DO YOU CARE?

I have come to the realization that there are many things I just don’t care about – yet social media and the media in general keeps telling me I am supposed to care. You know, like how others think or feel. Am I supposed to care about your gender or how you refer to yourself? I actually do not care what you call yourself, be it he/she/they/whatever. Give me your name and I will call you by that. Why should I have to be invested in your preference? Do you care about mine? Why should you. That’s my business. I respect your right to call yourself whatever you want. But, please do not make it my business.

Do I care what bathroom you use? Not really. I have one bathroom in my home. It is not labeled with nice little pictures of a male or female. I actually let anyone who needs to use my bathroom. So, I don’t care about that. It is your battle if you need to fight about having a place to pee and are prevented from that. Is it right – NO. Preventing anyone from being able to express their bodily functions is truly wrong. However, if that is your issue, you need to deal with it. I just cannot join the bandwagon to fight this battle (which in my opinion – is utterly inane to begin with).

Every time I go online, there is another issue that someone on social media believes I should get invested in – be it a strike, someone else’s rights having been violated, the weight of a celebrity, Megan Markle and on and on and on. Why?

I have my own issues. How much of my life should be invested in your issues if I do not know you, have absolutely no relationship with you nor want to expend my energy to take up the cause that is yours and possibly yours alone.

There are so many people and things I do care about – my family, friends, my neighborhood, my clients, the climate, my health. These things affect me directly. But, please stop getting in my face about taking up your causes. You see, I just don’t care.

Write me and let me know if you agree, disagree or don’t care.

IT’S JUST A JOB OR IS IT?

Everyday we hear or read about some employee issues. There is a new thing now called Resenteism (a word that has yet to be included in dictionaries of any kind). There was always something known as Presenteeism at work, which sort of meant that you came to work physically but weren’t there mentally or otherwise – you were just collecting your paycheck and basically giving your boss nothing. There is also a meaning that you come in when you actually have a legitimate reason to stay home (illness, etc.) Either way, you are non-productive.

It seems that the expectation that employees have from their employers or potential employers has gotten out of control. Yes, you have the right to a respectful, healthy, non-bullying workplace. And, you should be paid a living wage and one commensurate with your workload. However, lately employees make all sorts of demands on the workplace. It seems the younger generation and the Millennials have unrealistic and insane expectations of what a job is and what it ‘should’ give them.

So, for the benefit of both the employee and the employer, remember it is a job (not your life). Hopefully, you, as an employee, are treated with respect and paid commensurate with both your abilities and your productivity – and not dependent on your gender. If you find it is something you like and are good at, and it pays your bills, then be the best employee you can be. If there is true injustice – not that you just don’t like a co-worker – advocate to make a change. If it’s just your opinion and has nothing to do with your workload or even the reputation of the company, learn how to accept and shed positive energy onto the situation. Find your fulfillment outside your job. Your passions might not pay the bills, but they have a right to full expression.

Maybe you like to paint or sing or dance. Work may just not be the place for it, unless you work at a dance studio. Do this outside of work and guess what, you will enjoy your work more and find it a better place to spend your 8 or 9 hours a day.

If you are the manager or owner, please make sure to treat your employees with dignity and kindness. Remember to acknowledge their efforts. Without them, you wouldn’t have a company. They make it possible for you to have what you want, I assume. Employees leave their jobs because they are mistreated and/or not acknowledged for the work they do (on your behalf). When employees are rewarded with a ‘thank you’, a ‘you did a great job’ maybe a $10 Starbucks card, they feel appreciated and their opinion of the work place is greatly improved. And, you, as the boss – well you reap a lot of rewards for this.

With many people choosing to work from home or occasionally going into the office now, things have changed greatly. But, no matter where you are working, appreciation, consideration and respect make an incredible difference in the workplace and the workforce.

WHY IS EVERYONE SO ANGRY

What a time we live in when so many people are so angry over everything. I was angry today over some horrible customer service I received. What a nightmare that was. It took hours to get it resolved and I ended up posting a negative review. That was my outlet. I”m not angry anymore. It’s over. And, it was something I could do something about.

Turns out most people get angry over things they cannot control and just feel powerless. Like politics. Unless it’s November, you haven’t got much power over what politicians and/or billionaires are doing. So, what do we do – we get angry, mad, frustrated. Some people reach for substances that are deleterious to their health and minds. Some turn their anger inward and do physical self harm or harm others.

What happens when anger is how we react in everyday life. Not just angry over things we have no control, but anger at loved ones, co-workers, bosses, wait staff, and dare I say, customer service people. So, why is it?

The main reason is that people seem to have this innate need to be right. Now if you need to be right and I need to be right, how does that work? That means I am wrong and you are wrong. Again, how does that work? It doesn’t. If you didn’t have the need to be right about almost everything, how would your life be?

For me, letting go of being right makes me calmer, happier and able to function in life a whole lot better. So, to sum this up – forget about being right all the time. Tell the other person – okay – you’re right (even if they’re not) and no argument. Are you yelling at the tv – it’s because you are right and they are most assuredly wrong. Change the channel. It stops.

Yes, there are many things wrong in the world. But, getting angry and turning yourself into knots and making everyone around you miserable, is not an answer.

There are ways to have a productive ‘argument’…a better way to communicate. But for now, just let go of having to be right all the time. Arguments will end immediately. Go for a walk and know you are okay the way you are.

CHEMICALS AND YOUR HEALTH

Everyday I am bombarded with another article or blog or email about what is and is not good for my health. I have lived many years now and I realize that people can go pretty crazy with all the information that attacks their inboxes. After awhile, you don’t care how much meat or potentially carcinogenic products you consume. BUT, for me, that “I don’t give a damn” attitude lasts for a day or two and then I am back on the wagon of ‘health.’

I ran across another well researched article form Well.org today that I wanted to share. Of course, it is one more thing to make us believe big corporations want to kill us, but that would mess up their base. They do, however, want to addict us to their products and make us ‘loyal’ customers who come back no matter what they put in their products or how they modify the size of the containers.

The article focused on chemicals in products we use daily that are incredibly harmful to our health and can be not only carcinogens, but also hormone disruptors. Hormone disruptors can cause many health conditions, including behavioral issues, i.e., depression, irritability, ADD, anxiety, even autism and more. Here are some of the chemicals to look for when shopping for anything you may put in and on your body.

  1. Formaldehyde – A known carcinogen that has been banned in cosmetics and toiletries in both Japan and Sweden. Its use has also been restricted by the European Commission. Of course, in the U.S., no such ban exists because it is all about money and definitely not your health. You can find this in nail polish, shampoos (watch out for baby shampoos), hair gel, body soap, and lots of cosmetics.
  2. Parabens – Another toxic ingredient found in beauty products. They are known hormone disruptors. As an endocrine disruptor they mimic estrogen and may cause breast cancer.
  3. Phthlates – Another hormone disruptor that is used to affect texture in products. Found in nail polish and hairspray, as well as many perfumes. It can also be labeled as DBP, DEHP and DEP. If you ask a sales person, they are not likely to have any knowledge of the chemical composition of any of their products. You will have to look on a label or do some research.
  4. Toluene – A solvent that is toxic to both the liver and the immune system. It also goes under the name of BHT. It is usually found in nail polish and hair dye. Toluene can also cause birth defects. Be studious if you are pregnant about using any product with this substance.
  5. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) – is typically in almost all cosmetic products. It is a harsh sulfate found in shampoo, toothpaste, soaps and is part of the family of nitrosamines. These can lead to cancer, liver and kidney damage. Look for Sulfate free products. More and more companies are making SLS free products.
  6. Polyethylene Glycol (PEG) – Another toxic ingredient found in beauty products that is used as a thickener. The common form is called PEG-10 LAURATE and is also a skin irritant.
  7. Triclosan – Though banned by the FDA in soaps, it is still used in antiperspirants mostly. A 2018 study linked this chemical to gut inflammation and tumor growth. Look for it on your products and avoid it completely.
  8. Ethanolamine Compounds (MEA, DEA, TEA) – Linked to Liver tumors. These chemicals can be found in so many cosmetics that you will need to research any hair conditioners, dyes, lotions, shaving creams, waxes, ointments, sunscreens, eyeliners, mascara eye shadows, blush and even foundations. I probably have this in my make-up drawer now. In Europe, they are prohibited. The U.S. does not prohibit any of these chemicals from our products.
  9. Benzophenone – Linked to cancer, endocrine disruption, developmental and reproductive and organ toxicity. This chemical can be found in baby sunscreens, lip balm, ail polish, shampoo and conditioners, moisturizers and foundations.

Typically, the daily products we use that contain these chemicals are a lot cheaper than the organic and safe ones. But, the healthier you are, the less you will spend on the doctors, medicine tomorrow. If you use products today that cause your body to go toxic, you will not be able to work and make the money to buy even the cheap ones. You don’t have to wash your hair daily (too drying). You can use less products than you think and they will go a long way.

Your health and happiness is the most important thing in life. If using a simple product can change how you feel and act, it is worth a few extra pennies – even dollars. I am definitely going to be careful about any nail polish I use. Most are unsafe.

Look for products that contain safe chemicals, like aloe vera, polysaccharides, vitamin E. hyaluronic acid, and organic and natural ingredients. There are lists of these products on the internet. Research before you buy. If you see these chemicals in any of your products, avoid them if at all possible.

To your health…

Janeen

ANXIETY – DO WE ALL HAVE IT?

The number one mental illness in the U.S. (and probably worldwide) is ANXIETY. It affects some 40 million American adults. Though considered treatable, most people do not get any treatment for it. On top if it all, anxiety is on the rise. With Covid, financial issues, environmental stressors and defective diets, along with the 24/7 press coverage of everything dramatic and horrible that happens in the world, no wonder anxiety disorders continue to escalate.

Though occasional boughts of anxiety are normal, you might be one of the millions suffering from anxiety or continual anxious feelings, what can you do about it. The standard response from the medical profession is get on meds – all of which have many side effects, including addiction. And, therapy is recommended. Talk therapy is the norm for most therapist, but too often standard or CBT – Cognitive Behavioral therapy – does not work in cases of anxiety.

There are other non-invasive treatments for anxiety along with the use of supplements that can assist in decreasing those feelings that overwhelm you and interfere with your sleep and well-being.

Though the current thought is that anxiety disorders are not curable, I beg to differ. Anxiety is common when something stressful happens in your life. It occurs, typically, after some ‘anxiety producing’ event or a series of events. That does not mean it is incurable. However, it does mean that as long as you are alive on this planet, you will be subject to stressful events – occurrences that are unexpected and come out of left field for you. That would cause stress and naturally some anxiety. It is when anxiety continues, long after the event ceases, that becomes the problem.

The medical profession seems to blame so much on genetics – but your genes are NOT your destiny. It is more likely the environment you were raised in that bring out anxiety. For example, if a parent was always anxious, you would have learned that being anxious was how to handle issues. Much like getting angry at everything and acting out can be ‘inherited’ from a parent who acts that way.

There are other outside influences that can make you anxious. Too much caffeine, substance abuse and some medications have the side effect of anxiety (those can include some anti-depressants). There are also medical conditions that can mimic anxiety disorders – such as heart, lung and thyroid conditions.

Of course, a history of trauma, abuse, even a chronic physical condition, or being a caretaker for a seriously ill relative can increase your likelihood of developing anxiety.

Outside of medications and cognitive behavioral therapy (which does not always work in these cases), what can you do.

Here are some other suggestions:

  1. Make sure you are not ingesting substance that are anxiety producing, i.e., caffeine, too much sugar, alcohol and other substances, medications, or any other foods that evoke anxiety for you. For example, you may have an allergy to nuts or a sensitivity to gluten – be mindful that what you put into your gut does affect your mental health.
  2. Do you watch a lot of tv, are you on your computer and get the latest newsfeeds? This does produce anxiety. Give yourself a break from the news. Stop watching the murder shows or being on your phone an hour before bedtime. Now, I realize how impossible this has become. But, if you must watch – no games. They are also an addiction and the blue light from the screens prevent decent and restorative sleep – adding to anxiety. Instead, consider reading. Yes, the old fashion reading a book or even a magazine. You will be amazed at how differently you feel. Minimize the news watching. It is typically all bad news anyway and, for the most part, you will find that if you watch once a week, nothing much has changed
  3. Sleep – yes the restorative power of sleep is amazing. How many of us get a 7 to 8 hour nights rest regularly.? How many of us wake up raring to go in the morning and not groggy as we haven’t had restorative sleep? If you are one of those who do not sleep well, consider making changes suggested in 1 & 2 above. Also, a dark, cool and quiet room are part of good sleep hygiene. When you have a restful sleep, a lot of anxiety can disappear. If you snore, you might consider seeing your doctor for sleep study. Sleep apnea, which is becoming more and more common, has many negative side effects – including increased dementia. Sleep issues should be taken seriously. If it is once a week, that is okay But, if it is daily, you would benefit from a medical consult on this. And, alcohol before bed is not a cure- all. Alcohol will turn to sugar later and wake you up.

There is more, of course, lots more, but that will wait till next post.

In good mental, physical and emotional health.

Janeen

LISTEN TO MY PODCAST

Just had the delightful experience of being on Dr. Sarah Young’s podcast discussing my book (PAIN MADE ME CRAZY AND WHAT I DID TO HEAL) and alternative treatments. Take a moment and listen – you can go back and pick up where you left off if you can’t listen to the entire podcast at once.

The link is: https://drredsays.libsyn.com/a-conversation-with-janeen-weiss

It is also available on Dr. Red’s website and through Facebook: DrRedSays.

Of course, you can go to Amazon or your local bookstore to get the book (also available as an e-book) and have it forever. Use it as a reference book as well as it contains lots of information on off the beaten path treatments that I tried, personally.

Look forward to hearing from you.

Enjoy the book.

COVID ANXIETY

It’s been quite sometime since I had an entry in this blog. So, for my readers, I apologize. Life has been interesting under Covid both for me and my clients. It seemed that I thought it did not bother me so much as I am able to work remotely from home and have family around me. Also, we are all vaccinated, and have felt pretty safe,

But, I realize that in spite of all this, this pandemic has taken its toll on me and many of my clients – causing more anxiety than previously. It is also interesting that most of us are unaware of the toll that the pandemic has taken on our psyches. We feel we are managing – and most of us are. But, never knowing if someone you are near is spreading something or even if you might be asymptomatic and spreading to someone else, can be unconsciously stressful. Feeling isolated, which is horrible in itself, and not being able to move about freely just feels so UnAmerican.

I began to realize more deeply the effect of this rampant virus when any of my plans to travel or visit others or even attend a book club meeting were being severely curtailed. People are returning to traveling now, but the thought of getting on a crowded plane and going through a crowded airport with people who don’t wear masks or wear them incorrectly (below their nose) is upsetting to me.

I do not mind wearing a mask. It is much better than having to be intubated and wearing a ventilator and not being able to breathe. A mask is a minor inconvenience. If that will help me stay healthy and help others, I am not offended. What kind of a person would I be if I wouldn’t do that? What kind of therapist and healthcare professional would I be if I complained about wearing a mask when out and about.

I don’t like masks either. It would be nice to feel free again and not worry. But, perhaps this virus is a lesson for all of us. That lesson is showing us what kind of people we are if we do not care about each other or about the world. Who are we if we blame a race or a doctor or a politician or whomever for a ‘disease.’ Can you imagine if we politicized cancer or diabetes or muscular dystrophy. Please – this kind of thinking is absurd.

We are so fortunate to have a vaccine that works. That in itself is pretty amazing. Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have over 90% efficacy. This is almost unheard of in medical research. The flu vaccine is only 40-60% effective – yet everyone is willing to take that. And, yes, people do die from the flu. Our children are vaccinated against childhood diseases. Why do we do that? Because we love them and want them to be safe.

I understand not wanting vaccinations – I really do. There is a lot of information that some of them have done harm. But, by and large, vaccinations have changed our healthcare system. People live longer and do not die from polio or smallpox, nor diphtheria anymore due to vaccinations.

And, for those of you who might be reading this who do not want to get vaccinated, nor wear a mask, nor even wash your hands frequently, think of those you love. Think of others as well as yourself. If you get covid and are not vaccinated, it is a little too late to beg the doctors to give you the vaccine.

Be gracious, be kind. Let us all care for each other by respecting each other during this extraordinary time. If you want to get back to normal, or at least a semblance of normal, please get vaccinated; wear a mask and understand that we are all going through this – together.

It will reduce Covid anxiety.

TROUBLE SLEEPING?

It seems that getting a good night’s sleep is problematic for way too many people these days. We need sleep in order to handle daily functions, improve our cognition and to be able to communicate clearly – among other things. We all know how good it feels to wake up after a good night’s sleep feeling energetic and ready to face the day.

But, what about those days you don’t get a decent night’s sleep. Have you noticed how you function and feel the next day? I’m sure it’s not great. There are many suggestions for what is referred to as sleep hygiene. Most people don’t do what is suggested. But, even those who do, often can’t sleep. Nagging thoughts about something that either happened during the day that you want to change or an event you have to deal with the next day plague you all night. For some, ruminating thoughts about things that happened years ago still invade your brain. You toss, turn, take a benadryl to help, maybe you think drinking a glass or 3 of wine might help, but lo and behold it doesn’t.

Do you ask your doctor to prescribe Ativan or Ambien or some other sleep aid (all have side effects)? Do you give up? If you are a first responder or have a job that requires you to work evenings or off hours, when do you sleep? How do you sleep?

Well, not to get into all the issues that sleep deprivation causes – let’s just say you want to sleep. The brain and body need it to rejuvenate – every night. Since all creatures sleep – even the ones under the water – why can’t you? (Yes, even sharks have restful periods.)

Main sleep hygiene suggestions are:

*Go to bed at the same time and get up at the same time daily (or within an hour of your typical time). This sends signals to your brain and body that it is time to wind down and sleep.

*It is often said that you should not eat within 2-3 hours of bedtime. For most people this is true, however, some people need a bit of tryptophan at bedtime – hence the glass of warm milk. You might be the one person that needs a small piece of cheese or even half a hard boiled egg to help you sleep. As for alcohol before bed…well, it might knock you out initially, but the alcohol will turn into sugar and your metabolism revs up. The result is you wake up and cannot sleep. Alcohol, like caffeine, should not be consumed close to bedtime. That also goes for chocolate or ice cream. Have you even noticed that you do not sleep well after eating lots of sugar before bedtime? Try to keep food down to a minimum, especially sugar, 2 to 3 hours prior to bedtime.

* Turn off your electronics. In my opinion, this is the most difficult thing for people to do and is the most prevalent reason people are having for not getting a decent night’s sleep. For some, it may not bother them, but for most, it does. And, it is not healthy to have your IPad, your smart phones and the tv on with their blue lights and electro magnetic frequencies (EMF) pulsating and attacking your brain and body before going to bed and even while you are in bed. They signal your body to actually stay awake. And, who knows what else all these EMFs do to your body. Turn off the phone and the rest of your electronics at least 1 hour before going to bed. You can pick up a book and read or make some notes in your gratitude journal before bedtime or even meditate. (You can also have intimate relations with your partner – something that is also on the decline with the advent of constant cell phone usage.) This may be difficult at first, but it is nice to quiet down. You’ll do yourself and your body a favor by doing this.

*What is your day like? Do you exercise at all during the day? Do you get outside and get some light or do you live in the dark all day. We know that those who have a regular exercise program typically sleep better than those who do not. I don’t recommend you exercise to close to bedtime (like 1-2 hours before) as may wake up your system. Besides, it’s good for you, your heart and your brain. Do it anyway.

What about sleep aides – like melatonin, or sleepeze, etc. Melatonin does not work for everyone. It helps you to fall asleep, but does not keep you asleep for the most part. If you want a non-prescriptive to help you sleep there are those that contain valerian root and hops and passion flower. This has helped many people stay asleep. There could be some side effects for some – so check out to see if it is good for you.

Meditating before bedtime also helps you fall asleep. If you are not sure how to meditate – it is noticing your breath and letting your thoughts go. It is easier than you might think. And, there are loads of free videos you can find to see how best to meditate. There are also free meditation trainings as well. It is a technique that improves your sleep and also your brain functioning and moods. The more you do, the better you will feel. I highly recommend it.

There are problems with Ambien, trazadone and other medications as well as some over the counter aids. And, if you become dependent on them, it is hard to sleep without them. Try other methods before you decide to just go on another medication.

Do you need 8 hours every night. No, you actually don’t. You might be the person who functions well on 6 hours. Between 6-8 hours is best for most people. Growing children and teens need more hours. If you have a tendency to sleep 9 or more hours, this might indicate other issues – like depression or some medical issue. Too much sleep is almost as bad as too little.

If you have any suggestions that have worked for you and might help others sleep, please email me and I will put it in my next blog. Reference this blog in the subject line.

Janeen Weiss – jwlcsw@hotmail.com

COVID and ANXIETY and DISCONNECTION

I have been doing a lot of online counseling through a company called Betterhelp. As I speak with people over the internet, it is clear that this virus has taken its toll on just about everyone.

There are those that have made money off this pandemic – just look at Amazon. Everyone is now shopping online which hurts a lot of small businesses. And, of course, there are many who have been put out of their homes, lost their jobs and have no idea where their next meal is coming from.

Most of my clients are very lucky that they can work from home. Most still have some form of income. Yet, they are finding themselves more anxious about the future. When will this virus end? When will I be able to socialize with my friends and family? When will I be able to hug my grandparents and best friends?

People are missing connection and contact with others. That is why too many people are violating any public health orders or suggestions. It is not a violation of your Constitutional rights – give me a break – to wear a mask. Outside of the second amendment, most people do not even know what is in the Constitution. (And, that’s just because the NRA has made it an issue – though even that amendment has been distorted by the NRA.)

And, though I am adamant about keeping my mask on, especially when shopping, keeping my distance and washing my hands, I understand the frustration. I miss my old life too. I miss not congregating with my friends. I miss my exercise classes with others. I even miss religious services. Doing it via Zoom is just not very satisfying.

I am grateful we have a way to communicate and are not totally isolated. And, most of the country (and the world) is computer literate and can’t exist without their cell phones. So, communicating via our electronic devices is the norm. But, still, we are social animals and need connection.

The anxiety people feel is from their disconnection with others and with the loss over what many felt was a secure future. But, it will pass. With the advent of an effective vaccine and the improvement in the way we handle this virus, the question will be how do we return to connecting with others. Will we remember what we had to go through or just disregard any lessons we learned. Will we be a better nation? Will we protect ourselves from future illnesses by taking care of ourselves? Will we go back to unhealthy and uncaring attitudes?

Ask yourself these questions. What will you be like after this pandemic ends? Will you be a better and more compassionate person or not.

Stay healthy and strong and realize what you do does affect others.

Janeen