August Wellness Corner

Losing someone you love and the subsequent grief is difficult and can affect your everyday life. But you’re not alone, and there are ways to cope.

Everyone reacts differently to feelings of loss, but research shows that people can recover over time with the help of healthy habits and social support.

What are some concrete ways to deal with grief?

Talk about the person you’ve lost. Bottling up your sadness or trying to forget what has happened won’t help and can lead to feeling isolated. Speak to a trusted friend or family member to help process your feelings and remember the person you’ve lost.

Take care of yourself physically. When you’re feeling depressed, it’s easy to let self-care fall by the wayside. But eating well, exercising, and getting enough sleep can help your mental health too.

Join a support group. It can help to spend time with people going through the same thing as you. And you’ll learn ways to cope from others.

Start seeing a therapist or psychologist. A trained professional can not only listen but also provide support and concrete strategies to help you. Therapy can help build resilience as you deal with grief.

There is no set time period to grieve – each person is different.

Remember that things will get better. Grief is a hard part of life, but you will be able to get through it. If your grief does not get better over time, and you experience extreme weight loss, fatigue, or suicidal thoughts, your grief may be turning into depression. Reach out to a therapist or psychiatrist for help.

SPF 101

Summer sun means lots of fun. But too many rays can lead to skin cancer. The good news? You can prevent it! A sunscreen’s SPF or “sun protection factor,” refers to its ability to shield from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. It is a measure of the time it would take for a person to start getting red if they were not wearing sunscreen.

In general, it takes about 10 to 20 minutes without sunscreen for a person’s skin to start burning. An SPF 15 product would prevent skin from burning for 15 times longer – so about 150 to 300 minutes, or about 2.5 to five hours. However, that doesn’t mean you’re fully protected for those five hours. Dermatologists highly recommend reapplying sunscreen every two to four hours, as sunscreen can rub off or get washed off in the water.

Some brands are better than others in terms of the range of ultraviolet radiation (UVA, UVB and UVC rays) they protect against. More brands in recent years have broad-spectrum or multi-spectrum protection, meaning they shield against more than one type of ultraviolet radiation. All-natural sunscreen alternatives containing zinc oxide are also effective. Look for brands with those descriptions, as UVA rays are the number one cause of long-term skin damage, including wrinkles and cancer.

Keep Your Identity!

With the amount of personal information circulating today, identity theft has become a concern for many people.

If your Social Security number, bank account, or credit card information falls into the wrong hands, someone could use it to impersonate you and cause a lot of financial damage.

In the past, identity thieves typically used wallets and checkbooks or made phone calls to steal information, but advances in technology have introduced even more risks. Now thieves use electronics like computers and smartphones to gain access to everything they need. There are also email scams, known as “phishing,” where identity thieves use the same phone tactic of claiming to be a legitimate organization to get you to give them sensitive information.

While there are ways to recover your assets, the impact of even a temporary loss is still overwhelming, and the recovery process can take up to several years. A compromised credit score can be a huge obstacle during a job or apartment hunt, and gaining credit becomes difficult. Identity theft insurance can better address the seriousness of these consequences.

What are some best practices to prevent identity theft?

  • Protect your social security number. Do not carry your social security card or other cards that show your social security number with you in your purse, wallet, backpack, or even car.
  • Be extra careful when giving out your personal information. Scam artists “phish” for victims by pretending to be banks, stores, or government agencies. When in doubt, always double check who might be asking for your information.
  • Be careful about what you place in your trash can! Shred or destroy papers containing your personal information like name, date of birth, credit card numbers, and other financial or identifying data.
  • Tired of getting pre-approved credit offers? You can stop them! Pre-approved credit card offers are a target for identity thieves who steal your mail. Have your name removed from credit bureau marketing lists. Call toll-free 888-5OPTOUT (888-567-8688).
  • Check your bills and bank statements regularly or download the apps needed to monitor transactions. Carefully check for any unauthorized charges or withdrawals and report them immediately. Call if bills don’t arrive on time. It may mean that someone has changed contact information to hide fraudulent charges.
  • Check your credit score and report each month. Many credit card companies offer free score reports each month to cardholders. Anything alarming should be reported to the credit bureaus right away.