This is your reminder to give yourself a break!
It's been *a bit* of a year for all of us. And if you've felt especially stressed or anxious amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, you're not alone. Living in Western Washington, there are an abundance of ways we can take a moment to take care of ourselves -- utilizing everything from art, to acupuncture, to the beauty of the Pacific Northwest itself. Keep reading to learn about some ways to manage our mental health and remember -- we're all in this together!
If you or anyone you know is struggling or in need of support, find a list of free mental health resources here: Local and national mental health resources for free and confidential support
1. Reduce stress & anxiety with affordable acupuncture
Acupuncture has shown positive effects for thousands of years, and The Pin Cushion in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood is designed to make it more affordable and accessible for everyone. They treat patients in a communal space rather than in separate rooms, allowing the small business to offer a sliding fee model, limiting prices to $35 - $55 per visit. READ MORE: Team Evening tries acupuncture to relieve stress and anxiety
2. Help end the stigma by talking openly about your struggles
One voice speaking clearly and widely on the subject of mental health is Lily Cornell Silver, a 20-year-old Seattleite, musician and college student who also is the daughter of the late Chris Cornell. She inspires us to speak openly about destigmatizing mental health in her interview series called Mind Wide Open, viewable on IGTV, YouTube and her website. READ MORE: Lily Cornell Silver shines light on mental health awareness
3. Self-care with Coping Cookies
Ashley Hernandez and Sam Padilla run Coping Cookies - a cookie business that began as a bake sale benefitting Ashley's coworkers. The small shop specializing in BIG cookies gets its name from Ashley's mental health background. She works in a local hospital's psychiatric ward, and mental health is a huge part of their business. Along with baking delicious cookies, Ashley and Sam use Instagram to educate their customers about mental heath. READ MORE: These cookies help spread mental health awareness
4. Utilize art as therapy
In the colorful collages of Lydia Selk you'll often see glamorous icons from a golden age besieged by swarming geometric forms. It's her artistic way to tamp down her anxiety. With an Exacto knife and glue, she cuts and pastes her way through troubling times. You can see more of her collages on her Instagram Page. READ MORE: Puyallup woman uses art to tamp down anxiety
5. Take in the beauty of the NW by 'Forest Bathing'
'Forest Bathing' or 'Shinrin-Yoku' was developed in Japan in the 1980s and is an actual healthcare practice in Japanese medicine. A prescription with no co-pay that lowers blood pressure and raises immunity. An antidote to a stressful life. All about connecting with mother nature, these guided tours held by Coastal Bliss Adventures in Cowichan, B.C. are more than just a walk in the woods. "It is about engaging your senses, being in the moment,” explained hiking guide Georgia Newsome. READ MORE: Forest Bathing in Cowichan is more than a walk in the woods
6. Visit Animals as Natural Therapy
When 17-year-old Jalyssa Powell first attended Animals as Natural Therapy, she admits to being skeptical. But after three sessions, she could see and feel the difference. Based in Bellingham, the nonprofit uses horses and mental health counselors to deliver mental and behavioral health programming for kids and adults. READ MORE: Bellingham farm offers life-changing encounters with animals
7. Match with your perfect counselor online
What if finding the perfect therapist could be as simple as swiping right? Portland-based Mental Health Match is a free online service now finding help for people all across the country. Built on years of research, the matching tool finds licensed therapists near you who are best suited to your needs.
8. Reflect on your own experiences
Seattle cartoonist and author Ellen Forney's memoir "Marbles" and self-help book "Rock Steady: Brilliant Advice From My Bipolar Life" give insight and advice about managing mental health through self-care and routines. Her goal is to help people find actionable ways to manage a myriad of problems, from bipolar disorder to anxiety. READ MORE: Seattle cartoonist is helping people find ways to cope during stressful times
9. Follow these tips from a therapist to make your mental health a priority
Ashley McGirt is a licensed mental health therapist in Seattle, with expertise in racial trauma. She shared eight tips anyone can use to improve their daily lives through self-care and mental health management.