October 28th, 2020

Tips for enjoying summer despite the pandemic


By Submitted Article on August 12, 2020.

Michelle Sauve

ALBERTA HEALTH SERVICES

Summers in southern Alberta are amazing! We have so many parks, trails and points of interest packed into our part of the province. This year, though, summer may look a little (or a lot) different for some of us.

If you have been sticking closer to home and are looking for things to do, the AHS – Central Zone Addiction Prevention and Mental Health Promotion Team has developed some wonderful summer tips to try! You can find these helpful tips on the SPARC Red Deer social media accounts including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. The posts are evidence-based and focus on ways to build resilience and promote positive physical and mental health. (SPARC stands for Strengthening Positive Assets and Resiliency in Communities.)

There are simple suggestions for ways to add a bit more intention to our cozy campfires, family bike rides, game nights and more! The posts include ideas that foster mindfulness, share how to fuel and move our bodies, expand our minds, and support the healthy growth and development of children and youth.

A favourite of mine is the post about family gardening and mindfulness. It suggests we should “Slow down and appreciate nature. Take a few breaths, notice the smells, feel the soil between your fingers, and smile.” If you are a gardener, you will likely connect with this! Another one that reminded me of a time when my children were young is a post about family walks. “Lie down on the grass and look up at the sky. Notice the shapes of clouds, how they change and the constant movement. Our mind is like the sky and our thoughts like the clouds, always changing.” I still like to gaze at the sky, day or night!

Just a reminder that a family is “two or more individuals who depend on one another for emotional, physical and economical support” as defined in the “Simple Connections, Stronger Families” toolkit. You can find this resource on the Alberta Health Services website. The toolkit is including colouring pages, activities, handouts, and more. Check it out, too!

There are also many excellent resources specific to the pandemic available to Albertans at the AHS Website. There is “Healthy Together, your guide to family and home life during COVID-19” which shares a daily story about how families can be healthy, active and safe in these changing times. You can also find a YouTube video series called “Mental Wellness Moments” with Dr. Nicholas Mitchell, AHS Provincial Medical Director for Addiction and Mental Health.

These short, helpful segments offer information on how to care for ourselves during the pandemic. I appreciated the video “Getting the news without being overwhelmed by it”! There is even a texting support program called “Text4Hope” that sends daily messages of advice and encouragement to the subscriber. These texts are helpful in developing healthy personal coping skills and resiliency. There is no cost. Just text COVID19HOPE to 393939 to subscribe.

Michelle Sauve is a Health Promotion Facilitator with Alberta Health Services. She can be reached by e-mail, michelle.sauve@ahs.ca.

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