Community outlook: Shannon Zoffka

Shannon Zoffka

2020 has been a year like no other for all of us. Tama County has been faced with a virus that has touched the lives of many and a derecho that damaged so many of our homes and towns. With World Mental Health Day on October 10, it is only right to ask, how often do we take time to care for ourselves, especially with so much going on around us? The affects of COVID 19 are everywhere. We have had to change how we work, go to school, get groceries and interact. Not only has it forced us to change our activities, it has affected finances, businesses, weddings, funerals, socializing and even exercising. There isn’t much it hasn’t changed. Some of us have personal experience with the illness; some of us have suffered the loss of a loved one due to COVID. Many of us cannot visit our loved ones in nursing homes. Then there is the difference in opinions within communities and the anger that boils over because of this. All these pieces come together to make stress, anxiety and depression another factor in this pandemic. On August 10, we had a derecho hit our county and surrounding area. The affects of this storm are also far reaching. The trauma and stress from damages and financial implications only add to the stress of 2020. Have we even had a chance to stop and acknowledge we have been through a lot, all of us? Have we had a chance to recognize the stress COVID and the derecho have caused in our lives? Now is as good a time as any to recognize we need to practice self care and recognize the importance of World Mental Health Day. How can you find time for yourself with all this going on? Here are some simple ways to take care of you: •Make sure you are meeting your basic needs: get a good night’s sleep, eat healthy and drink plenty of water •Take that nap! •Get moving: take a walk or go for a bike ride •Spend time outdoors, fresh air, vitamin D from the sun and nature are all important in stress relief •Connect with friends by phone •Decrease screen time If you feel you need help with mental health concerns, you should take time to call your medical provider to schedule an appointment. Take care of yourself and your loved ones and be kind, we need more of that right now, we are in this together! Shannon Zoffka is the Director of Tama County Public Health. She can be reached at 641-484-4788.