In This Issue - We Celebrate Black History - We Acknowledge Loneliness - We Honor Self-Compassion - We Encourage Mindfulness
Celebrate Black History
Throughout history and to this day, Black men and women from around the world have made extraordinary contributions to our societies. This month we shared in our newsletter a few profiles, resources and activities that inspired us:
Social Justice Informed Mental Health Literacy (SJM)
Mental health literacy is important across all communities. It is the ability to understand mental health problems and their treatments, decrease stigma and increase help-seeking behaviors that enable us all to obtain and maintain positive mental health. However, with traditional mental health literacy, Black history is left out of the conversation. With histories, and often still current realities, that include racism, oppression, isolation and desolation, barriers including stigma, lack of representation, lack of transportation, healthcare costs, and community beliefs can limit access, participation and equity. These barriers must be acknowledged and addressed in order for real healing to begin.
If you are looking for a way to participate in mental health literacy, here are a few social justice principles that any person can consider:
- Reflect on your own beliefs and experiences. Look at how they were created and where there is room to grow. - Practice compassion and empathy. - Validate the history of harm in Black communities. - Acknowledge the resilience of past and present Black communities. - Listen to concerns and advocate for changes to Black mental healthcare. - Advocate for more accessible mental healthcare for Black communities. - Get involved in other social justice movements with Black communities such as police brutality, gentrification, or criminal justice reform to name a few.
Feeling Lonely This Month? You Are Not Alone. Feeling melancholy or down around this time of year is common and completely normal. Longer winter months and Valentine's Day "expectations" can lead to risks of social isolation and feeling lonely — whether or not we’re living through a global pandemic.
While there are various ways you can reduce loneliness through connecting with others (and you may be intimately familiar with your gaming console, zoom, text apps, and the good old fashioned cell phone), consider the relationship you have with you. This relationship may be the most important to feeling less alone.
Set aside a period of time each day to check in with yourself. You could meditate, journal, practice yoga, create a gratitude list or host your own dance party. This activity can be done in as little as five minutes, but it’s helpful to do it every day so it becomes a healthy habit.
When it comes to Valentine’s Day, treat it as a day to express gratitude, learn something new, pamper yourself, or maybe all of the above. Order dinner in, plan a walk, snuggle with your kitty, read a book, bake cookies, teach yourself a new skill (knitting?), or take an online class.
Even if you feel lonely, you don't have to be alone in your actions. Studies have shown that acts of gratitude can help us feel more positive and have stronger relationships. Consider buying the person in line behind you at Starbucks a coffee, smile at the grocery store clerk, or reach out to a loved one for a little support. If your feelings of loneliness don’t go away or feel unbearable, or if you are feeling anxious or depressed, contact us at email@example.com.
Love Yourself a little More this Month: A Few Tips for Improving Self-Confidence February is often consider the month of love, yet we are not always loving or compassionate toward ourselves. Below are a few acts of self-efficacy (trusting your own capacity for judgment, and belief in your own abilities and personal qualities) you can take to improve self-confidence and increase self-love.
Practice self-compassion. Remember that no human is perfect. Some people hold themselves to higher standards than they do other people, forgetting that they too can and will make mistakes. A part of this is acknowledging your mistakes and failures and remembering your capacity to forgive yourself for them as you do other people's mistakes.
Limit how often you judge yourself. Regulate how long you either think about your perceived negative traits or even actively put yourself down mentally or verbally. Self improvement can be a wonderful thing, though it can be detrimental to your self-confidence to only focus on your faults instead of prioritizing taking steps to avoid repeating behaviors you do not like.
Enter a cycle of self-care. Taking risks to improve your situation can come from increased self-confidence. An increased self-confidence can also lead to taking risks to improve your situation. If you are not already in this cycle, take steps to put yourself into it by actively caring for yourself.
Scan Your Body for Calm A body scan is a technique that focuses on different parts of your body, where you move your attention progressively from head to toe (or toe to head) and brings your awareness into your physical sensations. A 2-3 minute body scan can help you: