By Keith Davenport
Mental health during the winter months is an important conversation every year.
Physical health plays a role as well: the lower temperatures often result in less physical activity and exposure to sunlight, which can each impact emotional well-being. The concentration of family traditions and gatherings can also remind us of who is missing, bringing up feelings of grief. These challenges are exacerbated this year with the added challenge of staying safe during a pandemic.
One way to remember how to prepare for your self-care this year is the old rhyme for brides: something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue.
Something Old: Maybe there was a daily or weekly practice that used to be a major part of your life but has been all-but-forgotten as of late. Doing something with your hands, away from television or computer screens, can help provide meaning from day-to-day.
Something New: It’s a great time to try to carve out new practices and rhythms. If you can find a way to do this new hobby with someone else, even if over the phone or computer, it’s even better. Learning something new alongside a friend or family member can engage the brain in a lot of positive ways.
Something Borrowed: Talk to your family members with activities and practices they’re using over these long months. Maybe you will find some new ideas you want to implement in your own life. Or maybe you’ll find that your loved ones are also needing some ideas, so you can share some of yours with them.
Something Blue: Talk about how you’re feeling with others. You might be surprised how talking about what you’re experiencing brings hope not only to yourself, but also to those you’re sharing with.
As a community, it’s important that we check in on our neighbors and loved ones who might be especially vulnerable to loneliness this winter and holiday season.
If you or someone you care about is experiencing a mental health crisis, call Johnson County Mental Health Center’s 24/7 Crisis Line at 913-268-0156.
Keith Davenport is communications specialist at the Johnson County Mental Health Center.