10 Plus Tips To Cope With Anxiety

Got Holiday Anxiety?

With Thanksgiving comes tension for some. . .

10 Plus Tips To Cope

Don’t Let Anxiety Ruin Your Holidays

By D. S. Mitchell 

Turkey and Pumpkin Pie 

The holidays are right around the corner. Some are excited about turkey and gravy, and fancy wrapped presents, but others see only stress and anxiety on the horizon. If you are hosting parties, the stress level is on steroids; fancy china, excited young ones, guests, surprise and otherwise. It can seem overwhelming. Read on if you are looking for some tips on how to get you through the holidays as anxiety free as possible.

Be Ready

Stay rested and recharged, ahead of the holidays. Take time for yourself.  Get enough sleep, engage in activities that you enjoy and make you feel good. Don’t skip self care routines under the pressure of the approaching holidays. Don’t do it-skipping health care routines will cost in the long run. You need that 30 minutes of cardio and any other health activities you are engaged in. These activities will keep you balanced and ready to face the upcoming holiday challenges. It just might be yoga, biking, stretching, Tai Chi, or  aqua aerobics, that  saves your sanity.

Everyone has different triggers, and identifying them is one of the most important steps to coping and managing anxiety attacks. Common ones, your first day at a new job, heading an important meeting, meeting your SO’s parents. Time and reflection will be required to identify your triggers. In the meantime, there are things you can do to try to help calm or quiet your anxious mind.

4.) Use aromatherapy

Whether they’re in oil form, incense, or a candle, scents like lavender, chamomile, and sandalwood are soothing. Certain receptors in your brain are activated by aromatherapy.

5.) Walking or Yoga

Just walk away if the situation is causing anxiety. It might be time to focus on  your body and not your mind to relieve your anxiety. Just move. Whether it’s the pool or the yoga mat, move your butt, it helps reduce stress. Try stretching, it can be incredibly beneficial.

6.) Write down your thoughts

Many mental health therapists suggest a client write down what’s causing their anxiety. Writing it down, gets it out of your head and can make it less daunting. My mother used this one, on a regular basis. She would write letters to the offenders and put them in envelopes addressed to whoever was causing her frustration and then stick it in a file, never sending it.

Not All Anxiety Is The Same
The previous suggestions are helpful if your symptoms are situational or sporadic. If anxiety is an on-going, persistent part of you life you may need more serious interventions and coping strategies.
Five Strategies For Coping With Long-Term Illness 

If anxiety is a regular part of your life, not just around the holidays, it’s important to find treatment strategies to help you manage it. There might be a combination of things, like talk therapy and meditation, or perhaps cutting out or resolving your anxiety trigger. Confused, as to where to start? It is always helpful to discuss options with a mental health professional who might suggest something you hadn’t thought of before moving ahead with your plan.

Some Well-Known Triggers:
  • debt
  • a stressful work environment
  • traveling
  • driving
  • DNA-genetics — anxiety, depression, alcoholism can run in families
  • drug withdrawal
  • medication side effects
  • trauma
  • phobias, such as agoraphobia (fear of crowded or open spaces) and claustrophobia (fear of small spaces)
  • some chronic illnesses like heart disease, diabetes, or asthma
  • chronic pain
  • multiple mental illness diagnoses (such as depression, OCDC, anxiety)
  • caffeine
  • alcohol
Managing Those Triggers

Sometimes triggers can be obvious, such as caffeine, alcohol consumption, and drug use. Other times triggers are less obvious and we may need a therapist to help us isolate those triggers. Long-term stress, such as financial or work-related situations, can be more difficult— is it a due date, a person, or the situation? At this point you may need some extra support, through therapy or with some trusted friends.

Then What?

Once you do figure out your trigger(s), you should try to limit your exposure to them if you can. If you can’t limit it — say because it is due to a stressful work environment that you can’t currently change — using other coping techniques may help.

1.) Try Meditation

A successful meditation regime will take time and practice.  When done regularly, you can train your brain to dismiss anxious thoughts when they arise. If sitting still and concentrating is difficult, try starting your exercise routine with more active physical exertion and then start your yoga routine.

2.) Adopt Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT helps people learn different ways of thinking about and reacting to anxiety-causing situations. A therapist can help you develop ways to change negative thought patterns and behaviors before they spiral into a panic attack.

3.) Healthy Diet, Regular Exercise, Embrace Life 

Exercise regularly. Eat balanced meals. Get enough sleep. Stay connected to people who care about you. You may want to talk to your psychiatrist about adding supplements or nutrients to your long-term strategy.

4.) Consider Adding Supplements

Research shows certain supplements or nutrients help reduce anxiety symptoms. Some of these include:

  • lemon balm
  • omega-3 fatty acids
  • green tea
  • valerian root
  • dark chocolate (in moderation)

It can take up to three months before your body is actually using the nutrition these herbs and foods provide. If you’re taking other medications, make sure to discuss herbal remedies with your doctor. I’ve said that twice. I cannot say it enough. Different medications interact with one another whether OTC  or prescription. Talk to your doc.

5.) Prescription Medications

If your anxiety is severe enough that your mental health practitioner believes you’d benefit from psychotropic medication, there are a number of directions to go, depending on your symptoms. Discuss your concerns with your doctor.

Is My Anxiety Harmful?

Identifying what variety of anxiety you’re dealing with can be challenging-mainly because everyone’s body reacts to danger in entirely different ways. I’m sure you have heard “anxiety” used as a general term for feeling worry, uneasiness, or nervousness. It is often situational, a big dance, a speech, a tryout; it is often a feeling grown in response to an upcoming event that has an uncertain outcome. Every human being deals with such emotions-at some time in their life. It is part of how we are wired, our brains respond to perceived danger, even if there is no real danger.

Things Can Get Dark

There are times anxiety can get serious and turn into anxiety attacks that may begin slowly and initially feel manageable, but build up over a few hours. (Panic attacks are different. A panic attack comes out of the blue and then subsides.)

Signs and Symptoms of an anxiety attack

These are some of the more common mental and physical symptoms of anxiety:

  • feelings of danger, panic, or dread
  • nervousness/restlessness
  • rapid heart rate
  • sweating
  • trembling/chills
  • tiredness/weakness
  • gastric problems
  • difficulty focusing
  • rapid breathing, hyperventilating

It is possible to have both an anxiety and panic attack simultaneously. The quick coping strategies mentioned above may also help with a panic attack.

Try focusing on an object, repeating a mantra, closing your eyes, and going to your happy place.

Signs and Symptoms of a Panic Attack
Causes of Anxiety

If you notice that quick tips haven’t been working, you may want to consider seeing a professional for help. Especially if you believe you have GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder) and the symptoms are interfering with your daily routine and physical symptoms. A mental health professional can help with identifying your triggers, maintaining long-term strategies through behavioral therapy, medications, and more.

Living With Anxiety 

If your anxiety stems from a past trauma, it can be helpful to work through those issues with a licensed therapist. On the other hand, if your brain chemistry predisposes you to persistent, chronic anxiety, you may need to go on medication to manage it. Anxiety is likely to continue to be part of your life, but it doesn’t need to take over your life.  Treatment is available to help control those painful symptoms and make those holidays at least tolerable.

OPINION: Homelessness, Thinking Small

OPINION: Homelessness, Thinking Small

Homelessness in the United States is caused by misdirected priorities


Homelessness, Thinking Small

By Trevor K. McNeil


T’was Ever Thus

Homelessness as a social issue is far from new. A problem that has existed for millennia, whether it as acknowledge or not, came to wide, social attention during the late 19th through the pioneering of the likes of Charles Dickens and the Pre-Raphaelite painter William Holman Hunt. Now, as then, one of the biggest issues perpetuating homelessness is lack of public and political will. Are logistics an issue, yes, though really nothing that can’t be addressed with some strategic planning. Cuba certainly has its downsides but at least everyone has somewhere to live.

Sharp Clarity

The decadence of the 1980s, cleaved to so strongly in the 1990s came into sharp focus in the early 2000s, particularly in the sub-prime mortgage crisis. A case of designed obsolescence for short-term gain, as opposed to an unforeseen tragedy. The 2008 recession was the net result of the fraudulent  tactics used by the financial sector for decades, finally reaching the heights where they collapsed. Society finally realizing that the system, as it was, was no longer tenable. Even if the perpetrators of the crises were largely “punished” with early retirement including lucrative pension schemes.

Dollars and Sense

Even with the echoes of the 2008 recession still echoing in the ears of many, the issue of homelessness goes far beyond resources. It would be insane to argue that housing prices haven’t gone up. They have but a fact that very few, especially those who make fortunes from it, want to admit is that it largely imaginary. The ‘housing market’ is based mostly on the ‘interest rate.’ A largely arbitrary and most imaginary measure of future values, most ‘futures traders’ having no more real insight than psychics.

Homes For the Homeless

In terms of cost, both in materials and labor, housing is among the most over-valued commodities, mostly because if it’s relative scarcity. Diamonds and gold have no inherent monetary value, their value stemming from their beauty and the fact they are hard to find. If tin were similarly scarce one would be paying a lot more for a cooking pot. It might seem bizarre but, at an outside, a two-bedroom house can be build in 24 hours for $4,000 with a 3-D printer. Using Habitat For Humanity have been knocking together full, family-sized homes in record time for years.

Do It Yourself

If you are willing to go a bit smaller and use a generator or solar, there are cottages in a box, which are literally small houses that come in an IKEA-style flat-pack, being sold on eBay for $10,000 for those who have their own land which, depending on where you live, is getting cheaper all the time.

Thinking Small

Another option for those who own land is to join the tiny house movement. While it has gotten some pretty weird press over the years, this doesn’t always mean living in a converted school bus. It is more than possible to build a smaller, simpler house for not much money. Most jurisdictions have minimums on how big a house needs to be but they usually top out at 500 square feet. And that only applies to what is called the ‘foot-print’ of the structure. Therefore, it would be perfectly within the rules to build a 300 square foot tiny house with a 200 square foot deck.

Going Mico

Live in a city with limited space? There’s a solution for you too! Micro-apartments are the newest trend in the notoriously expensive city of Vancouver, B.C. which has been struggling with it’s own housing crisis for years. Pretty much what they sound like, micro-apartments are very small housing suites, some as small as 500 square feet, in buildings built in the gaps between existing buildings.




The Pain Of Veteran’s Day

Often soldiers don't come home. Some come home with PTSD

The Pain Of Veteran’s Day

By Anna Hessel

Is It Enough?

We often see flags waving on porches across our country and special social media posts of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall, or the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, or one of the National Cemeteries, with prayers or poems on Veterans and Memorial Day in honor of those who have served our nation. There are many restaurants that offer free meals, movie theaters offering complimentary admissions, and other giveaways to vets on November 11th, and a national hair care chain offers free haircuts as a thank you for veterans; often our former and current servicemen and women are asked to stand for a round of applause at sporting and concert events, but are these accolades enough?

The Tragedy of PTSD

How are we really taking care of those service women and men who suffer from PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)? Many of our veterans return home to find they have no home. More than 40,000 of those who have served our country are homeless. And PTSD is a major factor in causing homelessness.  It is estimated that as many as 33% of veterans, suffer from this debilitating illness. Mental illness is a significant factor in homelessness among veterans.

Recognizing Symptoms

There are 3 main symptoms of this disorder. First, “arousal”: anger, difficulties with sleeping, or concentrating. Second, “reliving”: nightmares and flashbacks which can impede daily activities, and can lead to loss of employment income. Third, “avoidance”: a feeling of utter detachment from life and those around them, often leading to depression so severe it is not possible for the sufferer to function well enough to keep, a job or take care of a home.

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COVID-19 Is Taking A Mental Toll


COVID-19 Is Taking A Mental Toll,

But We Can Fight Back

By Wes and Anna Hessel

 Coronavirus Cuts Deep

As we move into summer, we leave Mental Health Awareness Month (May) behind. We are now looking forward to longer, warmer days, and the associated activities. But, the cold chill of COVID-19 and the resulting restrictions are creating problems well beyond the physical illness.  Researchers are now documenting emotional and psychological issues related to the coronavirus. An article in psychologytoday.com looked at the mental and the physical effects of the illness. Studies in China found lingering physical symptoms such as myalgia and dizziness. On a self-rated health status questionnaire patients also noted significant mental disturbances related to the pandemic.  People described increased occurrence of anxiety, stress, and depression.  In a study group of over 1250 individuals exposed to the coronavirus, more than 33%  exhibited insomnia, 45% had anxiety, 50% reported depression, and almost 72% described distress.

Long Term Effects

The SARS-CoV epidemic in 2003 showed the emotional cost is unlikely to be a passing problem.  Researchers in Hong Kong looked at 90 survivors of that virus.  The study group was considered well-educated with a mean age of 41. Thirty percent of them were health care professionals. One in ten in that study had at least one family member die of SARS-CoV. Overall, close to 60% had some form of mental disorder – over 6% a type of agoraphobia, 13% had a panic issue, more than 44% suffered from major depression, and nearly 48% suffered from PTSD.  When re-examined 2½ years after recovery, 3% still suffered from agoraphobia, almost 8% still suffered from a panic disorder, 13% major depression, and 25% displayed PTSD.

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WTF Moments

I am still connected via media

Despite the government order to stay at home, I am still connected to the world via newspaper, wi-fi, streaming TV, Facebook, Twitter and cell phone.

WTF Moments

D. S. Mitchell

Staying Connected

Despite being on “stay home, stay safe” orders; I am still attached to the world via newspaper, cable television, Twitter, wi-fi and cell phone. Things are coming at me too fast and too furious for my liking. I am bobbing and weaving, when I should be writing, researching, petitioning and organizing.

Task Force

I watched the Trumpster conduct another overly long and contentious Coronavirus Task Force press briefing this afternoon. Trump, was arguing and fighting with the reporters. Insulting their race, their intent, and their talent. At one point, Trump pushed Dr. Fauci aside, telling a reporter to stop asking “the same question.”  “He’s answered that question, fifteen times.”

The Question

I read some place when you hire a clown, expect a circus..

A clever person once said, “elect a clown, expect a circus.”

The question reporters and the public keep asking is why is Trump touting the  unapproved anti-malarial medication, hydroxycloroquine for coronavirus treatment?  If these briefings were ever informative they have dissolved into what one reporter described as a “three-ring circus with Trump as the deranged ringmaster”. This is what happens when a narcissist takes over the government of a country.

Trump Circus

Watching the now daily Trump “circus” via television is like so many of those other WTF moments I’ve experienced during my life. I’ve thought how things, common things, deliver a “doesn’t that figure moment.” So, I decided that maybe, just for laughs, I should point out some of the those WTF moments. Here are a few that I came up with. I’m sure everyone has a list of their own.

Here’s Those WTF Moments:

  1. Having a bathroom so close to the living room that anybody sitting on my couch can hear my urine splashing in the toilet bowl.
  2. Knowing that I was doing 85 in a 70 mile per hour zone with no plausible or believable explanation.
  3. People whose only contribution to the political conversation is, “Lock her up.”
  4. Accidentally setting my alarm for 3 a.m. instead of 8 a.m.
  5. When the only thing in the fridge is a bottle of Perrier and two empty ice trays.
  6. Not finding toilet paper on three visits to the grocery store.
  7. Realizing that I am center brained.
  8. When some old lady yells at me from across the street, “Why don’t you get a job?”
  9. Finding out my significant other hid my birthday gift in the pocket of the old coat I packed up yesterday and sent to the Goodwill.
  10. A dog that only comes when it wants to.
  11. Having a strong physical attraction to John Heilemann and Steve Schmidt.
  12. Knowing that bullies are often financially successful, or sentenced to life plus 30 years.
  13. Trying to stop thinking about every word I said in that nasty argument.
  14. Realizing that I was in all black the last time I saw him, and all black again, today.
  15. When I start thinking about what I’ll have for lunch at 7 a.m.
  16. The last day of my vacation, getting grounded in Iceland and can’t return to the U.S. because the country has suspended flights from the UK.
  17. Knowing that “I don’t know,” is not an acceptable answer.
  18. Suddenly realizing who I am talking to on the phone, isn’t who I thought I was talking to.
  19. Saving 100’s of old decorating magazines, because I may decide to redecorate.
  20. Keeping a secret, only to find out that everybody else already knows the secret.
  21. Going to a movie made from a great book and after the showing wondering why someone wasted so much money to ruin something beautiful.
  22. Aware that serial murder guarantees instant fame.
  23. When Tonya Harding is the most famous person I’ve ever met.
  24. When my cell phone reception is so bad I have to hang out the dining room window to talk to my son fifteen miles away.
  25. Knowing that $20.00 won’t cover a 4 oz bottle of hand sanitizer.

Trump Crazy

My list of WTF moments are really just daily irritations and small injustices. Most are funny and a bit annoying, but not life threatening.  I wish I could say the same about what I am hearing come out of the mouth of Donald Trump. I am convinced more every day, that he is the most dangerous president we have ever had.

RESIST, it is more important today that ever before.

OPINION: Hope in the Era of COVID-19


Hope In The Era of COVID-19

COVID-19 is the scariest health risk most living humans have ever seen.

COVID-19 virus is the worst pandemic the majority of humanity has ever seen.

By Anna Hessel

Disaster In Progress

The COVID-19 virus is the worst pandemic the majority of humanity has ever seen. Public panic is on a level with the Yellow Fever epidemic which broke out in Philadelphia, PA, in 1793.  Over that spring and summer more than 4,000 people died. Paranoia of the “black vomit of death” had people covering their mouths and noses with vinegar-soaked cloths.  The death toll included the first husband of then-future First Lady Dolley Madison and their baby boy.  Some are saying this pandemic is similar to a resurgence of tuberculosis or polio.  We are a nation living in fear, not faith, because of the gravity of the COVID-19 crisis.  Feeling helpless, anxious and abandoned, we yearn for a return to normalcy.

Those Most At Risk

Even well-known celebrities and the wealthy are coming down with coronavirus. The most vulnerable in our society are being the hardest hit. The elderly, disabled, immunocompromised, and lower-income people are more likely to contract the virus than the wealthy. Blacks and Latinos are suffering the most deaths. The most vulnerable are less likely to recover, due to lack of health care benefits. They are suffering in other ways during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well.

The Most Fragile

Hunger is a real danger in the time of COVID-19.

Hunger is a new reality for many more Americans.

These fragile people are the ones most in need of government help. Crowded Human Service offices are being shut down.  Food pantries typically have small waiting areas and limited shelf stock. Many food banks can now only offer a couple of bags of food in a drive-through environment. Folks without access to a vehicle who rely on public transportation or their own two feet and need food assistance may not receive the needed help. These life-line organizations are running low on provisions and in fact are likely to run out of food. Recent cuts to food stamps are an extra threat to food security. Furthermore, those dependent on apartment laundry rooms or commercial laundromats, face an increased risk of exposure to COVID-19, because of the communal areas.

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Trump, Sick To Death

Trump, Sick To Death

D. S. Mitchell

House Bound

I’m stuck home, recovering from extensive foot surgery. I have watched all the NetFlix offerings that interest me.  I am now resorting to live streaming on Hulu. I switch back and forth between CNN, FoxNews and MSNBC like an agitated Adderall addict. One thing I have noticed over the last several weeks is that Trump appears to be in poor health.

Unannounced Visit

On November 17, 2019 Trump made an unannounced and seemingly unplanned trip to Walter Reed Medical Center. Trump decided on a motorcade instead of his standard helicopter ride. The visit did not seem to be planned despite White House denials of any emergent situation.  A source familiar with the events  described Trump’s visit as “abnormal,” but added that Trump, 73, did not seem to be in any physical distress later that evening.

Squelched Questions

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham, attempted to tamper down the questions, saying “he’s in good health and it was a routine checkup as part of his annual physical.” Grisham furthered her explanation saying, “Trump decided to get parts of his physical done early because he had a “free weekend” in Washington. Grisham did not respond to questions about why Trump did not get his full physical exam — which typically takes 4 hours or less — done over that open weekend. When pressed by reporters, Grisham vehemently denied Trump had any undisclosed health issues.

Not Routine

According to Grisham Trump underwent a “quick exam and labs.” Several experts familiar with White House medical procedures said that Trump could have gotten ‘routine’ lab work done at the White House’s on-site clinic, seeming to support the theory that Trump needed tests that couldn’t be done there.

Sunday Morning

On that November 2019 Sunday morning Trump took to Twitter telling the nation he planned to finish the ‘second part of his annual physical’ sometime in early 2020. Trump’s February 2019 full physical exam revealed he had increased his daily dose of Rosuvastatin, a medication used to treat high cholesterol. Additionally, Trump’s 2019 physical used a coronary calcium CT scan score of 133 to diagnose heart disease.

Fast Forward

As I said, I am watching a lot of streaming TV. One thing has become increasingly obvious, Trump looks worse by the day. He appears to be in poor health. I am speaking of all aspects of his health, his physical, mental, and cognitive health.  During recent public appearances he has looked ill. I of course, keep wondering if it has anything to do with that unscheduled November visit to Walter Reed Medical Center. I really want to know what sent Trump to the hospital that day back in November, I doubt if it was as routine as the White House would like us to think.

Declining Health

During the last couple weeks Trump has looked worse than usual. He has become more heavy-handed with the orange makeup, that is obvious. During a major speech in India and later at a press conference after the speech, Trump fell into rambling incoherence; slurring and mispronouncing common words. On that trip he was described as wobbly and sweating profusely. At a Saturday night rally in South Carolina amid the primary vote he again looked bad, causing viewers like myself to question his health.


Rumors have persisted for years that Trump is an Adderall addict. Trump does in fact show evidence of stimulant abuse. Photos have captured the enlarged pupils.  And anyone listening to a Trump speech is familiar with the snorting and sniffing between sentences. The nasal dysfunction is most likely related to sniffing Adderall. People surrounding the president report manic screaming fits, and sleeplessness.  In a recent interview acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney confirmed, “He (Trump) never sleeps.”

Another Collapse

It’s obvious why Donald Trump is unraveling. We are on the verge of a pandemic that has killed its first victim in the United States.  Despite Trump’s bluster, his incompetent, cobbled together administration is incapable of dealing with an emergency within our borders. And he knows it. News that he can’t suppress or manipulate is terrifying to him. Last week the stock market dropped 3,500 points. There were two days of declines of more than 1,000 points. One of those days, posting a loss of 1,192 points making it the biggest one day loss in stock market history. All together the stock market is off 15% in one week. For a man who has basked in the glory of a raging bull market, and good economic numbers, such losses would be terrifying and certainly threaten his re-election chances.

Potential Blow Back

As a malignant narcissist Trump is incapable of empathy. He can act concerned when he anticipates a negative impact on Donald J. Trump.  As Bill Palmer noted in a recent on-line article, “He feels bad for his fellow aging white male criminals when they get harsh sentences, because he fears the same thing will happen to him if he loses the election”.  But there is nothing to suggest that he cares if people will die from the coronavirus. Nor does he seem care if the average Joe will face economic hardship. At a hastily called press conference, looking bleary eyed and edgy he down played the chaos and uncertainty of the economic markets and indicated the coronavirus was being hyped by the Democrats as a partisan tool to defeat him in November.

Inside The Trump Brain

Trump is a known ‘germaphobe’. He may even be worried that he’s going to catch the coronavirus and end the campaign rallies for a few weeks.  For all the obvious reasons, and many not so obvious he is terrified. His fear is palpable. Despite a campaign war chest approaching a billion dollars and promised help from the Russians Trump’s paranoia is on full display. He knows a failed response to an epidemic and a sinking economy will threaten his 2020 prospects. Joe Biden, a man Trump fears so much, he got himself impeached trying to discredit him – dominated the primary contest in South Carolina.  Make no mistake about it, Trump is disintegrating before our eyes.

10 Ideas To Help Relieve Depression

10 Ideas To Help Relieve Depression

By David L. Jones

Depression Has Taken Over My Life

It’s Dave, here. I have for the last month been living at the bottom of a black hole. I have spent all day in bed with the comforter pulled tight over my head.  I won’t lie to you, depression has taken over my life.  Feelings of immeasurable sadness, hopelessness and utter emptiness are consuming me. This time of year is always a struggle for me, but this winter has been excruciatingly painful.

A Dark and Windowless Room

The only reason I have found the strength to pull the comforter off my head and pull up a chair to my computer and start writing, is that hopefully sharing my story, can help someone else that has found themselves trapped in a dark, door-less, window-less room.

Four Generations of Suffering

A friend of mine who also suffers from depression offered me some advice recently. She reports at least four generations of depression, alcoholism and suicide in her family. She told me that when she begins to experience depression she refuses to give herself permission to suffer.

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5 Ways To De-Stress The Holidays

5 Ways To De-Stress The Holidays

By Anna Hessel

It’s That Time of Year

With the holiday season upon us, thoughts of festive decorations, holiday baking, twinkling lights, caroling, sleigh rides through the snow, mistletoe, hot chocolate with mini-marshmallows, Menorahs, Nativities, “The Nutcracker”, Hallmark movies, and “A Charlie Brown Christmas” are at the forefront of our minds.

Holiday Stress

However, holiday stress is often a painful, and very real issue at this time of year. Religious and cultural celebrations, such as Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and the ushering in of the New Year, can quickly become more hectic than joyful. Don’t get trapped into thinking that parties and gifts are the only way to celebrate the holidays. Keeping perspective is helpful. There are ways to alleviate the stress, strain and cost.

A Christmas of Another Color

Statistics show that suicides are at an all-time high during the holiday season, as well as familial tensions; the idea of “Blue Christmas” is the truth for many.

Blue Christmas Services

Faking joviality makes no sense. If you are at a painful point in your life, you are not alone. At this time of year there are millions experiencing loss, loneliness, illness, or depression. The sadness is recognized by many churches and some have opted to hold “Blue Christmas Services” where they offer comfort, hope, and healing to those who are struggling with these, or similar issues.

Winter Solstice

These devotions, with peaceful music in a calming atmosphere help soothe folks who are frazzled during the Yuletide. Many times “Blue Christmas” is an evening of reflection for the longest night of the year (winter solstice), around the 21st of December. The shorter days and lack of sunlight can even lead to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD is a category of major depression that emerges in the winter months.

5 Things We Can Do To Relieve Stress

There are many easy ways to avoid the trap of seasonal stress, strain, and ensuing depression:

1. Avoid visiting your family if it causes fights or jeopardizes your mental or emotional well-being, avoid spending time with them.
2. Go for it. Enjoy the cup of eggnog, eat that Christmas cookie, and ignore snarky comments about your weight or calories. That’s what New Year’s resolutions are for.
3. Stop creating debt. It is not necessary to overspend or create debt to let your loved ones know how much you care. Hand-made presents, or a gift of your time, will be cherished more than an expensive, store-bought item by those who truly care about you. Don’t forget to give yourself a small gift that you can afford.
4. Take care of your health: stay hydrated, eat fresh fruits and veggies in addition to the
party fare. Drink alcohol and caffeine in moderation, add a cup of a seasonal herbal tea to help relax. Enjoy the out-of-doors, if weather permits. Get a massage; take a hot bath by candlelight.
5. Relax. Stop striving for perfection. None of us are perfect – simply enjoy what you are able to do.

Give Peace A Chance

Holidays were not created to cause stress. They evolved to celebrate faith, friendship, family, fun, and hope for an often tired and seemingly hopeless world. They are not meant to be aggravating or tension filled.


Please relax. Hopefully the tips I have suggested will help you enjoy the holidays. I wish you a bless holiday season.