It's common knowledge that we human beings are social creatures. A large part of our mental, emotional, and even spiritual health depends on regular contact with others. We thrive when we have a solid, dependable network of support of family and friends.
This year has only highlighted the importance of all of that. Many health professionals are warning that lockdowns and quarantine measures-even though they have been necessary-will have lasting effects on our mental health for years to come.
Now that the holidays are in full swing-and with the pandemic still raging-those effects may only intensify.
One way we can mitigate the negative impact of isolation and disruption is to take our mental health and well-being into our own hands.
Here are a few tips for staying mentally healthy and emotionally connected during this unique holiday season.
Use the phone to call relatives and friends, especially the elderly, the vulnerable and those who live alone. Entertain them, it will be good for them and for you.
·Find someplace to volunteer. We need communities to come together and support their members more than ever. Being of service to others is good medicine for the soul.
·Keep a pandemic diary. Take some time this December to reflect on all you have been through this year. Acknowledge all that was challenging. Especially the things you thought you wouldn't survive. This can be a powerful tool for the future when you need a reminder of how resilient you truly are.
·Write letters and cards and send them through the "snail mail". If you already have a holiday card-sending tradition, consider expanding your mailing list to people you don't know. Prison inmates, senior centers, and hospitals are all good places to consider.
·Meditate. Even if you are not religious, learn to meditate. It cleanses the mind, retains the imagination, prevents anxiety, and relieves tension. Start with 5 or 10 minutes a day and add more time as you feel able.
It's been said that we're in for a dark winter. That may be so but it's not inevitable. By keeping our hearts open and full of compassion for ourselves and others, we will not only get through this...we will thrive.
Chris Lemig is a hypnotherapist, spiritual coach, and counselor. He owns and operates True Nature Hypnotherapy in White Center.