Lynn Altschul: Maintaining Good Mental Health as Covid Cases Surge Again
The Mental Wellness Committee at CBB is engaged in understanding and providing activities, education and strategies for maintaining good mental health for our congregation. We will be exploring a variety of topics with the hope of bringing awareness and clarity to the many aspects that effect our mental health. We also hope to offer insights and observations in how to maintain a balanced and healthy perspective during these challenging times.
With the current rise in the Delta variant Covid cases, it is easy to feel discouraged. Last May and June many of us felt that we were, at last, at the end of the dark tunnel and that we could begin to resume our normal activities. Restaurant dining, gathering with friends indoors, shopping and travel all seemed within our grasp. But as the summer has worn on, it has become apparent that we are not out of the Covid woods yet and, in fact, in many places, the number of cases are at all time highs. As we send our unvaccinated children back to schools and some of us return to the workplace, how do we cope with the resurgence of this virus and all the fears associated with it?
According to the World Health Organization, mental health is defined as “a state of well being in which the individual realizes their own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.” While the increased stresses caused by the Pandemic go beyond our normal stresses, positive mental health can help people live happier, healthier and longer lives.
Taking care of our Mental Health impacts the quality of our lifestyles and is ever more critical during these challenging times. In fact, Mental Health can be as important as physical and medical health in maintaining an active and healthy life. Outside factors such as loss of job, health issues, financial stress, relationships, etc, can seriously threaten our mental health and diminish the quality of our lives. While it can be challenging, there are things that we can do to bolster and maintain a more productive and positive outlook. Many of these strategies are simple but can make a difference in the quality of our day-to-day lives.
Stay Physically Active Being physically active is good for your mind as well as your body as it releases mood boosting endorphins that provide a relaxed sensation. Physical activity can help to reduces stress and anxiety. The Presidents Council on Sports, Fitness and Nutrition recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity each week.
Eat and Sleep Well Taking care of your body influences your mental health .The Mayo Clinic recommends that adults get seven to nine hours of sleep each night. In addition, maintaining a healthy body weight can serve to reduce feelings of irritability, anxiety and depression.
Take Breaks Even during a pandemic, life can get hectic. Taking a break regularly, whether by using meditation, taking a walk or listening to music, can improve your overall sense of well being. And taking a break from the news can be helpful in reducing anxiety.
Spend Time with Friends and Family Companionship is good for your health. Connecting with others can boost happiness, reduce stress and improve self confidence and self worth.
Focus on the Positives As difficult as it may be in todays uncertain times, thinking positive thoughts can influence how you feel and your general outlook.
Please do not hesitate to contact us should you have a question or mental health concern. Email CBB Director of Community Engagement, Mariela Socolovsky at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
Lynn Altschul is a retired Family Therapist specializing in Child Development and the support of young families. She received her LMFT from the Family Institute at Northwestern University. Lynn is a CBB board member and active on several boards at Jewish Family Service in Santa Barbara. Originally from the Chicago area, Lynn and her husband have enjoyed Santa Barbara life for the past fifteen years while continuing to spend their summers back in the Midwest. She has four grandchildren and enjoys a variety of activities including photography, painting, bicycling, walking and reading.