May Health Tips and National Observations
Here’s some news you can use for May 2021!
Influenza, which is commonly known as the flu, is a contagious respiratory illness caused by flu viruses. Flu season typically begins in October, peaks between December and February, and can last through May.
The flu is different than a cold, as it usually comes on suddenly. It’s also important to note that COVID‐19 and the flu may present similar symptoms. As such, testing may be needed to help confirm a diagnosis.
What are the symptoms of the flu?
The flu can cause mild to severe illness. People who contract the flu may feel some or all of these symptoms:
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle or body aches
In some cases, particularly in children, vomiting and diarrhea can also be a symptom of the flu.
Self-care and Your Mental Health
More than half of adults in the United States will experience mental illness—which refers to a variety of conditions that affect one’s mood, behavior, feelings or thinking—at some point in their life. Mental illnesses can occur occasionally, while others are chronic. Common mental illnesses include anxiety, depression, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
Mental Health Awareness Month, observed every May, is a time to raise awareness about mental health, break the stigma and support people with mental illness.
Each condition has its own unique symptoms, but common signs of mental illness include the following:
- Feeling sad, irritable or angry for an extended time
- Feeling excessively paranoid, worried or anxious
- Experiencing extreme mood swings
- Avoiding friends and social activities
- Changing eating habits due to increased hunger or lack of appetite
- Having trouble sleeping or making dramatic sleeping pattern changes
One or two of these symptoms alone can’t predict a mental illness, but they may indicate a need for further evaluation.
Taking Care of Yourself
One way to improve your mental health is through selfcare. Self-care looks different for every person since it involves doing things that you enjoy or need.
Here are some ideas for how to practice self-care:
- Live healthy by eating well, getting enough sleep and exercising regularly.
- Connect regularly with friends and family who encourage and support you.
- Pamper yourself by watching your favorite TV show, taking a bath, applying a face mask, getting a massage or reading a book.
- Find ways to relax, including meditating, practicing yoga, going on a nature walk or baking.
The goal is to try to do something you enjoy every day. If you have concerns about a loved one’s or your mental health, contact a doctor or mental health professional.
CREATING A SPENDING PLAN
Once you have a general idea of how much you need to save each month to reach your retirement goal, you need to determine where you will find the money. There’s one simple trick for saving for any goal: spend less than you earn. The first step is to get organized by creating a spending plan or budget.
Add up Your Monthly Income: wages, average tips or bonuses, alimony payments, investment income, unemployment benefits and so on. Don’t include anything that you cannot count on.
Add up Your Monthly Expenses: mortgage or rent, car payments, average food bills, medical expenses, entertainment and so on. Determine an average for expenses that vary each month, such as clothing, or that don’t occur every month, such as car insurance or self-employment taxes. Review your checkbook, credit card records and receipts to estimate expenses; you probably will need to track how you spend cash for a month or two. You may be surprised to find out where and how much cash “disappears” each month. Include the amount you want to save each month as an expense.
Subtract Your Income from Your Expenses. You may have more expenses than income. This is not uncommon. You have three choices: cut expenses, increase income or both. There are hundreds of ways to reduce expenses, from clipping coupons to bargain hunting to comparison shopping. Increasing income could mean taking a second job, improving your job skills or education to get a raise or a better paying job, making money from a hobby or jointly deciding that another family member will work.