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Public Health Corner: Mental well-being check-in

Many of us have gone through a difficult time adjusting to the changes that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought us and it has certainly taken its toll on our mental, emotional, social, and even physical health. As we move forward into the busy holiday season, which often times brings stress to the forefront, it is important that we remember to take care of ourselves, not only in our body but in our mind as well. Several techniques can help combat the stress and anxiety that are brought on by factors in our every-day life. Taking just a few moments each day for a mental health check-in can be beneficial in your overall health.

Avoidance or Acceptance: One of the hardest things to do is accept the problem when there is one, but this can be one of the greatest first steps in mental health! This is a time with a great deal of losing control and increased uncertainty and trying to retake that control or avoid it completely can turn out to be a major setback. It is important to accept our emotions during this time and use this to explore what provides us with relief.

Situational Control: While retaking control of situations that we do not have control over already can be a detriment to our mental health, that does not mean we do not have any control at all! An important step in mental health is identifying what we do have control over.

Taking Perspective: In a mental health check-in, it is always important to sit back and take perspective of the situation. What has been painful? Where have you been uncertain? How did you make it through? How did you grow from it? These are all important questions to ask yourself for moving forward and becoming stronger!

Healthy Body, Healthy Mind: Make sure that you are keeping active. Even if we do not “feel” like engaging is any exercise, it is important to not give in to a stagnant lifestyle. Part of a mental health check-in should always involve a daily or even weekly routine that involves intentional movement of some kind.

Stress: One of the biggest mental health concerns is stress and how to cope with it. To help combat the feeling of stress, the use of grounding exercises is highly recommended. These are exercises and techniques that are used when emotions are particularly high to help settle them and “ground” our feelings. There are a wide variety of exercises like this that can involve moving, visualizing, describing things, or focusing on something you see. Everyone is different and should find which exercises work best for them!

Sleep: Healthy sleep is a very important part of our daily schedules. During stressful times, sleep can be greatly disturbed, either by getting too little or too much, which can greatly affect our mental health. Keeping a consistent sleep schedule can greatly improve your mental state.

Resiliency & Hope: The last, but certainly not least, be resilient and keep hope! Take time to yourself, try to stay flexible, and work on the coping strategies discussed. Reflect back on your experiences and keep a positive outlook on the present.

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