By Dr. Peter Addy, PhD

Wow, life sure can be hard right now. I feel like I have less to do, and also more to do at the same time. It can be more difficult to focus my mental and physical energy, especially when Netflix and the couch are so close by and inviting (I’m rewatching Star Trek: The Next Generation from the beginning, and it’s great). 

What can we do during this pandemic to take care of ourselves? What’s the worst that could happen if we don’t? For me, the fear of not taking care of myself is that I will let down my family and we’ll drift apart, like two starships moving away from each other in interstellar space. Other people might worry that they’ll go broke or “crazy” or it will mean their parents were right about them all along. 

Luckily, even during this time of massive fear and uncertainty, we all have tools we can use to not only survive the pandemic, but to thrive and become more fully human. Everyone faces challenges in life that can impact their mental health. You can use practical tools to improve your mental health and increase resiliency. 

May is Mental Health Month. Emerge Natural Health Care is highlighting Tools to Thrive – what you can do every day to prioritize your mental health, build resiliency in the face of trauma and obstacles, support those who are struggling, and work towards a path of recovery.

One of the easiest tools you can use is taking a mental health screen at mhascreening.org. It’s a quick, free, and private way for you to assess your mental health and recognize signs of mental health problems. I hope that taking a mental health screen becomes as acceptable as screening for any other chronic health conditions like heart disease or diabetes. If you want help understanding any of the results of your screenings, please contact us for a free consultation. 

When it comes to your feelings, it can be easy to get caught up in your emotions as you’re feeling them. Most people don’t think about what emotions they are dealing with, but taking the time to really identify what you’re feeling can help you to better cope with challenging situations. It’s OK to give yourself permission to feel. If you don’t, you might end up projecting those feelings onto others, like how Vulcan Ambassador Sarek projected his emotions onto the crew of the Enterprise in the excellent season 3 episode. 

For each of us, the tools we use to keep us mentally healthy will be unique. Emerge Natural Health Care wants everyone to know that mental illnesses are real, and recovery is possible. Finding what works for you may not be easy but you can achieve it gradually by making small changes and building on those successes. By developing your own Tools to Thrive, it is possible to find balance between work and play, the ups and downs of life, and physical health and mental health. You can set yourself on the path to recovery. 

To book an appointment with Dr. Addy or another of our Mental Health Practitioners, please call Emerge at (360)787-3615.