feelings tied to body image concerns.
Cognitive behavioral therapy can help challenge thoughts regarding body image concerns and increase self-esteem. Developing a more realistic perception of your body through using kind and positive self-talk and cognitive restructuring can help avoid the preoccupation of negative body image thoughts. Maintaining a self care routine through journaling and avoiding compulsive behaviors will take practice and patience however will also help avoid physical ailments in the future.
Feature by Simran Bharadwaj
Image by Freepik
When we first started working from home, it was a necessity due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was a transition that was difficult for everyone. Adjusting space in the house for multiple working individuals and children at virtual school. It was chaos. After two years it became a way of life. However, due to this major change in lifestyle there comes the challenge of managing working from home without burning out.
Some of the main questions to ask yourself are:
Do you find it difficult to concentrate?
Have your sleep habits changed?
Do you lack energy at home?
If you realize that burnout is a significant concern, there may be changes you can make to your daily routine to balance out work stress and relaxation at home.
1. Creating a Home Office
This space doesn’t necessarily have to be a whole room. Setting aside space in your apartment for office related activities, and nothing else, will help with separating the work and home environment. Rather than taking your laptop to the sofa or bed, stick to one space to do work, like you would if you had to go in person.
Mindfulness doesn’t always mean meditation. It can also mean paying attention to what your body needs. When we are focused on work we can forget to take breaks, eat food, drink water, or just get up and stretch. Working at home can lead to too many breaks or too few. Listening to what your body needs is important to avoid burnout.
3. Sticking to the Routine
Waking up every morning, taking a shower, eating breakfast, essentially sticking to the routine that you would normally have if you were going into the office. Understandably these morning activities might be slightly altered considering a change in responsibilities with being at home, however sticking closely to a routine you are used to can help with managing time during the work day and not think about work after logging off.
4. Stay Active and Schedule Breaks
Working from home can often lead us to extending our work hours due to distractions during the day or just knowing we can always log on later and finish up some extra work. Creating a calendar and sticking to a schedule can help with finishing tasks during the designated work day. However, if you find yourself working past the end of the work day anyways, I would suggest taking breaks throughout the day to stretch, walk around the apartment or even outside. Staying active will keep the blood flowing, which will help avoid staring at a screen for over 8 hours per day.
Although many of us have been working from home for over two years now, the change hasn’t been easy. It can be difficult to stay focused all day while being at home. These tips are just a few that have helped me in the last couple years to prevent burnout and limit over working just because I can log on outside of the workplace.
Feature by Nikita Fernandes
Narrative Therapy has emerged as one of the most powerful types of therapy to support minority communities. It has gained popularity in 2022 along with the rise of movements such as the Black Lives Matter and the focus on mental health after the pandemic. Narrative therapy is relatively new. It was developed in the 1980's by Michael White, an Australian social worker, and David Epston, a family therapist from New Zealand. It gained traction in the United States in the 1990's.
Narrative therapy is a nonpathologizing, empowering and collaborative experience for clients who hold minority identities. The empowering nature of this therapy can be experienced through nudging clients to reframe their past experiences, gain control over their present and shape a better future. Narrative therapy uses prompts to have client reflect over the stories they tell themselves about their life. For example, a therapist might ask a client to write about their past struggles and highlight what helped keep them afloat. This strengths based approach can help remind clients that they are much more resilient than they believe.
Feature by Nikita Fernandes
Richard Schwartz created the Internal Family Systems (IFS) model to work with clients who held conflicting views of themselves. He explained these conflicts as having various parts within ourselves. As human beings, we are made up of different parts that serve specific functions. Internal Family Systems is a powerfully transformative, evidence-based model of psychotherapy. The mind is considered to be naturally made up of multiple sub-personalities or families within each individual’s mental system. These sub-personalities take on different roles, such as an inner critic or inner child, and consist of wounded parts and painful feelings like anger and shame.