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The Mins and the Sun

Historically, our lives have been ruled by the seasons. Whether it is the winter or the monsoon, there has often been a requirement for us to stay indoors. In our current day and age, we have been dealing with a pandemic that has kept us indoors or physically distanced from those around us. With the presence of the vaccines that provide resistance but not absolute immunity, we are finding ourselves at this time of the year seeking to go back outside. Whether it is the revitalizing elements of sunlight, or the need for some form of social contact while still maintaining physical distance, people are feeling the need to get out. 

Given the events of the pandemic in this last year, one of the difficulties that has been evident for a portion of our society is the need for strong social contact. These extroverts have been dealing with a depression while we’ve all had to stay indoors for our safety. And now at this time, the option of going to the beach, spending more time in national/state parks, and just being out at street fairs or community events, is a solution to this feeling of depression.  This will require a balancing of the need for social contact and the practical risk assessments that come with it. We are social beings who need a certain degree of social contact to maintain our sense of self. The opportunities now arising to spend time at these locations and events fulfills that need for us to be social beings. 

At the same time, we don’t want to forget that there are those who are perfectly fine with the state we have been in. And additionally, the pandemic has demonstrated that we are capable of providing those of us with accessibility issues to have a full life as well. So while we are now able to fulfill those who need a more social environment, at the same time, we can also provide for those whose accessibility has been proven effective and who have experienced positive mental growth during this pandemic. The issue of depression is not our only concern. We also want to create accessibility that will be comfortable to the beach, to the parks, to the community events, for those that have kept the world going during this last year.

This last year has revealed many things about the makeup of our societies, ourselves, and the nature and needs of mental health. One of those has been our need for social connection. Another has been the need to be out in public spaces, in the sunlight. Just as much as those who have thrived in this last year are just as important. Each of these environments has an effect on who and how we are in the world. Recognizing the mental health impact of these things is something that a mental health professional can and will take into account. We endeavor to help through this last year, but also in the time that’s coming, as we take stock of what it means for us to return to the outside with a more acceptable risk. But understand that the events of the pandemic are a part of us and cannot just be wiped away with a sunny day. They still linger and they may still come back, so maintaining your mental health, with or without the aid of a professional, is important. But that doesn’t mean you can’t go out and get some sand between your toes.