Fall Self-Care Tips

Fall Self-Care Tips

Self-care can make a big difference in your emotional and mental well-being by protecting your own health and happiness, especially in times of stress. These fall self-care tips are perfect for making the most of this beautiful season here in Hancock County. There are so many great ways to enjoy autumn, so why not incorporate a little self-care into your plans?

Take a walk in nature

One of the main things people associate with autumn are the changing leaves. Get out in nature and take in the scenery of gorgeous orange and red colors with a walk in one of Hancock County’s many parks. Whether you prefer a suburban park experience or more of a nature hike, the parks in Greenfield offer something for everyone. Plus, getting your heartrate up with a brisk walk can improve your physical wellness and give you a nice little endorphin boost too!

Go to a fall family activity

Pumpkin patches and farmer’s markets and festivals, oh my! If you like to attend fall activities with family (or on your own) then you’ve got plenty of options here in Hancock County. There are a number of fun fall events and activities open this season for arts lovers, fall foodies and corn maze experts alike. If you are a big fan of fall weather, and getting out in the community “fills your cup,” celebrating with a calendar full of activities can be a great form of fall self-care. 

Enjoy a warm fall drink

Speaking of filling your cup, do you love pumpkin spice lattes, hot apple cider or another fall favorite drink? Make or order a delicious drink to warm you up on a crisp fall morning, and then take a few minutes to really savor it. Don’t just gulp it down… take slow sips and enjoy the experience. Maybe you could even meditate or write in a gratitude journal during this quiet time of reflection. Slowing down for a moment in the morning can be the perfect way to start your day with self-care. 

Declutter your home

We all know about spring cleaning, but what about fall decluttering? With the start of the school year and the end of summer, your home may feel extra messy or overwhelming right now. Excess clutter can also impact your mental health, making it more difficult to relax or creating feelings of guilt when guests stop by. Taking some time this fall to clean and declutter your home can provide more opportunities for self-care once your home feels more relaxing… and for some people, the act of cleaning itself may even be a form of self-care and enjoyment!

Set expectations for the holidays

Fall is often considered the start to the hectic holiday season. This can be the perfect time to set expectations and prepare yourself for any entertaining, cooking or gift buying that is just around the corner. A great form of self-care is setting boundaries, which may include saying “no” to holiday invitations that drain your family of energy rather than giving you more joy. You can also include self-care in your holiday plans by asking for help, whether that’s help with cooking a big family meal, organizing a get-together or other planning. Practicing asking for help and not overcommitting during the holidays can be difficult, but it will make the season that much more enjoyable. 

If you need help putting more self-care practices into place, improving your mental well-being this season or connections to local resources for your overall wellness, contact the Support Navigators at Healthy365 online or at 317-468-4231.

Super Staff Series: Amanda Everidge

Super Staff Series: Amanda Everidge

Finding leaders who are heart into their community can sometimes be hard to find, but not at Healthy365. The next in our Super Staff series is Amanda Everidge MSW, LSW, who serves as the Healthy365 Director of Community Health Improvement. Serving with Hancock Regional Hospital for more than a decade, Amanda has continually shown her dedication to the Hancock County community, walking alongside residents to get the resources they need.

Joining Healthy365 from the ground up

Amanda started at Hancock Regional Hospital as a therapist in the Reflections Mental Health & Counseling unit in February 2010. She eventually transitioned to the role of Social Services Coordinator for the Emergency Department and Andis Women’s & Children’s Unit. Then in 2016, she joined the Healthy365 team as the System of Care Coordinator for Hancock County. “This opportunity came through a grant from the Department of Mental Health and Addiction to help engage Hancock County in bringing System of Care to our community,” she explained.

In addition to the System of Care model, Amanda assisted in forming the Hancock Health Congregational Network. “This initiative is a vital support for members of our faith communities to assist in connecting them back to social support and resources available within their church,” said Amanda. “It serves as an extra layer of love and kindness for members within our faith community and works to bring support and educational opportunities directly to our church partners.”

Leading the Healthy365 team to success

Within just six months of working with Healthy365, Amanda was promoted to the Healthy Community Manager and had the chance to hire two staff members for the initiatives she had helped bring to Hancock County: System of Care and the Congregational Network. Today, her title is Director of Community Health Improvement and she works with a team of seven individuals to provide wellness resources to local residents. “In the past 5 years, this team has continued to respond to the needs of our community,” said Amanda. “We are focused on enhancing capacity within our program to help fill in gaps and eliminate barriers for individuals to making healthy choices in their daily lives.”

Opening the Connection Center for our community

Although there are a number of services that Healthy365 offers to improve so many facets of wellness throughout our community, Amanda says that the Healthy365 Connection Center has been one of the programs she is most proud of. Opening in 2020, this center provides Hancock County families with a place to identify their needs and allows our team to help them overcome obstacles. It houses staff offices as well as a large meeting space for support groups, free public classes and more. “Having a team available to walk alongside individuals regardless of their need is a true blessing,” Amanda said. “Offering support navigation and facilitating connections and referrals through a warm hand-off is the most effective way to connect people in need.”

Born and raised in Hancock County

Amanda grew up right here in Hancock County, and her favorite thing about being a local is “hands down, the people.” She chose to work and raise her family in this community because of her passion for the community: “Those that are hurting, those who reach out for help, those just trying to do the next right thing, and those that are giving of their time, energy and kindness to make this the best community it can be,” she said. “I’m blessed to work at Hancock Health in a position where I too can make a positive impact on the culture of wellness within our community.”

Being a part of the Healthy365 team

Amanda has a hard time putting into words the feeling of being part of the Healthy365 team, and witnessing the way they work hard every day to address the whole health of our community. “Seeing the passion that comes from our team, building relationships with the many, many community partners that make it all possible, and providing love and support to those we serve — it fills my heart.”

Rapid-fire questions:

If you were a superhero, what superpower would you have?  

“Healing – I wish I could take away the pain, loss, divisiveness, and emotional and physical tolls that life has placed upon us since the onset of the pandemic.”

What is your favorite Indiana season and why?  

“Tough question – all have components that make the time special. Autumn ‘sweater weather’ maybe inches out above the rest. I enjoy being able to enjoy a chilled evening snuggled up with a blanket and warm drink fireside with my family.”

What is your favorite way to kick off a Monday? 

“I always try to start my Monday with a strong workout and positive attitude, ready to be thankful and excited for another week of helping others and strengthening connections.”

What’s your most recent favorite read or movie? 

“During winter, and through the pandemic, we’ve had a lot of time to catch up on movies in general. As a family we delved into the Star Wars and Marvel worlds. I think we have now seen every one of them. I had not seen any of them prior to 2020. I used to believe I just wasn’t into superheroes, but I have found that I actually really enjoyed each for different reasons.”

Benefits of Keeping a Wellness Journal

Benefits of Keeping a Wellness Journal

Have you ever kept a diary or a journal? Maybe it feels like a childhood hobby, but journaling as an adult is actually a great way to improve your overall health – mind, body, and spirit. Whether it’s a physical journal, a note on your phone or a document on your laptop, keeping yourself accountable and recording your thoughts can truly assist your journey to better health. And with the help of Healthy365, processing what’s in your wellness journal can get you better connected to necessary health resources right here in Hancock County.

Increasing gratitude and reducing stress

A gratitude journal is a simple way to get into the habit of journaling. Try to end each night by recording at least one thing you were grateful for that day. Even when you’re having a rough time, chances are you can find one thing to be thankful for, and it could spin the whole day to feel more positive. And when you make journaling a part of your daily routine, studies have shown that blood pressure is lowered by managing stressful experiences in a healthier way. 

Boosting mood and emotional well-being

In addition to reducing stress, psychologists say that keeping a wellness journal can improve your mood and make you feel happier in general. Journaling is a good mindfulness practice, helping you process things that happened that day, regulate your emotions and give you more confidence in daily life. You can “vent” about difficult situations, let go of the negative thoughts surrounding them and track thinking patterns that may affect how you live life from day to day. 

Tracking your physical wellness

If you are making efforts in your fitness journey, keeping a journal of your exercise and food intake can help. A study published in the “American Journal of Preventive Medicine” showed that among U.S. adults aged 25 and older seeking to lose weight, those who kept a food journal at least six days a week lost about twice as much weight as those who didn’t. A wellness journal can also be a good place to plan workouts and track your progress, helping you stay motivated to keep up the hard work.

Improving immunity and physical function

Journaling can also have surprising benefits on your physical health aside from just exercise and diet. Studies show that writing can strengthen your immune cells, decreasing your risk of illness. Journaling may even reduce symptoms of asthma and asthma, and improve liver and lung function. Plus, keeping a journal can keep your memory sharp by increasing capacity, potentially improving your overall cognitive processing. 

Sharing your journal with a trusted person

If you feel comfortable, sharing your journal with someone you trust can often be a positive experience. You may consider sharing the thoughts in your journal with your therapist to discuss your mental health state and gain new clarity or perspective. You could share your exercise or food journal with a friend or workout partner to increase accountability and keep you driven on your journey to better physical health. You could also share thoughts from your journaling with a Healthy365 Support Navigator so that we can offer you a non-judgmental and confidential listening ear, connecting you to local resources for issues like mental health, addiction, money concerns, physical wellness and more.

If you need assistance in your wellness journey, contact our team today online or at 317-468-4231. We’d love to help you get healthy, stay healthy and thrive as a community.

Ways to Support Suicide Prevention

Ways to Support Suicide Prevention

September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and there are many ways that you can help support this important issue. Mental health conditions and suicidal thoughts are more common than you may realize. In Hancock County, “mental health and suicide” was among the top five concerns of respondents to our 2020 Community Health Needs Assessment. You can help support suicide prevention and those struggling with mental wellness with these steps.

IMPORTANT: If you or someone you know is in immediate risk of self-harm or suicide, call 911 immediately. We also recommend calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or texting the Crisis Text Line (text HELLO to 741741) if you prefer text. These services are both free, confidential and available 24/7. 

Take a QPR suicide prevention class

Just like you would take a CPR class to be prepared for an emergency response situation, our QPR suicide prevention training can prepare you to save someone’s life too. QPR stands for “Question, Persuade and Refer,” three steps you can take to support someone who may be considering suicide or self-harm. QPR classes will help you identify the warning signs of suicide in loved ones, friends or coworkers, and how to get them access to resources that can help. Healthy365 offers QPR classes quarterly, and you can sign up for our next training online

Remember the signs of suicide

There are several warning signs of suicide or self-harm that you may be able to identify in people you interact with often. Some of these signs include talking about wanting to die or about being a burden to others. They may also experience feelings of hopelessness, or act more anxious, agitated or reckless with extreme mood swings. Those considering suicide may start using alchohol or drugs more frequently, sleep too much or too little, or withdraw from life and isolate from others. If you notice any of these signs in someone you know, you should get them help right away.

Know who is at risk

Anyone can be at risk for suicide or self-harm, even those who seem “fine” on the outside. Knowing the warning signs of suicide can help in suicide prevention, but it can also help to know the populations who may be at higher risk. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), population groups at greater risk of suicide can include veterans, American Indians, LGBTQ+, young adults, loss and disaster survivors and survivors of a previous suicide attempt. If you have a friend or loved one in one of these categories and notice a change in their behavior, keep an eye out for the early signs of emotional suffering. 

Help reduce mental health stigma

You can also help prevent suicide by reducing the stigma around mental health and wellness. If someone is able to talk about their feelings or get help from a mental health professional early on when they are having a difficult time, it may prevent them from ever getting to the point of contemplating suicide. At Healthy365, you can work with a Support Navigator to connect you or someone you love with resources such as support groups, counseling/therapy and more. We host events like Rise Above It to discuss important mental health concerns and offer coping mechanisms to our local community of teens and adults. You may also consider supporting the Hancock County Mental Health Campaign, a funding effort to bring mental illness and substance abuse to light — and bring an end to darkness and suffering.

Always know that help is available for those in crisis, and you can contact Healthy365 online or at 317-468-4231 for a connection to local mental health resources and more.

Rise Above It: A Free Mental Health Event

Rise Above It: A Free Mental Health Event

In a recent community survey, one of the most pressing wellness concerns in Hancock County was identified as mental health. Healthy365 is committed to finding solutions to pressing health issues like this, in part with free events like Rise Above It. These events take place annually, offering space for adults and teens to open up about mental health and substance abuse and identify potential sources of help. 

What is a Rise Above It event?

During an annual Rise Above It event, attendees can hear from special speakers and attend focused workshops to learn more about mental health awareness. Vendor booths from local organizations and businesses that support mental wellness offer services that can help attendees learn how to cope with life’s challenges and stresses, either for themselves or to help in a loved one’s wellness journey. Question and answer sessions also provide a time for personal feedback in order to reduce stigma around mental health and substance abuse issues. 

Who is the intended audience?

The intended audience of Rise Above It events are local residents aged 12 and older. Attendance is free for all participants. Although the majority of event speakers and sessions are relevant to both parties, there are also dedicated workshops just for teens or for parents. For example, the next Rise Above It on September 28 will include a simulation called “Hidden in Plain Sight.” This workshop will showcase the ways that a teen could stash alcohol, drugs or vape devices, as well as pro-drug messages to watch out for. 

In addition to the resources offered to teens at Rise Above It, our Hancock County area schools have incorporated Bring Change to Mind Clubs. These student-led clubs are dedicated to empowering students to educate each other and their loved ones to create a culture of peer support within their schools and community.

What topics will be addressed?

The topics addressed at Rise Above It vary slightly from year to year, but for the upcoming 2021 event, we’ll be hearing from speakers on the following mental health topics:

  • Anxiety– This session will be led by Jennifer Luchtefeld, a trained social worker who works with families and children in a variety of contexts. 
  • Social Media– Led by Stephanie Nancarrow, a Youth Educator with the Indiana State Police and ICAC Task Force, this session is called, “Target: How Predators use Technology to Groom Children.”
  • Grief and Loss– Katherine Murray will lead the session on grief and loss, with her experience as the chaplain and bereavement coordinator at Hancock Regional Hospice.
  • Depression/Suicide– This session on identifying suicide risks will be led by mental health professionals from Providence Behavioral Group: Brad Dobson, a licensed mental health and clinical addictions counselor, and Dr. Lani Jones, a licensed clinical psychologist. 
  • Vaping/Smoking– Co-led by Brandee Bastin, the Tobacco Initiative Coordinator at Hancock Regional Hospital and Sergeant Christine Rapp, D.A.R.E. Indiana State Coordinator, this session will specifically address the youth vaping epidemic. 
  • Substance Misuse– Kevin Minnick will lead our session on substance addiction and misuse, with his experience as a Licensed Mental Health and Clinical Addiction Counselor, Behavioral Health Probation Officer, and Court Treatment Specialist for Hancock County Courts. 
  • Self-Regulation– With a session called, “My Brain Does What? Understanding My Response to Stress,” Alli Chance will discuss self-regulation based on her experience as a TBRI (Trust Based Relational Intervention) Practitioner with HopeAlight LLC.  
  • Mind-Body Medicine– This session on scientifically proven stress reduction methods, will be led by Laura Baker, the Congregational Network Navigator here at Healthy365.
  • A half-hour Q&A session will be offered to conclude the event, with all presenters in one room to answer any questions from the night.

Rise Above It on Sept. 28

To attend our upcoming Rise Above It event on Sept. 28, you can register yourself and/or others online or at the door. This free event will be held in-person at New Palestine Intermediate School (5613 W 200 S, New Palestine, IN 46163) and will also be broadcast virtually. To attend in person, come to Door #9 and doors will open at 4:30 p.m. The event will last until 8:30 p.m., and a free dinner will also be provided. 

If you have more questions about Rise Above It or how Healthy365 can support your mental health journey, you can contact our Support Navigators online or by calling  317-468-4231 for assistance.