Holiday Coping Articles

5 Ways Autumn Boosts Our Spirits

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

Five Ways Autumn Boosts Our SpiritsIn autumn we can succumb to transformation. We can be fickle like the temperatures outside; we can embrace uncertainty and welcome transition, the unknown.

“I think fall evokes feelings of coziness and warmth and is such a multifunctional season,” says Anna Solo, a wellness blogger for freshtheblog.com.

I recently wrote about summer activities that can boost our mental health, and in light of the new season, here are some of autumn’s charms that are good for the soul as well.

Valentine’s Day: Love When You Are Feeling Blue

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

Valentine's Day: Love When You Are Feeling BlueTomorrow, it’s Valentine’s Day again, and maybe you are not feeling so lovey-dovey. Maybe you are feeling low or lonely.

Maybe you are feeling the cold emptiness of loss of those who should still be here but are not here anymore. Maybe you are feeling the defeat of making ends meet when no matter how hard you work, the numbers are not adding up. Maybe your plan is not going as planned. Maybe the weather just seems so wrong.

And since Valentine’s Day is about love, and you are deep in the darkness, maybe you feel like Valentine’s Day is not for you this year. Maybe you feel completely left out, watching people around you exchange kisses and love while you stand alone in your pain.

A New Type of New Year’s Resolution

Monday, December 30th, 2013

A New Type of New Year's ResolutionNew Year’s Eve is traditionally a time that we attend to the tick of the clock. As we do so, we reflect on the previous year, resolving to do better this coming year.

Most resolutions people make are repetitive, year after year. We’re going to lose those extra pounds, exercise more, drink less, save money, be better organized, be more patient and spend more time with family and friends.

Wonderful ideas. So how come it takes you (if you’re like most folks) about 7 to 10 days to fall off the wagon?

Setting Yourself Up for Failure: 5 New Year’s Resolutions to Avoid Making

Sunday, December 29th, 2013

Setting Yourself Up for Failure: 5 New Year's Resolutions to Avoid MakingAh, New Year’s. The time to make resolutions… and then throw them out the window a month later, as we fail to stick even just one of them. I mean, why do we even bother making resolutions in the first place?

To complement all the great things that have been written about how to make and keep good New Year’s resolutions, I thought I’d also share some of the absolute worst New Year’s resolutions you can make.

You should avoid making these kinds of resolutions, because most people simply won’t keep them.

3 Traits of Failed Resolutions

Saturday, December 28th, 2013

3 Traits of Failed Resolutions As the New Year approaches, many of us will be sitting down to reflect on 2013 and create resolutions for 2014.

Of course, many of us also have gotten cynical about setting goals. We’ve read the stories about failure rates. And we probably have first-hand experience of our personal resolutions not working out.

But there’s usually a good reason — several of them, in fact — behind unsuccessful resolutions. And it’s not because you lack willpower, self-control or discipline. (Who wants to follow such punitive goals, anyway?)

And it’s not because you aren’t strong enough or smart enough or capable enough or whatever enough.

Here are three traits of resolutions that rarely work — along with some expert insight into what does.

7 Ways to Survive the Holidays

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

7 Ways to Survive the HolidaysBy the time Christmas carols play on three radio stations and the windows of department stores are dressed with red and green glitter, a majority of the human race will have elevated cortisol levels. (It’s the stress hormone that does a good job of preserving us from life-threatening events, but can disrupt almost all of the body’s processes if it’s not stopped.)

Our job in December is to keep our stress-response system from getting stuck on autopilot, communicating false threats to most of our biological systems. Here are a few strategies.

Beat Holiday Stress with These 2 Easy Meditation Techniques

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

Beat Holiday Stress with These 2 Easy Meditation TechniquesHolidays can be stressful. The hustle and bustle of work, parenting, in-laws, guests, shopping, traveling, and cooking can seem pretty hectic this time of year.

When I am feeling overwhelmed, I take a timeout to relax and do short meditation exercises. Here are a couple of my favorites:

Deep breathing.

Begin in a quiet, comfortable area with no distractions. Remember, your goal is to quiet your mind and to remain in the moment. Don’t get discouraged if you are not able to do this the first time.

4 More Spiritual Tips for Staying Sane Through the Holidays

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

4 More Spiritual Tips for Staying Sane Through the HolidaysAs the holiday season winds up for its last big week before Christmas, here are a few spiritual tips to help you remember what the season’s all about. This is part two of a two-part article (part one is here).

4. Celebrate your truth.

I have a friend named Wayne who had an awful life. He was maybe 12 years old when, looking around the dinner table, he finally did the math that estranged him from his family.

You see, Wayne had four older brothers, each a year apart, and Wayne was born four years after the last. He knew immediately that he wasn’t supposed to be there; he knew immediately that he was an accident. Even worse, he knew that everyone in that household hated and resented his existence.

Interfaith Relationships During The Holidays

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

Interfaith Relationships During The HolidaysNavigating though religious faith differences can be tricky in the best of times. However, keeping the holidays stress-free may require extra effort and compromise.

Ideally, planning ahead and discussing potential problem areas would begin before a couple’s relationship is solidified, in premarital counseling. One of the biggest oversights a couple can make is denying that differences even exist, or believing conflicts will not occur.

Discussing all possible scenarios ahead of time can help prevent future troubles from developing — or becoming worse.

3 Spiritual Tips for Staying Sane Through the Holidays

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

3 Spiritual Tips for Staying Sane Through the HolidaysAs the holiday season winds up for its last big week before Christmas, here are a few spiritual tips to help you remember what the season’s all about. This is part one of a two-part article.

1. The reason for the season.

I don’t care what religious denomination you call your own. The holidays are always about giving and giving back, which — if you really think about it — is the cornerstone of every thriving belief system.

For me, giving has a very specific look. It starts with hour after hour spent poring over the gift lists my wife and I have compiled, followed by standing in line after line at toy stores, department stores, and jewelry shops all over the city.

4 Singular, Sensational Gifts for This Holiday Season

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

4 Singular, Sensational Gifts for This Holiday Season Are you tired of trying to figure out what gifts might delight your loved ones? Are you turned off by the shopping frenzy that has become ‘de rigueur’ for the holiday season?

If so, then try doing things differently. Instead of buying what the marketers insist is the ‘perfect gift,’ give your loved ones (especially your kids) something entirely different.

Here are my top four suggestions.

The gift of listening.

Take the time to listen to your loved ones. Be curious. Be there in mind and spirit.

Listen to what is going on inside your loved one’s mind. Avoid preaching. Avoid teaching. Thank your loved one for sharing. Communicate without judgment.

Parenting with Presence During the Holidays

Monday, December 16th, 2013

Parenting with Presence During the HolidaysOne day last year, we were driving to the airport; my daughter Lucy was excited to see the airplanes. As we drove along the interstate, I could see her face in the rearview mirror peering out the window.

“I saw one!” she exclaimed. “See mama, when you pay attention, on purpose, you might see something exciting like an airplane,” she announced.

Her words reminded me of a mindful parenting class I took when she was 2 years old. I’ve always had a hard time turning off my mind and “paying attention on purpose.” As a mother, I can think of 101 things to distract myself at any given moment.

During the holiday season this feeling is tenfold. With all of the distractions and opportunities to tune out instead of tune in, the stress of the holidays can be downright dizzying. As the holidays approach, I want to make a conscious effort to parent with presence, incorporating the mindfulness tools I learned years ago.

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