In keeping with Dee’s column a few weeks ago. May is National Mental Health Awareness month!
I don’t know about you but being cooped up during COVID and during a tumultuous election year, with a BIG LIE and followed by an insurrection really left me an emotional wreck. I was stuck to the news channels and to social media A LOT!
Hey I work in the news biz but even I know that every once in a while you need to pull the plug. Shut off social media. Turn off the TV. Unplug from technology and take some time to be outdoors, meditate or read a book. We all need to look inward every once in a while. We need “ME” time to recharge and rejuvenate.
It’s okay to take a break. It’s okay to let a call go to voicemail. It’s okay to be lazy for a day. It’s okay to not be in work mode 24/7/365. It’s okay to care for yourself in the same way you do for others. Your body and mind need to be still sometimes.
I’ve been a non-stop caregiver for more than a year and at times it was hard to find the right balance between caring for my parents, working remotely and finding some down time. Add to that CDC suggestions (that are now currently changing as frequently as people should change their undergarment WHICH SHOULD BE OFTEN) and social distancing rules for the past year, it is understandable to be a bit off-mood.
Little by little I’ve found out how to carve out some time for myself on a daily basis. Take the dogs for a walk. Take a power nap right after lunch. There are ways to slow down, make time to do the things you enjoy and still be productive at work and at home.
This past Friday afternoon, I dusted off my bicycle, filled the tires with air and pedaled down the road. I think it was the first time in about three years that I rode my bike, a hobby I used to enjoy much more frequently. I rode down the street, headed down a slight incline and around the block and was making my way back home after a 20 minute ride. Granted I nearly died as I tried to pedal back up the incline (mini-hill that felt like a mountain) toward my house. I shifted gears and pedaled away until I nearly passed out.
Saturday morning my legs were sore and my quads were burning. I pulled out the lawnmower and pushed that sucker across
the yard. My front yard has a steep incline and between the bike ride and the lawn cutting I thought my legs were going to fall off. Giving my legs a rest, I spent most of Sunday giving my arms a workout by getting Mom’s garden replanted, cleaning the bunny cage and raking up the last of the leaves in the yard.
The common denominator in all these activities is that I was disconnected from the World Wide Web, the news, political drama and a barrage of stressful information. The information superhighway is great, but being disconnected and diving into hobbies that help you re-connect to yourself and your soul is just as important.
It’s great to watch the news and be informed, but you shouldn’t be glued to the TV, Facebook, or You Tube every second of every minute of every day. Take it from someone who actually works in the media industry, every now and then you need to switch the channel!
If you are going to watch TV, check out a comedy show every now and again. Watch a game show and challenge your brain cells.
Also pick your “ME” time and stick with it. For example it is rare for me to answer my cell phone on a Sunday even if it’s in my pocket. Sunday is 100 percent for me!
Don’t bother calling my cell or my house between 8-10 p.m. on weekdays (unless it is an emergency, of course) because that is movie time with Mom.
If you call me before 8 a.m. on weekdays or 10 a.m. on weekends, it will likely go to voice mail because I am either still sleeping or out walking my dogs.
Take little steps each day to give yourself a mental health boost by doing what you love. It will enhance your mood and spirit.
Patty Leon is Managing Editor of the Coastal Courier