by Leslie Horton, Director, Yavapai County Community Health Services
Even in a normal year, winter weather and long nights can take a toll on physical and mental well-being.
To stay sane as we continue to face the perils of COVID-19, we need things to look forward to. And, while we can’t tell you for certain what your plans should look like, we can provide some advice on how to think through those decisions. There is hope with vaccine arriving and being administered to priority groups in phases, to perhaps see some light at the end of this tunnel.
At Yavapai County Community Health Services, we want to remind people to reach out to others for social connection. Most people right now are feeling some “COVID fatigue.” People are experiencing loneliness while having to physically distance to protect themselves and others. If you are experiencing this feeling, step out of your comfort zone and reach out or get out. Here are a few tips for a healthier 2021:
- Set aside social media. Constant exposure to the news cycle and/or your social media feeds can amplify anxiety and stress. Instead, consider streaming a yoga class or catch up with loved ones and friends virtually or outdoors in a socially distanced setting, or just call them. Talking with people you trust about your concerns and how you are managing them can help you build mental and emotional strength.
- Prioritize sleep and healthy eating. Getting a good night’s sleep improves our mental and emotional resilience. Pay attention to your diet by eating as healthfully as you can.
- Try out guided meditation: Take just 5 or 10 minutes to sit still and play a nice calming body scan or even some music that you enjoy.
- If you are able, take a walk. Getting outside in the fresh air and sunlight is good for you! Make sure to carry a mask just in case you need it. Movement is so important for us and we can do this safely at a distance from others.
- Reach out even if you’re not sure what to say, just say “Hey, I’m feeling lonely.”
Here are some social connection resources:
West Yavapai Guidance Center — Senior Peer Prevention Program; opportunities for participants who are 60 or older to connect with an individual by phone or virtually; contact Connie Boston at 928-445-5211 ext. 2672;
NACOG-AAA — Critter Tales, virtual; a fun place for people and their pets to gather virtually; Tuesday 2-3 p.m.; register for free by emailing Health & Wellness at firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 928-606-2653.
Swing in your Seat — Learn to swing dance in your chair and listen to big band sounds of ‘30s and ‘40s; contact Beth Brehio at email@example.com or 928-606-2652.
AARP — Community Connections; we’ve created this site to help you connect with people in your community; https://aarpcommunityconnections.org
Various virtual webinars; rhythm connection music sessions and more at www.aarp.org/prescott or www.aarp.org/prescottvalley
Heights Church — Serve Collective; resources to help through COVID-19; www.servecollective.org