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Showing posts from November, 2013

6 Antidotes for Holiday Stress

Thanksgiving week is here.  The holidays can be considered a stressful time of year for many of us - uncle Pete just loves to talk politics while passing the mashed potatoes or how am I going to find room for my cousin who tends to overstay his welcome?

For those living with chronic medical illnesses, the holidays may mean trying to find the energy to go to Thanksgiving dinner, having to explain to Aunt Bethany why they can't eat the stuffing for the 12th time, or struggle to maintain conversation while experiencing nagging pain. It's enough to send the stress meter off the charts, and we may begin to lose it a little.

Every year we know the holidays are coming, but every year we get stressed out.  That doesn't really make a whole lot of sense, does it?  Holiday stress may be inevitable, but the degree to which it hits us is really up to us.  Here are 6 things you can do to help dial down that holiday stress meter this year:
 1. Let Go of Perfectionism
A lot of our stress…

'Tis the Season: Thanks. Giving.

November is flying by! Tiffany and I have been busy with multiple community events and speaking engagements, and are looking forward to seeing some of you this Tuesday night at Skokie Hospital for all our IBD patients who live on the north shore of Chicago. As the days seem to fly by, Thanksgiving is only 11 days away, and then come the winter holidays. As we take time to reflect on how much we have to be thankful for, I have to so much joy for how much my own health has improved over this year. Less than a year ago, I was inpatient all month with surgery complications, and I am thrilled to be out and about, working, making a difference, and able to be independent.

Tonight I watched a 60 Minutes show where part of it was on The Giving Pledge. I had never heard of it before, and wanted to pass it along. It is a commitment by the world's wealthiest individuals to dedicate the majority of their wealth to philanthropy. The qualification to be in this elite club is to be at least a bil…

Does Therapy Really Work?

Being a psychologist in the medical world, I'm often met with some skepticism about what I do.  This can come from patients, their families, physicians - you name it.  There is good reason for questioning if psychotherapy is helpful for people living with a chronic medical illness.  Hell, there's good reason to question if psychotherapy is helpful for anyone.  Not because it isn't, but because questioning things is good practice.

The great news is psychotherapy is helpful for a slew of problems, and specific types of therapy are more effective than others.  I personally trained in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and this is what I use most of the time.  I was also trained in other major approaches - existential/humanistic, psychodynamic, and family systems - which I may borrow from from time to time if it will benefit the person I'm working with.

A popular buzzword in medicine is evidence based treatment.  That is what it sounds like:  is there evidence based in sound, pe…

Sunday Reading List: 11/3

Hello, internet people.  Happy Sunday.  I'm sorry about my lack of blogging the past few weeks.  It's been a little crazy, but in a good way, around here.  It's time for another review of some of the latest enlightening healthcare-related news.

The New York Times has a great article about the soaring costs of asthma and allergy medications.  There are a few statistics in this one that might just tick you right off:  The Soaring Cost of a Simple Breath.

A new study finds that healthy people don't need to take vitamin D supplements to help with aging bones.  However, for those who live with autoimmune disorders, vitamin D levels are implicated in their development and symptoms.  So it remains an important discussion point for you and your doctor:  No Sign that Vitamin D Supplements Help Aging Bones.

Ah, Dr. Google.  If you tend to be a worrier, then looking online for medical information may not be the best strategy.  As I've said ad nauseum, the web is a great reso…