Though we often focus on keeping our bodies healthy, mental and emotional health are also important components of overall well being. This week we explore the connection between type 2 diabetes and mental health (hint: they are very connected). Celebrating Father’s Day has the emotional health of new dads on our minds—especially because research shows perinatal depression isn’t just an issue for new mothers. And to help you find a little more emotional balance, we celebrate International Day of Yoga. You might be only a tree pose away from more inner calm, peace, and serenity.

Can new fathers also get perinatal depression?

While the effects of maternal postpartum depression have become more widely known in recent years, depression in new fathers is still rarely addressed. This might be in part because many people don’t know that fathers also have hormone fluctuations that can affect mood—such as a decrease in testosterone—in the weeks before and after the birth of their kids. Gender norms that label men as “unemotional” and “sole breadwinners” can also place sudden social and financial stress on new fathers. Finding time for sleep and exercise can help curb the effects of PPMAD—paternal perinatal mood & anxiety disorder. Another helpful option includes opening up about feelings to partners, other fathers, and even pediatricians—who might be able to give psychiatric referrals and offer ways to relate to young children. Though research is still new on perinatal depression for men—which an estimated 14% of new fathers experience in the U.S.—it’s becoming clearer that focusing on the mental health of the whole family will best benefit young kids.

What’s the best way to manage mental/emotional health following a type 2 diabetes diagnosis?

Receiving a type 2 diabetes diagnosis is never easy and learning to manage the condition can be daunting. This may be one reason statistics show type 2 diabetics are at a higher risk of developing anxiety and depression—which can in turn worsen disease progression. The good news is research has also uncovered one key to managing mental and physical health: developing a strong ethic of self-care (as well as asking for help when you need it). Some of the best ways to take charge of your health are to measure your own glucose, create and stick to meal plans, and exercise regularly. Research shows learning how to keep track of your own blood sugar will make you less likely to experience the debilitating stress associated with the disease. Talk to your doctor to begin setting up a comprehensive care plan that will keep you mentally and physically fit.

Finding harmony and balance on International Day of Yoga

June 21 is the 4th Annual International Day of Yoga—and while finding peace within a crazy work and home schedule might seem like a long shot, yoga reminds us that inner harmony is often only a few breaths away. Practicing one-legged standing poses is a great way to cultivate balance and harmony. Simple tree pose can be done while standing next to your desk and easily modified for any level. More vigorous poses such as half moon can be made easier with the aid of a block. And stretch out the upper back while balancing on one leg with eagle pose. Just be sure to draw in the core to stabilize and support the spine, keep breathing, and maintain a soft, steady gaze when balancing.


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