Family Psychiatry
Counseling & Wellness

A comprehensive, integrative psychiatric and wellness clinic serving the mental, physical, emotional and preventative health needs of all members of the family. Find better, one step at a time.

Holistic Psychiatry for your Mind, Body & Soul

At Family Psychiatry Counseling & Wellness, we specialize in performing comprehensive psychiatric and psychological evaluations to establish accurate diagnoses and prepare individualized treatment plans. We combine advanced conventional methods with safe alternative treatment approaches to bring about lasting relief and improved quality of life.

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Health Resources


Radical Self-Care

Imagine you have a cup full of water, this symbolizes your energy, and next to your cup there are many empty glasses. Say each one of those empty cups represents things you have to give your time and energy to such as family, relationships, friends, and jobs. You start to pour a little bit of your cup into all those empty glasses and soon realize that your cup is completely empty.

You find out that you can’t pour from an empty cup.

Most people are familiar with the term “self-care” and may equate it to a trip to the spa or going on an elaborate vacation, but while that does relieve the stress it is a temporary fix. So instead of covering up the issues with a nice bubble bath try practicing Radical Self-Care.

What is Radical Self-Care?

According to Indiana State University, “Radical Self-Care is the assertion that you have the responsibility to take care of yourself first before attempting to take care of others.” This self-care is considered “radical” because its goal is to essentially change how we make decisions on giving our time, effort, and money.

With the pandemic, the elections, and the day-to-day stress it is now common for people to be running on empty. Without proper time spent on taking care of yourself, you might find yourself drained, irritable, depressed, and even experiencing a possible physical toll on your body. Radical self-care along with emotional awareness also involves being mindful of your body.

Aviva Romm, an MD, states, “too many of us ignore our bodies. We put off peeing until we can’t wait for a second longer, eating until we’re in a state of low blood sugar, sleeping until we’re dead tired. We actually forget to feel how we feel.” It is normal for some of us to wait till the last minute to listen to our bodies, but that is often too late. Instead, if we take time to hit the pause button and address our current state, we might be able to avoid possible future problems. Taking 10 to 15 minutes a day to just sit and tune into your body through guided meditation has been shown to be beneficial.

Along with meditation, allotting time to personal health has been proven to help fight against future struggles. Barbara Markway, Ph.D., says, “you should focus on activities that encourage you to zone in on your senses, such as breathing exercises, aromatherapy, or massages. You could also do things that make you happy, like crafting, going to the movies, or taking a walk.” You might be thinking that you simply don’t have time, but studies have shown that self-care and taking time off has enhanced productivity, achievements, inventiveness, and reduces burnout. Radical self-care can recharge your energy and health and allow you to accomplish more.

A common misconception is that self-care is selfish. That is simply not true. Providing yourself with the proper tools to be healthy and happy can replenish your energy to better take care of your loved ones. You can’t help anyone if you are running on empty. With that in mind, it is important to set boundaries and learn to say no. Often people want to be able to do it all, saying yes to every opportunity and, while that might be good in the beginning, most times it will end up being too much to handle. Saying yes to it all can result in saying no to your health. Instead, try listening to yourself and make sure that when you say yes you have the proper time and energy to give.

Filling your cup first is crucial to being able to give your energy to others. Taking steps to address what you need mentally and physically can help minimize both anxiety and depression. Remember to hit the pause button often and check in with yourself. Ask yourself if there is anything you need or how you are doing. Sometimes those questions are complicated and need more than just a simple fix, if you or a loved one feel like you need some extra help please reach out to a medical professional. We are always here to help.

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Are You Afraid of Being Social?

The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly. -Buddha

As restrictions are lessening and people are safely social distancing in public are you finding yourself unable to join them? Do you find yourself canceling plans or not wanting to see anyone? Do you feel like you are still living in full lockdown?

While it is good to be self-aware and take safety measures into account during this time, it is also important to notice if you are indulging in negative behaviors. One common factor that many of us are experiencing since the pandemic is social isolation. During the lockdown, it was mandatory that we keep our distance from people who we weren’t currently living with, but now that we are able to go outside and see people, there are still some that are incapable of making the transition back to regular social life perhaps due to developing social anxiety perpetuating further avoidance and further social isolation.

The effects of social isolation are associated with a rise in anxiety and depression along with an increased probability of cognitive decline and decline in general functions. “We’re a social species,” says Stephanie Cacioppo who is a social neuroscientist and cognitive psychologist at the University of Chicago. “We really need others to survive.”

One recent study focused on measuring the cognitive function of more than 6,000 adults taking part in the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA). The individuals who reported having limited social interaction and activities showed a rapid decline in cognitive function, this was measured by verbal articulacy and memory recall after four years. Other examples, following spaceship members and scientists in remote areas, show side effects of loneliness involving the individuals experiencing confusion, shifts in personality, and moments of anxiety and depression.

How can we reduce social isolation?

Here are some helpful tips on how to be socially present.

Exercise Outside in groups. While getting exercise is already known to be beneficial to your mental and psychical health, try to add a bit of social to this activity. Try looking out for groups that do outdoor fitness, such as Yoga in the park or Pilates on the beach. Invite a friend or family member to go and join in on the fitness fun.

Go for a walk with a friend. Getting out of your house and moving around outside can be helpful to reset your mind and destress from current situations. Take that time to reset with a buddy, reconnect while you are stretching your legs.

Sharing a meal. Food has always been linked to social interactions, whether it be inviting people over for dinner or sharing a recipe with a coworker. While it is important to be socially aware of the current safety protocols, you can always make yourself a meal-to-go and eat it outside with a friend.

Beat the heat and go to the water. It is summer and the best way to cool off is to go take a dip in the water. Plan a trip with family or friends and go do some water activities.

There are many activities that can involve social interactions. Be creative, find what you already like to do, and think about how you can add your friends or family. However, if your social anxiety is so bad despite your best efforts at managing it, then please reach out to a medical professional. We are always here to help.

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Step Into Summer

Summer is officially here, and it is starting to finally feel normal.

California is slowly opening to the public and now with the weather heating up; it is time to enjoy the summer. It is time to stretch our legs and leave the heavyweight of the last year behind us. While we are transitioning into a post-pandemic life it is important to take some time to go outdoors.

Go For a Walk

Psychologists have found that going for a 10-minute walk has the same effects of easing anxiety as a 45-minute workout, due to walking’s ability to lower stress which is a common contributing factor for anxiety. Walking has been known to quiet the amygdala which is the primitive part of the brain that deals with anxiety. There are so many mental and physical health benefits from just taking a walk outside. Walking has been known to improve sleep, help with stress and anxiety, and clear up mental fatigue. When walking outside, you can include getting vitamin D from the sun which is essential for heart, bone, dental, nerve, immune, and muscular health.

Get Some Vitamin D

While we are constantly reminded to wear sunscreen and be mindful of the dangers of too much sun, we tend to forget the benefits. When we are exposed to the sun, our skin can produce vitamin D. This is essential for bone and immune health. Research shows that people who have lower levels of vitamin D are at a higher risk of a plethora of diseases such as higher blood pressure, cancer, diabetes, and depression. Recent studies show that people who have depression tend to have lower levels of vitamin D. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is defined as “a type of depression that causes negative changes in mood linked to a change in the seasons, principally occurring in the winter months.” Sunlight plays a crucial role in SAD, people who are not exposed to the sun and lack sufficient vitamin D tend to be affected. Vitamin D deficiency negatively impacts serotonin regulation, which is the hormone that stabilizes our mood and helps with sleeping and digestion. If you need some vitamin D, researchers suggest going out around midday for 10-30 minutes when the sun is at its highest point. Remember to also take measures for safe sun exposure by wearing sunscreen.

Natural Light Helps Sleep

Exposure to sunlight can halt or slow the production of melatonin, a hormone that helps with sleep. An absence of natural light can increase the creation of melatonin, that is why you might feel sleepy if you have been inside all day. Going outside and getting natural light can help regulate or stop melatonin production and help you stay awake and alert. This can also help regulate your sleeping habits and allow you to get better sleep.

Tips on How to Get Outside

Nature is fuel for the soul,” said Richard Ryan, a professor of psychology at the University of Rochester. “Often when we feel depleted, we reach for a cup of coffee, but research suggests a better way to get energized is to connect with nature.” After being cooped up in our homes for so long, it is crucial for our mental and physical health to go outside and enjoy ourselves. While it might be daunting for some to transition back into society, here are some tips for spending time in nature.

  • Try to go for a morning walk or morning mediation. If you are a coffee person, have that cup outdoors.

  • Have a picnic, invite some friends and family, and enjoy a meal outside.

  • If you are stuck with work, try moving your work outside. Maybe take your laptop outside and finish off some emails out in the sun. If you cannot move your work outside, try moving your desk to face a window.

  • Walk with a friend, schedule a time to go out together, and get some social time along with exercise.

  • Maybe you want to escape the heat and take a dip in a pool or go to the beach. Try planning it in advance to give you something to look forward to.

There are many benefits to going outside, but sometimes that is not enough. If you or someone you love feel like they need some extra help, please feel free to reach out. We are more than happy to assist.

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(805) 341-3416
fpcw@familypsychiatry101.com
Monday - Friday, 9:00am - 6:00pm

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31194 La Baya Drive
Suite 202
Westlake Village, CA 91362

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30851 Agoura Road
Suite 304
Agoura Hills, CA 91301

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