IT'S OK TO ASK
Jan Finch, PhD, LCSW-S is a Stephen Ministry Leader and past chair of the Comanche Peak Coalition for Mental Health.
Fall is in the air! You may have noticed cooler temperatures and shorter days. Fall is a good time to get ready for winter. Yes, we may be getting the pumpkins and the fall decorations out, but how do we prepare for the upcoming winter? It will certainly not be as difficult as the last winter, the dreaded Winter of 2020, with the Great Freeze that caught us all off guard.
Let’s get ready for our emotional wellness. Like the bear who eats large quantities before hibernation, let’s stock up on some strategies to keep us emotionally well in the upcoming months!
Here are strategies from the National Institute of Health that might be of interest to you.
Brighten your outlook. People who are emotionally well, experts say, have fewer negative emotions and can bounce back from difficulties faster. This quality is called resilience. Another sign of emotional wellness is being able to hold onto positive emotions longer and appreciate the good times.
Remember your good deeds. Give yourself credit for the good things you do for others each day.
Forgive yourself. Everyone makes mistakes. Learn from what went wrong, but don’t dwell on it.
Practice gratitude. Create positive emotions by being thankful every day. Write down what you’re grateful for.
Spend more time with your friends. Surround yourself with positive, healthy people.
Explore your beliefs about the meaning and purpose of life. Think about how to guide your life by the principles that are important to you.
Develop healthy physical habits. Healthy eating, physical activity, and regular sleep can improve your physical and mental health.
Everyone feels stressed from time to time. Stress can give you a rush of energy when it’s needed most. But if stress lasts a long time—a condition known as chronic stress—those “high-alert” changes become harmful rather than helpful. Learning healthy ways to cope with stress can also boost your resilience.
TIPS TO HELP YOU MANAGE STRESS
- Get enough sleep. Adults need 7 or more hours each night, school-age kids need 9–12, and teens need 8–10.
- Exercise regularly. Just 30 minutes a day of walking can boost mood and reduce stress.
- Enjoy regular social activities. Create a social support network.
- Set priorities. Decide what must get done and what can wait. Say no to new tasks if you feel they’re too much.
- Show compassion for yourself. Note what you’ve accomplished at the end of the day, not what you didn’t.
- Schedule regular times for a relaxing activity that uses mindfulness/breathing exercises, like yoga or tai chi.
- Seek help. Talk to a mental health professional if you feel unable to cope, have suicidal thoughts, or use drugs or alcohol to cope.
For more resources go to the Comanche Peak Coalition for Mental Health’s website at www.comanchepeakmh.org
Comanche Peak is a coalition of over 40 agencies and individuals in Hood and Somervell Counties that strive to promote emotional wellness in our lovely community.