awareness

Treating Yourself With Compassion

Do you ever find yourself showing compassion to others before yourself?

Do you have a hard time quieting your inner critic?

Do you struggle with asking for help when you need it?

Being kind to yourself and putting your needs first is not selfish. Practicing self-compassion can help you be kinder and fully accept your authentic self.

It’s Okay To Ask For Help

It’s okay to reach out for help when you need it. The truth is, we all need a helping hand from time to time.

If asking for help does make you feel uncomfortable, you can start with some small asks and work your way up. The more you ask, the more comfortable you’ll become. 

Accept Who You Are 

We’re humans, not robots. We all have flaws. There will always be little things we wish were different, and that’s okay. Instead of constantly trying to “fix” our flaws, we can embrace them.

We can also focus on the parts of ourselves we’re proud of. What do you love about yourself? What makes you unique? 

Practice Saying No

It’s so easy to say yes to family, friends or co-workers right away just out of habit. You only have so many hours in a day and can only take on so many things. 

Just because you want to help someone doesn’t always mean you should. You may not have the time to take on a new project, or it may not align with your values. 

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Native American Heritage Month

Native American Heritage Month is a chance to reflect on the diverse history, traditions, and culture of Native American people. 

During this time, we can learn more about the challenges that Native American people have faced and gain knowledge of their history to raise awareness in our communities. 

Native American Heritage Month was established in November 1990, when Congress and President George H.W Bush signed it into law. This month now marks a time where we can remember the struggles Native people have faced and honor them. 

Today, we can celebrate the achievements and contributions of Native people from the past and the present.

It’s a great time to educate ourselves by reading stories written by Indigenous voices, attending events, and learning more about their history. 

Check out our resources below to learn more.

Celebrate Native American Heritage Month

November 2022 Native American Heritage Month

Native American Heritage Month | United States Courts

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​​Veteran’s Day

By: Tanya Kramer

Veteran’s Day is November 11th every year and pays tribute to all Americans living or dead, who are veterans.  A veteran is “a person who served in active military, naval, or air service and who was discharged or released therefrom under conditions other than dishonorable.”

This list captures the origins of this important day:

  • At the end of World War I, the fighting ended with the signing of an armistice which occurred at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of the year – November 11th, 1918.  World War I was between the Allied Nations and Germany, which was known as “The Great War”.  The “Treaty of Versailles” was signed on June 28, 1919, which officially ended the war.
  • In 1919, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed November 11th as the first commemoration of “Armistice Day.” Armistice means a “temporary cessation of hostilities.”
  • On June 4, 1926, Congress passed a resolution for a “recurring anniversary of November 11 should be commemorated by thanksgiving and prayer and exercises to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations”.
  • On May 13, 1938, the date of November 11th became a Federal Holiday known as “Armistice Day.”
  • In 1954, Congress amended the 1938 act that had made Armistice Day a holiday, striking the word “Armistice” in favor of “Veterans.” President Dwight D. Eisenheier signed this legislation on June 1, 1954. From then on, November 11th, Veterans Day became a day to honor all Americans of all wars.
  • In 1968, Congress passed the “Unifyer Monday Holiday Act’ ensuring 3 day weekends for all Federal Employees. This changed the date of Veteran’s Day to the 4th Monday in October.
  • In 1975, it became evident that the original day for Veteran’s Day carried significance due to the end of the fighting in WWI. For this reason, President Gerald Ford signed a new law returning Veteran’s Day to November 11th.

The number of Americans who have been in the service during times of peace and war is significant.

  • 4.8 million Americans served during WWI
  • 16 million Americans served during WWII
  • 5.7 million Americans were involved in the Korean War
  • Over 9 million Americans were involved in the Vietnam War

As President Ronald Reagan said in 1983, “Veterans know better than anyone else the price of freedom, for they’ve suffered the scars of war. We can offer them no better tribute than to protect what they have won for us.” 

In this current political climate, no words could be more true.

If you or someone you know is a veteran and you want to learn more about resources or benefits, here are some websites:

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National Plus Size Appreciation Day

October 6th is National Plus Size Appreciation Day, which was created in 2017 to celebrate body types in all shapes and sizes. It’s also a time to open the conversation about how body image can affect self-esteem. 

What is considered plus size?  In the clothing industry, size 18 and up is considered to be plus size. But in the modeling industry, sizes 6-16 are considered plus size. So in the images we see everywhere in the media, the people modeling the clothes do not reflect the bodies of the people that will be wearing the clothes.  This perpectuates unhealthy and unrealistic expectations about how we should look.

The pressure to be skinny is often cloaked in the message of the need to be healthy.  While there is evidence that weight can impact your health, it’s not the whole story. Everyone can work on engaging in healthy behaviors, which can lead to feeling better about themselves at any size.  This may be eating well, exercising, interacting with friends, not smoking, limiting alcohol intake, regularly seeing your health practitioner, and meditating.  Everyone has a unique body and a unique life that got their body to where it is today.  Accepting others, accepting ourselves, and valuing everyone’s process, can lead us toward connection and away from judgment

Our bodies can be appreciated for all that they can do for us and not just for how we look. Everyone can feel confident in their body and be proud of what they can achieve with the body that they have. 

There are many role models that are leading the charge in body positivity. 

We can look up to powerful women in the media who advocate for self-love, including Lizzo, Demi Lovato, Serena Williams, and Mindy Kaling. They all share the same message: For everyone to love their authentic selves and create a positive relationship with their bodies. 

Let’s all remind ourselves and those around us that we are all valuable. Follow the links below to learn more. 

What Is Body Positivity?

The Path To Self-Acceptance 

Why Body Positivity Matters

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Domestic Violence Awareness Month

By: Betsy Pownall, LPC

Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) was launched nationwide in October 1987 as a way to connect and unite individuals and organizations working on domestic violence issues while raising awareness for those issues. Over the past 30+ years, much progress has been made in supporting domestic violence victims and survivors, holding abusers accountable and creating and updating legislation to further those goals.

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National Mammography Day

By: Tanya Kramer, LPC.

This day is celebrated on the third Friday in October every year, so this year it is celebrated on October 21st, 2022.  This day was first proclaimed by President Clinton in 1993.

On this day, along with throughout the month, women are encouraged to make a mammography appointment.

The American Cancer Society reported that early detection of breast cancer while the cancer is still localized results in a 5-year relative survival rate of 99%.

So along with mammograms, women should also perform a once-a-month breast self-exam.  Johns Hopkins Medical Center states, “Forty percent of diagnosed breast cancers are detected by women who feel a lump, so establishing a regular breast self-exam is very important”.

Women can use the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc website to learn how to do a self-exam and what to expect at a mammography appointment:  

Breast cancer affects 1 in 8 women in the United States. Breast cancer can also affect men, but at much lower numbers.

In 2022, an estimated 287,500 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women in the US.  An estimated 2,710 men will also be diagnosed with breast cancer.

There are over 3.8 million breast cancer survivors in the United States, which is something to celebrate.  In the US, the trends show a gradual reduction in female breast cancer incidence among women aged 50 and older since 1990.

Some possible reasons for this decrease include a decline in prescriptive hormone replacement therapy after menopause, better screening and early detection, increased awareness, and continually improving treatment options.

It is important to recognize that there are disparities in care for breast cancer in the US (taken from the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc. website).  

  • Breast cancer death rates are 40% higher among black women than white women
  • Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths for Latin women living in the US (2nd leading cause of cancer death in women in the US)
  • 47% of women put off or postponed preventive services due to costs
  • Poverty, less education, and lack of health insurance are associated with lower breast cancer survival rates
  • 49% of uninsured women delayed or went without care due to cost
  • 30% of uninsured women were up to date with breast cancer screening in 2018, compared to 64% of insured women

Breast Cancer affects women globally, and it is the most common cancer among women worldwide.  The World Health Organization acknowledges that breast cancer claims the lives of hundreds of thousands of women each year, affecting countries at all levels of modernization.  So having designated events to get the word out about the importance of getting a mammogram can save lives.  October 4-6, 2022, is also called “Pink Week” to bring awareness to breast cancer.  You can learn more about this week and other events throughout the month of October by checking out the Breast Cancer Resource Center website:

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International Stuttering Awareness Day (ISAD)

By: Tanya Kramer, LPC.

This year’s theme is “Let’s free our voices, speak up, and show our stutter.”

Did you know that it is estimated that 1% of the world’s population stutters?  That means that there are about 3 million people in the United States who stutter.  Some famous people you might recognize who stutter include Winston Churchill, President Joe Biden, James Earl Jones, John Stossel, Marilyn Monroe, Emily Blunt, Hugh Grant, Steve Harvey, Samuel L. Jackson, Nicole Kidman, Rosie Perez, Julia Roberts, Bruce Willis, Bo Jackson, John Lee Hooker, Carly Simon, Elvis Presley….just to name a few.  Stuttering seems to be 3-4 times more common in men than women.

ISAD was started in 1998 by Michael Sugarman from Oakland, California. The intention of this day is to create connections between Speech Language Pathologists (SLP) and consumers as they learn from each other, give support, and educate one another along with the general public on the impact that stuttering has on individuals’ lives. Stuttering is defined as a difference in speech pattern involving disruptions or disfluencies in a person’s speech. An individual who stutters knows exactly what they want to say, but they have trouble producing the normal flow of speech. People who stutter might experience repetitions (D-d-d-dog), prolongations (Mmmmmmmmmilk), blocks (an absence of sound), or they can experience some combination of these. The severity of stuttering can vary widely among people.   

There is no identified “cause” of stuttering. But most researchers now consider stuttering to involve differences in brain activity that interfere with the production of speech, meaning it is a neurological and physiological condition. However, some people can experience an increase of symptoms when triggered by an emotional or situational factor.

There is not one specific cure for stuttering. However, many people benefit from various forms of speech therapy and access resources available through the National Stuttering Association. 

Controlling stuttering is a long-term journey which begins with acceptance of one’s stuttering. If you or someone you know stutters and wants support, you start by exploring The Stuttering Foundation.

I personally have benefited from working with a peer who stutters. I witnessed how he gracefully explained what stuttering is to teens in the program we worked at, and how he normalized that we all have things that are challenging for us. I am thankful to him for teaching me a deeper level of humility through vulnerability…and I will never forget that winter expedition!

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Shape Up From The Inside Out

By: Jen Champion

Many of us feel a sense of body dysphoria at some point in our lives.

We judge our human vessel by what it looks like outside and often disregard the brilliant abundance of our human nature inside. We can get stuck under a blanket of doubt, sadness, and stagnation. 

We have negative words we tell ourselves, and some negativity is given to us by others, contributing to our despair. Most media resources show only bodies that are not accurately depicting the majority of people. 

The average American woman weighs between 148-204 pounds. The average adult American male is 195.7 pounds.

There is no time for living in a shadow of self-doubt. The time has come to rise and shine and contribute to your best self and humanity. Let’s radiate our loving light, live our best life regardless of shape and size, and embrace our whole, wonder-filled selves.

Engaging in inspirational offerings fuel our motivation and get us moving and gaining self-care and self-love.

One way to fuel our self-esteem is with music. Most of us will bop and groove, leading to a full-on private performance and exercise! It can help us move and free ourselves from inertia and self-loathing.

Lizzo, a rap artist, enamours audiences with her fuller body and music. Her messages include we should love our bodies for what they have done and can do for us. “Your body is perfectly yours, even if it ain’t perfect to anybody else,” her voiceover began over clips of herself showing off her curves. “If you only knew the complexities your body possesses, you would be so proud of it. 

I’m so proud of you. Making it this far in a society that gives us a head start into self-loathing, hands us a dysmorphic mirror and leaves us desperate to catch up with who we think we should be.”

Yoga is another exercise and healing arts practice that lifts the spirit. Yoga practice combines warm-ups, postures, mindful breathing, and meditation. 

Yoga is inspiring and, when practiced safely, can help us move with joy regardless of shape and size. A yoga practice can help us gain confidence and balance our weight from the inside out. 

Physical participation strengthens and relaxes our bodies. The philosophical and spiritual practices feature moral disciplines called Yamas.  

One that applies here is Ahimsa, non-harming or non-violence in thought, word, and deed. 

Ahimsa is not only our external judgments but also our internal personal harms that hinder our true selves.  

Our media sources depict yoga as something that is not always accurate and can challenge our experiences with Ahimsa. We may physically harm ourselves by pushing our bodies to do more than they can. We may judge others who appear more at ease in their bodies, clothing, features, and shapes compared to others in our group. 

When we can drop into our deeper selves, the judgments cease, and we experience feelings of contentment and connection, and these ways of thinking and being can be carried with us throughout our day.

The benefits of yoga come from the union of many nourishing ingredients, including physical practice and reading yoga’s philosophical and historical wisdom. We can gain mobility, independence, and confidence. When our bodies, minds, and hearts are comfortable and stable, we gain mobility, independence, and trust. We expand and move closer to our innate wholeness and unity with all beings, all shapes, and all sizes.

You will soon find practices for fuller figures on the Vista Wellness Center YouTube channel..

May your practice foster inclusive and positive feelings. 

Vista Wellness Center Yoga Instructors offer small group and private sessions. Classes are in person and online.

 Here are some inspirational resources for your further enjoyment.

 INSPIRATIONAL RESOURCES: 

Vista Wellness Center Videos

Curvy Yoga

 LIZZO

Amber Karnes

Buddha Body

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Hispanic Heritage Month

From September 15 to October 15, we can celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month! It’s a time to think about the history, culture, contributions and achievements of Hispanic Americans from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.

This month was first observed in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week first by President Lyndon Johnson and then was enacted into law on August 17, 1988. 

September 15th marks a significant time for Latin American countries such as Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua, who declared their independence from Spain in 1821.

This month-long celebration is meant to show appreciation for the culture. We can participate in our communities by surrounding ourselves with art, clothing, music, and food. It’s also a chance to encourage our friends, family and peers to celebrate the diversity and rich background of the Hispanic community. 

We can also acknowledge and learn more about Hispanic figures in history that have shaped our world today and inspired many generations to come.

In September, we can seize the opportunity to attend events, pay tribute to iconic Hispanic Americans, and discover more about the history.  

For more resources, check out the links below. 

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month | National Archive News

Hispanic Heritage Month Is Almost Here, and These Activities Are the Perfect Way to Celebrate

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Suicide Prevention Month

The month of September is also known as Suicide Prevention Month. During this month, we can spread awareness of the importance of mental health and check in with our peers.

We can also remind others in our community that they don’t have to struggle alone. By having open communication, we can work together to reduce the stigma and let others know they have support if they want to reach out.

The goal of Suicide Prevention Month is to educate others to recognize the warning signs, learn about the facts, and offer the right tool/resources during difficult times. It’s important to let others know that there is help available.

Suicide Prevention Month is also a time to recognize the lives that have been lost to suicide. In 2020, firearms accounted for 53% of suicide deaths, and 90% of suicide attempts involving firearms are fatal. According to statistics, the rate of suicide is highest in middle-aged men, and on average, there are 130 suicides per day. Making suicide the 12th of the leading causes of death in the U.S. 

Learning more about suicide prevention can help us all recognize and reach out to those in our lives that may be struggling with suicidal thoughts. 

Vista will be spreading awareness for suicide prevention with a sign rally at Milwaukie Bay Park, from 12-1pm on September 24, 2022

Other ways you can participate is to join the “Out of the Darkness” walk in Portland on October 1, 2022 or in Eugene on September 25, 2022.

If you are worried about a loved one or are looking for someone to talk to, check out the resources below.

Crisis Text Line

Help Prevent Suicide

24/7 Crisis Hotline: 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline

You Are Not Alone Suicide Prevention Tools for Warriors

5 Steps to Help Someone Who is Having Suicidal Thoughts

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