Tag Archives: Stigma

Holiday Wellness Toolkit: Take Action for Self-Care

  • Take Action for Self-Care #1. Check-in with others and get support when needed
  • Take Action for Self-Care #2. Listen to Music.
  • Take Action for Self-Care #3. Complete a Self-Care Assessment.
  • Take Action for Self-Care #4. How will you take action for mental health in 2023? Make time for self-care. Check-in with friends and family more often. Learn more about mental health and support options in community. Get support when needed.
  • Take Action for Self-Care #4. Are there ways that you can show gratitude to others by passing on kindness or joy?
  • Take Action for Self-Care #6. Practice mindful breathing once a day.

The holiday season is full of many colors, from cheerful reds and golds, to more calming tones, and somber hues. It is the multitude of colors that creates the special beauty of the season. This time of the year is an opportunity to celebrate and to acknowledge that not everyone feels festive. We can demonstrate the spirit of the season with kindness, generosity, and love by checking in with ourselves and others.  

It’s OK to not be happy. The holiday season is full of sights and sounds that can trigger symptoms of trauma, feelings of sadness, guilt, and shame because they are reminders of loss or vital things we do not have. When it seems like everyone else is swimming in joyful abundance, the contrast with how we are feeling can sharpen the pain. Even if we are fortunate enough to live in a comfortable home and be surrounded by helpful family, the increased presence of more intense socializing can cause anxiety.  

If you are feeling sadness or anger, ask yourself “what helps and what hurts”? Give a name to the things that trigger hard feelings and some thought to what makes you feel better. Simple things that can be found in everyday life are best, like taking a walk or ride outside, reading a favorite book, watching a beloved movie, or practicing deep breathing. If your feelings are overwhelming, you are not alone. It’s OK to reach out to someone you trust.  

It’s also OK to be happy. Rejoice in these feelings and cultivate gratitude that you can feel them. Whatever you may have been through this year, you do deserve to celebrate and feel good. However, practicing balance and self-care is just as important when you are happy. Nothing will spoil feelings of happiness like overdoing it. Incorporate movement every day, and get enough rest. If possible, reserve some quiet time for mindfulness practices, like deep breathing, and reflection.   

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BHRS’ ODE Internship Program – Deadline 5/13

The BHRS Office of Diversity and Equity (ODE) advances health equity in behavioral health outcomes of marginalized communities throughout San Mateo County. ODE is dedicated to addressing health inequities and stigma in the areas of mental health and substance use and supporting wellness and recovery in San Mateo County. ODE works to achieve these goals by promoting cultural humility and competence, which are rooted in principles of
social justice. To learn more about BHRS ODE’s work, visit www.smchealth.org/bhrs/ODE.

More information about the internship in the application below.

Join the Diversity and Equity Council!

The Diversity and Equity Council (DEC) works to ensure that topics concerning diversity, health disparities, stigma reduction, and health equity are reflected in the work of San Mateo County’s mental health and substance use services. The DEC is open to BHRS staff, contracted providers, community members, and encourages participation of consumers/clients/family members by providing stipends or honorariums for ongoing participation.  

Over the past year, the DEC in collaboration with community partners hosted a series of Town Halls on Race & COVID-19 to share county efforts and hear from community voices about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. This information was used to identify priorities and it was shared to inform the County’s larger recovery plan. Starting in 2022 the DEC will be focusing on implementing a strategic plan that supports continued collaboration with BHRS​, Health Equity Initiatives, Community-Based Organizations, and the community at large.  

We invite you to join us! The DEC meets virtually every first Friday of the month from 11-12:30pm. For meeting details and more information please contact DEC Co-chairs Brenda Nuñez at brenda.nunez@star-vista.org or Frances Lobos at flobos@smcgov.org.

Writen by Frances Lobos & Brenda Nuñez, DEC Co-Chairs

Take Action for Self-Care #6: Being Gentle with Ourselves 

This message is repeated in Spanish below. 

Being gentle with oneself by setting boundaries and limits that support our mental health may be the most important self-care of all, especially with the fatigue and exhaustion we are all experiencing from the seemingly never-ending pandemic. As author Brianna Wiest says: “Self-care should not be something we resort to because we are so absolutely exhausted that we need some reprieve from our own relentless internal pressure. True self-care is not salt baths and chocolate cake, it is making the choice to build a life you don’t need to regularly escape from.” 

Most of us experience any number of emotions from day to day. Experiencing negative emotions, especially when under stress, is part of the human experience; however, if left unprocessed or unacknowledged, they can cause harm physically and emotionally.  

Research has found that breathing practices are effective at reducing stress, balancing our energy and emotions, and helping us process some of the more challenging feelings that can arise. Starting with small actions can be a good way to begin incorporating breathing into our self-care routine.   

For example, try out one of the breathing exercises below or mindful breathing, which has been known to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. 

Belly Breathing: When you breathe, your belly should expand, involving your diaphragm, a large muscle in your abdomen. This type of breathing is known as diaphragmatic, or belly breathing and can lower stress levels, reduce blood pressure, lower our heart rate, and help us relax. Download, share and watch the 30-second Belly Breathing Animation, which can be found here: https://www.suicideispreventable.org/social-media.php 

4-7-8 Breathing Technique 

Otherwise known as “relaxing breath”, 4-7-8 breathing, is a simple breathing exercise that can be done anywhere, anytime to aid in stress reduction, grounding, and even sleep. Inhale for a count of 7, hold for a county of 4, and then exhale for a count of 8!  Download and share the 4-7-8 Breathing Card and Social Media post which can be found here.

For 24/7 emotional support for you or your loved one, reach out to these resources: 


Tomar acción para el autocuidado #6: Ser gentil con nosotros mismos 

Ser amable con uno mismo estableciendo límites que apoyen nuestra salud mental puede ser el cuidado personal más importante de todos, especialmente con la fatiga y el agotamiento que todos estamos experimentando debido a la aparentemente interminable pandemia. Como dice la autora Brianna Wiest: “El cuidado personal no debería ser algo a lo que recurramos porque estamos tan absolutamente agotados que necesitamos un respiro de nuestra propia presión interna implacable. El verdadero cuidado personal no consiste en baños de sal y pastel de chocolate, es tomar la decisión de construir una vida de la que no es necesario escapar con regularidad “. 

Todos los días, la mayoría de nosotros experimentamos una gran cantidad de emociones. Experimentar emociones negativas, especialmente cuando está bajo estrés, es parte de la experiencia humana; sin embargo, si no se procesan o no se reconocen, pueden causar daño físico y emocional. 

Los estudios han descubierto que las prácticas de respiración son efectivas para reducir el estrés, equilibrar nuestra energía y emociones y ayudarnos a procesar algunos de los sentimientos más desafiantes que pueden surgir. Comenzar con pequeñas acciones puede ser una buena forma de comenzar a incorporar la respiración en nuestra rutina de cuidado personal.  

Por ejemplo, pruebe el ejercicio de respiración a continuación o la respiración plena, que reduce la sensación de estrés y ansiedad. 

4-7-8 Técnica de respiración 

También conocido como “respiración relajante”, respiración 4-7-8, es un ejercicio de respiración simple que se puede hacer en cualquier lugar, en cualquier momento para ayudar a reducir el estrés, conectarse a tierra e incluso dormir. Inhala contando hasta 7, mantén pulsado para un conteo de 4 y luego exhala para un conteo de 8. Descargue y comparta la tarjeta de respiración 4-7-8 y la publicación en las redes sociales que se pueden encontrar aquí

Para obtener apoyo emocional las 24 horas del día, los 7 días de la semana para usted o su ser querido, comuníquese con estos recursos

Take Action for Self-Care #5: The Art of Gratitude 

This message is repeated in Spanish below. 

Making time for self-care isn’t easy, especially when we’re busy and overwhelmed with many concerns such as work, school and the ongoing pandemic.  Mindfulness can be a first step for anyone who struggles with self-care. While there is a very deep body of work to be explored and practiced for those who are interested (like Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) experimenting with mindfulness is available to anyone.  

A good place to start is to consciously shift our awareness to the smallest moments of joy we experience -a good laugh, a friendly hello, or feeling touched by a kind word or gesture. Research has found that small moments of positivity can accumulate over time and form new pathways in our brain. As a result, feelings of positivity and gratitude become easier the more we experience them. 

Another starting point is to think about someone or something we are grateful for. The ways we show and practice gratitude can differ based on our culture, background, upbringing, and personalities. “Connective gratitude” is practiced in various cultures and occurs when we show gratitude in a meaningful and personalized way, thinking about how we can pass kindness to others. Though not the answer in every situation, gratitude can bring us closer together, giving us hope as we focus on something, or someone, that is going well. 

Practicing gratitude is an important skill that can strengthen our relationships, and relationships are an important part of our self-care practice. This Self-Care Assessment asks us to think about our relationships.  Do you schedule regular activity with your partner/spouse or your children? Do you make time to see friends? Do you stay in contact with relatives and faraway friends? Allow others to do things for you? Do you ask for help when you need it? 

With all this in mind, the Directing Change Program asked youth to reflect on “the Art of Gratitude” through art, film and narrative in November 2021.  We hope you will take a moment to draw inspiration from their creativity. 

For 24/7 emotional support for you or your loved one, reach out to these resources: 

Tomar acción para el autocuidado #5: ¿De que estas agradecido? 

Hacer tiempo para el cuidado personal no es fácil, especialmente cuando estamos ocupados y abrumados por muchas preocupaciones, como el trabajo, la escuela y la pandemia en curso. La atención plena basada el presente puede ser un primer paso fácil para cualquier persona que tenga dificultades con el cuidado personal. Hay un cuerpo de trabajo extenso para explorar y practicar para aquellos que estén interesados ​​(como la Reducción del estrés basada en la atención plena). Experimentar con la atención plena es fácil y está disponible para cualquier persona. 

Un buen lugar para comenzar es conscientemente enfocar nuestra atención a los momentos más pequeños de alegría que experimentamos: una buena risa, un saludo amistoso o el sentimiento que resulta al recibir una palabra o un gesto amable. Los estudios han encontrado que los momentos pequeños de positividad pueden acumularse con el tiempo y formar nuevas vías en nuestro cerebro. Como resultado, los sentimientos de positividad y gratitud se vuelven más fáciles cuanto más los experimentamos. 

Otra manera para comenzar es pensar en alguien o en algo por lo que estamos agradecidos. Las formas en que mostramos y practicamos la gratitud pueden diferir según nuestra cultura, antecedentes, educación y personalidades. La “gratitud conectiva” se practica en varias culturas y ocurre cuando mostramos gratitud de una manera significativa y personalizada, pensando en cómo podemos transmitir bondad a los demás. Aunque no es la respuesta en todas las situaciones, la gratitud puede acercarnos más, dándonos esperanza mientras nos enfocamos en algo, o alguien, que nos va bien. 

Practicar la gratitud es una habilidad importante que puede fortalecer nuestras relaciones, puesto que las relaciones son una parte importante de nuestra práctica de cuidado personal. En el asesoramiento de autocuidado que se encuentra adjunto nos pide que pensemos en nuestras relaciones. ¿Programa actividades regulares con su pareja / cónyuge o sus hijos? ¿Toma tiempo para ver a sus amigos? ¿Mantiene contacto con familiares y amigos lejanos? ¿Permite que otros hagan cosas por usted? ¿Pide ayuda cuando la necesita? 

Con todo esto en mente, el Programa Directing Change pidió a los jóvenes que reflexionaran sobre la pregunta “¿De que estas agradecido?” a través del arte, video o películas y la narrativa en noviembre del 2021. Le pedimos que tome un momento para inspirarse de la creatividad de estos jóvenes. 

Para obtener apoyo emocional las 24 horas del día, los 7 días de la semana para usted o su ser querido, comuníquese con estos recursos

Take Action for Self-Care #4: Check-in, Learn More & Get Support 

This message is repeated in Spanish below. 

What are your hopes for 2022? With the ongoing pandemic, we may have had to adapt what our goals are or how we go about achieving them. An important goal to continue pursuing is to take action for your mental health.  

One thing to place at the top of the resolution list is making time for self-care. Taking the time to intentionally care for our whole self – body, mind and soul – can keep us energized and mentally well in 2022.  Self-care creates wellness not only for oneself but for the whole community around us.  

And remember, real self-care has very little to do with “treating yourself” and a whole lot do with making choices for our long-term wellness every single day. Real self-care is about building habits that support our health and well-being. It’s making choices about where and how we spend our precious energy and time.  

Here are some examples of some actions you can take:  

  • Make time for self-care 
  • Check-in with friends and family more often 
  • Learn more about mental health, self-care practices, and support options available in your community 
  • Get support when needed and remember:  You are not alone 

For 24/7 emotional support for you or your loved one, reach out to these resources: 

Tomar acción para el autocuidado #4: regístrese/comuníquese, aprenda más y busque ayuda. 

¿Qué esperan para el 2022? Con la pandemia en curso, es posible que hayamos tenido que adaptar cuáles son nuestros objetivos o cómo vamos a lograrlos. Un objetivo importante que debe seguir persiguiendo es tomar medidas para proteger su salud mental. 

Lo primero en la lista de resoluciones debería ser él hacer tiempo para el cuidado personal. Tomar el tiempo para cuidar intencionalmente de todo nuestro ser (cuerpo, mente y alma) puede mantenernos con energía y mentalmente bien en el 2022. El cuidado personal crea bienestar no solo para uno mismo sino para toda la comunidad que nos rodea. 

Y recuerde, el verdadero cuidado personal tiene muy poco que ver con “darse un gusto” y mucho con tomar decisiones para nuestro bienestar a largo plazo todos los días. El verdadero cuidado personal consiste en desarrollar hábitos que respalden nuestra salud y bienestar. Se trata de tomar decisiones sobre dónde y cómo gastamos nuestra preciada energía y nuestro tiempo. 

A continuación, se muestran algunos ejemplos de algunas acciones que puede hacer: 

  • Tómese un tiempo para el cuidado personal 
  • Comuníquese con amigos y familiares con más frecuencia 
  • Obtenga más información sobre la salud mental, las prácticas de autocuidado y las opciones de apoyo disponibles en su comunidad 
  • Obtenga apoyo cuando lo necesite y recuerde: no está solo 

Para obtener apoyo emocional las 24 horas del día, los 7 días de la semana para usted o su ser querido, comuníquese con estos recursos

Take Action for Self-Care Challenge #3:  Complete a Self-Care Assessment.   

This message is repeated in Spanish below. 

As we wrap up one year and begin another, it is time to pause and remember to make time for self-care, not as an afterthought or a reward for checking items off on our to do list, but as a fundamental part of our daily routine. With the news of fast spreading Omicron variant sending us on yet another emotional roller coaster ride, it is more important than ever to prioritize self-care.  

Even the most passionate and committed people can become overwhelmed by a job, career or activity which they previously derived much of their purpose and fulfillment from.  It can happen as the things that once inspired passion and enthusiasm are overshadowed by feeling run down and drained of physical or emotional energy. Maybe we notice that we have been harder and less sympathetic with people around us; maybe we have less patience and are more easily irritated by small problems; or maybe we don’t have the energy reserves to manage and bounce back from the larger problems. 

With not enough time to do the things we need to get done, in our job and our personal lives, how can we possibly add something else into the mix? Self-care isn’t always adding something to our life but subtracting something can be powerful too. It is a critical part of the process of getting everything else done because it helps prevent burnout, reduces the negative effects of stress, and helps with focus and overall well-being.  

In general, self-care falls into these domains: physical, emotional, spiritual, relationship, workplace/professional and overall balance.  

self-care assessment can be downloaded from the University of Buffalo School of Social Work and their website offers a wide range of self-care tools and resources. 

For 24/7 emotional support for you or your loved one, reach out to these resources: 

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