“No matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow.” I read that recently, and it is fitting for this past year as we all adjusted to a new world of unknowns, Public Health measures, and varying levels of isolation.
The steps necessary to protect our physical wellness have had an impact on our mental health. Over the last year, you may have found yourself feeling more irritable, anxious, lonely or depressed. You aren’t alone.
I think it would be hard to find someone whose mental wellness hasn’t been affected by the pandemic. It's been a difficult season in life, a long "winter" if you will, but as the quote says, “Spring is sure to follow.”
Know that it’s okay to not be okay.
Honour your feelings and have compassion for yourself. Take time to reflect on areas of your wellness (physical, emotional, mental, social) that you may be struggling with. Reach out to a trusted friend, your family doctor or nurse practitioner, community social worker, or community mental health services for support.
Be in the moment.
When we’re feeling overwhelmed, it can be difficult to stay in the here and now. We tend to spend time worrying about the fut- ure and things we cannot control. Using techniques like deep breathing, mindful- ness, muscle relaxation, and imagery can help with grounding and keeping us in the present moment.
Take advantage of the warmer weather, unplug and head out to nature.
Disconnecting from technology and spending time outside feeds our soul!
The first signs of spring always fill me with hope. Maybe it’s the promise of longer, warmer days or that I won’t have to battle a toddler into a snowsuit much longer. The feeling is usually triggered by the earthy smell that’s produced as the snow melts and the ground thaws.
My favourite mindfulness practice for this time of year is to stand outside, take a deep breath, and take in the scent of spring.
As Laura Ingalls Wilder (author of the Little House on the Prairie books) said, “Some old-fashioned things like fresh air and sunshine are hard to beat.”
Alicia O’Hara is a Registered Social Worker at the Albert County Community Health Centre. The Bennett and Albert County Health Care (BACH) Foundation raises funds to support the services provided by the Albert County Community Health Centre including equipment and staff education. www.bachfoundation.com