Alix Greenblatt is currently working for the CDC Foundation/NYSDOH as a facility surveyor in long-term care. She is also working on finishing her MPH program at the University at Albany with a certificate in Global Health. Her goals are to one day work toward improving health rights for women and to work toward ending the stigma behind mental illness. She enjoys baking and music.
Improving Your Mental Health
May is Mental Health Awareness Month. For this article, we will focus on why good mental health is important and ways for you to boost your mental wellness.
Mental health, while considered a trivial topic, leads to more productivity, a better mindset, and overall feeling more satisfied with life. Good mental health can help improve current relationships, help you make friends, develop or continue hobbies, improve in school and/or work, and more. The disadvantages of having poor mental health can include: unhappiness and a decreased enjoyment of life, family and relationship conflicts, social isolation.
There are a few ways to boost your mental health, ranging from individual activities to group ones. This article is here to provide some of these mental health boosting outlets so that you can try them if you’re ever feeling down.
Meditation: While it takes practice to really focus on your breath, meditating helps people fall into a more relaxed and positive state of mind. There are many guided meditation sessions that can be found on YouTube, Spotify, or other outlets.
Watching a movie: Whether it’s a feel good movie, scary movie, or documentary, watching films (or television shows) that you like can help improve your mental health. Personally, I like to watch a comfort show when I’m feeling under the weather. Here are a couple of movie or TV suggestions if you’re looking for something new:
Parks and Recreation
Dead Poets Society
Everything Everywhere all at Once
Exercise: While it’s not everyone’s favorite activity, exercise has been shown to improve a person’s mental health tenfold. You don’t have to go on a run (unless you want to), but going on a walk is a great way to not only get in exercise, but to boost mental health. Walking, hula hooping, yoga, recreational sport, or just dancing around your home.
Journaling: this activity is a great way to write about your day, how you feel, your goals and aspirations, your dreams, or just any thought you have. This can be done in a journal, on your computer, on your phone, or any outlet where you can write something down.
Your mental health is important. A lot of people tend to believe that the only health you need to maintain is your physical health. However, if you want to be your best self, having a balance between good mental and physical health will be the key.
Climate Change and the Elderly
Climate change is like a wave when swimming out in the ocean. From far away, it looks harmless as if just a little ripple in a vast body of water. Yet, when you get closer, you see that the wave gets bigger and bigger until it comes crashing to shore. It’s a fitting analysis given that climate change and weather/natural disasters/etc. all tie into one another. The effects of climate change continue to grow the more time passes, and said effects become more and more dangerous the closer we get as well.
In this world, there are many vulnerable populations. Children, people with physical and/or mental disabilities, people from lower income communities, the elderly, etc. Vulnerable populations are defined as people who have poor access to healthcare, receive poor quality of care, and often experience poor health/care outcomes. They are people, that in case of an emergency, are less likely to have the ability to get themselves out of said dangerous scenario. Tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes, heat waves, earthquakes, severe storms, etc. can all become a struggle for vulnerable populations.
The focus of this article is on the elderly and how climate change has affected those who fall under this vulnerable population. A common thing people might see or hear in the news is when there is an intense heat wave or hazardous weather condition that may be affecting nursing homes in the area. Elderly residents tend to have more health detriments than younger people, making them more vulnerable to worsening health conditions. These risks are why many nursing homes are required to have proper heating/cooling units for residents in case of severe weather.
Another risk that the elderly have is that a lot of them cannot walk or walk well. The mobility for a lot of residents in nursing homes is low and if a natural disaster was to occur, they have a lot more trouble getting to safety than someone who can walk. For those who live on their own, they may not even make it out of their home to safety. There are countless stories of elderly individuals who remain in their homes during earthquakes or hurricanes as they have no where to go and no one to help them.
For nursing homes, it’s important for programs from CMS or the DOH in the area to come in and survey the facilities. These surveyors are there to ensure that residents are free from harm, including natural disaster/climate change harm. As for those elderly individuals in the community, it’s important to make sure they have someone who can check in on them every now and then. Climate change is a dangerous entity that will not stop for anyone.
May 2023 page 9