Holidaze Survival Guide: Mindset Matters

Dear Friends,

There’s a lot of emphasis on family during the holidays. This is wonderful if you have lots of family and everyone gets along well. If your family is wrought by dysfunction, or you’ve experienced illness, injury, or loss of any kind, the holidays can create stress, lead to depression, and exacerbate mental health issues.

Create Balance and Find Joy This Holiday Season

If this is a difficult time of year for you and you’re dreading the holidays, there are ways you can minimize stress, sidestep anxiety and depression, create balance, and find joy.

Be honest about your feelings. While it might seem appropriate to minimize or hide your pain during the holidays, there is nothing noble about suffering in silence. At the same time, you don’t have to broadcast your distress to any and everyone who will listen. Being honest with a few select people who care about and respect you can pave the way for you to work through your...

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Holidaze Survival Guide: Healthy Spending

Dear Friends,

One of the most common and fastest ways people become overwhelmed during the holidays is by overspending. Being financially unprepared for the holiday season leads to bad habits and poor choices that can have serious repercussions at the beginning of the new year.

Holiday spending involves more than buying gifts. It’s usually a lot of small things that quickly add up: holiday décor, groceries, extra events and activities, donations, and of course, gifts. Overspending creates debt and causes unnecessary stress. You don’t have to overspend or go into debt to make the holidays special. Follow these do’s and don’ts to help maintain your financial health during the holidays.

Holiday Spending Do's and Don'ts

DO create a holiday budget before the holidays. Each year is different in terms of the amount of money you have available to spend. Some years your financial resources are plentiful, and some years they are lean. Create a budget before the...

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Create Your Own Meaning of the Holiday Season

“May your walls know joy, may every room hold laughter, and every window open to great possibility.” – Mary Anne Radmacher

Dear Friends,

The holiday season originated in the mid-20th century with a blending of religious holidays, cultural traditions and commercialism surrounding a series of events, activities, experiences, and expenses. From Thanksgiving dinners to Christmas pageants, department store Santas, and much more, expressing the holiday spirit and participating in myriad events became common.

Commercializing the holidays may have boosted the economy, but it also pressured families to expect more, do more, spend more, and experience more. In most people’s mind, this time of year should be filled with fun, wonderment, and awe, but is often wrought with stress, worry, and anxiety. Time that’s supposed to be centered on the magic of the season, family gatherings, and creating special memories is instead characterized by dysfunction and...

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Nurturing a Spirit of Gratitude

"Gratitude is not only the greatest of the virtues but the parent of all others." -- Cicero

Dear Friends,

As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, I’m reminded of the power and benefits of gratitude. Gratitude comes from the Latin word gratus, which means "thankful or pleasing." It is the quality of being thankful or the readiness to express appreciation.

Why Gratitude is So Powerful

In positive psychology, gratitude is associated with greater happiness. Gratitude fosters positive feelings, emotions, and experiences; improves overall physical, mental, and emotional health; helps us to deal more effectively with adversity; and helps build strong relationships. Gratitude cannot be demanded, coerced, or requested. Gratitude is not an exchange; it can only be given as a gift.

Gratitude has many other benefits including, but not limited to increased self-esteem, improved relationships, stress reduction, increased resilience, improved sleep quality, increased compassion, and an...

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Honoring Grief

"Grief is not something we overcome; it’s something we endure."

What is Grief?

Dear Friends,

In its simplest form, grief is our response to loss. Grief is our natural response to someone or something that has been taken away. While many people tend to associate grief with the loss of a loved one, grief can result from any loss such as the loss of a significant relationship, a pet, safety, freedom, health, a limb, bodily functions, a job, a home, financial stability, a dream, or an opportunity. Even subtle losses can trigger grief: moving away from your childhood home, relocating to a new city, graduating from college, or changing jobs. Unresolved grief can be passed down through generations; take a toll on our minds, bodies, and spirits; affect relationships; and prevent us from moving forward. 

Traditionally, grief emphasized our emotional response to loss. The concept of grief has since evolved, and we can now explore the physical, cognitive, behavioral, cultural,...

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Bouncing Back from Brokenness

Dear Friends,

Adversity is an inevitable part of life, and resilience is the ability to mentally and emotionally cope with and recover from adversity. In fact, resilience is the cornerstone of your personal power.

Why You Need Resilience

Pressing through hardships and overcoming challenges gives us greater belief in ourselves and our ability to bounce back from brokenness. Resiliency equips us to not only face future challenges, but to develop essential life skills that help us to be more effective and efficient. As our resilience increases, so does our coping skills, patience, awareness, confidence and support systems. We inspire those around us and are better equipped to navigate any obstacles we face.

The Power of Resilience

Psychologists have studied the link between resilience and personal power and identified five (5) aspects of resilience that support personal power: (1) focusing on the present supports faith in yourself; (2) learning from your...

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5 Stages of Grief in Trauma Recovery

TRIGGER WARNING: Trauma is an important, but difficult and sensitive topic that may remind you of your own experience(s) and trigger psychological, emotional and/or physical responses. As you’re reading through our October Trauma Series, I strongly encourage you to take extra special care of yourself and don’t hesitate to reach out to a licensed mental health professional or other trauma specialist if you feel overwhelmed by an inability to cope with any triggered responses.
 “Healing doesn’t mean that trauma never happened. It means that it no longer controls your life.”

Dear Friends,

Last week, we identified the four people (behaviors) that trauma produces. Today, I’m reviewing the five (5) stages of grief in the trauma recovery process. Let me begin by saying that grief is something you never overcome; it’s something you endure. However, what was once a painful memory can eventually evolve into acceptance and a better psychological,...

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The 4 Types of People That Trauma Produces

TRIGGER WARNING: Trauma is an important, but difficult and sensitive topic that may remind you of your own experience(s) and trigger psychological, emotional and/or physical responses. As you’re reading through our October Trauma Series, I strongly encourage you to take extra special care of yourself and don’t hesitate to reach out to a licensed mental health professional or other trauma specialist if you feel overwhelmed by an inability to cope with any triggered responses.

Dear Friends,

Last week, we explored the effects of trauma on mental, emotional, and physical health. Today, we examine the four types of people (human behaviors) that trauma produces. Please understand that these are not labels, but psychological behaviors (i.e., individual responses to external stimuli).

The Victim

The victim is a person who suffers from an injurious or destructive action that’s beyond their control (e.g., accident, illness, violence, sudden or unexpected death, or act of...

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How Trauma Affects Mental, Emotional & Physical Health

TRIGGER WARNING: Trauma is an important, but difficult and sensitive topic that may remind you of your own experience(s) and trigger psychological, emotional and/or physical responses. As you’re reading through our October Trauma Series, I strongly encourage you to take extra special care of yourself and don’t hesitate to reach out to a licensed mental health professional or other trauma specialist if you feel overwhelmed by an inability to cope with any triggered responses.

 “Some days, trauma memories still knock the wind out of me.” – Unknown

Dear Friends:

Last week, we explored the foundational concepts of trauma, and I provided examples of traumatic events. If you have not yet read my blog post, I encourage you to do so before proceeding (or you may want to re-read it to refresh your memory).

Today, I’m discussing how trauma affects the mind, body, and emotions. In the throes of pain, it’s often difficult to...

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An Introduction to Trauma

TRIGGER WARNING: Trauma is an important, but difficult and sensitive topic that may remind you of your own experience(s) and trigger psychological, emotional and/or physical responses. As you’re reading through our October Trauma Series, I strongly encourage you to take extra special care of yourself and don’t hesitate to reach out to a licensed mental health professional or other trauma specialist if you feel overwhelmed by an inability to cope with any triggered responses.

Dear Friends:

Mental Health Awareness Week runs from October 3-9, 2021, so I thought this month would be an ideal time to highlight trauma (which also happens to be my area of specialization). This is the first segment of our 4-part blog series. Today, we explore foundational concepts of trauma, including different types of traumatic experiences. 

What is Trauma?

Trauma is any event that causes psychological, emotional, or physical harm. A traumatic event can also be referred to as a...

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