Particularly challenging times take a toll on our mental health – in fact, adversity and mental health are undeniably interconnected. And it’s no wonder why – exposure to violence, whether through firsthand experience or via news media coverage, can take a serious toll on our mental health as individuals and communities. Studies have shown that adults who witness social turmoil (first hand or in the news) are more likely to experience anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Children are especially vulnerable, as they may not yet have developed the coping skills needed to deal with such intense emotions. In addition, particularly challenging times in our lives can trigger memories of past trauma, further exacerbating mental health issues. While it’s impossible to completely shield ourselves from the effects the rising tension all around us might have, there are ways to ground ourselves in the storm.
Self-care manifests itself in many ways, but at its core, is anything we do to nurture our mental, emotional, and physical health. It is especially important to take care of ourselves when things feel more challenging than normal. We may need to do more self-care than usual to help manage our mental health during these times, and that’s ok. We asked Nichole Turnbloom, one of Verity’s Alternative Healing Practitioners, to weigh in on some self care strategies she is using right now:
“Tiny reminders to be present through the day can be as simple as noticing the walk to the restroom or taking 3 breathes before you eat or drink to notice any smells, sensations, and certainly tastes! The simple act of pausing, noticing, and engaging slows us down, teaches us patience and how important the little things are. A little effort and commitment can go a long way in helping to stabilize, strengthen, release tension and bring us back to our own center, so that in times such as these we can respond from that place of stillness, with a cup full, instead of react from a place of agitation, overwhelm, fear and anger, which can be a great motivators, but ultimately will not solve our personal or national problems.”
Want to take a moment to ground yourself? Check out “21 Breaths of Joy,” a breathing exercise lead by Camila Castillo, one of Verity’s Alternative Healing Practitioners.
It’s also important to remember that it’s okay to be happy in the current social climate, even if it feels like you shouldn’t be. You’re allowed to take pleasure in little moments of light and love. It doesn’t mean that you don’t care about current events, it just means that you’re prioritizing the things that recharge your spirit and brings you joy. Even though it sometimes feels like it should, life doesn’t have a pause button. Grasp onto those joyful moments when you can! If you are someone who wants to be proactive about fighting for the things you believe in, just remember that it’s equally important to make sure you’re taking care of yourself in the process. You simply cannot pour from an empty cup – so making sure yours is full, especially now, is very important!
Courage Takes Many Forms
Courage does not always roar.
Sometimes courage is the quite voice
at the end of the day saying “I will try again tomorrow.”
-Mary Anne Radmacher