By Darren Carter, MS, M.Ed., LAPC, NCC
Many different things happen this time of the year that can add additional stress to our lives. The kids are back in school and adjusting to a new schedule. The weather is getting colder, so we’re spending less time outdoors. You may be thinking ahead to holiday plans, and work can get busy.
October is Emotional Wellness Month. This is a good reminder to do an internal check-in. Ask yourself, “How am I doing?”
Emotional wellness is like the maintenance needed for a vehicle to run smoothly. If you are like me, you rely on your vehicle almost every day. Imagine if you never got an oil change or ignored the check engine light when it came on. What would happen if you never changed your vehicle’s tires or never filled the tank when the low fuel light comes on? It probably would not function for very long.
Emotional wellness is the filling of the gas, the changing of the tires and oil, and the proper maintenance that we need in order to continue being productive and effective in all our different roles in life.
Emotional wellness includes being attuned to our thoughts and feelings and expressing them in a meaningful way. Instead of bottling up our emotions and thoughts, it is important and healthy to share your ideas and emotional experiences with others. Emotional wellness also includes being connected with others.
As humans, we have a fundamental need for connection and belonging. When we share our thoughts and feelings with others in a respectful manner, and others do so in return to us, we begin to foster emotional connections. You can find connection in your spouse or partner, family, friends, coworkers, community, church, clubs or organization, and just about anywhere you look. It does, however, require being brave and allowing yourself to be vulnerable to share your experiences with others in meaningful ways.
Emotional wellness also includes taking time for yourself to do the things you enjoy. Reading, physical exercise, self-reflection, journaling, or watching an episode of an interesting TV series are good examples of self-care. You may also enjoy crafting, working on a trade, or improving a skill, such as cooking. Self-care is important for our emotional well-being because it helps us feel restored and rejuvenated. These activities are not just good self-care habits, they can also be an effective way to cope with stress.
Is your emotional wellness “tank” low? Perhaps the best way to begin your journey to more fulfilled emotional wellness is more connection and better self-care. Allow yourself to be connected to others, share your thoughts and feelings respectfully, and make time for yourself to do things you enjoy.
Monitoring our emotional wellness is a lifelong task. Remember to treat yourself well. By doing so, my hope is that you will find more enjoyment in all your roles in life.
To speak to a Village counselor about your emotional wellness, call 800-627-8220 or request an appointment online.