RAFT Newsletter: November 2021

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This past year has been incredibly tough and unpredictable! The uncertainty and constant changes have increased our stress and anxiety levels.  Many of us are hoping to take a break this summer, maybe go for a trip, whether that is within the country or perhaps abroad. We need to focus on glimmers of hope.  Here is why taking a holiday from your stressors is so important to your physical and mental health.

1. Holidays improve our physical health… 

Working without breaks creates an imbalance in hormone levels and increases inflammatory processes which weakens the immune system, making you more susceptible to colds, viruses, and other illnesses. Giving your body frequent periods of rest prevents poor health and can reduce the chances of serious medical conditions, like heart disease, cancer, obesity, and diabetes.

2. Holidays help our mental health… 

Overworking and overstimulating ourselves leads to trouble sleeping, mood swings, short temperedness, and poor memory, focus and confusion. More serious mental health problems can also occur like depression and anxiety. Holidays do the reverse and help us take time to find solutions to problems and to be relaxed in the moment.

3. Holidays strengthen bonds…

Quality time with friends and family strengthens social bonds. This last year has shown how unpredictable and tough life can be and how we rely on social interactions for support. Spending time with your children also boosts their self-esteem, sense of security and family values.

4. Holidays decrease burnout…

Burnout can influence every aspect of your life from relationships to physical and mental health. One way to tackle burnout is taking time off to relax. Time off helps reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.

5. Holidays help us catch up on sleep…

Holidays allow us to catch up on sleep which is essential for healthy brain function. While we sleep, our brains consolidate information and memories from the day which improves our mental functioning, problem solving, memory and creativity. Studies show that people with depression often have less than six hours sleep per night. 

6. Holidays sharpen your mind…

Giving your brain a break from daily routines by doing something new helps establish stronger connections between brain cells that improve your concentration and ability to learn new things. Spending more time resting boosts creativity, problem solving skills and makes us more efficient. Taking regular breaks and time off helps prevent us from becoming overwhelmed and leaving us more motivated and creative.

7. Holidays encourage us to try something new… 

Like open water swimming, a Segway, a new type of food, an open-air cinema or learning about a new culture. Trying new things allows us to expand our minds, learn and step out of our comfort zone which expands our horizons and increases productivity, inspiration, and knowledge. 

Adapted from Dr. Lynda Shaw, neuroscientist, business psychologist and change specialist.

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Innovative Geriatric
Mental Health Services


The RAFT program provides intensive mental health services to individuals in Long Term Care Facilities, as well as education, training and consultations for Long Term Care Communities, Community Providers and others in the community to develop the skills and knowledge base to successfully understand and work with individuals with Mental Health and Dementia Diagnoses.


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Phone: 703-531-2144
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