Saturday, November 28, 2009

The most wonderful time of the year?

Not really. These next few weeks are the most challenging of the year. I am always confused about why we must call it the "most wonderful time of the year". Everyone is under pressure to be "joyous" of to spread happiness and gifts. Not really easy this year and that's the point of this blog today.

First, know that these days are rough and it's okay to acknowledge you're not up to the task of making everyone joyous. Do something for yourself: take a deep, gentle breath and sit quietly with a cup of tea or hot chocolate. Be easy on yourself. You can actually provide a lot more happiness for the people around you if you are finding some peace within yourself.

Take care of yourself. Breathe. Take a walk and watch a funny movie. If you can go to the movies, see The Fantastic Mr. Fox. You will get through the next six weeks and then it's a whole new year.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tough Days Ahead: Keep breathing

There're back. Those darkest days of the year. First there's Thanksgiving and eating. Then there are those school and office and neighborhood parties then Chanukah and Christmas and Kwanza and then the New Year. How does anyone get through these days? How does someone who is struggling with depression manage the holidays. What about the families whose soldier is away in training or in Iraq or in Afghanistan?

Sure you can "get through it". But what does that mean? Using every artificial support you can find or doing the whole macho bit of "barrelling through" without a thought about anything except hanging on until January 2? There really is a better way, sometimes an easier way but definitely a way that doesn't add to the sadness that often accompanies the holidays.

First step is to breathe. yes, something as simple as taking a moment to experience that full deep breath before saying anything or taking any action. Then remember there are people who care about you and people who can offer support. Don't be afraid to ask for help. Telling someone you need support is a very brave step. It is the first step to getting through these coming challenging weeks.

Keep breathing. More ideas to be posted.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Hello from the woods!

The intensity of the past few days reminds me that as far as we may be from Afghanistan or Iraq or Bosnia we are all touched by the lives that are disrupted in those and all the other conflicts occurring around the globe.

It is important to remember that we can make a difference for both our soldiers here at home and abroad and for ourselves. We can make a difference by being kind to each other, by understanding we all experience confusion and pain about the events at Ft. Hood or at the office building in Orlando or the lack of services from the telephone company. We can't take the gun away from the person racing through the office building but we can look at our own anger and take control of those intense feelings.

When we take responsibility for our own feelings, we are able to show our children that anger does not require destructive behavior. We show ourselves and our loved ones that negative emotions can not only be controlled but can be channeled into constructive action.

The most important way in which we can care for ourselves is by being kind to ourselves, being gentle during these painfully stressful times. Those non- judgmental behaviors will spread beyond ourselves to everyone we touch. Sometimes a pebble in a pond can create a tsunami. The wave of easy, soft feelings we share can soothe others' firey pain.