Rockin’ and Talkin’ with the Clinton Seniors’ Association

Despite short days, February might be the sweetest month

February, when the days of winter seem endless and no amount of wistful recollecting can bring back any air of summer.

Shirley Jackson

When I was searching online for suitable quotes for February, I was surprised by the number that had negative connotations, referring to February as dark and gloomy, solely in winter, not even on the cusp of spring, good thing it was a short month, etc.

It was difficult to find a positive, uplifting quote that described February, which is Black History Month, and there are special days in February, such as Groundhog Day on Feb. 2. Some day I must find out when and who initiated that designation. There’s Family Day on Feb. 17, happening here as well as in four other provinces: Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, and New Brunswick. Nova Scotia calls it Heritage Day, PEI calls it Islander Day, and Manitoba refers to it as Louis Riel Day.

On Feb. 15 Canadians celebrate National Flag Day, while Feb. 14 has long been known as Valentine’s Day. Traditionally, on Valentine’s Day individuals gift each other with chocolates and heart-shaped confections and other expressions of love. So while February is called the darkest month, it may also well be called the sweetest.

Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 26. It’s very likely that St. Peter’s Parish in Clinton will host their annual Pancake Breakfast the day before: Shrove Tuesday, Feb. 25. Watch for posters.

For some people the grey, gloomy days of February will trigger a response in behaviour, with mood swings and depression being most common. I had a daughter who spent most of her high school years matching her behaviour to the weather.

If it was raining when she woke up in the morning she went to school in a bad mood. To this day, poor weather and lack of sunshine affect her approach to life.

Today we’re hearing increasing concern about mental health issues. “Mental health” and “mental illness” are used as if they mean the same thing, but they do not. When we talk about mental health, we’re talking about our well-being, our emotions, our thoughts and feelings, our ability to solve problems and overcome difficulties, our social conditions, and our understanding of the world around us.

Mental illness affects the way people think, feel, behave, or interact with others. There are many different mental illnesses, and they have different symptoms that impact peoples’ lives in different ways.

People may have poor mental health without having a mental illness. We all have days when we feel a bit down or stressed out, or overwhelmed by something in our lives. An important part of good mental health is the ability to look at these problems or concerns realistically.

Good mental health isn’t about feeling happy and confident all the time and ignoring problems; it’s about living and coping well despite these problems.

Mental health is a part of everyone’s life. Understanding this link between your mind and your body is the first step in developing self-management strategies that will help you live your best life.

Seeking help will allow you to better understand your symptoms and yourself. Mental health issues manifest themselves in many ways and are called many things: depression, anxiety, insecurity, low self esteem, fears, and phobias. Here are some tips to help you cope:

1. Avoid self-criticism and treat yourself with kindness

2. Learn to deal with stress: try exercises, meditation, a hobby, or keeping a journal

3. Set a realistic goal: don’t over-commit yourself

4. Take care of your body: eat nutritious meals, be active, and avoid tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs

5. Develop social ties: family and friends can provide support

6. Get help when you need it: seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness

The next Clinton Seniors lunch will be Thursday, Feb. 6 at the Gold Mountain restaurant (if they have reopened), otherwise it will be at the Cariboo Lodge Pub.

The next regular meeting of the Clinton Seniors’ Association is on Thursday, Feb. 20 following lunch at the Clinton Seniors’ Centre at 217 Smith Avenue. New members are always welcome!

March 11 is the date set for the Daffodil tea. Age-old question: will we have daffodils? Hopefully Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island growers will be able to supply us. At the moment all planted fields west of Hope are under snow!

Happy Birthday to Catherine Marcoux on Feb. 16 and Isabel Haining on Feb. 27.

Age happens. No matter how much money you spend in damage control, how healthy you eat, or what vitamins you take, age—happens.

Anne Keys, from The Grandma Chronicles

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