For some, this is a time spent with family and loved ones making new memories and ringing in the new year. The holiday season is one that is highly anticipated and celebrated across cultures. However, this season doesn't always shine brightly for everyone. This can be a time of year where many feel lonesome and disheartened by the holiday cheer around them. Holidays can be difficult for those who have lost loved ones or do not have cherished souls to spend this time with. The holiday season can bring harsh reminders for some and mean great despair for others.
If you are finding yourself feeling lonely and hopeless this holiday season, try these suggestions below to help yourself navigate this difficult time.
1. Structure Your Time
Planning any free time you have can be helpful with powering through those feelings of loneliness and despair. Schedule tasks for each day to help give your mind, body and soul something productive to focus on. When we don't have anything to do, our minds can often run a muck. You know that saying "Idle time is the devil's playground." Well, that can often be true so make sure to plan activities for yourself in order to keep your mind from taking a ride on that nasty roller coaster.
2. Find A Community Event To Attend
Being around others is a great way to fight feelings of grief and loneliness. Many communities offer all kinds of events this time of year, aimed at helping those who might be in need of some support. Church gatherings or volunteering at local food cupboards are great for lifting spirits, including those of others who are also struggling this year. Local organizations offering low cost or free events are also good options for connecting with others and boosting your mood.
3. Keep Hope Alive
Lastly, remember to not give up hope! It can be so easy to slip into dark despair this time of year. Remind yourself that hope can be a very powerful thing! Sometimes hope is the only thing that gets us through. It is possible for things to get better. Where we are now does not necessarily reflect where we will be in the future. Tomorrow is a new day!
Here is a list of free holiday events in the Rochester area this year: http://rochester.kidsoutandabout.com/view/taxonomy-multilist/294%2B293%2B21%2B500%2B295%2B302/1
The weather is turning cold, leaves are falling and the holiday season is nearly upon us.
Many of us feel excited about this change in season but for others only one word comes to mind...
For all of you out there feeling stressed, this post is for you!
Whether you're feeling overwhelmed about planning for parties, baking twenty varieties of pies or having to spend time with that family member you just can't stand, here are a few fool-proof suggestions that are GUARANTEED to get you through this stressful time!
1. Schedule Your Time
No one is really able to complete everything on their to-do list without setting aside dedicated time for each task. When it comes to preparing for the holidays, some tasks can take longer than expected. Be sure to schedule ample time for all tasks on your list (including those regular day-to-day, non-holiday things, in order to avoid feelings of increased stress and overwhelm. And if you are baking twenty pies, consider a helper :)
2. Don't Over-Commit
As tempting as it might be to say yes to everything and everyone, give yourself permission to say NO! Even if it's family! It's okay to not go to every party, it's okay to not see every single person you feel obligated to see and it's okay to not make twenty different pies! You will survive; they will survive. And chances are, you will feel relieved you allowed yourself the opportunity to say no ;)
3. Leave Time For YOU
Through the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, make sure you are setting aside time for your personal health and well-being. Stress and overwhelm, especially during this time of year, can be a recipe for disaster as far as your emotional, physical and spiritual health are concerned. Remember: self-care all day, everyday!
Are you feeling nervous about the upcoming presidential election?
Scared about the results?
Feeling so unsure you may not vote?
There's good news...YOU'RE NOT ALONE!
This year's presidential election has triggered anxious feelings in many. Uncertainty about our country's future has been running rampant and the controversy around the election is no exception. Many feel nervous, unsure and some even afraid.
Who do I vote for?
How do I make this decision?
What if I make the wrong choice?
Like I stated earlier, you're in good company! So many of us, myself included, are feeling so insecure we are seeing more and more posts like this one pop up.
As a therapist, I'm here to remind you that it is OKAY to feel what you're feeling!
You're NOT crazy!
Nothing is wrong with you.
Any typical life experience has the possibility to produce these feelings, and let's be honest, this election has been anything but typical!
So consider this post as your official reminder that your response to the election is to be expected.
The important thing to remember is that emotions, though powerful and important, are not always facts! Just because we feel a certain way about a particular situation does not mean those emotions are TRUE to the situation. We may feel afraid of the outcome of the election, but that does not necessarily mean there is anything specific to fear. We may not agree with the outcome, but the chances of that outcome being an actual threat to us are slim.
So remember! Your feelings are normal and natural.
And remember to process them in a healthy and productive way :)
Have you noticed your palms sweating, your thoughts racing, or your heart pounding?
Are you feeling fearful but you can't quite figure out why?
These are common experiences when we feel anxious. Anxiety can feel incredibly overwhelming and downright scary at times. Sometimes anxiety can be so intense that we fear physical damage to our bodies. Luckily, there are ways we can help ourselves move through these terrifying emotions.
Being in nature can be a great way to calm the mind and body and alleviate feelings of anxiety.
Nature brings you into the present moment.
The outdoors offers an amazing opportunity to practice being mindful of that which is around you; thereby diverting your attention from the discomfort you are feeling to the present moment. Pay attention to the colors of the flowers, the sounds of chirping birds, and the rush of the wind against your skin. Notice the sensation of the grass on the soles of your feet with every step you take. Getting out in nature regularly will serve to keep you grounded day-to-day and move through moments of distress in a healthy way.
Ambient sounds of wind and water help to reset your breath.
When we feel anxious, we may notice ourselves taking short and labored breaths. We may have difficulty catching our breath and in extreme cases, may even hyperventhilate. Rather than breathing deep, down in our bellies (which is the best way to breathe as it fills our lungs completely to oxygenate our blood), we may be breathing up in our shoulders. This is a very shallow way of breathing that does our bodies more harm than good. Listening to slow-moving sounds of the water or wind can help to re-focus our breath: focusing on these sounds can slow down our breathing and our thought processes. Calming the breath relaxes our bodies, reduces physical tension, slows our heartrate, and allows our body time to heal and re-charge.
Vitamin D improves our mood and revitalizes our bodies
Feelings of depression and anxiety often go hand-in-hand. Sunlight can do wonders to help alleviate these feelings and improve our overall mental well-being. Notice what you experience the next time you step outside to soak up some rays. Improved mood and feelings of relaxation are only a few of the things you might notice! You may also experience improved energy levels and slowed breathing patterns. So get out there and enjoy the sun! Just don't forget your sunscreen :)
Fall is upon us! Apple picking and all-things pumpkin spice may be some of your favorite things about this season. But for some, the change in seasons can be tricky: cooler, shorter and darker days can be a recipe for poor mental wellness and overall health.
If you're dreading the inevitable, here are some tips for staying well this fall season!
1. Get Plenty of Restorative Sleep
Sleep is often one of the most overlooked factors when it comes to talking about our health and wellness. However, it is one of the most important to discuss. Our culture values productivity and defines success in this manner. The more we do; the faster we do it, the better. Unfortunately, this means bad news bears for our sleep cycles, especially during the Fall season. Shorter days, along with Daylight Savings Time, can be enough to disturb our circadian rhythms and the quality of sleep we experience. When we do not experience good quality, restorative sleep, our functioning can quickly become affected in negative ways. Difficulties with concentration and memory, along with reduced energy levels and lower moods, are only a few examples of some of the complications we might experience. In more severe situations, hallucinations and an inability to perform daily tasks may occur.
In order to combat the changes we are moving through during this season and prevent serious side effects, we MUST maintain our sleep hygiene. Make sure to have the same 'bedtime routine' every night! Do your best to go to sleep and wake in the mornings at the same time. Physical exercise is best to do in the morning. Ensure restorative sleep by leaving the stress of the day out of the bedroom!
2. Commit to Your Routine
The Fall season can be a time of adjusting to new or even old routines. Kids are going back to school, extra-curricular activities are starting and work hours are changing. Suddenly, we are finding ourselves pressed to do perhaps even more than before with less time. Because of this, we may be feeling anxious, overwhelmed, exhausted and even less motivated to do what needs to be done. These feelings can quickly lead to more significant emotional difficulties if they are not addressed.
Sticking to a routine is a great way of effectively managing responsibilities and the stressful emotions that may result. Schedule yourself (and your children) for the number of activities that is appropriate for you and your family. Try not to 'over-commit' as this may increase feelings of stress and anxiety. Give yourself permission to schedule YOU TIME! We cannot constantly function for other people: we MUST care for ourselves and our well-being. Scheduling this time can help to ensure our health and wellness during a busy time!
3. Have Compassion for Yourself
Practicing Self-Compassion can be helpful all year round. During these cooler months, it is important to remember our humanity: we are human, we do our best as best we can and it is OKAY if and when we make mistakes. The Fall and Winter seasons can be trying for us all: remember to be gentle with yourself and mindful of your own needs!