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Tips on how to deal with all the stress the holiday season (and post-holiday season) can bring.

Written by one of our own CTP mental health counselors Nate Pearlman:

Complete this sentence: Tis the season …………? To be merry? To be happy? To be joyful? To be thankful? What about to be sad? Depressed? Suicidal? Stressed? Anxious? Alone? Grieving? For many people this time of year IS merry, happy, joyful and thankful! However, for the rest of the people this time of year can bring sadness, anxiety, grieving, loneliness and yes even thoughts of suicide! I was asked to write a short paragraph outlining some signs to watch for in people that might be feeling sad, anxious, lonely or suicidal. shutterstock_295288130Although there is no blue print or specific set of signs, there are common themes to pay attention to such as subtle or dramatic changes in a person’s mood, their affect, their routine or their attitude. In order to recognize these changes we need to slow down our own lives and really listen, really pay attention to others when we are interacting with them! During the holidays it is very easy to get caught up in the pace of the season! When, in fact, what we need to do is slow down our pace and enjoy the true meaning of the season. People want to know that they matter, that they feel heard or that people see them as significant! SO, remember during this holiday season; SLOW DOWN, be present in your relationships or contacts with others, look them in the eye and make them feel that they matter! Whether you are talking with a close family member or a stranger at the grocery store give them the gift that matters this holiday season: YOUR TIME and ATTENTION!!

NOW, on a related, but often neglected topic, I would like to spend a few minutes talking about SELF CARE!!! When talking about SELF CARE I like to think about self-care in SIX areas: 1) Physical Self Care 2) Psychological Self Care and 3) Emotional Self Care 4) Spiritual Self Care 5) Workplace or Professional Self Care and 6) Balance. For many years I have used a Self Care Assessment Worksheet for my own life as well as the lives of my Co-workers and Clients. This worksheet is from “Transforming the pain: A Workbook on Vicarious Traumatization” by Saakvitne, Pearlman & Staff of TSI/CAAP (Norton 1996).

Please download the worksheet here.

REMEMBER: You can’t take care of others if you aren’t first taking care of yourself!!!

 

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