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9 Signs You’re Overdue for a Mental Health Day

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As a culture, we tend to toss around the phrase “mental health day,” joking about these kinds of sick days as if they’re somehow less important than those we take to recover from being physically ill. And the worst part? Even with all the joking, few of us actually cash in on the vacation and sick time that’s part of our total compensation from our employers, which means that we’re way backed up on our self-care.

The truth is that mental health days are genuinely important, and if you have the flexibility to take time off from work to tend to this part of your well-being, you absolutely should. Keep scrolling for nine signs that, according to experts, it’s time to take a break for your own good.

1. Your tolerance for other humans has reached an all-time low. Are you shutting down your coworkers more quickly than usual? Reacting emotionally to feedback from your boss? Snapping at your partner or kids even after you’ve gone home? If this sounds familiar, certified life coach and co-founder of the Conscious Coaching Collective Dr. Ariane Machín, PhD advises that you treat yourself to a day off.

2. You have to talk yourself into going to work. “Does it take you several minutes to actually leave your car after you arrive in the morning?” asks mental health therapist and Transcendence Counseling Center LLC owner Jessica Singh. “Often, this type of avoidance is a sign that something is wrong. This could be from a work-life imbalance, anxiety, boredom, or a lack of support at work.” It’s only a lucky few who feel genuinely excited to get to the office every day, but if you’re having to actively psych yourself up to make it happen at all, a mental health day is in order.

3. Your sleep is out of whack. When we experience elevated stress during the day, those annoying stress hormones keep firing well into the night, making it all the more difficult for us to fall asleep. This state, according to hormone and gynecological health expert Dr. Nisha Jackson, PhD, can leave our bodies completely confused, making us feel wired through the night and exhausted during the day. A restful mental health day is a good first step to get back on track.

4. You’re struggling to manage your emotions. You’re crying more frequently than usual. You’re angry and you’re not sure why. You’ve lost total control of your feelings, and your usual emotional coping mechanisms are letting you down. Per wholeness coach Jenn Bovee, these are all cues that it’s time to pump the brakes on your normal routine.

5. You can’t focus. If your mental health is suffering, you may find that it manifests physically and behaviorally, so stay tuned in to how your body and brain are working. “When you are no longer able to focus extended periods of time and attention toward completing your duties, chances are you may need a mental health day or two to reset your brain,” licensed mental health counselor and Grey’s Counseling Services founder Jovica Grey tells us. Even a single day off may be just what you need to come back with the concentration you need to succeed!

6. You’re not enjoying anything you do. It wouldn’t be reasonable to expect that the good times will roll 24/7 — especially during office hours — but when you can’t bring yourself to find joy in anything, that’s a big red flag. “When we start to reach a state of burnout, we usually stop enjoying things — even the things that used to bring us joy,” explains licensed marriage therapist and Wright Wellness Center co-founder Rachel Wright. “Once you’re resenting the work, it’s definitely time to take a mental health day.”

7. You can’t make decisions. “It’s time to take a mental health day when you can’t, for the life of you, make a decision,” says licensed psychotherapist and coach Tess Brigham. “You’ve hit decision fatigue, which happens when we have too many decisions to make. We get decision fatigue not because we have to make too many decisions but because we’re lacking energy and focus.” Stop beating yourself up if you’re struggling to make choices. Instead, consider it a potential cue that you need to give yourself a break (literally).

8. You’re routinely getting sick. Cold and flu season is one thing, but don’t eliminate the possibility that constant illness is actually pointing to something happening below the surface. “We know from research that physical and mental health are strongly linked, so if you’re getting ill a lot, then it’s a sign that you need to take some time to get yourself back into balance,” reveals online fitness coach Emma Green.

9. You can’t remember the last time you took time off. If you’re scratching your head trying to recall the last time you were out of the office, let us be the first to inform you that you’ve got a problem on your hands! You deserve some down time. Mental health and emotional well-being expert Kim Roberts tells us that regular mental health days are critical for maintaining healthy relationships with our minds, so make sure they’re coming up on the calendar at least every few months.

By: Alli Hoff Kosik

Alli Hoff Kosik is a freelance writer who is passionate about reading, running, rainbow sprinkles, her lipstick collection, watching embarrassing reality TV, and drinking pink wine. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and (in her dreams, at least) three golden retriever puppies. Listen to her talk books on The SSR Podcast.

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Have Scientists Found Source Of Mysterious Hum?

It’s been blamed on everything from high-pressure gas lines to low-frequency earth tremors to submarine communications, but so far researchers have been unable to pinpoint the source of a loud, mysterious humming sound that people around the world have reported hearing.

Now science has an answer. Maybe.

Unofficially known as the Hum, the sound is a droning noise that has been heard from Southampton and Leeds in England to Bondi, Australia, and even Seattle, Wash. While people in a few regions have complained about the intermittent humming for decades, residents in other places have only recently reported hearing it. And for some, the din is unbearable.

LISTEN: The Hum heard in Terrace, British Columbia. (Story continues below.)

                                         

“It’s a kind of torture; sometimes, you just want to scream,” Leeds resident Katie Jacques told the BBC. “It’s hard to get off to sleep because I hear this throbbing sound in the background.”

The humming has also been driving residents of Southampton batty, prompting scientists there to search for a source, which has led to a new theory involving the male Midshipman fish that lets out a distinctive drone when searching for a mate, The Telegraph reported.

LISTEN: The “humming” sounds of male Midshipmen.

                                            

Yet despite widespread media coverage, there is scant evidence to back up the hypothesis. The reports appear to be based on comments made last week by Dr. Ben Wilson, a Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) scientist who said only that it was possible that fish were causing the throbbing sound.

“It’s not beyond the realms of possibility,” Dr. Wilson said, according to local publication the Daily Echo. “There are certainly ‘sonic fish’ in the north Atlantic and the approaches to the English Channel.”

This theory is not without precedent. Researchers from the University of Washington’s Marine Biology program said last year that Midshipmen fish were to blame for Seattle’s humming problem. Scientists speculated that the calls of the fish in Washington State could be reverberating off of boat hulls and buildings.

But while researchers in Seattle had studied the possible link between the fish and humming, no such research has yet been conducted in England. A statement released by SAMS on Friday attempted to clarify the quotation:

Ben did suggest to the Daily Echo reporter how he might record the noises (by putting a microphone into a condom, sealing it and dropping into the water), but he hasn’t received an audio file yet. Perhaps someone would like to take up the task. Or perhaps a media organization would fly Ben and his equipment south to listen to the hum in situ. Fish might be then ruled in or out.

 

Source: Have Scientists Found Source Of Mysterious Hum?

New Study Indicates Link Between Gut Bacteria And Depression

A new study looking at the gut bacteria of over 1,000 people in Belgium has found a possible link between certain types of bacteria and depression.The study published today in Nature Microbiology combined data from the microbiomes of 1,054 people enrolled in the Flemish Gut Flora project with self-reported and physician-diagnosed depression data. Using bioinformatics analyses, the researchers were able to identify certain groups of bacteria, which were either positively or negatively correlated with mental health…………..

Source: New Study Indicates Link Between Gut Bacteria And Depression

The Largest Migration on Earth Is Vertical – Candice Gaukel Andrews

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Every night on Earth, a great migration takes place. It’s bigger than the ones of caribou, wildebeest or zebras on land or Arctic terns in the air. But while this stupendous, nightly migration overshadows all the others, you’ve probably never heard of it. And even more surprising is the fact that it’s vertical.

This upright, mass movement rises from below: from the depths of the sea to the surface of the ocean. And while many of the animals on this journey are so tiny that they are invisible to the naked eye, they are as energetic as any. They swim upward as far as 1,500 feet each evening and then return the same distance in the morning, traveling tens of thousands of body lengths every day.

Why do they do it? Like most animals on migration, they do it to eat. But adding to the wondrous scope of this natural phenomenon—the human equivalent of walking 25 miles each way to get to and from breakfast—is that along their way, these animals are helping to sequester carbon dioxide, thus reversing some of the damaging CO2 emissions perpetrated by humans.

Each evening as the sun sets, an estimated five billion metric tons of sea life move from the bottom of our oceans to feast on microscopic plants that grow in the sunlight on the water surface. They ascend only in the darker hours to avoid predators that hunt by sight. Before dawn, these animals—roughly weighing as much as 17 million 747 airplanes—reverse course, sinking or swimming down to spend another day in darkness.

Most of these creatures are small, translucent crustaceans called copepods. But trillions of krill, jellyfish, shrimp, squid and other ocean residents join the voyage. Just one of the rising animals—the bioluminescent lantern fish, only six inches long—is abundant enough to outweigh the entire planet’s annual fisheries catch.

By eating the products of photosynthesis in the surface waters at night and swimming downward each day, the migrating animals potentially move a tremendous amount of carbon from the surface waters to the deep.

As a zooplankton consumes nutrients at the top and heads back down, it excretes a fecal pellet, which another individual slightly lower down consumes and excretes, and so on. The collective effect can move nutrients down from the surface as much as 53 percent faster than would happen by gravity alone, according to one recent study.

Beyond shuffling nutrients, the migration pumps carbon down, making it a critical player in carbon sequestration—and thus a boon to the climate. Similar to trees on land, microscopic plants at the ocean surface convert atmospheric carbon dioxide into organic matter. When migrating zooplankton consume this plant matter and carry it down, they sequester carbon in the depths, where it may remain for hundreds or thousands of years.

Remarkably, the vertical migration takes place even in the darkness of winter at the North Pole under several feet of ice that is covered with snow. In a 2016 study, researchers used acoustic devices moored to the sea bottom across the Arctic and found that zooplankton flee to the dark depths to escape the faint light of the rising moon.

The researchers were so doubtful that such minimal light could drive the migration that they implanted electrodes in the optic nerves of krill to measure the amount of light needed to elicit a response. They found that only a few photons were enough.

So although most of the individual migrators are minuscule, their staggering numbers mean that the amount of plant material they eat each night is enormous and makes up an important part in the global carbon cycle.

Ladders of longitude created by clouds of creatures

In 1942, a U.S. Navy research vessel, the USS Jasper, was testing new sonar technology off the coast of California when it reported sound waves being deflected from a mysterious, dense layer more than 1,000 feet below the surface. It stretched for more than 300 miles, leading researchers to think that it might be the seafloor itself. Other sonar pioneers soon found similar layers all across the Atlantic, Pacific and even in lakes worldwide. Yet exactly what the cloudlike layers were remained an enigma—and a peril for the Navy, which feared they could hide enemy submarines.

Three years later, a researcher from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, a department of the University of California, San Diego, used crude plankton nets to conduct nighttime surveys of marine life at various depths and became the first to report that the thick fogs were actually masses of living creatures.

Now termed the “deep scattering layer,” the DSL can be hundreds of feet thick and extend for hundreds of miles at various depths across the world’s oceans. En masse, these creatures resemble an almost endless cloud of drifting snow, yet they are spectacularly varied. Different species may prefer to hang out at different depths by day and night, or at different temperatures and salinity gradients. For some smaller creatures, such as copepods, seawater can seem viscous, making their migration feel like slogging through molasses.

In contrast, many bony fish species inflate their swim bladders for quick ballooning to the surface and then deflate them for a speedy descent. Some animals may travel only a few dozen feet on their expeditions, while others traverse several thousand feet. The result, researchers say, is less like a coordinated mass movement from the depths to the surface and back again and more like overlapping ladders of migration.

An unviewed vertical migration kept from vanishing

Unfortunately, the vertical migration is in jeopardy. If the Arctic becomes ice-free or if ice melt causes the ocean to become more stratified, it could alter the patterns of nutrient flow and carbon cycles, with unforeseen consequences. Plant life at the ocean surface, for instance, produces about 20 percent of the Earth’s oxygen—one in every five breaths we breathe.

In our other oceans, as commercial fishing decimates populations of larger fish, the tendency is to move down the food chain. Current commercial products that take advantage of the migration already include krill paste and lantern fish protein concentrate, mainly as feed for fish farms. Targeting the migration also takes food away from salmon, tuna and whales, possibly contributing to their starvation.

For now, this out-of-sight pageant goes on every night, following its ancient rhythms and continuing to shape the diversity and productivity of our oceans. But like so many other natural wonders on Earth, the vertical migration could disappear if we’re not vigilant.

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