It’s Time to Talk About Mental Health. . . Again
I don’t mean to keep beating the same drum, but I must. I mean, we’re entering a very dark period for our nation during the holidays when things are already so hard for some families. This year, there are families of 250,000 Americans who will have an empty chair due to the pandemic. That will not be easy, to say the least.
Just the mere recognition that, while a vaccine is close, vaccination of most Americans is not, can bring on more distress, more anxiety about the looming uncertainty most of us feel. The sand is still constantly shifting under our feet, and we are just trying to gain purchase.
Sitting in on the weekly nonprofit sector call the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits provides brought to mind this topic once again. It is incumbent on leaders in all kinds of businesses and even our schools to take pulse checks on their staff. They must validate the fears, giving people a place to voice the concerns, yet offer hope if at all possible. Pretending things are rosy just causes you to lose credibility, and really makes me question whether you’re in touch with reality. Things are tough! Even for people who have jobs and who can help their children with schoolwork.
One fun question to help us take that pulse check with each other is, “if you were weather, what kind of weather would you be?” I like that one, though another is, “if you were a fruit, which one would you be, and why?” Or, instead of asking your child, “how was your day?” try asking “how did you feel about your day?”
These may seem silly, but it gives us a common framework within which we can express something esoteric. It may even work to help you feel more mindful if you ask yourself this type of question at the beginning or ending of each day.
Dr. Rebecca Hubbard shared a method to help us help each other through this trying time, some self-talk that will mitigate the stress we are all under. Her organization, the Mental Health Association of Oklahoma, has meditation podcasts, training opportunities, and a wealth of other resources that can help any of us. Check it out at www.mhaok.org.
I hope that Thanksgiving is a time of peace and gratitude for you. If it simply cannot be due to your anxiety or depression, I hope that you’ll get help.
by Jennifer Seal
November 19, 2020