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Family Checkup – Mental and Physical Health

Mental Health Physical Health Checkup

It’s a good time of the year for a little health check-up for your family.  Mental and physical health are very closely tied, so it’s good to know how things stand with both aspects of your life.  We’re just before the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday stress, partway through the school year, at the time when many corporate businesses are conducting health screenings, and also at the beginning of flu season.  Are you and your family in good health now, mentally and physically?

Flu Shots

Get your shots as soon as you can.  Walgreens has them year-round, and many medical clinics will have them available soon.  I’ve had the flu – when I was pregnant – and it knocked me down for at least ten days.  You’re still contagious as long as you are coughing.  Imagine the disruption, the stress, the missed work, the missed family time that could come your way if someone in your family gets this sick.

Handling Stress

Each of you probably has a few major ways that stress disrupts your life.  Could be sleep problems, worrying too much, becoming crabby with friends and family, overeating, procrastination, or even becoming a workaholic.

Take a few minutes to identify the most disruptive one or two issues and make an effort to improve the way you handle them.  Commit to a better bedtime routine, take a 15 minute walk every day to relieve tension, make a to-do list every night, update your calendar, or stock your fridge with healthier snacks.  You’ll be in better shape when November and December roll around if you improve your stress management now (even just a little bit).

General Health Screenings

When was the last time you had a health screening, checking on things like cholesterol, blood pressure, weight changes, blood sugars, and so on? If you get an annual screening at your place of work, you may be getting this information soon.  If not, why not make an appointment with your doctor now?  Find out where you are now so you know if you are at risk for the most common health problems.  Your “numbers” can change from year to year, and even if it’s slow, you can seem fine one year and be in an “at risk” category the next.

Depression, Anxiety, and More

When the days become shorter and darkness comes by late afternoon, some people begin developing symptoms of SAD (Seasonal Affective Syndrome).  If you suspect you or a loved one may suffer from depression-like symptoms during the cooler darker months of the year, now is the time to get a jump on it.  There’s no need to suffer for the next several months.  Talk to a doctor about light therapy and other methods for managing moods.

Students are getting into the thick of the fall semester now.  College kids may or may not be getting the grades they expected by now.  Kids from elementary grades to high school have had their first parent-teacher conference by now.  Check in with your student loved ones to see how they are really doing with school.  Are they getting help when they need it?  Is there a subject they really struggle with?  Are they doing OK socially?  Do what you can to help them find solutions and manage their stress better.  Your support can help them finish the semester in a positive way.

Readers – what other physical and mental health issues do you think of this time of year?  Do you have any concerns for your eating habits heading into the holidays?  Any lifestyle changes you want to improve?  Please share your ideas and questions here!

Creative Commons License photo credit: Jeremy Brooks

Family Checkup – Mental and Physical Health

Erika Krull, MS, LMHP

Erika Krull, MS, LMHP is a practicing licensed mental health counselor in Nebraska.

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APA Reference
Krull, E. (2011). Family Checkup – Mental and Physical Health. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 1, 2020, from


Last updated: 26 Oct 2011
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