February Wellness Corner

While it is not uncommon to hear people use the terms “anxiety” and “depression” interchangeably, these are actually two different conditions.

The two have overlapping symptoms and the unfortunate reality is they are often comorbid, meaning they often show up together. The National Alliance on Mental Illness estimates that 60% of people who have an anxiety disorder will also experience depression. Another study reported that nearly half of people with major depressive disorder also had histories of one or more anxiety disorders.

This side-by-side comparison may help illuminate some of the differences between anxiety and depression.

Depression

  • Ongoing sadness or hopelessness — more than just “the blues”
  • Reduced or increased appetite
  • Irregular sleep, either too much or too little
  • Seemingly constant lack of energy
  • Recurring suicidal thoughts or attempts
  • Mental fog, including difficulty, thinking or concentrating

Anxiety

  • Worrying excessively or feeling anxious out of proportion to actual events
  • Inability to stop worrying
  • Feeling constantly jittery or on edge
  • Feeling overwhelmed by making choices
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Fatigue and difficulty sleeping
  • Nervousness
  • Irritability

Between different kinds of therapy and medication, there are many ways to treat anxiety and depression. If you have been experiencing some of these symptoms for more than two weeks, and they have caused a change in your level of functioning or are interfering with your life, you should speak to your doctor. If at any time you experience suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit suicidepreventionlifeline.org to chat with someone who can help you immediately.

Physical Health Corner People, Pets & Vets

Are you interested in relaxing your way to better physical health? Ready for some well-deserved pampering? A massage might be just what the doctor ordered. In addition to feeling great and giving us a break from the bustle of daily life, massages have therapeutic benefits. A combination of standard medical care and massage therapy can be the perfect remedy for many conditions, including anxiety and depression, joint pain, and digestive disorders.

If you’re considering a massage, keep your medical history in mind and talk with your physician if you have bleeding disorders, burns, or injuries. Since massages involve pressure and increased blood circulation, these conditions can worsen. Your doctor can also give you a referral for massage therapists, especially those covered by your insurance. If you do your own research, be on the lookout for licensed, experienced therapists and ask questions about session length, health concerns, and type of massage.

There are many massage styles, but popular ones are:

Swedish massage: The most familiar method, which uses gentle, long strokes and circular movements for maximum relaxation.

Deep massage: The use of more intense pressure to work deep layers of muscle and tissue often affected by injuries.

Sports massage: This style focuses specifically on treating or preventing sports injuries with Swedish massage techniques.

Trigger point massage: This style targets muscle tension resulting from daily activities or injury.

There’s also reflexology, a unique massage that is only done on one part of the body: the feet. But don’t let that fool you—the ancient practice focuses on feet because of their potential for full-body effects. Stimulating the roughly 7,000 nerve endings in your feet activates their role in the central nervous system, channeling the results of the massage to the entire body.

So, schedule some “me time” today and feel the difference!

Social Health Corner People, Pets & Vets

You put in the work, spent the time, and earned a college degree. What’s next? Paying off those student loans. The weight of student loans can be daunting, but there are programs available to assist paying them off.

A Standard Plan involves fixed payments that will ensure the loan is paid off within ten years. A Graduated Repayment Plan starts with small payments that gradually increase, typically every two years, to complete the loan payment within ten years. The Extended Repayment Plan is more flexible. It can be either fixed or graduated and will have the loan paid off in 25 years.

Other options include a Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan (PAYE), the Income-Based Repayment Plan (IBR), the Income-Contingent Repayment Plan (ICR) and the Income-Sensitive Repayment Plan. Eligibility for these plans varies based on amount of loans, income and more. A Direct Consolidated Loan is a good option if multiple federal education loans have been accumulated. It allows the consolidation of the individual loans into a single loan—meaning one monthly payment instead of multiple payments.

Though the load may seem heavy, options are available to provide aid. Find out which one works best for you.

Your emotional wellness is important to us at PPV. We are proud to offer a 24/7 FREE employee assistance program (CuraLinc) for all our employees (full and part time) and any dependents in your household. You do not need to be in an active state of crisis to take advantage of this terrific, free resource! We are here for you both on good days and tough days.

 

If you would like additional information on emotional and mental health, you can confidentially contact me at the information below.