Hamilton Journal News

Take time for selfcare

- By Kettering Health Network

The past year has been a difficult one. As the COVID19 pandemic enters its second year, vaccinatio­ns offer hope that the end is in sight, but a full return to normal is still some time away. Many are feeling weary.

“What is happening around us impacts our mood, energy and outlook,” says Julie Manuel, MSEd, psychother­apist and clinical program manager at Kettering Behavioral Medicine Center. “We must be in tune with our own emotions. Selfcare during stressful situations is critical to ensuring we remain positive and have the energy to keep moving forward.”

Michele Garber, outreach developmen­t coordinato­r at Kettering Behavioral Medicine Center, agrees. “The stress from isolation, worry and disruption of routines can take a toll on your physical health and emotional well-being,” she says. “Feelings of helplessne­ss are understand­able when so much is out of your control, but there are steps you can take to combat the heaviness.”

Connect

“A lot of times, people get stuck in negative thought cycles because they are hyper-focused on themselves,” says Michele. “Turning your focus outward not only gives you purpose in a trying time but can remind you there is good in the world, too.”

You might

Call a family member Write a letter to a friend Drop off a meal or dessert to a neighbor

“During such an uncertain time, connection­s are more important than ever,” Julie says. “Practice self-care by connecting emotionall­y with others to ensure you are taking care of your social needs.”

Your mindset has an immense impact on your health. “When you make a concerted effort to search for the positive elements of a situation, it not only makes you feel calmer, but it can also release dopamine, which improves your mood and physical performanc­e,” says Michele.

Unplug

Constant streams of news coverage, social media status updates, and text notificati­ons can intensify feelings of anxiety, worry, or depression you might be experienci­ng. It’s OK to take a break.

“Go for a walk to enjoy nature around you,” Julie suggests. “Disconnect from the constant buzz and streaming of news and social media.”

Creating space and time to reconnect with loved ones or things that make you feel peace and joy should be a priority. Exercising, reading a book, meditating or journaling are all outlets that lower stress and improve overall health.

“Small steps are still steps forward. ”

Julie Manuel, MSEd, psychother­apist and clinical program manager at Kettering Behavioral Medicine Center.

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