What Workaholism Reveals About Your Mental Health

If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available. For someone to Call:  Call or text 988 or chat at 988lifeline.org. For someone to come to you: Request the Mobile Response Team (MRT) through 988 or call them directly at 301 429-2185.

We live in a culture that often celebrates the hustle, praising those who stay late at the office, check emails on weekends, and take pride in their dedication to work. But when does hard work cross the line into workaholism (aka working too much)?

Workaholism isn’t just about working hard; it’s an obsessive compulsion to work, often at the expense of personal relationships, health, and well-being. While healthy work habits include maintaining a balance between work and personal life, workaholics tend to blur or completely erase those boundaries.

Signs of Workaholic Behavior

  • Prioritize work over everything else: Even during vacations or personal events, they can’t disconnect from work-related tasks.
  • Have difficulty delegating: Believing they must handle everything themselves.
  • Experience guilt when not working: Feeling guilty or anxious when not immersed in work.
  • Work excessively long hours: The typical 8-hour workday often extends to 10, 12, or more, with weekends and late nights also on the table.
  • Sacrifice personal well-being: Often neglecting sleep, exercise, and other forms of self-care in favor of work.

The Relationship Between Workaholism and Mental Health

The impact of workaholism on mental health is profound. This obsessive compulsion to work often masks deeper psychological issues, such as anxiety, depression, or even unresolved trauma. The constant drive to achieve can lead to severe burnout, where physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion reach critical levels.

Mental Health Issues Linked to Workaholism

Studies show that workaholics are at a higher risk of developing:

  • Anxiety and Depression: The constant stress and pressure to perform can lead to chronic anxiety and depressive episodes.
  • Burnout: Prolonged work without adequate rest can lead to a state of burnout, characterized by exhaustion, cynicism, and reduced efficacy.
  • Sleep Disorders: The inability to disconnect from work can cause insomnia and other sleep-related issues.

Workaholism can serve as a coping mechanism for underlying distress. Instead of dealing with emotional issues, individuals immerse themselves in work to avoid confronting their problems.

Navigating Workaholism in a Hybrid and Virtual Environment

The shift to hybrid and remote work has brought new challenges in maintaining a work-life balance. Without the physical separation between the office and home, many find it difficult to disconnect.

6 Strategies for Setting Boundaries

  • Create a designated workspace: Establish a dedicated area for work to help maintain a boundary between work and personal life.
  • Set clear work hours: Define specific times for work and stick to them, resisting the urge to check emails or continue working outside those hours.
  • Use technology to your advantage: Use tools that help manage time effectively and set reminders to take breaks.
  • Communicate with colleagues and supervisors: Let them know your work hours and when you are unavailable.
  • Prioritize self-care and leisure activities: Engage in hobbies, exercise, and spend time with loved ones.
  • Turn off work notifications during personal time: Avoid the temptation to respond to work-related messages outside of work hours.

When to Look for Professional Help

If you suspect you are struggling with workaholism or related behavioral health issues, seeking professional help is essential. A behavioral health professional can provide guidance and support to navigate the underlying causes of workaholism.

TLC-MD is a key advocate for behavioral health organizations in Maryland. There are several resources available if you need help managing stress or have other behavioral health concerns:

Crisis Helplines & Locations:

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Call or text 988 and ask for the Mobile Response Team (MRT) or chat at 988lifeline.org. This national hotline connects individuals with crisis counselors who are experiencing suicidal thoughts and behavioral health emergencies.
  • Maryland Crisis Hotline: Dial 211 and press 1 for information, referral, and crisis intervention. This statewide helpline provides access to trained crisis counselors 24/7. They can assist with crisis intervention, provide information on local resources, and offer emotional support. 
  • Dyer Care Center: This is a 23-hour outpatient facility in Prince George’s County that provides emergency crisis stabilization for mental health, behavioral health, and substance use. The center will be opening soon. To learn more, visit tlc-md.org or contact us at (888) 900–1257.

Reach Out to Local Organizations

Maryland has several organizations that focus on behavioral health and/or substance use support. Here are a few:

  • NAMI Maryland (National Alliance on Mental Illness): NAMI Maryland offers resources, support groups, and education programs for individuals and families. They have local chapters throughout the state.
  • Maryland Behavioral Health Administration (BHA): BHA oversees behavioral health services in Maryland and can connect you with resources, treatment options, and crisis support services.
  • SAMHSA’s Treatment Locator: The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) provides a treatment locator tool that can help you find nearby behavioral health and/or substance use treatment facilities.

If you are a resident in Southern Maryland in need of behavioral health and/or substance use services, contact the following local government organizations:

If you have any questions or need additional help to find resources in your area, contact info@tlc-md.org.

Workaholism is a complex issue with far-reaching implications for mental and physical health. While hard work is commendable, it’s essential to strike a balance between work and personal life. By setting boundaries, prioritizing self-care, and seeking professional help when needed, you can maintain a healthier relationship with work and protect your mental health. Remember, your well-being is the foundation for long-term success and happiness.

Building Self-Awareness Between Good and Bad Stress

If you or someone you know is in crisis, help is available.  Call or text 988 for someone to talk to, request mobile response for someone to come to you, or chat at 988lifeline.org.

Are you aware of the signs of stress in your body? Your breaths get shorter, your back muscles get tense, and your appetite changes. 

Stress is inevitable. However, it’s important to recognize the signs and have the self-awareness to differentiate between the good stress and the bad. That way, you can keep yourself in check and avoid getting overwhelmed.

Recognizing Good and Bad Stress

Good Stress (Eustress): 

Good stress, also known as eustress, can push you to do better or take on tough situations. It’s the type of stress that motivates and energizes you. It’s the feeling you get before a big presentation, a job interview, or a performance. Eustress can help you focus, perform better, and be more productive. 

Bad Stress (Distress): 

Bad stress, or distress, is the chronic or excessive stress that overwhelms you and interferes with your daily functioning. It can pop up when you have ongoing issues like work pressures, relationship problems, financial worries, or major life changes.

It can lead to anxiety, depression, burnout, and many physical health problems if you don’t deal with it. In some cases, it can lead to substance use and suicidal thoughts.

Signs and Symptoms of Bad Stress

Recognizing the signs and symptoms of bad stress is the first step towards managing it effectively. Here are some of the most common signs:

  • Physical Symptoms: Headaches, muscle tension, fatigue, digestive issues, changes in appetite or sleep patterns.
  • Emotional Symptoms: Anxiety, irritability, mood swings, feelings of overwhelm, sadness, or depression.
  • Behavioral Symptoms: Withdrawal from social activities, increased use of alcohol or drugs, difficulty concentrating, changes in performance at work or school.

Understanding How Technology Affects Stress

While technology makes your life easier and keeps you connected, it can also stress you out. That’s why it’s important to use it mindfully and set limits on how much you use it. Here are some simple tips:

  • Limit Screen Time: Decide on specific times when you’ll use technology and try to spend more time doing things that help you relax or talking face-to-face with people.
  • Turn off Notifications: Stop unnecessary notifications on your phone or computer so you can focus better without interruptions.
  • Create Tech-Free Areas: Choose places in your home or times of day when you won’t use technology at all. It’s a chance to take a break and recharge.
  • Take Breaks from Social Media and News: Give yourself a break from social media and the news. Too much information can make you feel more stressed. It might be hard at first, but it’s worth it.
  • Don’t Compare Yourself Online: Remember, what you see on social media isn’t always real life. Focus on your progress instead of comparing yourself to others.

Getting Help in Maryland

TLC-MD is a key advocate for mental health organizations in Maryland. There are several resources available if you need help managing stress or have other mental health concerns:

Crisis Helplines & Locations:

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Call or text 988 and ask for the Mobile Response Team (MRT) or chat at 988lifeline.org. This national hotline connects individuals with crisis counselors who are experiencing suicidal thoughts and mental health emergencies.
  • Maryland Crisis Hotline: Dial 211 and press 1 for information, referral, and crisis intervention. This statewide helpline provides access to trained crisis counselors 24/7. They can assist with crisis intervention, provide information on local resources, and offer emotional support. 
  • Dyer Care Center: This is a 23-hour outpatient facility in Prince George’s County that provides emergency crisis stabilization for mental health, behavioral health, and substance use. The center will be opening on April 25th, 2024. To learn more, visit tlc-md.org or contact us at (888) 900–1257.

Reach Out to Local Organizations

Maryland has several organizations that focus on mental health and/or substance use support. Here are a few:

  • NAMI Maryland (National Alliance on Mental Illness): NAMI Maryland offers resources, support groups, and education programs for individuals and families. They have local chapters throughout the state.
  • Maryland Behavioral Health Administration (BHA): BHA oversees behavioral health services in Maryland and can connect you with resources, treatment options, and crisis support services.
  • SAMHSA’s Treatment Locator: The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) provides a treatment locator tool that can help you find nearby mental health and/or substance use treatment facilities.

If you are a resident in Southern Maryland in need of mental health and/or substance use services, contact the following local government organizations:

If you have any questions or need additional help to find resources in your area, contact info@tlc-md.org.

National Nutrition Month Spotlight: Teymi Herring and Renee Wiggins of the Diabetes & Nutrition Center

Teymi Herring and Renee WigginsMarch is National Nutrition Month, so we sat down with Teymi Herring and Renee Wiggins, two of our outstanding staffers in the Diabetes & Nutrition Education Center here at Luminis Health Doctors Community Medical Center. Learn more about their career paths, and about how people can begin their health journeys. (Spoiler alert: when they say “one step at a time,” they mean it literally — walking makes a huge difference!)

(Interview modified for clarity and length).

What made you passionate about pursuing a career in healthcare?

Teymi: I was surrounded by family members who were focused and interested in health, so that naturally drew me to the field, and specifically, the nutrition part of healthcare.

Renee: I never understood why I should eat certain foods, like if my father told me to eat more vegetables. I took a quiz on the basic food groups and failed. I thought I knew more about nutrition than I actually did! So I started with a nutrition class at my local community college, and eventually graduated from Howard with a degree in clinical nutrition and dietetics. 

Tell me more about your roles with Luminis.

Teymi: I am the contact person for our Diabetes Self-Management Education Program, and I do diabetes prevention program (DPP) coordination. I make sure we meet all of our requirements from a documentation/accreditation standpoint. From a patient side, I meet with patients and discuss their needs.

Renee: I am a Registered Dietitian. I help individuals with meal plans, medication support, weight loss, and diabetes education.

What can a patient expect when they come to visit you?

Teymi: We see patients by referral. They will fill out a questionnaire so I can understand their needs better, and what they are interested in. That will help them on their journey of achieving their health goals. We are patient-focused and centered — our patients drive their care and we support them. We mostly get requests for meal plan assistance, and many patients want to really understand their diagnosis so they can take control of their health.

What’s the biggest piece of advice you can give people on their health journey?

Teymi: The theme for National Nutrition Month is “Beyond the Table.” We want to enjoy life. Wellness is beyond the table and what we eat. Change can be difficult. Get your family and support system involved! Something like trying a new vegetable once a month can be fun. Small steps will lead us to more long-term, sustained, healthy choices.

Renee: You have to start where the patient is at. If they are only eating one or two vegetables, teach them new and healthy ways to cook with them before adding more to their diet. 

What are some common misperceptions that you’ve heard when it comes to diet and food?

Renee: That all carbs are bad. If you have a patient on insulin, they may need to have at least 15 to 20 grams of carbs per meal. You can have carbs, but check your blood sugar to determine portion sizes. If you start eliminating foods, you may be losing the nutrients your body needs.

What is one easy tip you can give people to improve their health?

Renee: Exercise! Even small things like wall push-ups during commercial breaks or arm circles in a chair. Walking is accessible for most people, and they don’t have to be long walks. Every minute adds up

National Nutrition Month Spotlight: Diabetes Program Coordinator Elizabeth Katz

March is National Nutrition Month, so we sat down with Elizabeth Katz, a Diabetes Program Coordinator here at the University of Maryland Capital Region Health (UMCRH). Read on as Elizabeth talks about her role, dishes out some nutrition pro tips, and busts some common misconceptions about diabetes (spoiler alert: “cut out all carbs” is not a winning strategy).

(Interview modified for clarity and length).

What made you passionate about pursuing a career in healthcare?

It goes back to high school. I’ve always really liked helping people. I always volunteered with the American Red Cross. I wanted to give back, so that made me ask myself, “What careers can I help people the most?” So, here I am!

How would you describe your current role as a Diabetes Program Coordinator at the University of Maryland?

I educate patients on the outpatient side. I do a lot of individual classes and help patients with self-management skills that they need to take care of their diabetes and avoid any long-term complications. I also work with people who have prediabetes. 

What is one thing you want people to know about the Diabetes Management Services at UMC?

We are SO passionate about our patients and the community we serve. For us, this work is personal — we approach our services on a human level and really connect with our patients to see positive change.

Do you find that people have misconceptions about diabetes?

Absolutely. This is something I go over during my diabetes self-management class. Some of the biggest misconceptions include: if it’s white don’t eat it, and eliminate all carbs. With all the information out there, I want to make sure my patients are getting the most accurate information from the right sources.

What are the top three things someone looking to make healthy changes in their life should do?

Great question. If I had to cut it down to three, I’d say:

  1. Cut out sugary beverages (sodas, juices, energy drinks).
  2. Move your body more.
  3. Eat more vegetables!

Do you have tips for how people can access healthy food on a tight budget?

At the grocery store, stock up on frozen fruits and vegetables, which are nutritious and last longer than fresh produce. You can also look into food services like Meals on Wheels, which is great, and pretty affordable. 

What about things like frozen dinners?

I’d say avoid them. Frozen dinners are generally affordable, but they can be high in sodium, which is bad news.

Culture and food can go hand in hand. How can we think about healthy meal planning that honors traditions in food, while also adhering to diabetes management principles?

Food is a way that we celebrate. It’s how people come together. We don’t want to take that away from anyone managing diabetes. My biggest piece of advice for this is to do everything in moderation. For example, maybe have the rice and beans, but skip the tortilla. For family gatherings, know what you’re walking into and plan ahead. Try different strategies and see what works for you — for example, try smaller portions of carbs and larger portions of vegetables.

Do you have any resources you would like to recommend?

MyPlate.gov has great recipes, activities, and a lot of helpful resources. Definitely check out the American Diabetes Association as well.

Any last thoughts?

Diabetes is not a death sentence — it’s manageable. There are different medications, lifestyle practices, and behavioral goal changes that can really help people. Don’t be afraid to share your diagnosis and seek help. That’s how you learn to manage the disease, not have the disease manage you.

Having earned recognition from the Association of Diabetes Care and Education Specialists, the Diabetes Self-Management Program at University of Maryland Capital Region Health (UMCRH) is a leader in  diabetes self-management education. Learn more about our services here.

National Nutrition Month Spotlight: Diabetes Center Education Specialist Joy Zhang

Joy Zhang, Diabetes Center Education SpecialisMarch is National Nutrition Month, so we sat down with Joy Zhang, an Education Specialist at MedStar’s Diabetes and Endocrine Center, which holds the prestigious Education Recognition Certificate from the American Diabetes Association (ADA) to recognize quality diabetes education. Read on as Joy talks about her role and dishes out some pro tips on nutrition. (Spoiler alert: ditch the cookies, and go nuts for nuts!)

(Interview modified for clarity and length).

What made you passionate about pursuing a career in healthcare?

I love food! My friends and family would always ask me questions about what to eat, and how to prevent disease. I was interested in finding out the answers for them (and for myself!), so I pursued my master’s degree and began working as a registered dietician. 

Describe your role at MedStar.

I work in an outpatient clinic. I provide individual appointments to people diagnosed with diabetes. I primarily see people with Type 2 diabetes, but I also see people with gestational and Type 1. 

What does an appointment typically entail?

The service I offer is Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support (DSMES for short). We emphasize patient-centered care. Every patient we see has their customized care plan addressing their unique needs, preferences, and values. We review lifestyle behaviors, dietary patterns, and coping skills, like how to deal with stress.

What are some common misconceptions when it comes to nutrition? 

I frequently hear that carbs are bad. But the body actually needs carbohydrates to function. We need carbs for energy!

Great point. Anything else?

Another misconception is that all calories are created equal. But we have to look at nutritional value. For example, a handful of roasted cashews and one chocolate chip cookie may have the same amount of calories, but their nutritional value will be very different. The cashews provide nutrients your body needs, like healthy fats. Meanwhile, they may be delicious, but it’s probably full of additives and unhealthy fats.

Another great point. Want to share one more?

Always look at labels! Avoid foods with trans fat and added sugars.

Pro Tip: Learn to read a nutritional facts label here.

Are there any resources you would like to recommend?

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) website is a great resource. They have food and nutrition advice, recipes, and live cooking classes. Check it out!

MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center (MSMHC) is leading the way by providing the highest quality clinical care with advanced technology, innovative medical services, and the region’s top doctors. Our hospital center not only treats illnesses and injuries but also promotes wellness and community health. Learn about us here.

Announcement of TLC Umbrella Hub Arrangement

Totally Linking Care in Maryland (TLC-MD) established a CDC approved umbrella hub arrangement, expanding access to the National Diabetes Prevention (National DPP) lifestyle change program.

The primary mission of TLC-MD’s umbrella hub arrangement is to provide administrative support to community-based organizations, assisting with billing and reporting to CDC. Additionally, the goal is to establish connections with health plans to help the organizations receive proper reimbursement for running the lifestyle change program and to ensure the long-term sustainability of these organizations, enabling them to extend the program to more individuals.

Think of TLC-MD as the support hub, collaborating closely with community-based organizations  to provide administrative support to assist with long-term sustainability and increase their ability to deliver the National DPP lifestyle change program. Currently, we have six partner organizations, including:

If you are interested in taking your first step towards weightloss,  healthier eating, increased physical activity and are a resident in Southern Maryland, we encourage you to click here to learn more about the National DPP and preregister today. Your journey toward improved health and well-being begins with TLC-MD.

If you are a community-based organization and want to know more about our hub contact us.

4 Tips for a Healthy Heart

If you have diabetes, or have been diagnosed with prediabetes, your risk of cardiovascular disease significantly increases. There are so many resources out there that it can become overwhelming very quickly! Let’s explore four simple tips you can start incorporating into your eating plan that will keep your heart healthy and strong.

#1: Limit Sodium Intake

Too much salt in your diet can lead to high blood pressure and heart issues. You can avoid high sodium foods by preparing your meals at home more often and monitoring the amount of salt you add. But often, high sodium culprits can appear in spice blends you buy at the grocery store, canned or prepared foods, even condiments. Be sure to look at labels to determine sodium levels in foods you eat. According to the American Heart Association, you should limit your salt intake to 2300 mg or less per day, which equals to about 1 teaspoon or less. If you also have high blood pressure, that number drops to 1500 mg or less per day.

#2: Be Selective with your Proteins

Protein helps build muscles. It’s the centerpiece of the majority of our meals. Sources of protein can include: seafood, meat, chicken, turkey, lentils, beans, peas, nuts, seeds, soy products such as tofu, eggs, and dairy products, like milk and yogurt. For heart health and overall well-being, focus on proteins that are “lean” or “low fat”. Limit processed proteins such as bacon, hot dogs/sausages, and high fat meats.

You can find diabetes friendly recipes on our website here.

#3: More Fruits and Vegetables

Incorporating more whole foods into your diet has so many positive effects, from heart health to gut health. When shopping for fruits and vegetables, select the freshest options by buying fresh produce “in season” which can be less expensive. Frozen, canned, or dried fruits and vegetables can also be great options.

#4: Fuel with the Right Liquids

One of the best (and most simple) things you can do for your heart and overall health is to fuel your body with the right liquids. This means more water, and water-rich foods (like certain fruits and vegetables). Limit your amount of alcohol, sugar-filled sodas, and caffeinated beverages.

When you drink more water, you decrease your risk of dehydration, which can impact everything from your heart to your motor functions (movement, speech). How much water you drink per day is individualized, but aiming for at least 8 cups of water per day is a good place to start.

By incorporating these tips into your daily routine, you will be on your way to better heart health and lower your chance of cardiovascular issues in the future. Remember, it’s progress and small changes every day that will lead to the best outcomes.

Community Health Workers are Here to Support Your Health and Social Needs!

In the world of public health, there’s a dedicated force working quietly to ensure that residents get the health and social services they need – Community Health Workers (CHWs). Let’s dive into what their role entails and see how they’re making a real impact on the community’s well-being.

Blog content below courtesy of: Prince George’s County Health Department, Maryland Community Health Resources Commission, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Maryland Latinos Unidos, and Prince George’s County Proud

Who we are

A Community Health Worker (CHW) is a front-line public health worker who works with residents to help them access the health and social services that they need.

What we do

Working with the health department, we serve residents in Prince George’s County as a trusted health resource.

We connect members of our community social and health services, such as…

  • Helping residents enroll in health and social service programs
  • Helping residents set and achieve personal health goals and adopt healthy behaviors
  • Referring residents to medical transportation and other types of assistance
  • Providing social support and refer clients to professional counseling
  • Guiding residents toward Health Education, including self-management of disease screenings, prevention, and management of chronic health diseases
  • Coordinating resident care and case management

Come visit us

Walk into any of these locations and we’ll be here to answer your questions:

Access to Wholistic and Productive Living

3611 43rd Ave

Brentwood, MD 20722

 

Community Outreach & Development CDC

4719 Marlboro Pike, Suite 104

Capitol Heights, MD 20743

 

Langley Park Multiservice Center

1401 University Blvd E

Hyattsville, MD 20783

 

Greater Beulah Baptist Church

6056 Old Central Ave

Capitol Heights, MD 20743

 

All locations are open Monday – Friday from 9 AM to 5 PM

Want more information before stopping by?

Call 301-883-4707 or visit health.mypgc.us/chw

Within two business days, a CHW will call you to determine what services you need.

Better Diabetes Management: Strategies to Keep Your 2024 Resolutions

By: Priscilla Thomas

Ready to take charge of your diabetes journey in 2024? As we dive into the new year, the key is not just setting resolutions but finding effective strategies to stay on track. Let’s explore common challenges and practical advice on accountability, tracking progress, seeking support, and keeping up your motivation to navigate the year successfully.

Facing Challenges and Finding Solutions

Challenge 1: Initial Enthusiasm vs. Long-Term Commitment

Solution 1: Set Realistic Goals

We all start the year motivated, but how do we keep it going? Start by setting realistic goals that you can actually achieve. Break down larger objectives into smaller, manageable steps. For instance, if your goal is to improve your diet, start with specific changes like incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your meal plan or reducing added sugar. Realistic goals provide a clear path to success and foster a sense of accomplishment, propelling you toward long-term commitment.

Challenge 2: Accountability Dips

Solution 2: Staying Accountable

Don’t be on this journey alone. Find someone who shares your health goals or understands what you’re going through. Partner up and set goals together. Regular check-ins and shared objectives will keep you motivated and accountable.

Challenge 3: Progress Monitoring

Solution 3: Use Tracking Tools

Tracking your progress is crucial to making progress. Use tools, such as diabetes management apps and digital health tools, blood sugar trackers, Bluetooth-enabled devices, continuous glucose monitors, or journals, to measure and track your blood glucose levels. These tools track your improvements, showing you where you’re succeeding and where you might need to adjust your approach.

Challenge 4: Dealing with Setbacks

Solution 4: Embrace a Growth Mindset

When things don’t go as planned, think of them as opportunities to learn and grow.  This mindset shift encourages resilience and a proactive approach to improve how you manage your diabetes. Look for support from your healthcare team or support groups to gain new insights and perspectives.

Challenge 5: Maintaining Motivation Over Time

Solution 5: Celebrate Small Wins

To stay motivated, it’s important to celebrate the small wins. Every step counts! Whether it’s hitting your step goals, making healthier food choices, or incorporating local produce into your diet, acknowledging these achievements keeps you motivated and committed.

Diabetes Resolutions for 2024 with a Southern Maryland Twist

As you step into the new year, here are some ideas to help you stay motivated:

  1. Embrace Local and Seasonal Produce: Explore Southern Maryland’s farmer’s markets and add some seasonal fruits and vegetables to your meals. Support local farmers while boosting your nutrition. Frozen, canned, and dried fruits and vegetables can also be healthy and budget-friendly choices.
  2. Savor the Seafood Bounty: Given Southern Maryland’s proximity to the Chesapeake Bay, enjoy local seafood favorites such as grilled or baked Rockfish (Striped Bass), or steamed Maryland Blue Crabs lightly seasoned and in moderation. These local favorites are healthy choices that celebrate the region’s culinary traditions.
  3. Balanced Spice with Local Flair: Just as Old Bay seasoning often adds flavor to Southern Maryland dishes, be mindful of sodium intake. Experiment with lower-sodium versions of Old Bay or create your spice blend to enhance the taste without compromising health.
  4. Explore Local Trails and Waterfronts: Get moving by exploring the beautiful landscapes of Southern Maryland. Take advantage of local waterfronts, parks, and trails  for regular walks to reduce insulin resistance and maintain your blood sugar levels within your target range. If it’s too cold out, try these exercises you can do at home.
  5. Connect with Local Diabetes Resources: Engage with local diabetes support groups and education programs. Connect with TLC-MD or with your local diabetes community to share experiences and stay updated on the latest management techniques within the vibrant Southern Maryland diabetes community.

By weaving these resolutions into your new year’s goals, you’re embracing a holistic approach to managing diabetes coupled with the rich culinary traditions of Southern Maryland. Each small step contributes to significant progress over time, ensuring that diabetes doesn’t hold you back from savoring the Southern Maryland way of life. Cheers to a healthier and more vibrant year ahead!

Dealing With Grief and Loss During the Holiday Season: A Guide to Coping

By: Carlos Mackall

 The holiday season can stir up all sorts of feelings in people. Some get excited about reuniting and seeing their loved ones, while others get anxious and overwhelmed. But in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the holidays, let’s be grateful that we get to celebrate another year of life. We all have someone we lost who isn’t here to celebrate with us this year, and as challenging as it is, we can still find a way to honor them.

Anyone who has known me can tell you that I’ve lost most of the people closest to me. I mention this not to seek sympathy but to emphasize that grief and loss are a shared human experience. We can feel numb, experience survivor guilt, apathy, PTSD, anxiety, depression, isolation, or, in some cases, even give up hope.

It’s no surprise that suicide rates are increasing, largely due to untreated mental health issues. Adjusted for population growth and age, suicide rates have risen by 16% from 2011 to 2022, moving from 12.3 to 14.4 deaths per 100,000 individuals (Heather Saunders and Nirmita Panchal, “A Look at the Latest Suicide Data and Change of the Last Decade,” kff.org, Aug 04, 2023). One way to honor our loved ones is to take care of ourselves and others.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness noted that 64% of individuals living with mental illness felt that their conditions worsened around the holidays.

This holiday season, I invite you to commit to making a pact. Before I tell you what you are agreeing to, know that: you have no control over what happens today or tomorrow, but you do have control over how you respond to it. It’s okay to feel sad, hurt, or discouraged for a moment, but then find a way to recalibrate and bounceback.

The pact: I will take care of myself and those around me. I will be grateful and kind. I will be mindful of our mental health.

If you’re struggling this holiday season, here are some tips to help you make the best out of it:

 Set reasonable expectations

  • Practice prayer and meditation
  • Prevent burnout and reduce your commitments – It’s okay to say NO!
  • Try breathing techniques.
  • Get some sunlight and fresh air
  • Take walks or get moving
  • Listen to upbeat music to improve your mood
  • Get proper rest (aim for min 8 hrs)
  • Avoid engaging with negative people
  • Limit caffeine and alcohol
  • Read a good book or listen to a favorite podcast

If you need to see a mental health professional because you feel depressed, anxious, or any other mental health concern make an appointment or call the National Suicide Lifeline 988.  This is easier said than done, but just like many other things you have overcome in your life, you have the strength to conquer this as well.

Stay proactive by taking care of yourself mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  Happy Holidays!