May is Mental Health Awareness Month:
Hello Open Sky community! In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, the clinical team is challenging us all to engage in at least one form of self-care per day for the month of May. On each day you practice a self-care strategy, write it down on your calendar. At the end of the month, send completed calendars to firstname.lastname@example.org. For each day you’ve checked off, you’ll receive ONE entry into a raffle for one of our $25 Amazon gift cards for self-care supplies!
Please email your completed calendars to email@example.com no later than 12pm on Tuesday June 7th. We will announce raffle winners by the end of the day on the June 7th.
May is Mental Health Awareness Video Message from Ken Bates
Watch Open Sky Community Services Anonymous Digital Art and Poetry Show on Vimeo:
The Peer Specialist team has developed a video series in recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month, check it out!
Here are some of the stories that have been shared!
Getting Creative with Self-Care:
Let me start by saying that I'm so excited about this self-care challenge! Despite teaching and practicing DBT for many years, even I need reminders to take special care of myself during this time. One of the things I have found the most challenging about the current pandemic situation is feeling stuck in my home, looking at the same rooms each and every day. It can easily for things to feel stale and stagnant.
I tend to feel my best when I am being creative and am in a space that is visually pleasing. I have found two self-care activities that have helped immensely with this: creating art work and decorating. I've recently found myself painting more. I set up my art easel, put on some soothing music, and get into the zone with my paints and brushes. When I'm painting, I lose track of time, don't feel self-conscious or worried, and feel happy and energized. I'm also not thinking about social isolation, being stuck at home, or the pandemic! It's a really lovely break from things.
I also recently decided to redecorate my living room. I thought of which colors would make me feel as happy and energized as I do when I paint. I settled on lime green, orange, and teal. I'm excited for the Amazon box to show up on my doorstep so I can add those little touches of color to the room. I know each time I walk into my living room, I won't be able to help but smile. I also am thinking about painting something to hang above my mantle!
If you own art supplies, or can get some, consider trying your hand at painting or drawing something to hang up in your space. If you're able to, see if you can make one room in your home visually pleasing. You can even use things you already own! Sometimes even moving the furniture around or clearing out clutter can help make things look fresh and new.
Thanks for checking out my self-care story. Sending some sunshine your way! Be well and take good care!
Elizabeth Plante, M.A., LMHC, DBTC
Director of Outpatient Services and DBT Specialist, DBT Certified Therapist
"Breathe" (April 2020) "A Light for Your Darkness" (February 2020)
"Every year we have a pair of ducks that come and visit in our yard and this morning the male arrived and my husband called to me and said "we have a visitor". This is a picture of him after I threw out some bread to him and he just waddles right up to where we feed him. It really was a very soothing thing and just what I needed on this rainy Friday. So my emoji would be 😊."
-Rebecca Belliveau, Career Counselor, Open Sky Community Services
Andrea Wolloff shares her self-care story:
I’ve really been loving this self care challenge! It is forcing me to pay more attention to what I need each day. I’m a person who experiences anxiety and stress through my body. Because of this, I’ve found it helpful to engage in gentle exercise focusing on releasing body tension. I’ve been doing this in two ways. The first is on nice days, I’ve been taking short walks down my street with my kids. This has been great for me physically and mentally. I’ve worked hard at just being in the moment with my kids and noticing what is around me. Walking with them has been helpful in keeping me focused, as they are pointing out all the flowers in bloom and other things in nature. Such a great opportunity for mindfulness! We often walk down to a pond on our street and watch for birds and animals.
The second way I’ve done this is that I’ve challenged myself to doing yoga every day. There is a 30 day yoga routine that I found on youtube and love (see link at the bottom of the page if you want to give it a try!). It’s especially great because it is 20-30 minutes, which has been very do-able. I tend to do this at night as a way to wind down from the day and then sit with a cup of tea and some favorite shows, such as The Office on nights where I especially need a laugh (I can always rely on The Office!). I can’t wait to hear what others are doing!
Andrea Wolloff, Director of Evidence Based Practices
Operation Act Like a Houseplant
Self-care every day for a month? Challenge accepted! (Bonus points if you're another How I Met Your Mother Fan, and read that in Barney Stinson's voice!)
One thing many people in the Open Sky community know about me is that I'm really, really terrible with plants. Never ask me to look after yours while you're on vacation! But like so many of us trying new things to keep feeling well while navigating COVID, I decided to give growing a mason jar herb garden a try. It's... not going particularly well, but maybe I'll have more success to share later in the month with that.
What it DID inspire, though, was for me to think about the way I was managing my own "cultivation." What are the two main things plants need to thrive? Water and sunlight. What are two things I needed more of in my life? Water and sunlight! So on Monday, I launched "Operation Act Like a Houseplant" and spent a good chunk of the day working from my patio with a giant cup of ice water. It was wonderful! That small change of scenery and one habit tweak made a huge difference in how I felt at the end of the day. It also reinforced one way I am very different from a plant... turns out I need more SPF protection to work outside!
Director of Dual Diagnosis Services, Open Sky Community Services
How are YOU doing the self-care challenge? Share your stories with us!
If you would like to share your self-care story with the Open Sky community, please email firstname.lastname@example.org