Written by: Kaili Brown, King County Victim Services Coordinator
The last year and a half has been a challenging time for all of us. From navigating a pandemic, to experiencing political change, several of us have made drastic life changes to adjust to this new “normal”. On top of it all, these changes have revolved around unpredictability and uncertainty; an added challenge when trying to adjust. Many of us were not prepared for the pandemic to last more than a few weeks, much less over a year and a half. As we continue to explore this new “normal”, it is equally important to remember that as a community, we have been able to adapt to our new lives despite the setbacks.
Several businesses and organizations have encouraged embracing and prioritizing our mental and emotional health. In recent years, several of us have likely heard the phrase “self-care”. While this may be a grammatical device to encourage sleeping in an extra hour or indulging in a delicious dessert, there is truth behind its intentions. When we practice self-care, we become more aware of our emotional health. Regardless of the job we have or the roles we play, valuing our emotional health can only help us be the best version of ourselves. When conducting daily life during such a tumultuous time, it is easy to place our mental and emotional health on the back burner. If we neglect to care for our emotional health, our social, work, and home life may suffer. Taking the time to do things we enjoy and bring us joy helps keep our spirits high.
With October being Emotional Wellness Month, we want to remind everyone that self-care is an important aspect of a person’s life. It is easy to prioritize other things on our To-Do lists, as they might seem more urgent, but without self care burnout can happen easily. Forgetting to take care of ourselves can lead to inefficiency in several areas of our lives including work, friends, and family.
Self-care can look different for everyone. Some people might need to relax on their couch and watch their favorite reality show while others might need to do DIY projects to clear their heads. These moments of “clearing our minds” allow us to recharge and regroup, so we don’t feel overwhelmed.
The National Institute of Health suggests six strategies for improving our emotional health:
- Brighten your outlook
- Reduce stress
- Get quality sleep
- Cope with loss
- Strengthen social connections
- Be mindful
For more information, check out their online toolkit that explains why these strategies can be beneficial. You can find the NIH’s toolkit here: https://www.nih.gov/health-information/emotional-wellness-toolkit
While the month of October may be dedicated to emotional health awareness, let’s not forget that taking care of ourselves and prioritizing emotional health lasts year-long.