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Lessons About Burnout from Olympic Athletes

Lessons About Burnout from Olympic Athletes

Before the French Open earlier this year, Japanese tennis phenom Naomi Osaka announced that she would not be conducting her mandatory media assignments. Citing mental health issues, Osaka did not participate in press conferences and other interactions with the media. She was fined and threatened with expulsion from the tournament. Shortly after, she announced that she would be withdrawing from the competition, again citing mental health issues. In mid-June, she announced (via her agent) that she would not be participating in the upcoming Wimbledon Championships. Naomi was experiencing burnout.

In the last week of June, celebrated gymnast Simone Biles stepped down at the Tokyo Olympic Games due to physical and mental health concerns and a need to protect her wellbeing. Biles was quoted as saying “People have to realize that we’re humans, we’re not just entertainment.”

Announcements like these were previously unheard of in the world of professional sports. While it’s the norm for athletes to take time off for physical injuries or to have a baby, there has been very little conversation around how mental health challenges can affect athletes and the need to take a break to preserve mental and emotional wellbeing. The back-to-back announcements from both athletes has sparked a much-needed conversation about mental health in the world of athletics and in the lives of everyday people. 

The Negative Impact of Stigma

Mental health stigma has been around for about as long as human beings have existed. For centuries of human history, people with mental illnesses have been misunderstood, discriminated against and stigmatized. Stigma is one of the reasons that it’s so hard to seek help for mental health issues. Though both athletes received an outpouring of support, they also received quite a bit of scrutiny.  There is an expectation placed on athletes to be strong and to push through difficulties no matter what. 

In the same way that Osaka and Biles have faced scrutiny, you may have faced similar responses from colleagues, friends or family members when you’ve opened up about mental health issues. Maybe you’re afraid to open up because of the reaction you’re expecting. By speaking up and seeking help when you need it, you’re showing incredible bravery.

Ease Burnout By Taking a Break

You don’t have to be an Olympian to have experienced significant stress or pressure. The demands of work, school, family, finances and other obligations can take a serious toll on your mental health. By pushing yourself too far, you risk becoming burned out, which can leave you feeling exhausted, empty and distant. 

Burnout is a normal reaction to prolonged stress and in a workplace context, it’s often accompanied by feelings of exhaustion, cynicism and reduced job performance. When experiencing burnout, you can start feeling alienated or removed from workplace activities and everything can start to feel pretty pointless. You may feel physically tired or may experience other physical symptoms such as headaches, stomachaches or digestive issues. 

Taking regular breaks is one of the best ways to prevent burnout and to care for your mental health. Use this time to relax, reflect, pause and return to work with increased energy and a more positive perspective. Breaks also help to improve our performance on the job, since working with a balanced and clear mind will lead to better results. 

Easy Ways to Incorporate Rest 

A break doesn’t have to come in the form of a weeklong vacation. Mini-breaks are very effective at helping you to manage your stress levels. Try taking breaks throughout your workday. After every hour of work, take a ten-minute break to stretch your legs, drink some water or go to the bathroom. When it’s your lunch hour, try to put your work away so you can truly enjoy your lunch and maybe take some time to chat with coworkers or read a chapter of a book. These short breaks are surprisingly impactful when it comes to reducing your day-to-day stress. 

Are you able to use your weekends more effectively to get in more rest? For many of us, weekends are a time to get things done that we weren’t able to do during the week. By shifting some of these tasks to weekdays, you can free up valuable time on Saturdays and Sundays that can be used for rest or leisure. Maybe you usually do grocery shopping on Saturday mornings. Is it possible to go one day after work so you can free up two hours on Saturdays? How about shifting tasks like laundry or vacuuming to weekdays?

Seeking Help for Workplace Burnout

Work is a significant aspect of our lives. We spend a lot of our time at work and for many of us, our career forms a large part of our identity and contributes to an overall feeling of satisfaction with life. If you’ve been feeling stressed or burnt out at work and think you may be reaching a breaking point, it’s time to reach out for help. 

Firstly, what kind of help can you get from friends and loved ones in terms of emotional and moral support. Having a community is vital when going through stressful times. It may be tempting to isolate yourself, but try to reach out or to be responsive when others reach out. 

Next, consider how viable it is to speak to HR about your work situation. Could it be possible to shift some responsibilities to a coworker who may have less on their plate? Is your manager or supervisor aware of your stress? If you’re constantly working overtime on a particular project, could it be that enough resources haven’t been allocated to the project? Have a conversation about your concerns to determine if any changes can be made. 

Working with a therapist is one of the most effective ways to manage workplace stress and burnout. The clinicians at Flourish Psychology understand the impact of a fulfilling career on your overall wellbeing. We want to help you to do your best work so you can live your best life.  Whether you’re handling workplace anxiety, considering transitioning into a new career or struggling to find work-life balance, we can provide expert guidance and support to lead you towards a career that brings more joy. 

By working with a therapist, you’re better able to ensure that you’re happy and fulfilled at work and in the other areas of your life. Contact us today to get started. 

How to Understand, Treat and Heal from PTSD

How to Understand, Treat and Heal from PTSD

Though not as prevalent as depression or anxiety, PTSD is a serious mental health condition that affects millions of people across the world. In the past, the condition was known as “shell shock” or “combat fatigue” due to the distress experienced by soldiers after World Wars I and II. In 2021, we know that PTSD is not unique to military veterans, but can affect people from all walks of life. This disorder affects 3.5% of Americans, though women and people of color are disproportionately affected, due to racial and gender-based trauma.

What is post-traumatic stress disorder?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition brought on following exposure to a traumatic event. People living with PTSD are often plagued by distressing thoughts, dreams or flashbacks related to the traumatic incident. It is possible to experience a traumatic event without developing PTSD. It is also possible to reduce or eliminate the symptoms of PTSD with proper treatment and support.

While living with PTSD, it is common to have very intense and disturbing thoughts and feelings, even long after the traumatic event has passed. It is possible to continue reliving trauma for years, even if you do not get any obvious reminders of the incident. Nightmares, flashbacks and intrusive thoughts are all common experiences for persons with PTSD

what are the causes of ptsd?

Post-traumatic stress disorder is caused by exposure to a traumatic event. This can be repeated exposure or a single incident. Types of events that can lead to PTSD include physical or sexual assault or abuse, serious accidents, war, abject poverty and being a survivor of domestic violence. Surviving a natural disaster or widespread disastrous event is another common cause of PTSD. The COVID-19 pandemic is considered a traumatic event.  

Seeing or hearing other people being hurt or killed can also lead PTSD, even if you are not personally physically harmed by the incident. Women, LGBTQ people and people of color who experience discrimination based on their gender, sexuality or race can also experience PTSD.

signs and symptoms of ptsd

PTSD is diagnosed by evaluating your response to a traumatic event. Your clinician will ask you a series of questions to determine whether you fit certain criteria in order to diagnose you with PTSD and determine the best treatment plan for you.

The first criterion is the exposure to a traumatic event, which can come in the form of directly experiencing or witnessing an event or learning that the event has happened to a loved one. For those who witness distressing events in the context of work (such as police officers and first responders), repeated exposure can also lead to PTSD.

PTSD causes recurring, involuntary and intrusive memories of the traumatic event. Sometimes these memories seem to appear out of nowhere and other times, they are triggered by a visual, sound or even smell. People living with PTSD also experience distressing nightmares or flashbacks related to the event, which may feel incredibly real.

PTSD is also characterized by avoidance of certain places, people or situations that may trigger memories of the event. This can come in the form of intentionally taking a different route to avoid being near the vicinity of the incident, refusing to partake in certain activities or conversations and even being unable to listen to certain songs.

effective ways to treat ptsd

Fortunately, there are many research-backed, effective methods of managing and treating PTSD. By working with a therapist, the most ideal treatment plan will be determined for you, which may be one or more of these methods.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy that seeks to change the way you think, feel and behave. It is incredibly effective at treating depression and anxiety, as well as post-traumatic stress disorder. Trauma-focused CBT enables you to come to peace with the event by helping to change the way you think about it and the way you think about yourself in the context of the event. Many people who experience traumatic events begin believing that they were at fault for what happened, that they deserved it or constantly fear that it may happen again. Cognitive behavioral therapy helps you to rationally address your intrusive thoughts and replace them with more helpful messages.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is a psychotherapeutic modality that has been scientifically proven to significantly reduce symptoms of PTSD. Your therapist will ask you to recall the traumatic incident in detail while making certain movements with your eyes or being exposed to external stimuli such as hand tapping and other sounds. EMDR helps to “rewire” your brain to help you move past your intrusive thoughts about the incident.

Progressive Counting

Progressive counting (PC) is a fairly new, but well-researched treatment for PTSD and other trauma-related conditions. It has been shown to teach people how to regain control during racing thoughts, enabling you to make healthier decisions in the moment. During a PC session, your therapist will ask you recall the traumatic incident as if it were a movie while the therapist counts out loud. You repeat the story, but for a longer count this time. As you gradually recall more and more of the incident, you are able to emotionally process and heal.

As a person living with trauma, it’s understandable if you feel stuck or if it’s difficult for you to move on from your past. The therapists at Flourish Psychology can offer support and guidance on your journey to healing. By combining empathy and expertise, your clinician will determine the best treatment plan, so you can find peace and begin to thrive again. Contact us today to begin working with a therapist.

How to Manage Your Finances and Your Mental Health

How to Manage Your Finances and Your Mental Health

Mental health and finances are intrinsically linked. In a capitalist world where money impacts almost everything, we are bound to be emotionally and mentally affected by our finances. Financial concerns are the leading cause of stress and anxiety for American adults, which can easily lead to depression, as well as feelings of guilt or shame. Money affects our self-esteem, our relationships and our ability to show up in the world.

Here are just a few ways that mental health and finances are linked, as well as tips for developing a healthier relationship with your money.

Mental Health and Impulsive Shopping

A little retail therapy every once in a while can be a lot of fun, especially if done responsibly. But for many people, this can easily turn into impulsive or excessive spending that can lead to high consumer debt and depleted savings. When going through depression, it’s very common to make purchases to help you to feel better. Shopping can provide temporary excitement or happiness that you may later regret.

There are some strategies you can try if you notice that your spending is getting out of hand due to depression or impaired mental health. One method is to specifically budget “fun money” that is set aside for shopping, going out to eat or other enjoyable activities. By planning for this in advance, you can ensure that you don’t dip into your savings or into money that should be used for other purposes. Another helpful strategy is to come up with a list of free or low-cost activities that you can turn to when you are feeling low.

If your impulsive spending has gotten out of control, you can also benefit from a few sessions with a therapist. Sometimes, we use spending to avoid uncomfortable emotions that we should be addressing. A therapist can help you to uncover the reasons for your excessive spending, which is the first step to curbing it.

Financial Stress and Anxiety

Without a doubt, money is the number one source of stress and anxiety for American adults. We constantly worry about whether we are making enough, saving enough, spending too much and whether we are sufficiently preparing for our financial future. Financial difficulties can create a sense of scarcity and can even cause tension in your relationships. The stress of your finances can leave you feeling depressed or anxious, which in turn makes it harder to manage your finances.

It’s important to remember that your mental health is a priority, even in the face of financial difficulty. Finding affordable ways to take care of yourself and to enjoy life can enable you to be mentally healthy enough to handle the difficulties that may come your way. Remember that most people experience financial difficulty at some point, so don’t be ashamed to talk to a trusted friend or partner. Even if they are unable to provide practical solutions, having a strong support system is a key element of taking care of your mental health.

For more practical assistance, you may wish to discuss your finances with a professional such as a financial advisor. Armed with tools and knowledge, you can feel more confident in your ability to improve your finances, which can alleviate some of your stress and anxiety.

Guilt and Shame Surrounding Finances

In a capitalist society, we are often judged by the contents of our bank accounts and our level of financial stability. For this reason, it’s very common to develop feelings of guilt and shame surrounding your finances. You may feel as if you haven’t made enough progress with your savings or debt payments, or you may feel guilty about overspending or being unable to afford certain things. Some people even feel guilty because they earn more money than their peers, which can lead to tension or jealousy in relationships.

It’s normal to feel an occasional twinge of guilt after a pricy night out or shopping trip, but if you are in a constant state of shame about your finances, this will affect your overall mental health. It is helpful to determine whether your feelings of guilt are based on your financial reality, or if you are simply being too hard on yourself when your finances are not that bad. Guilt is an emotion that can indicate that you may need to make some changes in your life, but if you are feeling needlessly guilty, it can be helpful to discuss these feelings with a therapist. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is particularly helpful for addressing chronic guilt or shame.

ADHD and Money Management

For many people with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), money management can be a source of challenge and stress. ADHD is a chronic neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by symptoms such as procrastination, impulsivity and inattention. These traits can cause financial management to be particularly difficult for adults living with ADHD. Forgetfulness and inattention can easily lead to unpaid bills, losing track of your spending and an inability to get organized about your finances. The impulsivity that often comes with ADHD can lead to financial instability due to impulsive spending, as well as credit card debt or a depleted savings account.

Research indicates that adults living with ADHD tend to have higher levels of debt, less savings and less financial stability that their neurotypical counterparts. Due to limited knowledge about this disorder, many people don’t make the link between ADHD and impaired money management.  Once you’re able to recognize the ways that ADHD impacts your life, you can begin to put systems in place to better manage your finances. Helpful strategies include automating bill payments and transfers to your savings account, so that these tasks can get done without you having to remember to do them.

If you have been experiencing stress, anxiety or depression related to anxiety, don’t be afraid to seek help. The clinicians at Flourish Psychology can help you to address any mental roadblocks to help you to develop a more positive relationship to your money. Schedule a free consult today to get matched with a therapist who meets your needs.

How to Reduce Stress as You Return to the Office

How to Reduce Stress as You Return to the Office

When COVID-19 became a threat in March of 2020, several measures were put in place to help curb the spread of the virus. In addition to mandatory mask-wearing and stay-at-home orders, many companies began implementing remote work policies which saw employees working from home instead of commuting to the office. Fast forward to the summer of 2021 and we’ve seen many strides in overcoming the pandemic. With many people now vaccinated and as quarantine restrictions become looser, companies around the world are requiring employees to return to the office as we try to usher in a post-COVID lifestyle.

Depending on your personal circumstances, you may be quite happy to return to the office, or you may be dreading it. Many people have come to enjoy the freedom and flexibility of working from home and the benefits it provides, such as reducing transportation and clothing expenses and the ability to take care of children and pets while working. Others miss their pre-COVID routines of commuting to an office because it allowed for better separation of personal and professional life. Others are simply more productive in an office setting or enjoy being able to interact with their coworkers. Regardless of your feelings towards returning to the office, it will certainly be a big transition for all of us after a year and a half of getting accustomed to remote work.

Evaluate Your Concerns

There are many understandable concerns that you may have about returning to the office. Maybe you’re concerned about the virus itself and whether a return to work may cause you to get sick. To help ease this anxiety, consider the methods you can use to keep safe. If you and your coworkers are vaccinated, there is a significantly smaller chance of contracting or spreading the virus. Regardless, it’s still a good idea to continue practicing social distancing, frequent sanitizing of your hands and wearing your mask. By using these safety measures, you can feel a bit more confident in your ability to stay healthy, which can help to ease your anxiety.

Maybe your concerns are about a lack of flexibility that may come with returning to the office. If you have come to enjoy working remotely and want to continue doing so, you may wish to consider all your options. Is there any room for negotiating with your employer? It may be possible to come to an agreement about a hybrid system where you come in office some days and work from home on other days. Otherwise, you may want to consider transitioning out of your current job by searching for one that allows for remote work. For many people, the pandemic was the catalyst they needed to make positive changes towards a more rewarding career.

Focus on the Positives

We all know the many benefits of positive thinking. Positive thinkers are better able to cope with challenging or distressing situations and tend to have better mental and physical health. By taking an optimistic view of a situation, it can become a lot more manageable, but by focusing on the negatives, the experience is likely to be a drag.

Even if you are reluctant to return to the office, see if you can find something to look forward to about heading back. One benefit of working in an office is the ability to better separate your personal and professional life. For many people who work from home, work never seems to stop because there is no real line of demarcation between the office and the home. Coming home to your comfort zone after a day of work is often a satisfying feeling because you’re able to leave work at the office, which is a lot more difficult when you work at home.

Another potential positive about returning to the office is an increase in productivity. For many workers, the home office is a place of many distractions such as family members, pets or the doorbell. A lot of people are able to perform more efficiently in an office setting, leading to a better quality of work and higher satisfaction on the job.

For many people, lockdown was a lonely time and a return to the office brings a welcome opportunity to interact and socialize with colleagues. Teamwork can be a lot easier and more fun when teammates are working together in person. Though Zoom is convenient, there’s nothing quite like collaborating and brainstorming in person.

Setting Boundaries at the Office

Working in an office makes it easier to leave work at work. You’re better able to set boundaries with your time and manage people’s expectations of you. Now is the time to evaluate the boundaries that you wish to set with your coworkers and superiors. Maybe you will not answer work-related calls or emails after 5:00 and on the weekends. This kind of boundary might have been more difficult to set when working from home, because there may be an expectation that you are always on the clock.

In a post-COVID world, we also need to consider setting boundaries with our physical space. Whether or not you are vaccinated, it’s still a good idea to continue practicing social distancing as much as possible. You may have to prepare yourself to set boundaries regarding handshakes, hugs and other physical contact, depending on your own comfort level. If these kinds of conversations are difficult for you, try practicing them ahead of time so you will know exactly what to say to coworkers if the need arises.

Make Self-Care a Priority

As with any major life transition, it’s important to practice self-care to ensure that your physical and emotional needs are being met. You may need to create a new self-care routine that is compatible with your life at the office. For example, you may wish to develop a new morning routine to ensure a peaceful and enjoyable start to your days. Ensure you are keeping a healthy sleep schedule by going to bed at an early enough time and at about the same time every night. Starting your day with sufficient rest, a healthy breakfast and even a spiritual practice can lead to a better day at the office.

Here at Flourish Psychology, we understand that work contributes to your overall happiness and sense of purpose in life. Counseling with a therapist can help you to identify and work towards a more satisfying and fulfilling career, while reducing work-related stress or anxiety. To schedule your first session, contact us today.

4 Simple Ways To Maintain Balance While Working From Home

4 Simple Ways To Maintain Balance While Working From Home

Before the pandemic, many of us prioritized having work/life balance and perhaps took active steps to achieve it. In a pre-COVID world, this was as easy as leaving your work laptop at the office and heading off to a life outside of work. You may have been heading home to your family or a favourite TV show. Perhaps it was after-work drinks with friends before heading home.

For those of us who commuted to an office, there was a physical demarcation between life at work and life outside of work. By leaving the building, many of us were able to mentally unburden and leave work at the office. With the pandemic forcing us indoors, many of us are working from home for the first time. This is a huge transition and presents challenges as it relates to achieving work/life balance.

Work/Life Balance is Important for Your Mental Health

Rest and leisure are essential aspects of self-care. We are unable to perform our best work when we are burnt out, stressed or anxious. When we neglect one aspect of our lives, we tend to see the effects in other areas, too. We are unable to be whole and healthy human beings without balance.

Being able to separate work from the other aspects of life can be especially challenging when working from home. Here are some tips to help you achieve work/life balance as we continue to spend more time indoors.

1. Set physical boundaries for work/life balance

When working from home, it is important to have a designated location for working. This area should be separate from your resting or leisure areas. Even if you are in a compact space, you can achieve this by dedicating a small corner to work. It can be as simple as using a foldable desk, which can be stowed away with the rest of your work items.

It’s important to have a physical separation between “work” and “not work” within your home. This physical separation will also help to tell your brain when you are working and when you are not working.

Another physical barrier can be the clothing you wear. Though working from home allows for dressing however you like, you may benefit from designating specific work outfits. Be sure to dress comfortably, but still in a way that makes you feel confident and motivated to work.

2. Set time-based boundaries

Working from home does not mean that you are always on the clock. Set working hours for yourself and be sure to give yourself ample breaks throughout the day. Let’s say you have chosen 8:00am to 4:30pm as your working hours. When it’s 4:30, stop working! Close out all work-related windows, turn off the computer, and physically move away from the working area. There may be some days where you have to work additional hours to meet a deadline or complete a project. In general, make a habit of having defined working hours, just as you would in a traditional office setting.

3. Set mental and emotional boundaries

A key element of achieving work/life balance is setting mental and emotional boundaries. This simply means being able to mentally and emotionally “shut off” work at appropriate times. Remind yourself that there is a time for everything and that your work will be waiting for you when it’s work time.

Mindfulness is learning how to be present, without worrying about the future or past. When we are worrying about work during leisure time, it is helpful to practice mindfulness. This can be as simple as closing your eyes and focusing on your breathing to remind you to stay in the present moment. Take the time to notice the things around you and appreciate things just as they are.

Developing hobbies and interests is another way to set mental and emotional boundaries. When we take the time to enjoy our interests, it is a reminder that there is a life outside of work. When we are focusing on a passion project, we become so engrossed that we are able to unplug from work completely.

4. Set interpersonal boundaries for work/life balance

Finally, it is important to communicate our expectations to the people we work with. We can politely inform colleagues and clients of our working hours to manage expectations about response times. We can directly or indirectly make it clear that we are only able to answer phone calls or emails during certain hours.

When working from home, others may expect that you are “always on” or are able to handle requests at any time. It is important to be able to politely communicate these boundaries so we can maintain healthy working relationships.

It’s normal to face difficulty in achieving balance. The work we do is a fundamental part of who we are. Work-related stresses may affect your relationships, your home life, and your general mental health. The therapists at Flourish Psychology understand the impact of a fulfilling career on your overall wellbeing. We want to help you to do your best work so you can live your best life. Schedule a free consult today.

Coping with Loneliness During the Holidays

Coping with Loneliness During the Holidays

Holidays are traditionally a time for friends and family to gather and celebrate. For some, it’s the only time of year when they get to see their family and many look forward to it all through the year. The holiday season looks different this year and a lot of us are experiencing increased loneliness. It may be difficult or impossible for you to visit loved ones due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. Maybe you’ve decided to be alone this year to help reduce the spread of the virus.

For some, this may be our first holiday season alone. Others may have experienced this before, but it doesn’t make it any less difficult this time around. Some people may be apart from their family for reasons that have nothing to do with the pandemic. This could include situations of estrangement, where you have taken the deliberate decision to reduce or remove all contact with family members.

The holiday season is a common trigger for loneliness. People who may have been completely content being alone throughout the year may begin feeling sad, isolated and lonely as the year comes to a close. Here are a few things to consider as you try to manage these feelings.

Take care of Yourself

It’s important to take care of yourself when you are feeling lonely. Consider the ways that you can be a friend to yourself during this time. Self-care is especially important when dealing with loneliness. This is because we may have a tendency to neglect our own needs when we are feeling alone. Take the time to ensure you are having sufficient and healthy meals and getting enough sleep. It may sound simple, but ensure that you are drinking enough water, too. Take the time to keep your environment clean and comfortable. These basic acts of self-care are examples of showing up for yourself and reaffirming your relationship with yourself.

BE EXTRA KIND AND GENTLE

Loneliness can trigger thoughts of self-pity or worthlessness. Practicing acts of kindness towards yourself can help to counteract these feelings. Taking the time to tell yourself reassuring words can be very effective during difficult times. Maybe you have a favorite phrase or saying that you can repeat to yourself when these feelings arise. Consider creating a playlist of songs that make you happy. You can have the playlist ready to go for when the feelings of loneliness arise. Maybe you can create a list of favorite movies to watch when you feel alone. What other ways can you show kindness to yourself? Think of something that you would want a friend or loved one to do for you and do it for yourself. Doing things to make yourself happy helps to remind you that you are self-sufficient.

reach out when you can

Sometimes, we double down on our loneliness by withdrawing from loved ones. We may feel lonely, but still find ourselves sabotaging relationships. This turns into a cycle as our actions confirm our feelings of loneliness. This may manifest in many ways such as not returning calls or texts from friends and family, even though we crave connection. Try to push through these feelings of isolation and reach out to loved ones to maintain contact. A quick phone call can do so much and only takes a bit of effort and time. Remember that the best way to have a friend is to be a friend. Consider that your loved ones may be feeling lonely too. Who can you reach out to today?

rEMEMBER tO bE gRATEFUL

There are many benefits to practicing gratitude. A great way to counteract loneliness is to feel appreciation for all the good in your life. This is because loneliness is a feeling of lack, while gratitude is a feeling of abundance. Take the time to step outside of your loneliness and examine the positive things in your life. Though you may be lonely in the moment, you still have people in your life that you appreciate. You still have things in your life that you appreciate. What fills you with joy? Is it your work, hobbies, a passion project or a pet? Can you recall a happy day from your past that you feel grateful for? Being grateful for the past and present reminds us that there are good things to come in the future.

mANAGE hOLIDAY eXPECTATIONS

As a society, we have come to have great expectations of the holiday season. Holiday movies show us grand gestures and extravagant gifts. Social media may cause us to compare our holiday to someone else’s. You may feel like your holiday is inadequate if it doesn’t match up to expectations you have created for yourself. This year, it’s more important than ever to manage holiday expectations. The pandemic has created challenges for everyone and it may simply not be possible to have the holiday that you want. Consider how you can learn to be content with your current circumstances by accepting that this holiday season won’t be “perfect” – and that’s okay. How can you make the best of what you have and perhaps create new traditions on your own?

Speaking with a therapist can help you to manage feelings of isolation and loneliness this holiday season and as the pandemic continues. Schedule a free consultation to get matched with a therapist who meets your needs.