Family

Self-Care During the Holidays

For some the holidays are a time of togetherness, family, and friends. For others, it is a time of isolation, loneliness, and a reminder that they don’t have a support system. Janet is a 27-year-old single woman and has many friends and a close-knit family. Thomas is a 30-year-old male whose family is in another state, and he is not very close with them. He doesn’t have a lot of friends since he moved to a new city, and finds it difficult to meet new people. Here are two people, relatively the same age, and although their lives are so different, they may experience some of the same feelings during the holiday times.
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Anger

Six Tips for Dealing with Family Drama During the Holidays

The holidays are some people’s favorite time of year. Cozy nights in, creating new memories, and lots of time spent with immediate and extended family members.

For some, this time is wonderful. But for others, dealing with family members and in-laws can make the holiday season extremely stressful; even dreadful.

If you have difficult family members who just seem to ruin your holidays, here are six ways to deal with them this season.
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Addiction

Staying Sober During the Holidays

The holidays can be an emotional time for many people, but for those who have recently stopped drinking, navigating the holidays can be especially challenging.

What makes the holidays so appealing to people -- catching up with the same relatives and friends and doing the same traditions year after year -- is exactly what can make it tough for newly sober people to stay sober.
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General

4 Ideas for a Happy, Healthy Halloween

Merriam Webster’s online dictionary defines the word “ mask” as both “something that serves to conceal or disguise” and something that is a “protective covering for the face.”

Human beings are the ultimate improvisers. The masks we wear allow us the flexibility to adapt to the myriad improvisations we find ourselves engaged in on a daily basis. From the drive to work, dinner with family, conversations with friends... we literally have no idea what’s going to happen next. Therefore, having this amazing ability for response-ability is relatively useful for successful living, at least in my perspective.
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Family

5 Ways to Survive Criticism from Family Members

With the holiday season just completed, many people are coming down off the roller coaster of having spent significant amounts of time with family. For some, these extended periods with family are the highlight of the year. For others, they’re like standing in front of a firing squad.

If you survived an onslaught of family criticism this winter, know that next time you don’t have to face a losing battle. And you don’t need to avoid gatherings altogether to gain some relief from the verbal jabs.
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Family

7 Steps to Achieve Your New Year’s Resolutions

Congratulations! Despite the sarcastic negativity and nay-sayers, you have chosen a path of self-improvement. Here are seven simple things you can do to make sure you achieve all of your 2016 goals.

Treat yourself.
Your goals require a special type of strength from your mind and body. Acknowledge this, own this, and love yourself for deciding to improve despite the challenge it will be.

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General

Be SMART and Avoid Failing at New Year’s Resolutions

Do you know people who have a hard time maintaining their big New Year's goals past February? Who are the people around you who joke, "Yeah, I made a resolution to lose weight, but then Valentine's Day came around." Or "I made a resolution to quit smoking, but then I needed a break at work."

If making and sticking to goals is hard for you, it does not mean that you are helpless, hopeless, or should give up trying. Far too many people make goals that are too big, too general, way too difficult, and without any tracking tools. People tend to create large, grandiose, long-term goals with no short-terms goals to guide the process. Follow the SMART method below to reach your resolutions for 2016.
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General

New Year’s and Values

In Hamlet, cranky Polonius gives his son Laertes, who is about to venture out into the world, this advice: "This above all, to thine own self be true." (As it happens, it is ironic advice, as Polonius himself is duplicitous and rarely shows the self-awareness he wants his son to embrace.) Deep down, what Shakespeare is getting at is that you need not to be afraid to know yourself and accept yourself, flaws and all.

I'm not a big one for New Year's resolutions, but this past New Year's I had what I call a New Year's revelation. Taking time out to disconnect and detox, I realized what happens when you fight feelings of anxiety and vulnerability and are not being your true self. When you shut those feelings off, you are disconnected from that which brings meaning to your life.

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5 Tips for Coping with the Post-Holiday Blues

Do you hear that sound? What sound, you ask? The sound of calm after the holidays. The moment when we realize the guests have left and the errands are complete. The moment when we finally look around and notice all we have missed while immersed in the hustle and bustle of preparing for the holidays.

Personally, the days immediately following New Year's Day are mixed emotion days for me. The first couple weeks of January, I relax in the glow of Christmas and the expectation of new beginnings. Yet, mingled amid my joyous feelings, there is a feeling of sadness as I realize that the holiday season has ended and normal life has returned.

Since I was a young child, I have loved the period from Halloween to New Year's because of the festivities, the traditions, the foods, smells, and sights. Yet it seems that as soon as Halloween is upon us, in a flash, we are past New Year's Day.

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Depression

Surviving January — the Most Depressing Month of the Year

January 24 is on record as being the most depressing day of the year. It’s not hard to figure out why. The bills come in from all those generous gifts you gave back when the holiday spirit had you feeling rich. The resolutions you made on December 31 are, well, broken. And it’s cold, dark, and dreary -- the roads wear the kind of brown slush that is unbecoming.

However, my mood dips long before the 24th. It does a dive the Monday after the New Year -- the first full week of January. I call it Yuck Monday or Yuck Week.
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Brain and Behavior

Why It’s OK Not to Make New Year’s Resolutions

Do you make New Year’s resolutions? Do you stick to them? Many of us spend the last days of December thinking about what our resolutions should be in the coming year. This can lead to discussions with family and friends about what we should change and resolve to do differently. Then we make our resolutions and commit to them, or maybe not.

This has become rote behavior for many of us -- a ritual we follow, year after year. We typically choose resolutions to change ourselves into who we want to or feel we should be, but are not. Sometimes we choose something really big to accomplish, which can become too overwhelming. Why do we do this to ourselves?

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