We watched some troubling days unfold last week. This came just a few days into a new year – the symbolic ‘fresh start’ we all anticipate – and almost a year into coping with a deadly virus that has radically changed the way we live. More people lost their lives to the Coronavirus than we could have imagined. Families are devastated. Medical history was being made as professionals are pushed to their human limits to serve.
Combine these two life-changing, world-shattering experiences and it’s easy to see how all of us are suffering; our contentment was damaged and our mental health is fraying. Even the most strong amongst us are showing emotions just under the surface. We need each other, but only at arm’s length, not near enough to hug.
We can power through. Humans are resilient even when we are most fragile. We have the ability to care for our well-being. And it’s OK to ask for help and seek guidance along the way.
When you find yourself struggling, take a pause. Breathe. Deep breaths slow your racing heart and focusing on the power in your body calms your mind, too. Bundle up for a walk or pedal and exercise bike. Put on some music and dance. Just moving feels give and it realizes the natural chemicals in your brain that naturally promotes serenity and reduces anxiety.
Step away from the news of the day. Power off the computer and put down the device.
Call a friend or family member. Share how you feel. Listen to their feelings, too. Support each other, shed a tear or share laugh. Being there for each other and with each other is a powerful connection.
Be creative. Research proves that 45 minutes of a creative activity – crafting, coloring, sewing, knitting, writing – can reduce the stress hormones in your body.
Rest. Read – even if it’s a book you know by heart. Experts say that re-reading a favorite book or watching a beloved movie brings comfort when times are most stressful. Just knowing how the story will turn out gives us peace and calm. Listen to music. Give yourself the space you need.
If there are children in your life, they will have questions, too, about what they’re seeing and hearing. As the grown ups in their lives, we want to protect them. First of all, reassure them and tell them they are safe. Share that you’re scared, too, and not even behaves this way when they disagree. Remember Mr. Rogers from PBS? He was famous for saying “Look for the helpers” whenever there was a frightening situation. He said there was always people ready to help us in times of need.
Spectrum Health is your helper. By phone, on our Helping Textline (585-543-1015, 7-10pm, seven days a week), with our daily Community of Caring with its Mindfulness, Yoga, and Crafting sessions, Spectrum Health is here for you. We’ll get through this together…and look forward to a brand new day.