December 2020: President’s Note

As 2020 enters it’s final phase, barreling into the holiday season, we first have the opportunity to reflect on what we are thankful for over the past year. This may come as a challenge to some.

We don’t have to review the economic, political, health, and personal battles that we’ve all faced over the last ten months or so in this newsletter. Instead, let’s acknowledge that 2020 has been incredibly draining on all of us. Our mental health has taken an unprecedented toll.

I have personally felt overwhelmed, directionless, and hopeless this year and at some previous times in my life. I know the downward spiral. I know when I’m falling into one, and I know how to start the upward climb again. Battling previous bouts of depression and enlisting resources to help me recuperate did not come easy. But acknowledging that I needed help was the first step.

There are resources out there for folks who are struggling mentally. Your employer may have an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and often these are offered at little to no cost to the user. I’ve used one a couple of times. My primary doctor was also very supportive and really pushed me into seeking additional help. There are many online resources for addressing mental health challenges. Don’t be afraid to type one into your search bar. My personal favorite therapy is getting outside. I can’t wait to strap on the cross-country skis again (come on snow!). I also find huge gratification in completing small projects. Building something, reorganizing spaces in my home, nurturing plats, or remodeling small spaces. I’m almost done with a minor kitchen remodel right now. Just paint and some small upgrades. Enjoying the fruits of my work and seeing the project finished is a huge confidence boost and gives me great satisfaction. I’ve learned not to go too big though because not being able to complete a big project can actually have the opposite effects. Find ways to create small wins. So if you’re in a funk and unsure how to get out of can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, know you’re not alone. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Know that it’s going to get better. Once it does, reflect back on what triggered the slide and ask yourself what you can do to lessen that feeling in the future. Trust me, I’ve ridden that roller coaster so much. But it’s just a loop and you get on and get off. Highs and lows. And I’m not the only one on it.

Happy Holiday’s everyone. We’re all in this together. Reach out to me personally if you’d like, even. Best Regards, Joe.

Joe Schiff, DSTA President

Read the full Nov/Dec 2020 Newsletter here