About Janine Monico

Janine Monico is a digital marketing consultant who has managed the Healthy Minds Philly initiative website since 2015.

Seasonal Affective Disorder: Symptoms & Support

Daylight Savings Time has come and gone while providing a reminder that our days are going to continue getting shorter and colder. Winter brings holidays, a certain chill in the air, decorations, time with family, and more time spent indoors. For some, the winter can bring feelings of sadness, low energy, increased isolation, and changes to otherwise stable routines. These feelings or changes could possibly indicate a condition known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). As the seasons change, things like time, weather, and even light play a factor in our behavioral health. SAD is more complex than just “the winter blues”. Many experience challenges completing their daily routine, mood changes, and other symptoms similar to depression. If left unchecked, symptoms can escalate risking more severe symptoms. Differentiating between SAD and normal responses to life changes is crucial.  Self-awareness is beneficial in recognizing atypical functioning.  According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), here are a few symptoms associated with SAD: Feeling sad or having a depressed mood Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed Changes in appetite; usually eating more, craving carbohydrates Change in sleep; usually sleeping too much Loss of energy or increased fatigue despite increased sleep hours Increase in purposeless physical activity (e.g., inability to sit still, pacing, handwringing) or slowed movements or speech (these actions must [...]

2021-11-11T11:11:47-05:00November 5th, 2021|Self-Help|

Emotional Wellness

Our mind and body are intimately connected and ceaselessly interact with each other.  The capacity to achieve emotional wellness refers to the ability to effectively manage our mind and body despite challenge and change. Over the past year, we have experienced unprecedented challenge and change during the pandemic. Nearly every aspect of our world has been transformed. Surprise, anxiety, isolation, need for constant adjustment, depression and loss of control are commonly reported experiences. As such, the modest goals of happiness and self-healing are more important than ever. I have found that a combination of mindfulness techniques along with attention to physical health offers worthwhile options for self-care practices in these times. Breathing:  Breathing is a powerful tool for influencing the nervous system. Even though we do not generally pay attention to our breath as it unfolds automatically, we can choose to consciously breathe a certain way, which can either act to calm or excite the nervous system. Two simple calming breathing exercises that can be easily learned are diaphragmatic breathing and anti-anxiety breathing. Diet: Food is another form of self-care. Depending on which foods we eat, we can either our well-being or worsen it. A diet rich in complex carbohydrates (beans, oatmeal, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, protein, and many other plant foods) should be a goal. Besides providing nutrients, vitamins, and energy [...]

2021-10-25T10:15:41-04:00October 25th, 2021|Mental Health, Self-Help|

How You Can Help Domestic Violence Victims

If you or someone you know needs support, contact the Philadelphia Domestic Violence Hotline at 866-723-3014 (24/7/365). Call 911 in an emergency. Domestic violence supports are more important than ever. Because of COVID-19, home is more than home. Home is work, school, daycare, and more – all in one place. For domestic violence survivors, this isolation can be more than boring; it may be harmful. Isolation from friends and family is a common tactic used by abusive partners. They may also control cell phone usage, track internet searches, and listen in to phone calls. That is why safe and supportive contact with others is so important for survivors. We know that limiting contact with others lowers the spread of COVID-19. But without seeing friends and family in person, survivors may not have the support systems they need in order to reach out for help. So, aside from calling the hotline, how can you help while we weather the pandemic? Check on your people: Ask your friends and loved ones if they are ok. After you ask, stay quiet. Give your loved one time to talk. If you are worried about certain friends, ask them what mode of communication is safest for them. Let them know how to reach you if they ever need help. Instead of telling them what to do, ask what they need. Let them know about domestic violence resources available in Philadelphia. Post by Alexandra [...]

2021-10-14T16:34:15-04:00October 18th, 2021|Domestic Violence|

LGBTQ+ History Month

October is LGBTQ+ History Month. To celebrate, let’s turn our attention to a couple Philadelphians whose advocacy contributed greatly to the advancement of LGBTQ+ civil rights in the United States. John E. Fryer was a psychiatrist and a faculty member of Temple University School of Medicine. He was also a homosexual. (A note on usage: Homosexual was the word Fryer and others used to self-identify. Today the term is discouraged in favor of gay and lesbian.)  At the time, a homosexual psychiatrist was thought to be an oxymoron. This was because for much of the 20th Century, “homosexuality” was classified as a mental disorder in the Diagnostic Statistical Manual. Of course, Fryer and others like him knew there was nothing inherently disordered about LGBTQ+ identity. Due to their personal and professional experience, they understood better than anyone that the classification of homosexuality as a mental health disorder reflected not pathology in individuals, but deep-seated prejudice in the field and in society at large. Although people like Fryer were ideally positioned to challenge harmful professional practices about sexuality, doing so incurred great personal risk. A psychiatrist who avowed their sexual identity risked the loss of their license and professional ruin. Because of this, LGBTQ+ psychiatrists were faced with a stark choice: conceal their identity or forfeit their careers. Barbara Gittings was [...]

2021-10-11T12:20:25-04:00October 11th, 2021|LGBTQIA|
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