By Linda Quon

Lately I’ve been feeling anxious about the world. I’ve been avoiding the “right swipe” on my phone because I’m afraid to find more tragic headlines. When I start my car, I brace myself for the latest radio news. Another mass shooting? Another natural Disaster? More political divisiveness? The recent mass shootings in Odessa and El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio have me feeling helpless and hopeless.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what grounds me during sad and stressful times. One thing is community. Being out-and-about in Central Oregon doesn’t change what’s happening in the world, but it helps remind me that I have much to be grateful for. Most folks in Central Oregon wave, smile or nod in passing. That means a lot to me. Young people hold open doors and wave “thanks” when you stop for them at crosswalks — from Madras and Prineville through Redmond, Bend, Sisters and La Pine. I was born and raised in Southern California and that wasn’t my experience growing up. People are generally nice in Central Oregon and that makes me feel hopeful.

Places to find community…

Sometimes being around the friendly people in my community is just what I need to mind my mind. Even when I’m not feeling especially social, wandering a bit in a welcoming environment feels nice. Here are a few ideas to help us share the last few weeks of summer with our neighbors.

Farmers Markets

A Farmers market feeds my belly and soul. Fresh healthy food. Live music. A sense of community. Local hand-made creations. We still have a few weeks left:

Prineville Crop Farmers Market

Madras Saturday Market

Redmond Saturday Market

Sisters Farmers Market

Bend Farmers Market

Northwest Crossing Farmers Market

Free Live Music Events

There are a few free concerts still on the calendar to help us celebrate the end of the season. Music always lightens my mood and Central Oregon has lots of it! Check listings in local publications and Facebook events. Here are just a few:

Commons Summer Series

La Pine Lions Annual OktoberFest

Open Mics

If you play, sing or write poetry, check out Central Oregon’s Open Mics. Listening ears are also needed to encourage and inspire. You’ll find some true gems at these free music events.

You can find more info about Central Oregon on Google, or you local Central Oregon news outlets including: The Source Weekly, The Bulletin’s Go Magazine, My Central Oregon.

When I’m feeling more than a little blue, I ask for help. Through talking with my counselor and my family and friends, I can usually get through it. Isolation can be a sign of bigger issues, so talking to someone is a start AND, our doctors and primary care providers are a great resource.

Linda Quon is Vice President and Director of Communication at Quon Design and Communication. Linda is working to promote everyday mental health awareness in partnership with Deschutes County Health Services and Central Oregon Health Council — which includes providers and health advocates from Crook, Jefferson, and Deschutes Counties. Linda was born and raised in Southern California and moved to Central Oregon with her husband and two children in 2005. Her mother lived with Schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder and her oldest brother also experienced bi-polar disorder. With support from family, friends, therapists and primary care providers, Linda has been navigating the world of mental illness most of her life — including her own struggles with mild anxiety and depression. Linda is proud to work as an advocate for mental health and a  blogger for Mind Your Mind Central Oregon.