By Leah Schmidt, SNS, SNA President 2014-02-27 18:01:12
Mindful Matters When I saw the theme for this month’s magazine, I e-mailed Editor Patty Fitzgerald, asking: “Mental health, really?” She quickly responded: “Yes! This is our annual personal development issue, and the magazine team thought it was timely for the very fact that we tend not to talk about it, even though it touches so many people and families.” She is right. Many of us know or love those who struggle with various mental and emotional ailments—and whose struggle is exacerbated by the perceived stigma that too often results. When we improve our awareness and understanding of these issues, we can be more effective in supporting not only those who suffer directly, but also those who care for loved ones in distress. I began thinking about the characteristics and resources that many of us who don’t suffer a particular medical condition turn to in order to get through periods of stress, anxiety or the blues. (No surprise: There are some STEPS Challenge overlaps!) Nutrition & Exercise. It’s all about moderation. Focus on working toward a balanced diet and remember that even a little physical activity can go a long way in clearing the mind! Find a buddy to keep you motivated and accountable. (Thanks to my SNA Board walking buddies over the years.) Fun. We all need a little fun every day! It feels so good to laugh ‘til you cry, doesn’t it? (Thank you to Grennan, Michael, Robin, Susan and Wendy for making me laugh every work day, no matter what’s going on.) Relationships. Stay close to those you love. Never pass up an opportunity to compliment them, boost their spirits and express your love. You will never regret it. Relaxation & Rest. Whether it’s taking time for a bubble bath, pedicure, yoga session or movie marathon, make rejuvenating activities a priority. That includes getting the proper amount of shuteye each night, too! Balance & Adaptability. Work is important. Taking care of the family is important. But there must be joy in your life. Anyone who has worked in our profession these last three years with all its changes understands the value of adaptability! Remind yourself that change is a constant—nothing stays static—but having the right attitude will help us weather the storms. Speaking of resources for managing change, finding joy and nurturing relationships, be sure to review the program preview for our Annual National Conference in Boston, found between pages 24 and 25. In the meantime, take care of yourself and cherish every minute you have with your loved ones. Stay well. Be happy.
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