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Man sweeps snow off a car's windshield.

Digging Out: Emotionally

We’ve weathered an intense series of storms; a seemingly endless cycle of too much wind, rain, and snow. 

And while winter is known as a tough time of year, this year has felt especially challenging. From power outages to snow cancellations to days of rain and flooding to higher food prices and service delays … it’s okay to say, things feel hard right now. They are hard.

It’s normal to feel tired and overwhelmed. It’s normal to feel like you can’t fathom another day of snow removal. It’s normal to Zillow houses in Maui and dream about a warmer place to live. 

Importantly though, you must also remember to keep taking care of yourself. 

Do something you enjoy, check in with friends and family, take a hot bath. Try a meditation app or a gratitude tracker. Or if that feels unattainable — go back to the basics — eat well, drink water, and get some sleep.

Coping with stress in a positive way is known as resilience. Some people are naturally more resilient than others, but if you aren't as hardy as you'd like to be, you can develop skills to become more resilient:

  • Connect - build strong, positive relationships with loved ones, friends, and neighbors.
  • Set a goal each day - do something that gives you a sense of accomplishment.
  • Learn from experience - think of how you've coped with hardships in the past.
  • Harness hope - you can't change the past, but you can always look toward the future.
  • Be proactive - figure out what needs to be done, make a plan, and take action.
  • Take care of yourself - focus on eating whole, nutrient-rich foods, drinking plenty of water, and prioritizing sleep.

Winter is not over, but we do have a much needed break in front of us. Take the time to pat yourself on the back and regroup — we can do hard things and learn from and weather these storms.

Kelly Vial is a Family Nurse Practitioner with Barton Family Medicine. For information, including support and local resources, regarding mental health, visit BartonHealth.org/MentalHealth.