The pandemic has caused me to think a lot about the basics; about the "staples" in my life. As an adult, I've always lived within walking distance of a grocery store. I never gave much thought to making sure I was stocked up on flour, sugar, eggs, and milk until COVID-19 kept me from entering a grocery store for more than two months. Suddenly, I'm acutely aware of the things that I took for granted, but count on, my kitchen.
The same is true for my mental health. If I think of my mood and outlook as a "pantry," what do I need to fill it with to fight against the worry and soul-weariness that comes from living through this moment in time? The stuff might seem basic in such an extraordinary moment, but really they are staples; tools that can be used in a variety of ways for a variety of purposes. My staples are listening to music, finding something to laugh at, working with color, and escaping the present moment with a good story. If I stock up on these things, I don't feel as deprived as the isolation might otherwise make me feel. I'm talking about small acts in the moments we have. These are not revolutionary self-care activities; they are basic ones. But they are my staples; if I put them in the mix, if I keep them around, I know I am going to have what I need to get through a day or a meal.
What are your staples? Do you have what you need to brighten these days? What would you add to the mix and how can you do so?
It's easy to take for granted the basics, but when you return to them you realize how much use you can get out of them. My staples are what I depend on to help me bake a batch of cookies, or just get through my day.
Tara Redepenning, LMHC, earned her master’s degree in mental health counseling and expressive arts therapy from Lesley University. She is experienced in working with adolescents and adults in school-based, crisis, and community settings. Tara brings a holistic approach to her work using psychodynamic theory, cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness-based strategies, and stress reduction techniques.
Thank you for your interest in our Monday Mental Health Moment. Join our mailing list for a weekly newsletter on various mental health topics, and information about upcoming groups or workshops. We promise no spam!